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Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs Life Insurance Companies Hate!

Researcher & Writer
June 28, 2015

Chances are, if you reading this article: Top Ten Most Dangerous Jobs Life Insurance Companies Hate!, you probably have a pretty dangerous occupation or at least know someone who does. The reality is, hazardous occupations have a direct affect on getting life insurance.

In fact, many of you reading this article may have already been told that you can’t qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy simply because of the type of work that you do! For this reason, we at TermLife2Go decided to write this article so that we can help those who are having a difficult time finding the right life insurance policy for their family simply because of what they do for a living.

The 2 main topics that will be discussed in this article about life insurance and high risk occupations are:

  1. The 10 most dangerous jobs life insurance companies hate and why!
  2. Two types of life insurance policies that should be considered for those with dangerous occupations. Specifically: Fully Underwritten Term Life Insurance policies vs Simplified Issue Life Insurance policies.

With that said, let’s dive right into it!

Top 10 Most Dangerous Occupations That Life Insurance Companies Hate!

The following occupations will place you in the high risk life insurance category.

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1.  Fishing Industry

Number one on our list of life insurance high risk occupations is the fishing industry. Now one only need watch about 30 seconds of the hit show Deadliest Catch to realize that crab fishing in the Bering Sea is a pretty dangerous job.   But did you know that statistically speaking, for every 100,000 individuals working in the fishing industry, nearly 131 of them will die each and every year while on the job!

Compare that to 0.45 deaths per 1,000,000 for someone who works in the business or financial sector, and it’s easy to see why disclosing on a life insurance application that you work in the fishing industry can raise a few red flags.

In addition, it should be noted that not all of the individuals that die while working in the commercial fishing industry are on boats.  After all, there are many different occupations within the fishing industry as a whole, occupations such as fish farming and fish processing, which can also be quite dangerous.

For this reason, it’s essential that anyone working, even remotely in what could be described as part of the fishing industry as a whole, speak first to a licensed life insurance broker, with access to dozens of different life insurance carries so that they can be sure to get the best deal.

2.  Loggers

Well I guess it could be said that if the Discovery Channel has decided to do a show about your line of work, you’re probably going to have a difficult time buying life insurance.

So without going into too much detail in this article, if it’s not immediately obvious why a life insurance company might be nervous about insuring someone who is a logger, and you don’t think that its alarming that nearly 97 people out of every 100,000 die each year performing this job, feel free to take a few minutes to look up video’s on Youtube relating to logging accidents.

We did and decided that Willie Nelson’s hit song:

Momma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,

Should have been titled: 

Momma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be LOGGERS!

3.  Aircraft pilots

Number three on our life insurance with dangerous jobs list is the inclusive category of pilots. When it comes to discussing aircraft pilots you really have a mixed bag.  Statistical data in this area generally lumps all aircraft pilots together when they report that there were approximately 69 deaths per 100,000 pilots last year.

But what is the definition of an aircraft pilot? 

Yeah sure, someone who flies a commercial airliner would be considered an aircraft pilot, but how about someone who flies:

  • A private plane?
  • A blimp?
  • A hot air balloon?
  • A hang glider?
  • Or how about someone who isn’t a professional pilot, but does fly a plane for recreational purposes?

As you can see, for a life insurance agent who knows his/her stuff and has worked with aircraft pilots before, it’s really important to understand exactly what type of aircraft you pilot.  Additional information that will be key in determining which insurance company is going to be best for pilots will include:

  • What type of instrument rating do you as a pilot have?
  • How many hours you do you fly annually?
  • And which countries do you fly in and out of?

As you can see, getting life insurance as a pilot can be rather complicated, which is why it’s very important for “pilots” to take their time and do their research before buying a life insurance policy.

Now having worked with many pilots over the years we at TermLife2Go know which insurance companies are going to offer our clients the best deals and will typically be able to avoid many of the pitfalls that commonly cause pilots to over pay for their insurance.  Pitfalls such as:

  • Paying a flat extra fee for being a pilot, or
  • Having “exclusions” added to their life insurance policies which would void coverage if death occurred while piloting an aircraft.

