Should you expect to pay more for your life insurance if you regularly go scuba diving at depths of sixty feet or more? Not necessarily.
Life insurance premiums for scuba divers are not always higher than those of non-adventure sports enthusiasts. This can be especially true if you are a healthy recreational diver. Many variables, such as dive location and frequency, contribute to your personal risk as a scuba diver. Nonetheless, professional divers typically pay more for insurance than non-divers.
Let's look at how insurers view life insurance for scuba divers.
Why does scuba diving matter for life insurance?
Scuba diving, like any adventure sport, involves some risk. Before determining your risk, life insurers will ask you some diving-specific questions. The good news is that recreational diving alone will not likely raise your insurance premiums.
As someone who dives only occasionally, you can expect to pay the same rate as another person of the same age, gender, and health profile. Technical diving, on the other hand, is far more dangerous. If you do technical diving, you will either have to pay more for coverage or settle for a policy with an exclusion.
What are the types of scuba diver insurance?
Scuba divers, like anyone else, can purchase any type of life insurance policy, though they may have to pay a premium. Term life, whole life, and universal life are the three most common types of life insurance policies.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is the most basic type of life insurance and is significantly less expensive than whole life and universal life insurance. Term policies last for a set number of years, such as 10, 20, or 30 years, or until you reach a certain age. If the insured dies during the policy term, the insurer pays the insurance proceeds to the beneficiary.
The coverage terminates when the policy term expires. However, if you are under a certain age, you can renew the policy before its term expires. The renewal rate is always higher than the initial rate, but the increase is due to your age rather than any changes in your health. To renew the policy, you will not be required to take a medical exam or answer health-related questions.
Term life insurance is ideal for someone who:
- Wants affordable life insurance
- Needs life insurance for a limited time period (for example, to cover a mortgage or to provide protection until the dependents become financially independent)
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is a type of long-term insurance. It does not have an expiry date, unlike term life insurance. If you pay your premiums on time, your coverage will last your entire life. Whole life insurance policies also accumulate cash value, which grows at a fixed rate determined by the insurer. You pay tax only when you withdraw the cash value because the growth is tax-deferred.
Keep in mind that the death benefit of your policy is intended for your beneficiary, whereas the cash value is intended for you to use during your lifetime. Any unused cash value is returned to the insurer when you die. The cash value can be accessed in a variety of ways, including policy loans, cash value withdrawals, and policy surrender.
Whole life insurance is a good option for those who:
- Want their life insurance policy to bundle up as a savings tool
- Have “permanent” financial needs (for example, a special needs child)
- Want to leave an inheritance
Universal Life Insurance
Another type of permanent life insurance is universal life insurance. It, like whole life, provides lifelong protection while also increasing cash value. However, the rate of cash value growth is not fixed. Instead, it fluctuates based on the performance of the investment sub-accounts you select. You may also be able to pay more or less premium (within prescribed limits) as your financial situation changes, depending on the insurer.
Universal life insurance is a good option for someone who wants lifelong coverage, some payment flexibility, and the ability to choose how the cash value is invested.
Does life insurance cover accidents involving scuba diving?
Most life insurance policies cover diving-related deaths. If you already have a policy, you are most likely covered, as long as you did not lie on the application. If you want to get life insurance before going on a diving vacation, make sure you choose a company that offers it. Because most life insurers view recreational divers favourably, you should have no trouble finding one.
How much does life insurance cost for scuba divers?
Scuba divers life insurance may not be any more expensive than others. Recreational divers in good health can expect to get the best rates. A pre-existing condition, however, that may put you at greater risk when diving will result in higher premiums.
Technical divers, on the other hand, will almost certainly have to pay an additional fee on top of their premiums, even if they do not have a pre-existing condition.
Life insurance companies assess your risk as a scuba diver based on a variety of factors. These include:
- How frequently you dive
- The types of scuba diving you perform
- Where you dive
What scuba divers can expect when applying for life insurance?
