Why private pilots need life insurance
Private pilots need life insurance just like anyone else with financial obligations and dependents to support, but working as a pilot can also impact your coverage options.
Life insurance companies use a variety of factors, including age, gender, health, and lifestyle, to determine the risk of insuring you and set the cost of your premiums. Federal aviation guidelines limit how you can use a private pilot license,  but even if you hold a license as a flight instructor, or otherwise do work adjacent to the aviation industry, the cost of your life insurance could be more expensive than average.
However, some insurers view private pilots as a higher risk to insure than others, so it’s important to find a life insurance company that offers you an affordable rate.
Best life insurance companies for private pilots
We used industry data, pricing from Policygenius carrier partners, and third-party ratings like AM Best and J.D. Power to pick the best insurers on the market. Our independent recommendations will help you get life insurance coverage with confidence.
Best term life insurance for private pilots: Prudential
Best life insurance for student pilots: Protective
Most affordable life insurance for private pilots: Legal & General America
Best no-medical-exam life insurance for private pilots: Pacific Life
Best term life insurance for pilots
Prudential can offer its best rates to private pilots over age 30, with a valid pilot certificate. To qualify, you’ll need 1,000 hours or five years of experience as a certified pilot, and a minimum of 100 hours in your current aircraft. Prudential offers an aviation exclusion rider, but you don’t have to add it to your policy.
Best life insurance for student pilots
While some insurance companies charge student pilots much higher premiums, Protective can consider offering student pilots coverage without a flat extra fee, making it a much more affordable option.
Most affordable life insurance for pilots
Legal & General America, which also does business as Banner Life and William Penn, offers an aviation exclusion rider, so you could purchase a policy that wouldn’t pay out if you died during an aviation-related incident, and you could qualify for up to the best rates.
Without the aviation exclusion rider, Legal & General America still offers affordable rates across many of its risk classifications. Private pilots with 100 or more hours of solo flying experience, who fly less than 250 hours annually, can qualify for Standard rates — the third best risk classification.
If you’re a student pilot, you’d have to pay a flat extra fee, so this option may not be the most affordable for your situation, but you can speak with a licensed expert for help.
Best no-medical-exam life insurance for pilots
Aviation is not an automatic disqualifier for Pacific Life’s no-medical-exam application process, which allows you to get life insurance coverage without having to take the medical exam that’s a standard part of underwriting.
However, you’ll still have to answer additional questions about your aviation profile, and you may be required to pay a flat extra fee or add an aviation exclusion rider to your policy.
Whether or not you’ll be approved for the no-medical-exam process depends on your health profile, too. Because of this, you may be able to get a more comprehensive policy with another insurer by going through with the medical exam.
How working in the aviation industry impacts your life insurance application
When applying for life insurance with a private pilot’s license, you’ll likely have to fill out an additional form specifically about your role in the aviation industry. Be prepared to answer the following questions.
Do you fly domestically or internationally?
Have you flown, or do you plan to fly to remote locations?
How many flight hours do you typically have in a year?
How many flight hours do you have in total?
Have you had any aviation accidents or violations?
What type of license and rating do you have?
What type of aircraft do you fly?
Pilots with a history of aviation accidents, or who fly to remote locations, will pay higher premiums than pilots who don't. On the other hand, an experienced, licensed pilot with no history of accidents will likely face fewer challenges when buying a life insurance policy.
How working as a private pilot can affect your life insurance rates
Some life insurance companies have more lenient guidelines for private pilots than others. When applying, one of the main factors to consider is whether you’ll be charged a flat extra fee for your aviation activities, since flat extra charges can significantly increase the cost of life insurance.
Common examples of flat extra fees include an additional $2 or $5 per $1,000 of coverage you purchase. In that case, if you have a $500,000 policy, you could pay an extra $1,000 to $2,500 per year.
How much does life insurance cost for private pilots?
A 30-year-old licensed pilot with over 100 solo flight hours might pay between $29.76 and $35.05 per month for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit payout. Your exact rates will depend on your qualifications and how frequently you fly, as well as other factors like your age and health.
Term life insurance rates for private pilots
$500,000 coverage amount
What is an aviation exclusion rider?
An aviation exclusion rider is a provision that can be added to a life insurance policy to specifically exclude an aviation-related death from your coverage. In exchange for the exclusion, you may pay lower premiums. But if you die while flying a plane, your beneficiaries won’t receive the death benefit payout.
Some aviation riders cover other aviation activities, too, like skydiving or parachuting. Not every insurer offers these riders, but if they do, it provides a way to lower your premiums if you’re a private pilot with few flight hours, or if you’re a student pilot still working toward your license.
Some riders aren’t available in some states, but a Policygenius expert can help you confirm availability of these features depending on where you live.
Best types of life insurance for private pilots
The best type of life insurance for pilots depends on your financial responsibilities and goals.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is usually best and most affordable life insurance option for most people. If you want to protect their income and provide your family with a financial safety net to cover any debts — including a mortgage or any personal loans — in the event of your death, term life insurance is likely the best option for you.
Permanent life insurance
Permanent life insurance is popular with high-net-worth individuals and other people who want to use life insurance to diversify their investment portfolio, or for people who have long-term protection needs, like dependents who require lifelong care.
However, all types of permanent life insurance, like whole life insurance, are significantly more expensive than comparable term life policies.
If your premiums are already more expensive due to your aviation status, and you don’t have a strong need for lifelong coverage, permanent life insurance may not be your best option.
When should private pilots purchase life insurance?
Generally speaking, private pilots should purchase life insurance as soon as they think they need it to financially protect their family, much like anyone else.
However, if you’re a student pilot in the process of obtaining your license, or you have less than 100 hours of solo flying experience, insurers will view you as an increased risk, so your premiums and likelihood of needing to pay a flat extra fee will be higher.
Some insurers consider private pilots under a certain age as more risky, too — for instance, pilots under age 26 or even age 30 may pay more in premiums. If you’re a private pilot under the age of 26 and you don’t have any dependents or debts to cover yet, it might make sense to wait before applying.
Benefits of life insurance for private pilots
Life insurance provides a financial safety net for your family in the absence of your income.
Although you may pay more depending on your circumstances as a private pilot, it’s still valuable to have the financial protection you need, especially if you have children, a spouse, or others who rely on you financially.