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Life Insurance for Rock Climbers… Everything you really need to know!

If you are a rock climber, we probably don’t have to tell you that nothing is more exhilarating than being at one with nature while simultaneously challenging yourself to achieve new goals and challenges.

Something that…

We would argue this is the case for those who find themselves out on a new ledge every weekend or find new ways of challenging themselves within many of the new “indoor” rock climbing walls that seem to be springing up just about everywhere nowadays. And while some may say that it’s silly to compare these two, one thing for sure is that climbers on both are not looking for a “calm and relaxing” activity. Instead, they are looking for a way to challenge themselves and make themselves strive to become better.  

Which is why…

Some rock climbers may even be encouraged by the ones they love to either give up their passion for this sport or at least “tone down” their enthusiasm.  After all, even if you are super careful when rock climbing, it’s difficult for even the most advanced climbers to deny that “rock climbing” can be a hazardous hobby or activity. And one that one doesn’t need to wonder why a life insurance company might be a “bit” nervous about insuring!

For this reason…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the most common questions we get from folks who actively participate in rock climbing as a sport and hobby and try to shed some light on what it might be like when applying for coverage.

Questions that will be addressed in this article will include:

  • Can Rock Climbers qualify for traditional life insurance policies?
  • Besides the obvious, why do life insurance companies care if someone goes rock Climbing?
  • What kind of information will the insurance companies be interested in?
  • What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
  • How can I help ensure I get the “best life Insurance” for me?

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Can Rock Climbers qualify for traditional life insurance policies?

Yes, rock climbers can qualify for traditional life insurance policies. However, participating in this activity may affect the policy terms and the premiums you will pay. But remember, life insurance companies consider various factors when determining eligibility and premiums for life insurance policies, including age, gender, medical history, and lifestyle.


If you are a rock climber, the insurance company is probably going to ask for more information about your participation in this activity and any potential risks it may involve. They may also ask about any other medical conditions you have and your family medical history.

Free Solo vs Sport Climbing

Rock climbing can be a physically demanding activity with some injury risk. The insurance company may be concerned about the potential impact of this activity on your overall health and longevity and may ask questions about the climbing you do (e.g., indoor vs. outdoor, traditional vs. sport), the equipment you use, and the level of supervision and safety measures in place. This is why it’s very important to be completely honest and upfront about your participation in rock climbing is essential. If you do not disclose this information and it is discovered later, it could affect your coverage or policy payout.

It is also worth noting…

That different insurance companies have different underwriting guidelines and may have different approaches to assessing risk for individuals who participate in rock climbing. So it’s probably going to be pretty helpful to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurance companies to find the right policy for you. It may also be beneficial to speak with a licensed insurance agent or broker to get advice on finding a policy that meets your needs.

Flat Extra Fee for Rock Climbers

A flat extra fee is an additional premium, known as a “flat extra,” for policyholders with specific characteristics that may be considered higher risk by the insurance company. Flat extra fees are typically charged based on the policyholder’s age, gender, health status, occupation, or engagement in hazardous activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, or rock climbing (to name a few).

Flat extra fees are typically…

Added to the base premium for a life insurance policy and are not refundable. They help the insurance company cover the increased risk associated with certain policyholders and ensure the policy is financially viable.  For this reason, you should always be careful and be sure to review all of the terms and conditions of any life insurance policy you are considering purchasing.

Why do life insurance companies care if someone chooses to go rock climbing?

Sure, it’s easy to understand why a life insurance company might be worried about the fact that someone likes to go Rock Climbing. After all, if something goes wrong, there’s a reasonable chance that you could become very seriously injured and or die.  


Beyond just that, depending upon the “type” of rock climbing you participate in, many other dangers could come into play. For example, just making it to the location of the mountain face that you want to climb can be risky. You may decide to travel to exotic locations to follow your passion.  Because sometimes, folks who like rock climbing also like to “dabble” in some cave exploration!

So, you see….

Once we open “Pandora’s box” with regards to participating in ONE potentially dangerous hobby, it’s not all that uncommon that we start discussing a “wide range” of different lifestyle factors that could come into play when determining what “kind” of life insurance policy and “price” you may be able to qualify for.

