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Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

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Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby RickF » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:15 pm

I have a whole life policy and I supplement it with a term life insurance policy. I'm in the process of renewing the term life policy and the insurance company sent me a questionnaire. There were questions about climbing. I answered honestly. I'm a peak-bagger and sometimes I don the harness, tie-in and do some technical climbing, glacier travel, etc. Just basic Mountaineering. No international travel to extreme high altitudes and no big wall climbing. And, I only engage in any of this "climbing" maybe once a month.

As a part of the process of applying for renewal of my term life policy the insurance company sent a Nurse Practitioner to my house to do physical exam, assessment, and medical history.

So after a few weeks and a few follow-up questions, my agent tells me that my premium will go from 100/mo to 700/mo. My health is excellent but the drastic hike in the premium is due to the high risk associated with "climbing".

So I'm thinking of asking them to provide coverage with my express consent to exclude coverage for climbing related accidents so at least my family would get benefits if I succumb to the more real risks like getting killed while commuting the 30,000 annual miles that I log in behind the wheel. If I can do this I'd also look into buy specific coverage on a trip by trip basis when I plan to venture up a technical peak.

Anyone have a similar experience with life insurance? Does anyone know about buying trip specific life insurance?
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Fletch » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:28 pm

Very similar experience. On the questionaire, "climbing" should be scratched out and the work "hiking" should be inserted...

I think honesty is the best policy, but see if they will allow the term "hiking" instead of "climbing" --- this would infer that a fall while on rope would not be covered (pretty reasonable to me), but an emergency situation, act of god, etc while on a peakbagging trip would be...

Worth a shot...
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Josh Lewis » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:06 pm

RickF wrote:my agent tells me that my premium will go from 100/mo to 700/mo.


Might as well save up the money yourself at that point. I don't plan on getting life insurance partly based on the climbing aspect. I value my adventures way to much to "trade it" for some insurance. I personally like to call it "death insurance".
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Sarah Simon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:38 pm

I recently purchased a new policy and had to navigate these waters. Oddly enough, both of my agents are climbers and were helpful to this regard.

Concur with Fletch that honestly is the best policy. You need to decide: Is it worth paying more to replace my income for my family if I die in a climbing accident? Or should I save money on premiums knowing that if something happens to me during and "uncovered activity," I go to the grave leaving my loved ones "holding the bag" so to speak. It's a tough conundrum. Yeah, statistically you might be more likely to crash your truck or slip on your stairs, but that's little consolation to the folks at home if you go in a climbing accident.

You don't want your survivors fighting with an insurance company over dotted I's and crossed T's in the wake of your untimely departure.

A reminder to all that life insurance is nothing about you and all about the loved ones you leave behind. The primary breadwinner in the household...until and unless you can save/build investments sufficient enough to replace your lost income / cover specific expenses (e.g. mortgage, education, healthcare), and transfer these assets to your survivors in a way they can use / legally access / make sense of, you might as well have a policy.
Go climb a mountain
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby fatdad » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:23 pm

There has been a number of previous threads on this very topic that might be worth searching out.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby sharperblue » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:24 pm

Through the AAC, I'm covered for 500k including cratering while climbing for US$700/year; you can up that to US$1m for another 300/year
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Fletch » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:26 am

Josh Lewis wrote:I don't plan on getting life insurance partly based on the climbing aspect. I value my adventures way to much to "trade it" for some insurance. I personally like to call it "death insurance".

Says the guy thats 21. Ha! :D

Josh, I certainly don't mean to sound condescending, but life? ... it... gets more complicated. Life is the journey from "it's all about me" to "its all about you" ... somewhere around 40, it hits you like a ton of bricks... you certainly don't need life insurance, my friend! :lol: Go back to the "how to climb 5.13" threads!

EDIT: I just re-read this. Jesus, I sound old. Sigh.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Fletch » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:30 am

fatdad wrote:There has been a number of previous threads on this very topic that might be worth searching out.

