There’s no getting around the fact that some hobbies involve much greater levels of danger than others do. At the top of most people’s list of high-risk hobbies is skydiving.
As the challenge saying goes, why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Yet, thousands of people do it every year, and nearly all lived to tell about it.
But, when it comes to buying life insurance for skydivers, that word nearly weighs heavily in the mix. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get life insurance.
But, if you’re an avid skydiver, you’ll almost certainly pay more in premiums than you would if your favorite hobby were, say, painting sunsets at the beach.
How Dangerous is Skydiving
Skydiving is one of those activities that conjure up mental images of instant death, at least to the casual observer. But is it really that dangerous?
The news on this front is surprising. According to the United States Parachute Association (USPA), skydiving is a lot less dangerous than most people think.
How Likely Is It To Die From Skydiving?
Here are the statistics going all the way back to 2000:
Out of 3.3 million estimated jumps in 2019, there were just 15 fatalities. While I don’t want to minimize those fatalities, that’s an incredibly small number when you consider that the total number of jumps is in the millions, and the general public perception is that skydiving eventually translates into a death sentence.
In fact, the death rate per 100,000 jumps is just 0.45 in 2019. Not only is that surprisingly low, but it’s also well below the 1.19 fatalities per 100,000 jumps recorded in 2000, and the high of 1.35 back in 2001.
Not only is the death rate relatively low, but it’s obviously been declining over the past 20 years, and at an impressive rate.
Does Life Insurance Cover Skydiving?
As much as we’d love to give a hard and fast answer to this question, the real answer is, it depends.
No matter what, be sure to disclose your skydiving hobby on your life insurance application. If you don’t, a lot of bad things can happen, which we’ll cover in the next section. Instead, disclose it, and the likelihood is excellent that you’ll get a policy.
The least expensive option is to get a regular life insurance policy that excludes skydiving as an insurable cause of death. By going this route, you’ll have a policy with a premium based on your age, health, occupation, and other factors common to life insurance premium calculations.
In effect, the insurance company will ignore your skydiving hobby completely, both as an underwriting and pricing consideration, but also as an acceptable cause of death.
The other option is to purchase a life insurance policy that specifically provides coverage for death due to skydiving. As you might expect, this option will result in a higher premium.
Your policy will be underwritten based on the usual factors, but you’ll pay an additional premium fee for skydiving. Yes, the premium will be higher. But, your loved ones will receive payment of the death benefit in the event of your death due to skydiving. It’s more expensive, but it’s the straight way to play a skydiving hobby where life insurance is concerned.
The Extra Premium You’ll Pay for Skydiving Life Insurance
The skydiving premium increase can be anywhere from $2.50 per $1,000 of life insurance coverage, to as much as $7.50 per $1,000. The wide range is based on the number of jumps you perform each year as well as your status as a skydiver.
For example, if you are considered a recreational skydiver, performing fewer than 50 jumps per year, the premium addition may be closer to $2.50 per $1,000. On a $100,000 policy, that would translate into an annual premium increase of $250. If your normal premium for the policy would be $500, it will be $750 because of your skydiving hobby.
With a larger number of annual jumps, say, over 100—and especially if you are a member of a skydiving club or an instructor—you’ll be looking at closer to $7.50 per $1,000 in coverage.
A $100,000 policy with a base premium of $500 would increase to $1250 per year due to your skydiving hobby.
Does Skydiving Void life Insurance?
There’s good news and bad news on this front. Favoring optimism, let’s start with the good news.
The Good News
If you take up the skydiving hobby after your policy has been in force for at least two years, your policy won’t be canceled because of your new hobby. The first few years of a life insurance policy is known as the contestability period. That’s the window of time within which the insurance company can contest a death benefit claim. But, if you’re beyond the two-year window, your policy won’t be canceled, nor will your premium be increased.
The Bad News
- If you take up skydiving within the first two years that your policy is in force, you’ll be within the contestability period, and your insurance company may deny your claim—more specifically, your family’s claim—if you die in a skydiving accident.
- The insurance company may deny payment of your death benefit due to skydiving even after the contestability period expires. The policy may have exclusions listed that very likely include skydiving.
There’s still one more factor that can affect your life insurance policy, whether you are inside or outside the two-year contestability period. That’s failing to disclose your skydiving hobby on your initial insurance application.
Skydiving is recognized as a common high-risk hobby in the life insurance industry. Life insurance applications require disclosure of such hobbies as a standard part of the application. If you omit your skydiving hobby and you die as a result of a skydiving accident, the insurance company will deny the death benefit claim based on insurance fraud.
Also, should the insurance company become aware of the omission on your application, the possibility exists that they may cancel your policy as a result.
No matter what, make sure you disclose your skydiving hobby on your life insurance application.
How to Apply for Skydiving Life Insurance
As you can see from the discussion above, while you can get life insurance with a skydiving hobby, it does create a complication. However, it’s absolutely possible to build a policy even if you’re a frequent skydiver.
Be Honest and Work with a Life Insurance Broker
First, be completely truthful in disclosing your skydiving hobby. Second, rather than buy your life insurance policy “off-the-shelf” from a low-cost provider, instead work with a life insurance broker. Coverage for a skydiving hobby requires specialized handling that only a life insurance broker can provide.
For example, as life insurance brokers, we know which insurance companies take the most favorable view of high-risk applicants, including skydivers. Unless you work in the insurance industry, there’s no way you’ll know that on your own.
Shopping for Skydiving Life Insurance
Since skydiving does include the possibility of death, even though it is admittedly remote, your policy will need to be constructed in a way that pays benefits to your loved ones should skydiving be the cause of your death. That will require working with a life insurance company that has the lowest premiums for skydiving.
While it is possible to get a whole life insurance policy with a skydiving hobby, it may be easier and less expensive with term insurance. That’s because term insurance usually works better with high-risk applicants, simply due to the limited-term. It may even be possible to get an affordable term policy that wouldn’t be possible with whole life.
As life insurance brokers, we know who the best life insurance companies are for skydivers, as well as the most effective ways to set up a policy with the lowest possible premium.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.