Why divers need life insurance
Diving is considered a hazardous activity by most insurance companies, so if you dive professionally, your overall risk will increase in the eyes of the insurer.
If you scuba dive recreationally on vacation — meaning you dive less than 10 times per year and less than 100 feet in depth — there won’t be any impact on your life insurance rates unless you have other health considerations that might put you at greater risk when diving.
However, rescue or salvage divers may have to pay an extra fee on top of their life insurance premiums. Insurers assess your risk as a scuba diver based on how often you scuba dive, where you scuba dive, and the types of dives you perform.
On the other hand, professional Divers have multiple reasons to consider life insurance. If you die, your family could suffer financially. But getting a life insurance policy can help you protect your income and anyone who depends on you.
Replacing income. Divers often contribute to the stability of their households through their income. If you die, life insurance can help replace your salary, easing or eliminating the financial burden on your family.
Covering debt. Many working professionals carry debt, whether through student loans, a mortgage, car loans, or other personal loans. Life insurance can help your beneficiaries pay back any debts you have if you pass away.
Employer insurance coverage. If you work full-time, your employer may offer some life insurance as part of your benefits package — but the coverage is typically only one to two times your annual salary. A private policy can supplement any group coverage you have and provide your loved ones with the financial safety net they need.
If you work as an independent contractor, it’s unlikely that you’d have any life insurance coverage through work, and you should consider getting an independent life insurance policy.
There are special considerations that insurance companies give to professional divers while evaluating their overall risk. Here's how all the top life insurance companies determine scuba diving risk:
Best possible classification
Depth allowance (in feet)
Mutual of Omaha
Working with a licensed agent through Policygenius is the best way to determine the amount of life insurance coverage that you need and get connected to the insurer that will be best for you. At Policygenius, our experts are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent and unbiased advice.
Best life insurance companies for divers
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing which life insurance company to apply with, including price, how easy it is to apply, how long the underwriting process is, and the maximum coverage you can apply for.
We used industry data, pricing from Policygenius carrier partners, and third-party ratings like A.M. 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.
A licensed agent at Policygenius can help you with these considerations and find the best insurer for you.
Best term life insurance: Prudential
Best whole life insurance: MassMutual
Most affordable life insurance: Banner Life
Best final expense life insurance: Mutual of Omaha
Best term life insurance for divers
Prudential offers some of the most relaxed guidelines when it comes to diving professionally. Some companies will not offer term life insurance coverage to professional divers at all.
Prudential will ask questions about how often you dive and how deep. In most cases, it'll be able to make you an offer and its rates will be better than if you apply with another company.
Best whole life insurance for divers
MassMutual’s whole life insurance policies offer lower premiums and higher dividends than other insurers. The company also maintains consistently high scores for financial stability and customer satisfaction.
Most affordable life insurance for divers
Why we chose it
Prudential offers some of the best rates for divers on the market. In most cases, the company will allow you to apply without taking the medical exam. If you have one to two well-managed health issues, Prudential will try to waive the health exam, which is required for most life insurance applications.
Best final expense life insurance for divers
Mutual of Omaha offers the most competitive rates when it comes to final expense insurance. For most people, approval is guaranteed and coverage lasts for life.
Life insurance for professional divers
Professional diving will almost always affect the insurance coverage you’re eligible for because diving increases your overall mortality in the eyes of the insurer — you’re riskier to insure. Diving could affect your offer in three ways: an increased premium, a flat extra fee, or a denial of coverage.
Increased premiums. When you apply for life insurance, you’ll provide information about your health and lifestyle. If you dive — especially if you dive more than 100 feet deep or more than 10 times per year — the insurance company will give you a lower health classification.
Flat extra. You could also be offered a flat extra fee by the insurance company. A flat extra is an added fee to whatever risk classification you’re approved at. A flat extra fee could be $2 to $5 additional premium for every $1,000 of coverage you have. (That’s an extra $5,000 a year on a $1 million life insurance policy.)
Denial of coverage. If your diving activities are too frequent, deep, or dangerous, the insurance company may not be willing to offer you term life insurance coverage. In cases like this, final expense insurance could be a good option for you, especially if you need help covering end-of-life costs.
Hazardous sports exclusion rider for scuba divers
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 policy add-on 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 it. 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. Skirting a flat extra fee with an exclusion rider also means your beneficiaries will not receive the death benefit payment if you die while diving. Talk to your licensed agent or broker about your policy options as a technical scuba diver.
