7 Sports That Make Getting Life Insurance Hard (or Impossible!)

One of the questions I’ve received over the years is “Will my sport cause me problems in purchasing new life insurance?” The answer in most cases is no, but there are some hobbies that may be a problem for the underwriters in the insurance company.

Here is a list of seven high-risk sports that are problematic when it comes to getting life insurance.

1. Ice climbing. Unlike their mountain-climbing counterparts, ice climbers are in constant danger of causing a self-inflicted stab wound from one of their razor-sharp crampons, which is their No. 1 source of injury. Not to mention the possibility that the ice they are climbing may crack and take them down with it.

2. Free running. Free running is jumping from roof to roof at maximum speed. No ropes, no parachute, no insurance. Free running is practiced in urban areas that feature lots of railings and concrete walls for participants to jump, flip and tumble over in an acrobatic fashion. I call it run, jump, bleed.

3. Base jumping. Talk about insane! I don’t like looking down from a tall building, and I certainly have no desire to jump into the unknown from any height. Yes, I can remember when I was a kid and wanted to fly like superman, but a base jumper? No way. By the way, base-jumping is illegal in the U.S., unless it’s being performed by a professional at an event, so not only will you not get insurance, but you may end up in jail.

4. Heli-skiing. A skier is dropped from a helicopter onto fresh white powder in a remote section of the mountains, a place where there is no other way to get there. There’s a possibility of starting an avalanche or falling through an ice patch, and if you do, it may be near impossible to get rescued.

5. Street luge. Loosely described, this is the equivalent of lying on your skateboard and having your friend push you down Lombard Street in San Francisco. Riders on street luge boards can reach 70 mph.

6. Big-wave surfing. Surfers dream of riding the “big” wave and are willing to travel around the world to catch one, and by big I mean the 50-foot monster. What are the risks? Broken bones, drowning, shark attacks. No thanks. I will watch this on TV.

7. Cliff diving. Have you thought about jumping off a 90-foot cliff? Into water that will feel like concrete when you hit it? The biggest issue is not hitting the water, because you may hit the side of the cliff on the way down; or slam against the rocks in the ocean below you. You could also break a hip or incur a spinal cord injury by landing feet first in the water. If it was me, I would die of a heart attack on the way down.

So yes, there are sports for which only the very brave or foolish should participate in, but if you do, don’t expect to buy preferred-rated life insurance or perhaps any life insurance.


Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of Life Happens

by Marvin H. Feldman

Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, is president of the Feldman Financial Group in Palm Harbor, Fla., and president and CEO of Life Happens. He is a 41-year Million Dollar Round Table member and was the 2002 president. He is a 33-year member of the MDRT Top of the Table and a past Top of the Table chairman. He also is the recipient of the 2011 John Newton Russell award, the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the insurance industry.

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