One of the biggest misconceptions about buying life insurance, if you are a scuba diver, is that you will be classified as “High Risk“. This is simply not true.
However, your risky hobby will most likely increase your monthly premium. There are specific guidelines that insurance companies use to figure out your “risk rate”.
Health, hobbies, and history are a few of these, and your answers all go into an algorithm that helps the underwriter determine your risk to the company and, frankly, your risk of dying.
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Impact of Dive Locations on Rates
The location and environment of your diving expeditions can also significantly impact your insurance rates. Diving in well-known and safer spots, with guided tours or in controlled environments, can sometimes help reduce the risk factor associated with your activity.
Divers who frequently explore challenging terrains or uncharted waters may find themselves classified as higher risk by insurance companies. Factors such as strong currents, marine wildlife, and underwater obstacles can play a part in this classification.
That being said, divers who actively seek out and prepare for these challenges, with additional training and equipment, might be able to find insurance providers willing to provide more competitive rates based on their expertise and preparation.
The Role of Health and Fitness
It’s not just your diving habits that can influence your insurance rates; your overall health and fitness level also play a pivotal role. Scuba diving is a physically demanding activity that requires strength, endurance, and excellent cardiovascular health.
Insurance providers understand that a fitter diver is less likely to face complications during a dive. Regular health check-ups, fitness routines, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can lead to a more favorable evaluation.
It’s worth noting that divers who are non-smokers or have a low BMI often get better rates.
Furthermore, a clean bill of health without any chronic illnesses or conditions can also work in your favor, making you a more appealing candidate for a life insurance policy with competitive rates.
As a scuba diver, you may have learned that getting cheaper life insurance premiums is almost impossible. But we’ve done some research, and we found out that there are some measures you can take to mitigate the murky waters of high-risk and high-premium life insurance.
Many scuba divers can still qualify for the best rates.
What Determines Your Rate?
When it comes to scuba diving, there are several factors that life insurance companies need to know to clarify the risk of your activity.
They need to know what type of certification you have, your experience with scuba diving, the average and maximum depth you dive, and the kind of scuba descending you participate in.
They want to make sure they know everything about your scuba diving experiences before they insure you.
Knowing these four things helps insurance companies determine what risk they are taking on insuring your life.
Scuba Diver Certifications
If you are a scuba diver, you must be a certified scuba diver before an insurance company even considers issuing you a policy.
Insurance companies want to make sure you are certified by a nationally recognized scuba diving organization such as PADI, NAUI, or SSI, to name a few.
They want to make sure that you are qualified and know what you are doing when you are diving.
The higher degree of certification you have, such as Advanced Scuba Diver or Master Scuba Diver, can also allow you to receive better rates.
Your scuba diving experience can tell the insurance company a lot about what type of diver you are. If you are just a recreational diver who goes when you are on vacation to the Caribbean, or if you are a more experienced diver.
The insurance company will want to know how many dives you have had in your career.
If you have had a lot of dives in your career, this allows the insurance company to see you are a knowledgeable scuba diver and, therefore, a safer risk than someone who has only done 4 – 5 dives in their life.
Life insurance companies will also be concerned with the amount of dives you have done in the past 1- 2 years. Life insurance companies are looking for consistency in your dives.
This allows them to reasonably predict your diving pattern for the future and assess your risk based on that. This is where some insurance companies start to stand out.
Some insurance companies have a maximum number of dives they allow per year for their top-rate class. This number can vary from a few years, vacation only, 10 or 12 to no max. Make sure you talk to a qualified agent who can get the company that suits your diving frequency.
Type of Scuba Diving
Another risk factor that life insurance companies take into account is the type of scuba diving you participate in.
This is an essential factor and something you want to be open with your insurance agent about, as it changes the companies that will offer you a life insurance policy.
Insurance companies can offer the best rates they have available to open water divers. What this means is they want to make sure that when you are diving, you have a clear and non-obstructive path to the surface should the need arise. If you dive in reefs and lakes, this is good news.
