Risking Your Life Insurance: What You Need to Know About Extreme Sports

January 5, 2015: Olympic skiing hopefuls Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack are crushed in an avalanche in Austria just days before the Alpine world championships.

May 16, 2015: Legendary climber and BASE jumper Dean Potter dies during a BASE jump and wingsuit flight from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park.

August 2nd, 2015: Natalia Molchanova, the most decorated free diver in the world, dies during a recreational dive off the coast of Formentera in the Mediterranean.

September 29, 2015: Extreme sports star Erik Roner dies when his parachute gets tangled during a stunt at the opening of a golf tournament in North Carolina.

Extreme sports are becoming increasingly popular among thrill seekers of all ages. However, there’s a reason they’re called extreme: they’re extremely dangerous. Just think about it: if Astle, Berlack, Potter, Molchanova and Roner, all experienced, highly trained athletes with top-notch equipment, don’t make it out alive, then what are the odds something will go wrong for the extreme sports amateur?

Interestingly, Teton Gravity Research has made an infographic that effectively answers that very question for a number of sports. Take a look at the following alarming statistics.

Your chances of dying are:

  • Hang gliding: one in 560
  • Base jumping: one in 60
  • Boxing: one in 2,200
  • Scuba diving: one in 34,400
  • American football: one in 50,000

Moreover, according to the New York Times, approximately 40,000 head and neck injuries occur each year in seven of extreme sports including mountain biking, skateboarding and motorcross.

The Impact of Extreme Sports on Life Insurance Policies

Considering these statistics, it’s not surprising that life insurance companies place higher demands on insureds who participate in extreme sports—or to use the industry term, hazardous avocations. Parachuting, mountain climbing, diving, bungee jumping, boxing and rodeo are just a few of a long list of extreme sports that set warning bells ringing when you apply for a life insurance policy. So should you simply keep quiet about your skydiving hobby or your passion for rodeo?

The answer is an emphatic “No!”  If you’re caught lying or omitting information on your application, your policy could be canceled and any claims could be denied.

So what’s the best way to get affordable life insurance if you simply can’t live without thrills?

First of all, it’s important to remember that you’ll likely be able to get a policy, but your premiums will be much higher than if you didn’t practice any extreme sports. However, according to LifeInsurance.org, many insurers offer rate reductions if you take measures that reduce your risk of injury and death, for example:

  • Complete certification courses with professional trainers.
  • Restrict the frequency at which you engage in the sport.
  • Use the highest quality equipment available.
  • Always wear protective clothing and gear.
  • Follow all safety regulations.

Remember: investing in your own safety can not only save you money on your life insurance, but also keep you alive and healthy so you can enjoy your sports!

Sources

http://www.lifeinsurance.org/life-guides/avoid-high-life-insurance-premiums/

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/04/free-diver-natalia-molchanova-feared-dead

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/u-s-olympic-skiing-hopefuls-died-austrian-mountains-article-1.2072402

http://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2015/09/29/extreme-sports-star-killed-in-california-skydiving-accident

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/18/us/yosemite-base-jumpers-dean-potter-graham-hunt-deaths/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/with-the-thrills-come-extreme-risks/

http://www.tetongravity.com/story/adventure/your-chances-of-dying-ranked-by-sport-and-activity