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Why people with high-risk jobs need life insurance
Life insurance is a good idea for anyone with financial dependents. If you’re in a dangerous occupation, here’s what you need to know
If you have financial dependents — that is, people (like children or a spouse) who depend on you to pay for everything from groceries to housing and more — life insurance is probably a good idea.
And for people with high-risk jobs, life insurance can be especially important, as it provides financial protection for your loved ones in case the worst should happen.
Unfortunately, it can also come at a higher cost to those whose occupations involve varying degrees of danger. Here’s what people in high-risk jobs should know about life insurance.
In this article:
What are high-risk occupations?
All occupations come with risk factors, but some are riskier than others. Desk job? Not all that risky. Fighting fires in a war zone? Probably a little riskier.
For insurance purposes, when discussing high-risk jobs, we’re referring to the end of the scale where personnel are required to take on dangerous activities on a regular or semi-regular basis. Even within that profile, there are different risk classifications that impact whether a job is high, low, or medium risk.
In this article, we’ll focus on hazardous occupations that have an inherent chance of death for the employees. This includes jobs that require employees to be willing to put their lives on the line, such as:
- Police officers
- Emergency responders
But it also includes careers that carry a risk due to the tools or equipment being used, such as:
- Construction workers
Finally, there are careers that are high risk because the environment itself is hazardous, such as:
- Factory workers
- Coal miners
- Front-line medical personnel
All of these career types can be considered high-risk and require some level of special-risk life insurance.
Types of life insurance for high-risk occupations
Individuals who work in dangerous jobs have a few different life insurance products from which to choose:
- Guaranteed issue life insurance
- Pros: Doesn’t require a medical exam; you won’t be denied due to working in a high-risk job
- Cons: Generally expensive; might not provide as much of a payout as other types of life insurance
- Term life insurance
- Pros: Affordable; easy to get the right term length
- Cons: might cost more because of your high-risk job, or you might not be eligible at all; does not accumulate cash value; the policy becomes increasingly and quite expensive after the term expires
- Permanent life policy
- Pros: Your investment has a cash value; the life insurance policy lasts as long as you do, so long as you pay your premiums
- Cons: More expensive than other options
How to choose the right life insurance policy if you have a high-risk job
Here’s what to consider:
1. Evaluate your coverage needs
Life insurance pays the people who are left behind — whether that’s a spouse, child(ren), or other dependents — so it’s their needs that you should consider when evaluating your coverage requirements. Focus on:
- How much money you make: Ideally, your life insurance policy should ensure that your family can get by without you. How much money you make — and the percentage of family expenses you pay for — should factor into the plan you choose.
- How many people depend on you: Consider how many people require your income as well as how quickly they would be able to recover on their own without you. If you’re supporting a spouse who could move to a smaller home or potentially get a different job if you were to die, the best policy for you might look different from someone who has an aging parent and three children depending on them as well.
- The risk level of your job: Although many careers are considered high risk, not all high-risk careers carry the same level of risk. People with higher-risk careers are more likely to use their life insurance policies and might want higher-paying policies as a result.
- Your health and age: These factors play into any life insurance policy, regardless of whether you have a high-risk career.
2. Explore different life insurance options
Your goal isn’t necessarily to find the life insurance policy with the lowest rate; you also need the proper amount of coverage. Strike a balance between what you’ll pay for a monthly premium and what your family would receive as a payout in the event of your untimely death.
Some factors to consider when comparing life insurance policies include:
- The type of policy: Term life insurance is usually the most affordable option for people with high-risk careers; guaranteed life insurance might be a safe backup option if you don’t qualify for term life insurance.
- The amount of life insurance you need: How much money do you need your family to receive if you die? Ideally, you would come up with this number while evaluating your coverage needs — most experts recommend getting coverage worth 5 to 10 times your annual salary
- The length of time you need to receive coverage: You might only need life insurance for the length of time you’ll be working and receiving a salary or until unpaid debts (like mortgages) are paid off. Some people only need life insurance until their children turn 18. The distance from your retirement, the age of your outstanding debts, and the age of your dependents all factor into how long you need your life insurance policy to last.
3. Supplement your life insurance policy for additional coverage
If you want additional coverage, you might consider supplementing your policy with another type of insurance. For example, you might want disability insurance (to help cover your expenses if you get injured on the job) or accidental death insurance.
Factors that impact life insurance premiums for people with dangerous occupations
Life insurance premiums are based on a number of factors, which taken together comprise your lifestyle risk profile. This will consider not only your career but also other life insurance risk factors, such as:
- Your age
- Whether or not you engage in dangerous hobbies (like skydiving or rock climbing)
- Whether or not you’re a smoker
- Your medical history, and whether you have underlying health conditions like heart disease or diabetes
Insurers will also consider the relative risk of your job, keeping in mind that risk is a spectrum. Where you work can have as much of an impact on your life insurance as the job itself.
For example, being a roofer in a town with mostly one- and two-story buildings might have a minimal impact on your insurance policy. But being a roofer in a city with high-rises is likely to earn you a high risk profile, which might mean steeper insurance premiums or even denial of coverage from some insurers.
How does occupational hazard impact life insurance coverage?
Generally, occupational hazard alone is not going to be enough to cause you to be denied life insurance coverage. However, this might not be true with certain very high-risk careers. For example, while police officers can typically receive life insurance coverage, officers working the bomb squad might have a harder time finding coverage, and should expect to pay higher premiums.
Often, people like firefighters or police officers in low-risk environments can expect to be offered a policy, though their premium might be higher than if they worked a standard 9-to-5 desk job. Carpenters, welders, and other people who work with dangerous tools might have a slightly harder time purchasing life insurance and should expect higher premiums.
And individuals who work in actively hazardous environments like mines or certain laboratories might not be able to find term life insurance to meet their needs and might have to fall back on paying higher premiums for a guaranteed life insurance plan.
Keep in mind, however, that your occupation is only one of many factors insurers consider when determining your coverage eligibility. Your age, living habits, hobbies, and lifestyle are also important.
Choose the life insurance that secures your future today
Everyone deserves the security of knowing that, if something happens to you, your family would have the resources to continue on. See what kind of coverage you might get from Haven Life by getting a free online life insurance quote today.
About Cait CarterRead more by Cait Carter
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.
Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus
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