Insuring Extreme Sports Participants

Are you an adrenaline junky? Does your average weekend involve downhill mountain biking, rock climbing or backcountry skiing? Or do you have a “high-risk” job like a helicopter pilot or logger?

If you have a spouse, kids or other financial obligations and fall into one or more of the above categories, you may have the impression that life insurance is not attainable even though you know that you really need it.

So, what should you do in this case? Quit your job or high-risk activities so that you can qualify for insurance? Or should you just hope for the best and carry on without the coverage?

Many individuals will rationalize carrying on without life insurance since they feel that they’re extra careful when at work or partaking in these sports but don’t realize that accidents can happen, and they could just as easily pass away from a medical event or an accident entirely unrelated to their activity that’s deemed to be high-risk. Going without this vital protection is simply not an option as it leaves your loved ones very vulnerable and unnecessarily exposed to financial hardship or disaster.

For those deemed to be in one of these high-risk categories, insurance coverage may be a little harder to get and may even cost a little bit more, but it is not as un-attainable as you might think. Every insurance provider will view each type of occupation or extreme sport differently and a situation like this requires a little more research and an independent insurance advisor who can request quotes and opinions from underwriters at multiple companies.

For example, someone who enjoys backcountry skiing may be worried about being uninsurable due to avalanche risks. We have setup policies for several clients in this situation in the past and have found multiple different viewpoints from the insurance companies including:

  1. Full coverage for a small additional premium.
  2. Full coverage at no extra cost but an exclusion if they were to die in an avalanche when the hazard rating was above “moderate risk” on the Canadian Avalanche Association’s report.
  3. Coverage at standard prices with an exclusion for backcountry skiing.
  4. Full coverage at no extra cost including any backcountry skiing activities for a couple who normally backcountry ski but haven’t been out in the past two years.

Most insurers have separate questionnaires for the various extreme sports and the position that they take when underwriting your policy will include the frequency and advanced level that you participate in and if you take part recreationally or professionally.

My own personal life insurance policy protects my family if something happens to me while backcountry skiing, downhill mountain biking or whitewater kayaking at no additional cost but they did assess me for an extra premium for my rock climbing activities since I often climb at least once per week.

Disability and critical illness insurance, coverage that protects you if you become ill or injured and can’t work for a period of time, can usually be attainable for those involved in higher risk jobs or sports as well. This protection can also often be found with a little extra work to find the right provider.

Using a knowledgeable insurance licensed advisor who has the access to every insurer and the willingness to do the extra work to find the right carrier can go along way to providing the important protection you and your family both need and deserve.