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What you need to know about life insurance and high-risk jobs

Shawn E. McDermott

Can a person’s occupation prevent them from obtaining life insurance? It can certainly make it more difficult to obtain and require higher premiums. Life insurance providers categorize certain occupations as hazardous to a person’s health and/or safety.

If a person isn’t able to get life insurance through their employer and has to find a policy on their own, they will pay a high premium because if they have a “high risk” job when they obtain the policy. They may have to find a policy through an independent agent and forget about getting a policy from a major insurer.

What if a person retires or gets into a new line of work?

A person can later ask for a rate change or get an entirely new policy if they retire or switch to a less hazardous profession. Fortunately for them and any beneficiaries of their policy, if a person got their policy when they didn’t have a high-risk job and later moved into a more dangerous line of work, they can’t lose their policy or be subject to a rate change as a result.

That means if you’re the beneficiary of a loved one’s life insurance policy, the insurer can’t deny your payout because that loved one changed professions. If they answered all questions honestly when they applied and were approved and kept up with their payments, that’s what matters.

What professions are considered hazardous?

Every insurer has its own list, but by and large, these industries and professions are among those considered high risk:

  • Aviation
  • Construction
  • Law enforcement
  • Powerline work
  • Bartending
  • Lumber
  • Mining, oil and natural gas
  • Active military

There are special group life insurance plans available for military personnel. However, they may be able to qualify for private plans as well.

If someone is among the growing number of people who work in the cannabis industry, no major life insurance company will insure them, regardless of the legality of marijuana in their state because it’s still illegal under federal law. That means extra reporting, which many companies don’t want to deal with. Some smaller providers will insure people in this industry.

This is all-important to know if you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy taken out by someone in a hazardous profession. If you’re having a difficult time obtaining the payment to which you’re entitled, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.

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