So if you’re a pilot, do yourself a favor and at least give us a call before you make any final decisions.

4. Miscellaneous extraction workers

The term “miscellaneous extraction worker” is an extremely broad term that generally refers to any professional that is involved in the extraction or removal of natural resources from the ground and/or sea.

Extraction workers will generally be working with or around heavy, dangerous, drilling equipment as well as large construction vehicles.  Job titles that will often fall under miscellaneous extraction workers might be:

  • Oil field or platform worker.
  • Large scale construction demo removal specialist.
  • Etc, etc..

Unfortunately, the life insurance industry has taken special notice of these types of professions which is why it will be more difficult to find coverage as an “extraction worker”.

The good news is that “more difficult does not mean impossible” so if you’re having a difficult time finding coverage because of this job title, give us a call today and see what we can do for you!

5.  Iron and steel workers

Number five on our top ten most dangerous jobs life insurance companies hate list is iron and steel workers. With a death toll of 42 out of every 100,000 people, it’s clear that working in the iron and steel industry is a dangerous place to be. But with that said, these jobs will often times be overlooked when it comes to applying for life insurance.

For example:

Unless your job title is “High Rise Steel Worker” or “Smelter” those that work in the iron and steel industry will often times just be lumped into general factory worker or construction worker, which is a good thing!

The important part for someone who works in the iron or steel industry or any industry for that matter is that to be completely honest on your life insurance application.  Typically, life insurance coverage can be found for any occupation, provided that you’re open and honest from the beginning.

So if your job title is factory worker, put factory worker, but if your occupation is smelter, don’t lie!  The last thing that you want to have happen is for a life insurance company to decide that they are not willing to pay on a death benefit claim simply because you weren’t honest on your application.

6.  Roofers

Finding life insurance for high risk occupations might be a little easier for number 6 on our list. The only issues that we have found in our experience is that some insurance companies might inquire about the type of “roofing” being preformed (residential vs commercial) but these types of inquires are usually few and far between.

With approximately 36 deaths per 100,000 roofers in America, statistically speaking it’s easy to see why life insurance companies may have an issue for folks in this line of work.  The good news is that even though this can be a dangerous profession, insurance companies as a whole have yet to really begin to discriminate against roofers during the underwriting process.

In general, what we typically do for our clients who are roofers is, send what we call a “soft” approval application to the insurance company that we feel offers the best deal.  By doing this, we will be able to determine really quickly if the job title of “roofer” is going to be an issue with that particular carrier. If it appears to be then we can simply steer you to a company that will not ding you for being a roofer.

7.  Garbage Collectors

Yep, that’s right, the #7 spot belongs to garbage collectors!  With nearly 33 deaths per 100,000, garbage collectors die about four times more often than firefighters. Who knew!?!?

One thing for sure is that we at TermLife2Go didn’t, which is probably why we’ve never had an issue getting garbage collectors insured. This is one dangerous job life insurance carriers have yet to ding clients on.

8.  Farmers and Ranchers

Generally when we encounter a client who works as a farmer or rancher we typically like to get a detailed description of what their actual job entails prior to submitting an application.

We do this so that we can first determine which insurance company is going to work out best for them, and also help avoid many unnecessary questions that may arise during the underwriting process.  Because let’s face it, with a death toll of approximately 24 per 100,000 workers, working as a farmer or rancher can be dangerous.

The good news is that for many farmers and ranchers, unless they’re really working in a high risk areas, most life insurance companies will simply consider their occupation a “normal or standard” risk.

9.  Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

With driving accidents accounting for most accidental causes of death in the United States, it’s no wonder that those who drive on our highways and roadways for a living have a higher than average work place death rate (24 out of every 100,000 people).

That being said, unless you have a “hazardous waste or explosive” carrier license, AND ACTIVELY TRANSPORT these types of materials, simply being a driver/sales worker or truck driver isn’t going to negatively affect your chances of finding a great life insurance policy.

