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Recreational scuba diving won’t impact your life insurance policy, but habitual or professional scuba divers will have to pay a flat extra on top of their premium.
Updated June 17, 2021|3 min read
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Scuba diving is a popular sport in the U.S. and abroad, but it can impact your life insurance application.
If you scuba dive recreationally when you’re on vacation, there won’t be any impact on your life insurance rates. But technical scuba divers, such as rescue or salvage divers, may have to pay an extra fee on top of their life insurance premiums. How life insurance companies assess your risk as a scuba diver is determined by how often you scuba dive, where you scuba dive, and the type of dives you go on.
People who occasionally scuba dive on vacation won’t pay more for life insurance
Habitual scuba divers may have to pay a flat extra on top of their premiums
How often you dive, how deep you dive, and where you dive are the most important factors to insurers
Each insurer treats scuba diving differently and shopping around can help you save money
Insurers won’t increase your life insurance rates if you only dive while you’re on vacation, but if you’re a technical, commercial, or rescue scuba diver, you’ll have to pay more to get covered. Still, some insurers are more flexible than others in whether or not your scuba diving activity constitutes a risky habit.
Technical scuba divers can get the most competitive policies from one of the following insurers:
But remember, your lifestyle choices are just one of the factors that impact your life insurance rates. Insurers will also take your age, medical history, and family history into account to determine your coverage eligibility.
Only technical scuba divers should expect to pay more for life insurance. The additional cost will either be higher than normal premiums or will be tacked on as a flat extra, which is a fixed fee that is added onto the premium. For example, you may be charged a flat extra of $2.50 for every $1,000 in coverage you buy. In this example, if you purchase a $500,000 policy, you will pay $1,250 annually on top of your premiums.
Factors such as certifications or how frequently you go scuba diving can impact the health classification you receive by some insurers.
If you’re subject to a flat extra due to your scuba diving activity, you can avoid the costly fee by adding a hazardous sports exclusion rider to your policy. This rider isn’t commonly available across life insurance companies — it’s usually added onto travel insurance or travel medical plans — and only a select few insurers offer the rider.
Working with an insurer that offers this rider may seem like a no-brainer, but it may not always be your best option. The rider itself costs money, and the insurer may not necessarily offer you the most competitive coverage for your profile.
Ready to shop for life insurance?
If you scuba dive, insurance companies will ask you a range of questions to determine your life insurance rates. You will be asked to disclose:
What type of scuba diving you do. Some people scuba dive for fun, while other people scuba dive for work. Recreational divers will get better rates than professional divers.
Where you scuba dive. Open water scuba diving is viewed more favorably than other types of diving, such as wreck, cave, or ice diving.
How many times you scuba dive annually. Insurers use this information to determine if you scuba dive recreationally or habitually. Most will offer higher premiums if you go 10 or more times a year, though this varies with each insurer.
If you are scuba certified. There are three scuba certification options: Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), or Scuba Schools International (SSI).
What depth you dive to. Many insurers will charge a flat extra if you go to depths beyond 100 feet, though some have more flexible dive limits.
Whether or not you dive alone. Diving alone is riskier to insurers than diving with a partner.
Whether or not you dive for pay. This won’t necessarily increase your rates, but there will be follow-up questions to determine how dangerous your work is.
You should be completely honest about all of these details during the life insurance application process. If the insurance company finds out you’ve lied to them, the consequences can be dire. At best, they’ll just take the premiums you owe them out of your death benefit. At worst, they’ll cancel the entire policy. For example, if you told your insurance company that you never dive below 100’ but you actually dive below 130’, they can refuse to pay the benefit, leaving your loved ones high and dry.
Health conditions and scuba diving
Insurers will occasionally offer you less competitive rates for scuba diving on vacation if you have a medical condition that could be heightened by participating in the underwater sport. Let’s say you only scuba dive a few times a year, but you have a heart condition that could be triggered by diving, then you may have to pay higher premiums.
Life insurance isn’t one size fits all, and getting the most competitive rates requires finding an insurer that is specialized toward your needs. You can get the best life insurance rates for your profile by working with a life insurance broker like Policygenius. Policygenius’ independent agents compare quotes from multiple insurers to find you the best coverage and premiums for your medical profile and lifestyle choices.