Gardening and landscaping sound like such peaceful jobs. But the truth is it’s not all just tending to roses, and this is something that most life insurance companies are well aware of.
Being a gardener, a groundskeeper, or a landscaper can oftentimes be quite a dangerous occupation. Especially if you combine this skill set with tree trimming and or large machinery!
This is why…
We wanted to take a moment and answer some of the most common questions we get from folks applying for a traditional life insurance policy once they learn that their occupation may because of them not being able to qualify for policy or rate they were hoping for. Questions that we will address here in this article will include:
- Can individuals who work as a landscaper or gardener qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
- Why do insurance companies care if someone works in the landscaping industry?
- What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
- What “rate” or price will I be able to qualify for?
- What can I do to help improve my chances of qualifying for the “best” life insurance policy for me?
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Can individuals who work in construction qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
Yes, landscapers, gardeners, and groundskeepers can and often will be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. In fact, many may even be able to qualify for a no medical exam life insurance policy at a preferred rate!
The only problem is…
Insurance companies understand that working with your hands all day in the great outdoors can often put people in positions of danger that those who work behind a desk all day aren’t also going experience.
Many of these “dangers” may not be immediately recognizable by someone who has been working as a landscaper for years and years; we would encourage one to think about what they do daily and ask themselves if they would feel comfortable allowing a 10-year-old to handle many of the tools they use every day.
You can imagine why some life insurance companies can get a bit nervous about approving a landscaper’s application without first learning a little more about what they do on a daily basis.
Why do insurance companies care if someone works in the landscaping industry?
The main reason why a life insurance company may become “interested” in the fact that someone works as a landscaper or a gardener is that even though this profession may seem like a “safe” one, there are a variety of “hidden dangers” that exist.
Hidden dangers such as:
- Cuts & Scrapes – usually, this is fine, but in case of an infection, it can turn deadly. One of the most dangerous side effects can be getting tetanus. Tetanus bacteria lives in soil, on rusted metal, old wood, etc, and can enter the body through a cut. It can be deadly. The good news is that most of us have a Tetanus vaccine. You should get a tetanus booster every ten years to make sure you stay safe. And if you show any signs of jaw muscle problems (lockjaw or TNJ is a common first sign), then see a doctor ASAP. Also, you can always get the tetanus vaccine retroactively. That means if you get cut today, go get the shot immediately – it will still help you stay safe.
- The Sun – being out in the sun can be very dangerous, particularly if you don’t keep hydrated. Heatstroke and dehydration can lead to more complicated health issues, particularly if you already have comorbidity risks such as heart disease or diabetes. Wear a hat, drink plenty of water, and stay in the shade whenever possible. A lot of gardeners and landscapers try to do the most strenuous work in the mornings or early evening to avoid the sun – and protect their health.
- Falling – Complicated landscapes, particularly that include trellis growing plants (think vines, climbing roses, honeysuckle, etc), could require you to get up on a ladder. A fall could be deadly, particularly if you are older. Take all the necessary precautions.
- Disease & Poison – working in a garden means interacting with the wild. Some plants or bugs may cause you to get sick either by giving you a disease or poisoning you. The most common disease you could get while gardening is Lyme disease. While Lyme disease isn’t necessarily fatal, it can be. Also, for some people, it takes weeks or even years to get over the disease. During that time, your general immunity will be low, making you more susceptible to other fatalities. Lyme disease is generally contracted through ticks. Certain parts of the USA are more prone to ticks than others. The northeast states such as Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire have high rates of Lyme Disease. However, despite being “outdoorsy”, Colorado and most of the West have much fewer cases. Your location could also determine how underwriters view your life insurance policy eligibility.
And sure, some of these “dangers” may seem a bit exaggerated remember insurance underwriters are paid to worry and avoid unacceptable risks. This is why many insurance companies may want to learn more about what “kind” of landscaper you are before they will be willing to move forward with your life insurance application.
What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
Common questions you may be asked might include:
- How long have you been a landscaper?
- Do you own your own business?
- What tasks do you normally perform?
- Do you work in a residential or commercial setting?
- Do you work with “powered” machinery?
- Do you work alone or with a team?
Form here; most insurance companies will have a pretty good idea about whether or not your career poses any kind of “extra” threat or risk to it and should have a pretty good idea about whether or not it will play a role in the ultimate outcome of your life insurance application.
What “rate” or price will I be able to qualify for?
As one can see, there are quite a few variables that can come into play when determining what kind of “rate” a professional landscaper or gardener might be able to qualify for. And we haven’t even begun to discuss how the presence of any pre-existing medical conditions, tobacco use or family medical history might also play a role!
This is why…
It’s pretty much impossible to know what kind of rate you may be able to qualify for without first speaking with you directly.
That said, however, there are a few “assumptions” that we can make that will generally hold true, which may give you a clue as to what you might be able to qualify for.
Most “landscapers” aren’t working with commercial wood chippers or heavy chain saws all day. Most are just using residential grade tools of the trade, which aren’t going to be something that an insurance company will use to discriminate against them.
In cases like these…
One’s health and other lifestyle choices (tobacco use, participation in dangerous hobbies, etc…) will ultimately be what decides what kind of rate they will be able to qualify for, not the fact that you work as a professional landscaper.
Now, as for those…
Who do work in hazardous environments as a landscaper or do work with some pretty dangerous machinery on a regular basis what you’re going to find is that most life insurance companies are going to look at each situation on a case by case basis.
Which means that…
You may find yourself needing to pay more for your coverage than someone in similar health who doesn’t work in a dangerous profession like yours, or you may even find yourself being denied life insurance coverage entirely!
Which leads us to our next topic which is…
What can I do to help improve my chances of qualifying for the “best” life insurance policy for me?
In our experiences here at IBUSA, we’ve found that usually, the “best” approach in helping someone find the “best” life insurance policy for them is to first:
Fully understand what an individual is trying to achieve by purchasing their life insurance policy. Are you looking to:
- Cover the cost of a mortgage?
- Replace lost wages?
- Protect a child or spouse?
- Or just cover one’s final expenses?
Then provide one with plenty of options to choose from so that you’re not limited to just one or two different options.
This is why…
We here at IBUSA choose to work with so many different life insurance companies so that when it comes time to help you decide “which” life insurance company is going to be the best for you, we don’t have to apply a…
“One Size Fits All”
Approach. Instead, we can make dozens of different life insurance companies compete for your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and experience the IBUSA difference.