If you are into scuba diving, you will be asked to complete a diving questionnaire in addition to the standard health questionnaire. Specifically speaking, insurance companies will ask you:
- How many dives have you made in the last 12 months?
- Do you have any kind of scuba diving certification? If so, which one?
- What types of scuba diving (e.g. recreational, professional, ice, etc.) do you do?
- What is the average time you spend underwater per dive?
- Do you dive with someone or alone?
- Where do you dive — oceans, rivers, lakes, etc?
- How many dives are: 60’ deep or less? 100’ deep or less? Deeper than 100’?
- What are your future diving plans?
- Have you planned any diving trips for at least the next 1 year?
- Where will you be diving and at what depths?
Diving Factors that influence your life insurance ratings
Your life insurance premium rate depends on the type of rating you get when you apply. While every insurance company follows its own underwriting guidelines, all of them use the following five classifications:
Apart from the usual factors (age, gender, health, medical history), life insurers look for diving factors while assigning you a health rating.
- Dive depth
- Certification type
- Type of diving
- Diving experience
Dive Depth and Rate Class
Dive depths less than 75’
You can qualify for a preferred plus or preferred rating, if you meet other requirements.
Dive depths between 76’ and 100’
Some insurers may still offer you the best rate classes, especially if you only make a limited number of these dives per year — say, 10 or less.
Dive depths between 101’ and 120’
You may still receive a preferred rating with dives beyond 100’, but you will most likely pay more than someone who has the same rating and does not dive. Most life insurance companies add extras per year of coverage for dive depths exceeding 100 feet.
Dive depths beyond 120’
All life insurers charge flat extras when you dive depths of more than 120’. How much extra you will pay per year of coverage varies by the insurer and the policy. For example, for a policy with a $100,000 death benefit, you could pay a surcharge of anywhere between $250 and $1,000.
Be mindful that if you dive beyond 120’ without having the required certifications or experience, you will be penalized more or may even be denied coverage.
Certification type and rate class
Generally, the higher degree of certification you have, the better are your chances of getting the top life insurance ratings. But be aware that life insurers will penalize you, sometimes heavily, if you dive deeper than the maximum depth allowed by your certification level.
Dive depth and rate class
Recreational divers with an Open Water Diver certification can easily qualify for a preferred plus rating if they do not dive deeper than 60 feet and are in good health. The Open Water Diver Certification is the first level of scuba certification, allowing divers to dive to a depth of 18 meters (60 feet).
To be considered for the best ratings, you must have the Advanced Open Water Diver certification if you dive deeper than 60 feet but less than 100 feet.
Technical scuba divers, who frequently dive deeper than 100 feet, will almost certainly pay more for life insurance.
Type of scuba diving and rate class
There are various types of scuba diving, some of which are more dangerous than others. Commercial diving, wreck diving, rescue diving, and ice diving are all regarded as more dangerous. If you do such dives, you will have to pay more for coverage.
Is life insurance right for me?
Scuba diving comes in a variety of forms, some of which are more perilous than others. There are several types of diving that are more dangerous than others, including commercial diving, wreck diving, rescue diving, and ice diving. Your premiums for insurance will go up if you participate in risky behaviors like these dives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be denied coverage if I scuba dive?
Despite being classified as an extreme sport, scuba diving is unlikely to result in policy denial. However, if you have a medical condition that increases your risk of injury while scuba diving, you may be denied coverage.
What if I do not disclose my scuba diving habits?
It's not a good idea. If you fail to disclose your scuba diving habits on a life insurance application, it counts as insurance fraud. If you die in a diving related accident within the first two or three years, your insurer can reject your claim, which would leave your dependents financially vulnerable.
What happens if I decide to scuba dive after buying life insurance?
You will be covered if you die while scuba diving if you did not lie on your life insurance application. A life insurance policy cannot be changed based on anything you do after purchasing it.
For example, say you bought a term life insurance policy ten years ago when you had never been scuba diving and had no plans to do so, but a fter ten years, you decide to go scuba diving on vacation and die as a result of injuries sustained under water, the life insurance company will pay the death benefit to your beneficiary.