Can you find them?

I think you're right, but I just did a quick search for "insurance" in the thread title and came up with six results (mostly dealing with medical insurance).
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Jesus Malverde » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:50 am

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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Sunny Buns » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:00 am

My state farm agent did not mind that I did snow slogs on volcanoes back in 1993 for a $150K policy. It was cheap. I think they were more concerned about rock climbing and maybe 8,000 meter peaks, etc. I did not lie to them.

Check with other insurance companies.

That American Alpine Club insurance mentioned above sounds good. A tad pricey but if you do quite a bit of climbing it is probably worth it. Stuff happens.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby Augie Medina » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:52 pm

I think it's good advice not to be flexible with the truth in these situations. First thing insurers look at when they receive a claim is whether there might have been misrepresentations in the application for insurance and whether any exclusions apply. You don't want to leave your heirs twisting in the wind, the very persons you intended to protect.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby RickF » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:07 pm

Thanks for the replies and good info.
Fletch wrote:
fatdad wrote:There has been a number of previous threads on this very topic that might be worth searching out.

Can you find them?

I think you're right, but I just did a quick search for "insurance" in the thread title and came up with six results (mostly dealing with medical insurance).

I did a search within SummitPost before I started the thread. I was a little surprised there wasn't more past discussion on this topic. I did see a similar discussion on another site's forum.

Sarah Simon wrote:A reminder to all that life insurance is nothing about you and all about the loved ones you leave behind. The primary breadwinner in the household...until and unless you can save/build investments sufficient enough to replace your lost income / cover specific expenses (e.g. mortgage, education, healthcare), and transfer these assets to your survivors in a way they can use / legally access / make sense of, you might as well have a policy.

Sarah, EXACTLY! I'm looking at another 15 years until my youngest is on his own and the house is paid off.

I saw the policies available to American Alpine Club members, I think I'll look into that. Also Northwest Mutual. My current term policy is with Farmer's.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby the_isalani » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:15 pm

Sunny Buns wrote: I think they were more concerned about rock climbing and maybe 8,000 meter peaks, etc. I did not lie to them.



My term policy has no exclusions for climbing. In fact it has no exclusions for any activity, the only things it lays out that are exclusions are rebellions, civil unrest, war, and invasion. My agent and I went over the policy together, and I also told him that I climb, and wanted to make sure I was covered.

However, my trips are infrequent enough (living in the midwest blows), that if I was told I'd be paying $700/mo, I'd tell that agent to re-write it without climbing coverage. That's ridiculous. ($700 - $100 = $600/mo x 12 = $7,200 a year). That's a significant amount in additional premiums, that would be better served dumped into an IRA, HSA, or other form of long term investment. And, if you choose and IRA or HSA, its tax deferred. Double for the HSA when you spend it too.

Life is a risk. From climbing Annapurna, to slipping in the shower and breaking your neck. You need to balance your risk; if you try to cover every possible outcome you'll go crazy and broke.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby johngenx » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:52 am

I had the same problem a few years back. Suddenly, I was "uninsurable." My agent found one company willing to underwrite the policy, but it was VERY expensive.

So, I have one old policy from way back for about $200K that costs almost nothing and has no exclusions. Then I have a $300K policy that excludes technical climbing (if I'm wearing a harness and using a rope) that is cheap thanks to the exclusion.

Of course, oddly, it would seem that were I to solo some 5.15 and all off and die (which I would!) then I'd be covered thanks to the lack of rope/harness.

Stupid. But, it's their game, and so I play it.
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Re: Life Insurance Policies and Climbing

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:22 am

I'm curious about the actuarial support for this. There are about 30 deaths/year for all mountaineering in North America... and there must be x*10^5 people in NA who are "climbers." Mainly these deaths are not from technical climbing. In the USA alone, we currently have about 10 deaths/year/10^5 people just from driving.
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