Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Insure.com and is reprinted here with their permission. Click here for the original post.
Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be fishermen, pilots or roofers — at least if you want them to find reasonably priced life insurance.
Some professionals, such as bomb disposal experts, should expect that their job is going to make it difficult to buy life insurance. (It’s just one of the hazards of having a job with a deadly weapon in its name.) But other workers may have no idea that their profession is deemed high-risk by insurance companies.
“The truth is consumers don’t think they are in high-risk professions,” says Mike Kilbourn, president of Kilbourn Associates in Naples, Florida. “A roofer doesn’t think he will pay more because he stands on a roof all day. And he might not find out until the application is submitted to the insurance company.”
How life insurance companies size you up
Life insurance rates are generally based on the policyholder’s life expectancy. Insurers will examine numerous variables to predict your lifespan, including your age, gender, nicotine use, alcohol use and health history — plus extra risk factors such as your occupation and hobbies.
Insurers often offer people in risky occupations “rated” policies — if they offer them policies at all. Compared to policies for people in “ordinary” careers, rated policies will cost policyholders extra money in premiums every month.
That doesn’t mean, however, that all insurers take the same view on dangerous professions.
“Not all companies rate a particular risky profession the same, and thus the premiums for the same coverage can vary significantly between companies,” Kilbourn says. “So, a person who applies for life insurance may be approved at a ‘standard’ rating by one insurance carrier, yet be rated as a ‘substandard’ by another — even with the very same information on their insurance application.”
This is good news for those who have been denied policies by one or more companies because of their risky job. It means they may still be able to find an affordable policy, provided they’re willing to shop for the best life insurance company for their needs.
Unsure whether you’re in a risky line of work? These occupations have the 10 highest fatal work injury rates, according to a 2014 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re employed in one of them, don’t be surprised if your insurance agent raises an eyebrow when you submit your application.
Falling trees, gusting winds, buzzing chainsaws, unpredictable terrain and dangerous wildlife are just some of the factors that make logging a calamitous profession. Its fatality rate is 91.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. (For reference, the national average fatality rate for U.S workers is 3.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.)
2. Commercial fisher
Harsh weather, heavy equipment, unrelenting sun exposure and sleep deprivation are among the risks taken by commercial fishers. Their fatality rate stands at 75 deaths per 100,000 workers.
3. Aircraft pilot/flight engineer
High stress and long hours take their toll on commercial airline pilots, search and rescue pilots, and flight engineers. Test pilots court risk while pushing equipment to the brink, while crop dusters are exposed to a host of chemicals as they fly low near power lines and other hazards. The death rate of pilots and flight engineers is 50.6 deaths per 100,000 workers.
See also: Fear of flying
Some roofers might be surprised to learn that their profession’s fatality rate of 38.7 deaths per 100,000 workers gives it the fourth-highest rate of fatal injuries. But it’s hard to get around the inherent dangers that come with working on an elevated surface virtually every day.
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Farmer and ranchers face many of the same hazards as loggers, but with an extra peril: tractors. The leading cause of death for farmers and ranchers involved overturned tractors, according to the CDC. The rate of death among farmers is 21.8 per 100,000 workers.