6 High-Risk Jobs That Could Make You Uninsurable
Life insurance carriers consider a lot before offering you coverage. Are you a smoker or overweight? Do you have any existing conditions? No rock is left unturned when it comes to studying your health and habits, and any factors that could potentially shorten your life span. But carriers don’t just look at your health and lifestyle choices. They also examine your job, and whether it puts you at risk.
Investopedia writes that life insurance companies rate applicants based on the amount of risk that’s typically associated with their job. If you’re deemed as less risky, your life insurance premiums will be much more affordable. However, if a carrier believes you’re going to die earlier than others in your age bracket, you may be labeled as high-risk. Simply put, high-risk often results in much higher premiums.
Surprisingly, some jobs that have obvious dangers associated with them might not be a concern for all insurance companies, says Richard Sturm, a financial adviser, educator, and public speaker. “For example, fire fighters and law enforcement professionals can receive the same rating that an office worker might, depending on the life insurance company,” Sturm says to Investopedia. Additionally, commercial airline pilots typically aren’t thought of as high-risk either. So, what jobs should you look out for? Here are six careers that could cause life insurance carriers to think twice.
1. Transportation and Warehousing
A lot of jobs fall under this category, including transportation on the road, rail, air, or water. Business Insider writes that drivers, including truck drivers or sales workers, must deal with long and strenuous hours, which can lead to dangerous situations.
Transportation incidents accounted for more than 2 of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics writes that of the 1,789 transportation-related fatal injuries, about 58 percent were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. Among service-providing industries in the private sector, fatal work injuries in transportation and warehousing accounted for 677 deaths in 2012.
The number of fatal injuries in truck transportation, the largest subsector within transportation and warehousing in terms of employment, decreased 6 percent in 2012. Among other transportation subsectors, fatal work injuries in air transportation were slightly higher, but fatalities in water and rail transportation were lower in 2012, according to the BLS.
2. Jobs That Require Travel to High-Risk Countries
“If your job requires you to travel internationally to countries considered high-risk, you may face a higher rate. I recently had a client living in Texas who traveled to off-shore oil drilling locations off the coast of Africa, which resulted in an added cost,” Liran Hirschkorn, an independent insurance agent, tells Investopedia.
This includes jobs you may not initially think of as high-risk. For example, top executives and CEOs sometimes have to travel to areas considered high-risk to develop and manage projects, set up new offices, or assist their staff, according to The Muse. Trips to high-risk countries can often be an immediate red flag for insurance carriers.
3. Underground Miners
Faced with the risk of cave-ins, explosions, carbon monoxide, and methane gas, miners deal with serious dangers each and every day. ABC News writes that 50 to 60 coal miners die in the U.S. every year while working. It is so dangerous, in fact, that miners wear emergency breathing devices at all times to allow them enough time to escape should a disaster arise.
Miners from previous generations actually used to bring canaries into mines with them to help detect hidden dangers, such as methane gas or carbon monoxide. If the canary started to struggle or died, miners knew it was time to get out.
According to the BLS, fatal work injuries in the private mining sector increased 14 percent to 177 in 2012 from 155 in 2011, which is the highest level since 2007. Fatal work injuries in coal mining increased slightly, while fatal work injuries in support activities for mining increased 9 percent.
4. Agriculture and Forestry
According to Chron, because loggers work with saws, axes, and heavy equipment and are surrounded by falling trees and limbs on a daily basis, they automatically have a much higher chance of getting hurt as they navigate through rough forest terrain. Additionally, farmers are surrounded by large machinery that can be quite dangerous. Plus, the long hours that come along with farming make it more likely that a deadly mistake will be made.
In 2012, there were 475 deaths in the U.S. due to agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting fatalities, compared with 566 in 2011. “Despite the declines in fatal work injuries in this sector over the last two years, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry sector at 21.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012,” according to the BLS.
5. Construction Workers
Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5 percent to 775 in 2012 from 738 in 2011, according to the BLS. What’s so high-risk about this job? Construction workers consistently face potentially dangerous obstacles. They’re exposed to hazardous materials, explosives, power tools, heavy machinery, and heights. They also have to be wary of underground tunnels, busy highways, and building sites, per List25. One wrong move at a construction site can have deadly consequences.
6. At-Sea Fishermen
There is a fatality rate of 116 for every 100,000 fishermen, according to Business Insider. Additionally, there were 29 deaths in 2010. The most common cause of death for fishers and fishing-related workers is transportation incidents, but environment-related deaths is a close second.
Fishermen face a steady stream of dangers every day. A day at sea involves dealing with harsh, unpredictable weather, dangerous equipment, and fatigue, all of which make this job extremely high-risk. Chron writes that extreme fatigue can often lead to men being tossed overboard by waves and wind, in addition to being cut or trapped by heavy lines and nets.
The Cost of a High-Risk Job
If you happen to work in one of these careers, you could face a lot of obstacles when trying to obtain life insurance. According to Insurance Quotes, if a life insurance carrier labels you high-risk due to your job, hobby, or health, you should expect to pay premiums that are anywhere from $2 to $5 more for every $1,000 of life insurance coverage. That means for a $100,000 life insurance policy, your annual premium could be as much as $500 more than someone who is low risk.