Buying Life insurance for Rock Climbers
If you are a rock climber, then we probably don’t have to tell you that there is nothing more exhilarating than being at one with nature while simultaneously challenging yourself to achieve new goals and challenges.
We would argue is the case for those who find themselves out on a new ledge each and 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.
Some may say that it’s silly to compare these two; one thing for sure is that climbers on both are not looking for the “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 find themselves being encouraged by the ones that they love to either give up their passion for this sport or at least “tone down” their enthusiasm. After all, even if you yourself are super careful when rock climbing, it’s difficult for even the most advanced climbers to deny that “rock climbing” can be a very dangerous 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/or 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 chooses to go Rock Climbing?
- What kind of information will the insurance companies be interested in?
- What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
- What can I do to 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, many individuals who enjoy Rock Climbing can and will be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. In fact, given the nature of the sport, most Rock Climbers tend to be in better physical shape than most life insurance applicants will certainly give them an “edge” when applying for coverage.
Which means that…
Many “rock climbing” applicants will often be able to qualify for a Preferred or Preferred Best rate.
The only problem is that many times this fantastic rate will come with a “catch” in that in addition to the rate that they “earn” they may be burdened with an additional fee commonly referred to as a “flat extra” which will significantly increase the price one may have to for their insurance.
This is why…
Once a life insurance company learns that you do like to Rock Climb, the first thing that they are going to want to do is ask you a series of questions about your skill level so that they can determine if this is just something that you do occasionally at your local gym or is this something that you take very seriously and are passionate about?
Besides the obvious, 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, there are a whole host of other dangers that 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 that you want to travel to exotic locations to follow your passion.
Sometimes folks who like to go rock climbing also like to “dabble” in a bit of cave exploration as well!
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?
Common questions you’ll likely be asked my include:
- 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 wend rock climbing?
- Do you ever rock climb without a rope or safety harness?
- Where do you typically go rock climbing? Indoors, outdoors?
- 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, then life insurance underwriters are sure to take this into serious consideration.
- Trad climbing – this type of climbing involves full safety equipment, and uses gear to protect against falls. This sounds safe, but it’s not easy to build an equalized anchor. Hence, this is still a dangerous way to climb, and people do die every year from it.
- Bouldering – This is usually more about the “moves” than the height. Bouldering usually involves staying at a lower height and doing more acrobatic style of moves to reach points. Often, this is done indoors on crash pads (bouldering mats), so you can just 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 the phrase “rock climbing”. Using a harness, one or more carabiners and an anchor system, top-rope climbing is relatively safe.
- 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 the idea of insuring a free solo climber, but it’s still not impossible to get insured.
- 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?
With information like this in hand, insurance companies will begin to understand what “kind” of risk you may pose to them even though they choose to approve your life insurance application.
What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
When it comes to finding coverage for Rock Climbers, we have typically found that the first challenge will be to determine whether or not they will qualify for traditional coverage without a “flat extra” fee attached to it.
What this means is…
You are just approved for coverage and don’t have to pay any extra kind of “surcharge” because you like to go Rock Climbing. In cases where an “extra fee” is attached, what you’re likely to find is that this extra fee is going to make your life insurance coverage much more expensive than you probably anticipated.
On average, 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 you were simply charged a $3.00 flat extra fee, that would make your insurance cost $900.000 more per year and the regular premium fee you would have to pay as well!
And that’s just the first challenge.
Sometimes some insurance companies will be willing to insure someone that actively participates in Rock Climbing but won’t be willing to provide coverage if the insured dies as a direct result of their Rock Climbing activities.
Which will probably…
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…
May be able to purchase a separate Accidental Death Policy that does not contain any exclusions for Rock Climbing and have 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…
What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” 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?
- Are you looking to:
- 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.