Ashley Dannelly has a Master of Arts in English and teaches English at Columbia International University and other higher education institutions. She is also a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise and trains clients in both individual and group settings. Ashley’s background in English and fitness has allowed her the opportunity to write and create content for many ...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Apr 24, 2022

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The Brief

  • Engaging in high-risk activities will raise your life insurance rates substantially
  • Some insurance companies will flat out deny you a policy, especially if your hobby is extremely high-risk, like skydiving
  • You should always disclose a dangerous hobby to your insurance company to avoid fraud and the risk that your death benefit will be denied

From mountain climbing to skydiving, some people enjoy spending their free time with a little bit more of a thrill. Despite the danger (or perhaps because of), millions of people worldwide participate in high-risk activities.

Life is short, and you should pursue hobbies that make you happy, but there are consequences when you engage in risky activities. One of these consequences is that your whole or term life insurance will be more expensive.

If you engage in dangerous hobbies regularly, comparing insurance quotes with multiple companies can help you save money. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool to see what quotes might look like for you.

Why do dangerous hobbies make your life insurance rates higher?

Life insurance companies use complex formulas to determine the exact price of your policy. While life insurance is extremely valuable to your family’s financial security, the company is still trying to make a profit. They charge higher rates for people with a higher risk of dying to protect themselves.

This is why dangerous hobbies come with higher rates. Skydiving, for example, has an inherent risk in it. If you frequently skydive, you’re continuously putting your life in danger.

Because of that increased risk, life insurance companies will be hesitant to insure you. Some companies will flat out deny you a policy, while others will charge you much higher rates. You can find policies that offer regular rates, but they often specify that your death benefit won’t be paid if you die while participating in your hobby.

What happens if you omit a dangerous hobby from your application?

While it might seem tempting, you should never lie on an insurance application. Omission of a hobby (or minimizing the frequency of participating) is a type of fraud called non-disclosure.

From health insurance to auto coverage, every type of insurance collects data about you. However, life insurance does the deepest dive into your medical and insurance history. Before you get a new policy, the company will look at what sort of injuries you’ve had treated and what claims you’ve made.

Worse, if you happen to die during a dangerous hobby, your insurance company will investigate the cause. If they find out you died during a skydiving accident and that you were regularly participating in that hobby, they’ll know you lied on your application.

Lying to an insurance company can have some serious consequences. The company could refuse to pay your death benefit after you’ve died or pay a mere fraction of it. Some companies will demand a back payment if the benefit has already been paid.

If they learn of your hobby while you’re still alive, they could cancel your policy or severely raise your rates.

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What hobbies do life insurance companies consider dangerous?

Some dangerous hobbies are easy to guess – most people can understand why bungee jumping is risky. Others are a little less obvious.

If you’re planning on buying life insurance, but you’re worried that your hobby might be considered high-risk, check out the hazardous activities list below:

  • Scuba diving (especially to depths great than 100 feet or in caves or shipwrecks)
  • Big wave surfing
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Hang gliding
  • BASE jumping
  • Heli-skiing
  • Piloting private planes
  • Wingsuit flying
  • Bungee jumping
  • Skydiving
  • Racing, including cars, motorcycles, and boats
  • Rock or mountain climbing

Anything on the high-risk activities list above can get you denied a life insurance policy, especially if you compete or do them professionally.

While the previously listed activities are some of the most frowned-upon, there are other hobbies that insurance companies are cautious about. These high-risk activities below don’t affect your policy as much, but you still might pay higher rates:

  • Biking (especially in densely populated areas)
  • Snorkeling
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding
  • Skiing
  • Mountain biking
  • Wakeboarding
  • Surfing (as long as you stay away from the big waves)
  • Hiking

As you can see, a lot of these activities are competitive sports. You can usually find hazardous sports insurance policies if you participate in these. These policies give you the coverage you need without asking you to cut back on the hobby you love.

Are high-risk hobbies really dangerous?

For most people, engaging in a dangerous hobby will do nothing more than make their hearts beat faster. However, there’s no denying that dangerous hobbies claim lives.

To get an idea of how hazardous an activity is, the most dangerous hobbies statistics are a good place to look. To start, consider the chance you have of dying while participating in the following activities:

HobbyChances of dyingReasons why people die
Bungee jumping1 in 500,000Equipment malfunction
BASE jumping1 in 2,317Collision with platform, equipment malfunction, bad landing
Heli-skiing1 in 5,560Weather, helicopter crash
Mountain climbing1 in 1,750Falling
Motorcycle racing1 in 1,000Crashes
Scuba diving1 in 200,000Running out of oxygen, equipment failure, human error
Skydiving1 in 101,000Equipment malfunction, collisions, human error
Hang gliding1 in 1,000Weather, human error, collisions
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When you see how likely you are to die doing any given activity, it’s a little easier to understand why insurance companies don’t want to insure them.

How can you save money on high-risk hobby insurance?

The first thing to do is keep in mind the definition of a hobby. If you decide to go skydiving once to try it out, you don’t need to report it to your life insurance company. If you engage in a dangerous activity rarely, such as once a year or less, ask your insurance agent to be sure.

A dangerous hobby will automatically raise your rates. For example, scuba divers pay an average of $2,500 more per year than non-scuba divers. Hang gliding will cost you $2,000 more per year, while rock climbing adds $1,500.

You can’t avoid price hikes for your hobby, but consider the following ways to save money on your policy:

  • Buy term life instead of whole life
  • Get a policy while you’re young
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Pay for your policy upfront
  • Take a medical exam

Of course, the best way to find the cheapest insurance rates is to compare quotes. You should never go with the first company you look at. Instead, try to get as many quotes as you can so you can compare product vs. price and make the best decision for you.

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Find the Best Hazardous Activity Insurance Today

When your passion doesn’t meet the approval of life insurance companies, it can be tricky to make sure your family has the financial protection they deserve. You’ll pay more than people without high-risk hobbies, but life insurance can be an invaluable resource for your loved ones.

If you participate in dangerous hobbies, comparing quotes with multiple companies will help you find the most affordable policy that still meets your needs. If you’re ready to see what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool today.