You might think that getting life insurance as a pilot is complicated. After all, pilots spend a good part of their life in the air in what seems to be a pretty dangerous situation. That’s the thing, though: it might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
As much as people assume pilots – amateur or professional – have chosen a dangerous way to spend their time, the truth is that the statistics tell a different story. Whereas car accidents and other ground-based tragedies are pretty common, airplanes are actually much safer than most people realize. In fact, on average, airplanes are much less accident-prone than cars, trains or busses.
Unfortunately, not all life insurance companies treat pilots’ policies like this. However, a good life insurance company takes these statistics into account when underwriting a new policy.
Life Insurance for Pilots
Although being a pilot is safer than most would think, the truth is that any insurance company is going to look at your profession and use it as one of the many factors that go into determining whether or not you qualify for a life insurance policy, and how much it will cost. In order to get a policy, you’ll have to answer a lot of questions. The company will use this to determine your overall risk. Your status as a pilot is definitely something that a life insurance company will take into account.
When determining your possible life insurance policy, companies will ask you a series of questions to determine risk. While it’s impossible to know exactly what you will be asked, you can assume they will want to know more about your time as a pilot.
Questions, Questions, Questions …
For example, one important question is whether being a pilot is a job or a hobby. This is an important question for a number of reasons.
For one, if you fly as a hobby, it means you aren’t in the air as long as a pilot. That could be something that works in your favor. On the other hand, flying as a hobby also means that you don’t have as much experience, which could work against you.
Another reason why this matters is that many airlines require pilots to recertify and train constantly, which is another factor that goes towards determining your overall risk. The more you practice, train and certify, the easier it will be for life insurance companies to decide that you’re a safer bet, and be willing to underwrite a policy for you.
Amount of Time Spent Flying
Another series of questions you might be asked have to do with the overall amount of time you spend flying. As we mentioned before, this is covered a little in your overall pilot status. But they might want to know more specifics.
This question can be about two things: how often you fly now, and how many total hours of flying you’ve had. In one case – how often you fly – a higher number can be seen as a bad thing. This makes sense, of course, considering that flying is the activity that the insurance companies are worried about; the more you do it, the more risk you are seen to be taking.
In the other case – the total flying experience you’ve had – a higher number is good. The more experience you’ve had, the safer bet you are.
The insurance company might also want to know what sorts of planes you fly. Larger, commercial aircraft have different safety records and specifications. Different than small, private aircraft, and can also go towards assessing your overall risk.
Another type of information needed – and this is true for all forms of transportation, regardless – is your overall safety record. Have you been in accidents before? Do you have a history of taking unnecessary risks while in the air, or putting yourself in danger?
All of these questions are important for the insurance company to decide whether or not to offer you a policy. Of course, in addition to these pilot-specific questions, you’ll also be asked general questions about your health and lifestyle.
Why Being a Pilot Could Be Beneficial
If all of this information makes it sound like being a pilot is automatically going to make it harder to find affordable life insurance, it is important to note that there are some aspects of being a pilot that could work in your favor – and should be stressed on your application.
For example, being a pilot takes a considerable amount of education and training. Not just anyone can be a pilot. This extended education should be emphasized and acknowledged by both you and the insurance agent.
Another way being a pilot can be beneficial has to do with overall health. Generally speaking, pilots are among the healthier people alive. It takes physical discipline and stamina to be a successful pilot. These factors should work in your favor.
Types of Available Life Insurance for Pilots
While it might be a bit more work to get a life insurance policy, being a pilot shouldn’t disqualify you. You should have access to a full range of life insurance products to suit your needs and personal financial situation. Here are just some of the options that might be available to you.
Term Life Insurance
For most people – pilots included – term life insurance is the easiest type of insurance to get. Because of how term life insurance works, it’s typically cheaper, easier to get and relatively simple to understand.
Term life insurance operates on the simple policy that you pay a fixed amount for a predetermined amount of time. The policy is good for that amount of time, but no longer, and it does not accumulate value over time.
This means that, should you outline the policy, the money you’ve put into it is essentially lost. (This is why term life insurance policies are easier to get; they are relatively low-risk for the company, and they stand to make a sizable amount of money on each policy).
Universal Life Insurance
Many term life insurance policies can be converted to a universal life insurance policy. This is good because this type of policy allows you to accumulate wealth as you put money into it. Often, these universal policies are not much more costly in premiums than term life insurance policies. The benefits accrued over time make them much more desirable.
Whole Life Insurance
Depending on the outcome of your risk assessment, you might be able to get a whole life insurance policy. These policies are popular because they allow the insured to have the most opportunity to accrue wealth and see a return on their investment.
With whole life insurance policies, the company pays dividends to you, the policyholder. These dividends can be used to invest in more insurance or pay down your premiums over time.