Last Updated: July 2020
When you apply for life insurance to help protect your family from financial uncertainty, as scuba divers, you tend to pay higher life insurance premiums.
Oxygen tanks and regulators, buoyancy compensators, wearable computers to track depth and surroundings: scuba divers need a lot of expensive gear.
Clearly, we want to save as much as possible on our life insurance.
If you love scuba diving but also want affordable life insurance to protect your family, you’ll need to explore the market more carefully to find high-risk life insurance.
- The Extra Risks in Scuba Diving Can Affect Life Insurance Rates
- Life Insurance Coverage Options for Scuba Divers
- Underwriting: What Life Insurance Companies Will Ask About Your Scuba Diving Experiences
- Other Factors Affecting Your Coverage
- Life Insurance Matters In and Out of the Water
The Extra Risks in Scuba Diving Can Affect Life Insurance Rates
On the surface, scuba diving may not seem all that dangerous, especially when compared to hobbies like extreme rock climbing, drag racing, or skydiving.
A variety of dangers lurk beneath the surface, though:
- Pulmonary Embolism: This is medical speak for blood clots. The changing gas pressures as you ascend to the surface, especially if you come up too quickly, can create a pulmonary embolism. Depending on its location in your bloodstream, a PE can be fatal.
- Nitrogen Narcosis: The air we breathe all day, every day is different from the air you breathe from a tank underwater. Over time, this change can affect your blood gases in significant ways. Too much nitrogen can impair your judgment and your sensory perception.
- Underwater Traps: Caves or other enclosures can trap divers underwater, slowing their ascent.
- Malfunctioning Gear: Sadly, this happens too often, especially with rented gear. A bad regulator or broken depth gauge can cause serious problems, especially when the diver doesn’t know the equipment is malfunctioning.
- Underwater Creatures: No matter how skilled you are, marine wildlife has the home-field advantage. In any situation you can’t control, accidents can happen.
- Oxygen Toxicity: There is such a thing as too much oxygen in your blood. This can happen at greater depths and during longer diving sessions.
Of course, most divers with the proper training and equipment can avoid the medical problems associated with scuba diving. However, a life insurance company also must consider statistics that show these risks connected to scuba diving exist.
Why Hobbies and High-Risk Jobs Affect Life Insurance Rates
Believe it or not, it’s nothing personal. It’s just business. Underwriters ask these questions to assess your risk as an applicant. The riskier your life, the more your insurance company will worry whether your policy would lead to a quick claim.
If your life is too risky, a company can deny coverage. But for most people who are relatively young and healthy, getting approved for coverage isn’t very difficult, even when you have a relatively dangerous hobby like scuba diving.
Getting approved for coverage you can afford is another matter. Dangerous jobs and hobbies can prompt your insurance company to add to your premiums. In some cases, these extra charges make life insurance too expensive.
Life Insurance Coverage Options for Scuba Divers
Anyone whose life is financially intertwined with someone else’s financial life needs life insurance coverage.
So it’s discouraging when you apply for the coverage you need only to be denied coverage or to be approved with cost-prohibitive premiums.
To fix the problem, some applicants who enjoy scuba diving (or another extreme sport) may:
- Decide Not to Report the Hobby: This can be tempting since it could save you hundreds of dollars a year in premiums. But if you died and the insurance company determined you hadn’t been forthcoming on your application for coverage, they could deny your family’s claim. This would undermine the entire reason you’re getting insurance.
- Seek Guaranteed Issue Coverage: Guaranteed issue coverage does just what it says. It guarantees coverage for just about anyone. However, this kind of coverage costs a lot and, more importantly, it limits your death benefit. Your family may receive only $25,000, which isn’t nearly enough for a primary breadwinner.
- Opt for Coverage Through an Advocacy Group: Specialized groups like the Divers Alert Network offer insurance programs for their members. These plans are tailor-made for divers, but they typically don’t offer enough coverage for someone with a family. In fact, they won’t provide coverage unless you die in a scuba diving accident. These policies work well as supplemental coverage but not as your primary policy.