However, suppose you enjoy cave diving, wreck diving, or commercial diving. In that case, most insurance companies will only allow a Standard rate class, and the majority will have a “Flat Extra” fee per $1,000 of insurance coverage.
Max Diving Depth
Out of all the factors listed above, the maximum depth you dive into is by far the most crucial factor in determining your risk class. This fact is something you want to be completely honest with your agent, as most companies have a maximum depth they will allow for their best rate classes.
75 feet is the typical max depth that insurance companies allow for their best rate classes.
This is usually above the range of most recreational dives. The standard recreational dive is usually around 30 -40 feet and includes 1 or more divemasters or instructors. Most insurance companies find this to be the least risky option when diving.
There are a few companies that only allow up to 50 dives; this is why it is essential to make sure you are speaking with an agent who knows what he is doing.
Once you go past 75 feet, the list of companies willing to give you preferred or preferred plus rates shrinks. One hundred feet is the maximum depth the rest of the insurance companies allow for their best rates.
If you are diving at these depths, it is essential to have the proper certification, as the standard open-water diver certification only allows up to 60 feet.
As you progress past 100 feet, the list of companies willing to insure you at preferred plus or preferred vanishes, and there is only a handful of companies that will give you a standard rate class.
Of the companies that will insure you for dives of 100 feet or more, there is usually a ‘flat extra’ charge per $1,000 of coverage. This ‘flat extra fee’ can be anywhere from $2.50 to $7.50 per $1,000 of insurance coverage you need.
Reducing Your Premium as a Scuba Diver
While it’s true that scuba diving is considered a high-risk activity by many insurance providers, there are ways to ensure that your premium remains affordable. For divers keen on keeping their life insurance rates reasonable, consider the following:
Continuous Training and Skill Advancement: Life insurance providers look favorably upon scuba divers who continually improve their skills and knowledge.
Whether it’s by taking advanced scuba courses or participating in safety workshops, showing a commitment to safe diving practices can position you as a lower risk in the eyes of insurers.
Plus, divers with higher certifications often have a better understanding of the risks and are equipped to handle challenging situations underwater.
Diving Within Limits: Staying within recommended depth limits for your certification level is another way to be viewed as a responsible diver.
For instance, if you are only certified for 60 feet, it’s essential not to exceed this limit. Insurers often provide better rates for divers who stick to their limits and follow safety protocols rigorously.
Selecting the Right Insurance Provider
Not all insurance providers view scuba diving in the same light. As such, it’s crucial for divers to shop around and find a company that understands their passion and can provide favorable terms.
Understanding Different Policies: While one insurance company might charge higher rates for cave diving or wreck diving, another might have more lenient policies for these activities. Thus, understanding the nuances of each provider’s terms can help divers secure the best rates.
Consult with Specialized Agents: Agents who specialize in high-risk hobbies, such as scuba diving, are more likely to understand the intricacies of diving and can guide you to insurance companies with the best rates for your specific situation.
Working with a knowledgeable agent can make all the difference in securing an affordable and comprehensive life insurance policy.
Bottom Line – Life Insurance Rates for Scuba Divers
Navigating the world of life insurance, especially as a scuba diver, requires a clear and forthright approach. Being open and honest with your life insurance agent isn’t just advisable; it’s imperative.
Each insurance company has its unique set of standards, criteria, and variables they use to evaluate potential clients.
When it concerns a specialized activity like scuba diving, omitting or misrepresenting details can lead to complications later on, including the possibility of policy invalidation.
Sharing comprehensive and accurate information about your diving experiences, certifications, and frequencies ensures that your agent can effectively advocate for you.
By initiating a conversation with a knowledgeable and qualified agent, you equip them with the tools needed to seek out the best policy tailored to your profile.
This proactive approach can pave the way to more favorable premiums and comprehensive coverage that genuinely reflects your lifestyle and needs.