Best types of life insurance for divers
Two of the most common types of life insurance are term life insurance and permanent life insurance. For most working professionals, including divers, term life insurance will be the best option to cover your financial obligations.
If term life isn’t a good fit for you, whole life and final expense life insurance are two types of permanent life insurance you should consider.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is almost always the most affordable type of insurance available, and the most practical type of insurance for protecting your income. The policy only lasts for a set term and comes with few rules and tax restrictions.
Term life is also the best option for most people looking to provide their family with a financial safety net to cover any debts. This includes a mortgage or any other types of personal loans your family will be left with if you die.
Most people get term life insurance long enough to cover them through retirement age. This will ensure that your beneficiaries will receive the financial support they need if your income is lost.
Whole life insurance
Aside from replacing your income, you may also have long-term financial obligations or coverage needs, like dependents who require lifelong care. In that case, whole life insurance might be a good fit.
Whole life never expires and comes with a cash value that earns interest in addition to the death benefit payout — but it’s also five to 15 times more expensive than term. Talk with a licensed agent or financial advisor to decide if whole life insurance works for you.
Final expense life insurance
If you’re not eligible for standard coverage but need help to cover your end-of-life costs, like a funeral, final expense life insurance will be your best option.
Permanent life insurance policies like whole life or final expense insurance are appealing because they last for the rest of your life. However, on average, permanent life insurance policies cost about five to 15 times more than a term life insurance policy with the same face value would.
How much does life insurance cost for divers?
A 35-year-old diver with one or two minor, well-managed health conditions can expect to pay about $62 per month for a 20-term life policy with a $1 million death benefit payout.
The premiums you pay ultimately depend on several factors, including your gender, age, and health. If you have limited or well-maintained health issues, you’ll likely be able to get the coverage you need at an affordable rate.
Only technical scuba divers should expect to pay more for life insurance, with some exceptions for other underlying health conditions. The additional cost will either be higher than normal premiums or will be tacked on as a flat extra fee, 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, how frequently you go scuba diving, and how deep you dive have the most impact on the health classification you receive.
It’s recommended that you get about 10 to 12 times your annual income in coverage and a term that will take you through retirement age.
Term life insurance rates for divers
The rates below offer an estimate for what a diver can expect to pay for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $1 million death benefit payout.
$1 million coverage amount
Whole life insurance rates for divers
The following is an estimate for what a diver can expect to pay for a whole life insurance policy with a $1 million death benefit payout.
$1 million coverage amount
Final expense life insurance rates for divers
The following is an estimate for what a diver can expect to pay for a $25,000 final expense life insurance policy.
$25,000 coverage amount
When should divers purchase life insurance?
If you’re a diver, you should get life insurance as soon as possible. The younger you are when you apply, the cheaper your life insurance rates will be. Later on, if you need more coverage, you can always ladder a supplemental policy.
The total amount of coverage you’re able to apply for is usually based on your income. You should aim to get coverage that is equal to about 10 to 12 times your current annual income.
A licensed agent can help you determine how much coverage you need and make sure you’re getting a policy that will protect your family financially within the means of your current budget.
Benefits of life insurance for divers
The main benefit of life insurance is to protect your income. Income protection is key for anyone who has dependents or makes a significant financial contribution to their household, like many divers do.
Getting the right amount of life insurance will allow your family to replace your income, make sure your debts are paid off, and receive the financial support they will need even if you die unexpectedly.
How insurance companies underwrite scuba divers
If you scuba dive either recreationally or professionally, 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 do you do? Recreational divers will get better rates than professional divers.
Where do 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 do 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.
Are you 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).
How deep do you dive? Many insurers will charge a flat extra if you go to depths beyond 100 feet, though some have more flexible dive limits.
Do you dive alone? Diving alone is riskier to insurers than diving with a partner.
Do 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 to avoid life insurance fraud.
Life insurance considerations for divers
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.
Being a diver may limit your options for life insurance coverage or increase your rates. There are also some additional related activities that could affect your options.
If you travel for work to some countries outside of the U.S., your eligibility for life insurance could be impacted.
Insurance companies will also ask you how often you dive, how deep your dives are, if you dive alone, and if you do any specialty diving, like nighttime, cave, or wreck diving. Depending on how you answer these questions, it could affect your ability to get a competitive rate.
When you apply, be thorough with the agent you’re working with to make sure they consider any unique elements of your job so they can make sure you’re applying with the right company.