None of these ideas solves the problem and provides affordable and adequate life insurance coverage for someone who happens to enjoy scuba diving.
Underwriting: What Life Insurance Companies Will Ask About Your Scuba Diving Experiences
To get the coverage to protect your family, you’ll need a more precise approach to life insurance shopping. An independent life insurance agent can guide you through the choppy waters of coverage options.
Rather than steering you toward inferior coverage if you can’t afford the coverage you need, an independent agent will connect you with insurance companies most likely to cover you at affordable rates.
We’ve helped hundreds of people who have risky hobbies find affordable coverage. The first step will be learning more about you as an applicant.
Getting to Know You as a Diver
Checking the box for scuba diving on a life insurance application leaves no room for nuance. Diving can mean different things to different people. Your insurer will likely consider:
- Your Diving Depth: If you like to observe marine life near the shore or if you’re a freshwater diver who doesn’t descend far beneath the surface, you’re not facing the same dangers as someone who dives more than 100 feet. Your insurance provider should know this, and we know insurers who do consider these factors.
- Your Diving Frequency: Maybe you dive every couple of years while on vacation. If so, your hobby isn’t as risky as someone who dives every other weekend. Some carriers don’t even consider diving a hobby if you do it only once a year. We know the companies who allow this kind of nuance in their decision-making process.
- Your Diving Purpose: People who dive as part of a rescue team will have a more difficult time getting coverage. Again, your insurance company should acknowledge the difference between professional divers and occasional divers.
- Your Certifications: Getting licensed from Scuba Schools International or the Professional Scuba Association will tell some insurers you’re a safer applicant. We’ll help you limit your search for coverage to companies who make this distinction.
By getting to know you as a diver, we can assess where you fall within the broad category of “scuba diver” before you apply. This knowledge will help us point you toward the carrier most likely to give you affordable coverage.
Since we work with so many companies, finding the right company for you will be easier.
Other Factors Affecting Your Coverage
Scuba diving or another higher-risk activity shouldn’t define you entirely as a person or an applicant for life insurance.
Your life insurance company will consider many other factors which could affect your coverage and premiums:
- Your Age and Health: People who are younger and healthier have access to the best coverage at the best price. If you have a diagnosis such as diabetes or COPD you’ll have a harder time finding affordable coverage. We can help with that, too.
- Your Job: Dangerous jobs such as roofing, mining, and logging make life insurance more costly. You’ll need some special attention, but it is still possible to find good coverage.
- Your Family Health History: Having a genetic disposition to inheriting a disease will impact your coverage options.
- Your Coverage Amount: If you need $1 million in coverage, you’ll pay more than someone applying for $500,000 in coverage.
- Your Driving Record: A series of moving violations over the past few years will tell underwriters you take chances. Taking chances leads to higher insurance premiums.
- Your Credit History: Your credit score also communicates your tolerance for taking risks. People with lower credit scores take more financial risks and may also take other kinds of risks. Statistics back this assertion.
All these factors, along with your hobbies, will work together to paint the picture of your life from an insurance underwriter’s point of view.
By controlling what you can control, such as your credit score and driving record, you can put yourself in a better position for life insurance.
Life Insurance Matters In and Out of the Water
Yes, scuba diving can be dangerous, impacting your underwriting status with many life insurance companies. But scuba diving isn’t the only reason you need life insurance. Life in and out of the water can be unpredictable.
The more people who depend on you financially, whether they’re your children, your partner, your aging parents, or your business partner, the more you need life insurance coverage.
Ordinarily, getting coverage should be simple enough. You can find dozens of top-notch companies with high grades from A.M. Best and other rating agencies.
If you’re a low-risk applicant you can take your pick from the best policies.
If you scuba dive or have some other complicating factor, you can still find good coverage with some expert help. We’re here to help whenever you need us.