What kind of information will the insurance companies be interested in?

Suppose you are applying for life insurance and are a rock climber. In that case, the insurance company may ask for more information about your participation in this activity and any potential risks it may involve. They may ask questions such as:

  • How often do you go rock climbing?
  • Do you belong to an “official” rock climbing club or group?
  • How long have you been a rock climber?
  • When was the last time that you went rock climbing?
  • Do you ever rock climb without a rope or safety harness?
  • Where do you typically go rock climbing? Indoors, outdoors?
  • What’s your skill level? Novice, intermediate, expert?
  • Do you travel outside of the United States to go rock climbing?
  • How high do you typically climb?
  • How long are your typical climbs?
  • What “type” of climbing do you participate in?  
    • Mountaineering – this is, as it sounds, climbing in the mountains. The environmental elements and sheer difficulty make this the most dangerous type of climbing. If you are a mountaineer, life insurance underwriters will consider this seriously.
    • Trad climbing – this type of climbing involves full safety equipment and uses gear to protect against falls. This sounds safe, but building an equalized anchor is not easy. Hence, this is still a dangerous way to climb, and people die every year from it.
    • Bouldering is usually more about the “moves” than the height. Bouldering usually involves staying at a lower elevation and making more acrobatic moves to reach points. Often, this is done indoors on crash pads (bouldering mats), so you can fall to the ground if you don’t get it right. This isn’t too dangerous.
    • Top Rope Climbing – If you aren’t a rock climber, this is the kind of climbing that probably comes to mind when you think of “rock climbing.” Top-rope climbing is relatively safe using a harness, one or more carabiners, and an anchor system.
    • Free Solo Climbing – Just as it sounds, this kind of climbing is without any safety equipment. Of course, this makes it very dangerous, and insurance companies won’t take well to insuring a free solo climber, but it’s still not impossible to get insured.

The insurance company may also ask about any other medical conditions you have and your family medical history.

At this point…

We’d like to remind folks once again that it’s important to be honest and accurate when answering these questions, as this information will be used to determine your eligibility for a life insurance policy and the premiums you will pay.  Because if you do not disclose your participation in rock climbing and it is discovered later, it could affect your coverage or policy payout.

What rate (or price) can I qualify for?

When finding coverage for Rock Climbers, we have typically found that the first challenge will be determining whether or not they will qualify for traditional coverage without a “flat extra” fee. What this means is you are just approved for coverage and don’t have to pay any extra “surcharge” because you like to go Rock Climbing. In cases where an “extra fee” is attached, you’re likely to find that this extra fee will make your life insurance coverage much more expensive than you probably anticipated.

For example:

You can expect to pay roughly $3-5 per thousand dollars insured per month. So, if you were to purchase a $300,000 insurance policy and were charged a $3.00 flat extra fee, that would make your insurance cost $900.000 more per year, and you would have to pay the regular premium fee as well! And that’s just the first challenge.

You see…

Sometimes, some insurance companies will be willing to insure someone who actively participates in Rock Climbing but won’t be ready to provide coverage if the insured dies due to their Rock Climbing activities.

Which will probably…

It seems counterproductive to what you’re hoping to achieve by purchasing a life insurance policy on yourself; however, in some cases, this may turn out to be the “best” possible outcome because, in situations like these, that will exclude your Rock Climbing activities, the cost of the “limited” life insurance policy will typically be much lower than one that would include any deaths resulting from Rock Climbing.

Clients in this position…

You may be able to purchase a separate Accidental Death Policy that does not contain any exclusions for Rock Climbing and has complete coverage at a potentially much lower overall rate! 

*** Important Note ***

While Accidental Death Policies are designed to provide coverage against dying in an accident, many will have exclusions for deaths caused by participating in dangerous activities such as rock climbing. For this reason, please be sure that you confirm with the insurance company directly that you would be covered if you died while climbing.

This brings us to our next topic, which is…

How can I help ensure I get the “best life insurance”?

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 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 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 will be the best for you, we don’t have to apply a…

“One Size Fits All”

Approach. Instead, we can make dozens of life insurance companies compete for your business. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and experience the IBUSA difference.

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