In fact, the hardest part about getting a driver/sales worker or truck driver insured is finding time for the client to actually take a medical exam.  For these clients, it’s sometimes impossible to know where you’ll be at any given time during the week.

For this reason, we often recommend that these clients take advantage of a no medical exam life insurance policy so that they can get fully insured without having to take a medical exam. For more on no exam life insurance see our article Top Ten No Medical Exam Companies.

10.  Power-line installers and repairers

Getting life insurance for high risk occupations does not always have to be difficult. We think the title pretty much says it all with this one, but again, in our experiences at TermLife2Go, even though nearly 23 people a year die while on the job as a power-line installer/repairer, insurance companies just don’t seem to worry about this line of work in their underwriting.

So now that we’ve established that you have a dangerous job, what should we do next?

Fully Underwritten versus Simplified Issue

When it comes time to actually apply for life insurance, in some situations, applying for what is called a Simplified Issue Life Insurance policy rather than a Fully Underwritten life insurance policy may be the more prudent course of action especially if one is applying for life insurance for the first time.

Let’s us explain:

During a fully underwritten term life insurance policy, applicants will need to:

  • Complete a multiple page application where basically every question that is asked, will become part of the actual application process. So if they ask about what type of job you have, that type of job will most likely be factored into the decision making process.
  • You’ll also need to complete a medical exam that will include both a blood and urine sample, which will be used to screen for many common medical conditions in addition to screening for nicotine and many frequently used narcotics.
  • You’ll also need to allow most insurance companies to order a “prescription database report” which will provide the insurance company with a record of all the medications you have ever had prescribed to you.
  • A DMV report in addition to a criminal background check will also most likely be ordered.
  • A “soft credit” check may also be ordered depending on the amount of coverage being sought or if the applicant has had a previous bankruptcy in the past.
  • And lastly, full medical records may also be requested from your primary care physician should the insurance company need or want any additional information prior to making a decision.

So as you can see, even if your “Dangerous Job” doesn’t play a factor in determining whether or not the insurance company is willing to provide coverage, there are a host of other potential obstacles that may or may not play a role.

The Simplified Issue Alternative:

A potential alternative to a Fully Underwritten Life Insurance Policy for many would be what is called a Simplified issue life insurance policy.

With a Simplified issue life insurance policy, many of the obstacles typically found in the fully underwritten life insurance policy simply aren’t there.  For example:

  • Rather than submit to a medical exam, simplified issue policies will generally just ask a few medical questions to determine the relative health of their applicants.
  • In addition, many of the so called “life style” factors such as:
    • Dangerous Occupations.
    • Dangerous Hobbies.
    • Exotic Travel Destinations.
    • Extreme body mass ratio’s.
    • Previous Bankruptcies.
    • Prior Arrests.
    • Etc, etc..

May not factor into an insurance company’s underwriting process, which could potentially make these types of policies an ideal choice for someone who may otherwise not qualify for a traditional fully underwritten life insurance policy.

Sound too good to be true?

Well, there are drawbacks to these types of policies. In general, a simplified issue life insurance policy will:

  • Cover you for both natural and accidental causes of death immediately upon approval, but at a higher cost than a fully underwritten policy would. Or in other words, simplified issue life insurance policies can cost more that fully underwritten life insurance policy.
  • Simplified issue life insurance policies will also generally be more restrictive, or have less options.
    • Options such as really high coverage amounts AKA several million dollars.
    • They may also not offer specific riders such as:
      • Guaranteed renewable.
      • Return of premium.
      • Accelerated death benefit.
      • Child or family insurance riders.
      • Etc, etc..
    • Simplified issue life insurance policies also tend to be more difficult to qualify for if you do in fact have any previous pre-existing medical conditions. The reason for this is because of the underwriting brevity of a simplified issue life insurance policy.  These types of policy applications simply don’t provide insurance companies enough information to make difficult underwriting decisions when it comes to those with a pre-existing condition.

Want to read more about safety matters? Check out our article about gun safety in America

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We are a team of life insurance experts with the simple mission of helping you find the best coverage for your unique situation. We research, review, and rank life insurance companies to make that process easier.