Some Summer Fun Activities can Invalidate Your Life Insurance
Whether your children are out of school or you just want a break from work, the Summer is a popular time for vacations in sunny destinations, such as Hawaii and Florida.
But if you are the type of person who regularly likes to spice up travel with exciting, and potentially dangerous activities, you might not realize that partaking in “extreme sports” can actually invalidate your life insurance if not disclosed.
So the policy you purchased to protect your family may not be there if you die while participating in such activities.
Relatively few people actually pass away while participating in adventurous hobbies, travel companies would be unlikely to offer them otherwise, which is why insurers generally do not mind if you try a sport once.
However, you are still at a higher risk for accidents and severe injuries than you would be lounging by the pool.
So if you consistently participate in these activities, whether as part of an annual family trip or as a weekend hobby, you will need to disclose it to your life insurer when you buy a policy, and you will typically pay higher rates.
Before you get on the plane or take to the open road, below are 4 Summer activities that could make it more expensive or difficult to obtain coverage, even though you might consider them safe, as follows:
Hot Air Ballooning
Riding in a hot air balloon is not what most people would call a high-risk activity—in fact, there have only been about 70 fatal hot air balloon incidents since Y 1964. However, life insurers still commonly ask whether you ride in hot air balloons, and not disclosing this as a hobby can impact whether your coverage applies in the event of a fatal accident.
Scuba diving is a popular vacation activity that can even be shared with children, but serious SCUBA enthusiasts will likely face higher life insurance premiums. If you dive less than 100 ft, always use the buddy system and have formal training, the impact might be relatively small. But that can change if you have a history of medical issues or a family history of cardiac events, as health problems increase the likelihood of underwater accidents. If you are looking for permanent coverage, which already comes with higher rates, you may want to reconsider your policy choice.
Whether you spend your vacation darting around on a speed boat or prefer to quietly fish, your insurer is likely to care about how much time you spend on your boat. The dangers of boating are clear. If an accident occurs while you are on the water, you may not be able to get to assistance. Even if you can, professional medical care is typically not readily available.
Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
If you have spent time on the rapids, particularly Class IV and above, you have likely experienced or seen the risks insurers are concerned about. Even while wearing a helmet, you can easily harm yourself on the rocks if you fall out of a boat or kayak. And if you are dragged underwater, you may not have air for an extended period of time, even if you are rafting with others who try to assist.
Of course, if your annual family vacations typically involve paddling down a Class I or Class II river, such as sections of the Green or Colorado Rivers, your life insurance price impact will likely be low.
What About Motorcycle Riding?
For many motorcycle riders, Summer is the time to break out the bike and go on weekend trips or extended road trips. And you might think your passion would lead to increased life insurance rates, but this is a myth. So long as you’re a safe rider with no history of speeding or accidents, most insurers do not care if you are riding a motorcycle or driving a car
A poor driving history may impact your life insurance rates.
Insurers commonly pull your driving record when you apply for coverage, and negative marks will count against you. So enjoy a long trip on your bike this Summer, remember to bring the helmet, wear all recommended protective gear, follow all laws and be a careful/cautious/sensible rider.
Paul Ebeling, Editor
Editor’s Note: Ms. Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products is Ms. Rieman’s focus.