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How High Risk Hobbies Affect The Cost of Life Insurance

dangerous hobbies and life insurance

If you fancy yourself as the next James Bond and you’ve been wondering how your passion for adrenaline-pumping pastimes could affect your life insurance premiums, you’re in the right place.

Most people want to spend as little as possible on life insurance and mortgage protection.

And that’s fair enough, I’m one of them.

But if you spend your weekends lobbing yourself out of a plane, diving into the ocean deep, or spinning your wheels on the Motorcross track, then I’m pretty sure you’re not going to quit those hobbies just to get a cheaper quote.

Fair play, I might not be an adrenaline junkie myself (although I did once back out of my drive without a seatbelt) but I sure as hell get the attraction.

So, scuba divers, motorbike racers, cliff jumpers, and everyone in-between let’s crack on and find out how your hazardous pastime could affect your life insurance.

What is Life Insurance Risk?

Life insurance quotes are hinged on risk. If the likelihood of a claim on your policy is higher than for Cliff the Riff who lives next door, then you’re going to pay more than Cliff for your policy.

Think of it this way, if you get a life insurance policy and they don’t take into account that you explore shipwrecks every Tuesday, you’re going to get the same quote as Cliff who never leaves his house because he’s always strumming his guitar.

You know this because he plays it constantly.

Cliff is going to live for 35 more years (unless you murder him with his own guitar if he plays Wonderwall one more time) and that is 35 years of payments the insurance provider will receive.

But let’s look at you.

Now, I know you’re a professional and you know what you’re doing but let’s get a bit morbid here.

Two weeks after you sign on the dotted line for a €1m life policy, you get eaten by the first Great White ever spotted in Dalkey.

shark eats scuba


The insurance provider probably won’t have even snatched a single payment from you but they’ll have to pay out one million euros because they didn’t anticipate the risk of you becoming shark bait.

Handy money for your family but crap for the insurer’s business model.

How do Insurance Providers Assess Your Risk Level?

Look, some things have got super high-tech, and some haven’t.

This is where a good old-fashioned questionnaire is still king.

And insurers love a questionnaire.

Let’s say you scuba – the insurer will need to know:

  1. When and where did you learn to dive?
  2. Are you an active member of a diving club? Please give details
  3. What diving qualifications do you hold? e.g. PADI
  4. What is the average number of dives per annum over the past three years?
  5. What is the usual depth you dive to, and the maximum depth you have dived to?
  6. Please state the normal and maximum duration of dives.
  7. Do you dive alone, with a partner or in a group?
  8. Where, as a general rule do you dive, deep-sea/coastal waters lakes/rivers?
  9. Do you participate in cave or wreck diving? if yes please give details, i.e. number of dives per year.

Or if you dabble in a bit of equestrianism:

  1. What equestrian activities do you participate in? (e.g. Dressage, Gymkhana, Pony Club Events, Private Hacking, Showing, Hunting, Show Jumping, Hunter Trials, Team Chasing, Point to Point, Eventing, Hunter Chasing, Polo)
  2. When did you first commence this sport?
  3. Please state the nature of your participation: Recreational, Competitive, Amateur, Professional
  4. How often do you participate?
  5. Please provide details of your any formal qualifications, certifications or rankings attained. When were these attained?
  6. Are you a member of a club or association? If yes, please provide details.
  7. Have you ever had an injury arising from either training or competition that required medical attention? If yes, please provide details including dates

Different providers may ask more questions but the above is a fair idea of the type of questions you might have to answer to get life insurance coverage.

Your answers will help the underwriters decide whether you are a mild, moderate, or substantial risk.

Each insurance provider will have different requirements and risk assessments for each activity so our job as your broker is to find the insurer that is best for your past time.

As I said your answers to these questions will help the insurance provider determine your risk level and how much your insurance quote should be.

You may be thinking a little fib here or there could save you a couple of euros but please, for the love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey, tell the truth.

What seems like a good idea at the time will come back to bite your family on the arse, leaving them penniless if you end up in Jaws’ jaws.

What is a Risky Pastime?

We know you love a good teeth-chattering, adrenaline-blasting pastime but it can help to know what pastimes are actually considered risky – even if it is just to prepare yourself to pay more.

Abseiling and rock climbing can be considered risky.

Although if you are an indoor rock climber, you know, one of those artificial environments that are surrounded by professionals with health and safety training. You’re unlikely to be considered any kind of early death risk for that.

But if you get your kicks climbing the cliffs of Moher – then it is likely the insurance provider will think you are a few shades of crazy and bump you up the risk list.

Some other risky pastimes include

  • Cave diving
  • Bear baiting
  • Private Flying ( airline pilots are grand)
  • Joyriding
  • Scuba diving
  • Texting while driving
  • Extreme sports
  • Answering yes to “does my bum look big in this”
  • Trans-ocean sailing
  • Hang gliding
  • Open water swimming
  • Parachuting
  • Skiing
  • White-water kayaking

This is just a really small list but it gives you an idea.

Obviously, if you only go hang gliding once as a random excursion on your Spanish holiday, you’re not going to be penalised but if you are a regular weekend hang glider, it could be considered a risk.

Put simply, the more often you engage in hazardous pastimes the higher risk you are.

As those crooning men from Wales, Stereophonics aptly put it

They say the more you fly, the more you risk your life

How Much More Will you pay for Life Insurance if you Have a Dangerous Pastime?

Long-term readers will know I’m about to swerve this question with a big fat “it depends”.

Let’s look at the two most common pastimes we see, scuba diving and private flying

Hypothetically, let’s say you need €300,000 cover and you:

  • Scuba dive less than 40m: normal price
  • Scuba dive more than 40m: €300-€900 extra per year

However, recently a client of mine had to pay €1500 extra per year due to his scuba diving that went to depths of 75m using a Closed Circuit Rebreather,

  • Fly privately: €300-€600 extra per year

You will pay the extra until you stop doing the activity. If you quit and tell your insurer, they will remove the increase from your policy but you won’t be covered for scuba or flying.


What About Income Protection?

Generally, the insurer will have a clause in their T&Cs excluding dangerous hobbies so, for example, if you injure yourself scuba diving, you won’t be able to claim.

Please check with me, your broker or the insurer, if you are considering income protection and participate in a risky pastime.

Over to you…

It is not impossible to get life insurance if you take part in high-risk sports or activities but it could cost you more.

And that’s where I come in.

I know you don’t want to be paying through your nose.

Or even paying more than you have to.

So you gotz two options.

  1. DIY
  2. NDI (Nick Does It)

One option is obviously better (the second one for the dopes reading ?)

So, what are you waiting for?

Give us a call at 057 93 20836 or schedule a callback here

Let’s get you the very best insurance coverage for your circumstances so you can keep on rockin in the free world.

Sounds good?

I knew you were smart.

All the crazy ones are.

Thanks for reading


PS : Crazy enough to have a high-risk hobby and a dangerous job? Good on ye – you’ll want to read this: How Dangerous Jobs Affect Life Insurance


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