Graphic illustration of two people skydiving to symbolize the question “does life insurance cover skydiving?”
Insurance 101

Life insurance for skydiving and other extreme sports

Insurance 101

Life insurance for skydiving and other extreme sports

How to still get coverage, even while pushing the envelope

Humans have a habit of trying to go places specifically designed for us not to go—places like rugged mountaintops, deep, dark caverns, and even the sky attract people looking to push boundaries and their limitations. It’s commendable. And we respect it.

As people look to push their own physical limits, the risks aren’t always physical. Protecting your loved ones, for example, in the event the worst happens. But does life insurance cover extreme sports? That’s what we want to chat about today—how life insurance for extreme sports enthusiasts works and what you can expect.

  1. What’s considered an extreme sport?
  2. What makes these sports hazardous
  3. Does life insurance cover extreme sports?
  4. Other thoughts on life insurance for extreme sports

What’s considered an extreme sport?

If this were the ‘90s, every sport would be X-TREME! But it’s not. And there’s no master list of what sports are considered extreme. For our purposes, an extreme sport or hazardous activity is a sport or activity that includes an element of increased risk or endurance due to speed, height, or technical expertise. Basically, activities that come with higher physical risks may be placed under this category. Activities that can be considered extreme sports can include:

Skydiving

This is where you jump from an aircraft (that’s flying) into a freefall and deploy a parachute (preferably before hitting the ground).

BASE jumping

This is where you jump and parachute or wingsuit from a stationary position. BASE is actually an acronym which stands for buildings, antennas (like radio antennas), spans (bridges), and earth (i.e., cliffs and the like).

Big wave surfing

An activity where participants paddle into, and ride, waves that are at least 20 feet high. You’re most likely to see this activity when a cop, who went undercover to investigate a gang of surfing bank robbers, stands on the beach in the rain and watches as his enemy-friend-boyfriend rides out to a wave one last time to avoid going to jail.

Hang gliding

This is where a pilot flies a light, non-motorized aircraft called a, wait for it…hang glider.

Mixed martial arts

This is a full-contact sport that’s based on striking, grappling, and ground fighting. Basically what child siblings do, but between adults and usually in a cage.

Extreme biking

This is for when you’re riding off-road or on rougher terrains, such as mountains or rocky areas.

Skydiving, figure with a parachute  BASE jumping, figure with a wide parachute  Hang gliding, figure on a hang glider  Extreme biking, figure on a bike  Climbing, figure on a wall  Big wave surfing, figure on a surfboard  Mixed martial arts, figure with fists up

These aren’t the only extreme sports out there. Other activities can include things like canoeing, bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, motocross, and others.

What makes these sports hazardous?

Conventional thinking is that these sports are safe enough, at least to the point that thousands of people participate in them every year. But what makes these sports extreme—the heights, distances, speeds, etc—are the very things that increase the risk of severe injury.

Just take skydiving. Out of 519,620 skydivers between 2010 and 2019, there were only 35 deaths and 3015 injuries. The sport is safe(ish), but skydivers and other extreme sports enthusiasts want to explore that risk. Does skydiving affect life insurance? It sure does. It’s a risky activity and insurers aren’t always willing to take the risks you are.

Does life insurance cover extreme sports?

Yeah, there are life insurance options for you extreme sports enthusiasts. Even if you like jumping off the side of a mountain like some kind of goat, there are options for you. The exact things that’ll happen will depend on individual companies.

But you can expect a couple of possible reactions. For example, some insurers may offer you coverage at rates comparable to non-hazardous activity enjoyers. Others may offer coverage that’s more expensive, either due to a lower class rating or because you applied an extreme sports rider to your policy.

Now, why that extra cost? So, insurers use underwriting to determine the risk of an applicant. A lot of factors can paint an overall picture—things like your age, personal and family medical history, occupation and, of course, hobbies. When it comes to hobbies, you may be asked if you participate in any hazardous activities, combat, or motorized sports. If you say yes, the company may ask for more info on how frequently you participate and your level of experience.

Don’t lie though. For real, don’t do it. If you’re a regular skydiving enthusiast, it’s best to be honest about that. If you lie on your application about how frequently you hit those gnarly waves and you die, your beneficiaries may not see your policy payout.

Other thoughts on life insurance for extreme sports

Whether your sport is motocross racing, skiing or skydiving, life insurance isn’t entirely impossible to get. As they get more popular and technology makes them safer, extreme sports may one day not carry the fears they once had. But even now, you have options that you can explore.

One of the best things you can do is research—figure out which companies will work with extreme sports athletes, their prices, etc. Talk to your friends and fellow enthusiasts about their policies, who they applied with, and their experiences. Just like when you get the right gear for a skydiving jump or a mountain climb, making sure you have the right equipment is key.

The opinions we expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.
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