High Risk Life Insurance

The life insurance policy each person is eligible for is dependent on one essential condition: risk.

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The life insurance policy each person is eligible for is dependent on one essential condition: risk. From the provider’s point of view, their job is to assess what level of risk you pose as a policy holder, and decide upon policy terms from there.

Many different factors can cause providers to define your case as high risk. Whether you have some form of pre-existing medical condition, the nature and level of hazard in your occupation, and whether you engage in risky sports.

If you’re wondering whether anything in your life could cause you to be considered high risk and how that might affect your life insurance options, read on to find out more.

Pre-existing medical conditions

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Undoubtedly one of the most important steps in the process of applying for life insurance is providing a comprehensive medical history. All providers on standard plans will require a complete and honest view of your current state of health, and any pre-existing conditions which could make you a high risk.

All providers on standard plans will require a complete and honest view of your current state of health, and any pre-existing conditions which could make you a high risk.

Many conditions fall under this umbrella. Diabetes, types 1 and type 2, are considered pre-existing conditions by most providers. Policies for diabetics are, in most cases, considered high risk plans.

If you have a particularly high BMI, this can also make you a high-risk applicant. If you have a history of alcohol abuse or dependency this can also affect your policy.

Those who have recovered from cancer, however long ago they may have recovered, are also often considered to be high risk applicants.

Multiple Sclerosis and epilepsy are also pre-existing conditions by most policies, and will affect your insurance.

If you suffer from any of these problems, life insurance is absolutely still available to you. In many cases where there is sufficient time between now and when you were ill, or where you can demonstrate that your condition is mild and does not affect your life expectancy or overall health, you can get cover through standard means.

Where your condition is more severe and you are having trouble obtaining cover on standard terms, there are many options still available. Organisations like Pulse specialise in many forms of high risk life insurance, and there will almost certainly be a policy to cover you.

Hazardous occupations

Which occupations are defined as high risk will vary depending on the insurer, but there are some general rules most providers generally follow. If your work somehow puts you at a greater risk than the typical occupation, your policy will likely also be a high-risk policy.

In general terms, think about the risk involved in your occupation. Do you regularly work at a height of more than 12 metres? Do you drive a lot for work? Do you work on building sites or other hazardous environments? Other things considered high risk include operating heavy machinery, working with chemicals or explosives or if you work underground.

If you are a pilot, a courier, a police officer or fire fighter, even a bus or taxi driver, your occupation is considered risky by providers. Precisely why can differ, but it is essentially about the likelihood of you having accidents at work.

If you’re unsure if your occupation is considered high risk, you should always compare multiple providers. Some may consider you a high risk and others not, or at least a lower risk.

Risky sports

We compare plans from the leading life insurance providers

For the thrill-seekers among us, it’s somewhat easy to see why engaging in potentially life endangering hobbies could be seen as an extra risk by insurance providers. We are not simply talking about trying sky diving once in your life, but regularly and frequent high-risk activity.

There are many sports and hobbies which providers would classify as high risk. Motorsports, like rallying, motorbike racing, quad biking, track bike racing or even competitive go-karting are considered high risk activities.

Water sports like scuba diving, water-skiing, deep-sea fishing, and surfing will put you at a higher risk in the insurer’s eyes. Almost all activities involving large bodies of water will fall into this classification.

Naturally, sky-based hobbies are high on the list. Hang gliding, flying, skydiving and hot air ballooning are all considered dangerous and high-risk activities.

Outdoor activities in general are usually seen as high risk. Rock climbing and abseiling, mountaineering more generally, hunting, shooting, canyoning. If you regularly do any of these things, you are likely to be seen as high risk by the provider.

How does high-risk life insurance affect my policy?

So, as you can see, the term high-risk includes a great many different factors. If you fall under any of these categories, you are probably wondering how the nuts and bolts of your policy will be affected.

The only simple answer is that it will really depend on your circumstances. In cases of some minor illnesses and pre-existing conditions, you may be able to obtain cover on standard terms, at a standard rate.

In most other cases, though, if you are considered high risk, at the very least your premiums will be raised. This is why it’s so important to compare your options. There are specialist providers like Pulse who are able to cover many high-risk applicants who may not be able to get cover elsewhere.

In cases of extreme risk or illness, you may be declined cover on standard terms. But that does not mean that adequate cover is not available to you.


If you are concerned about the rate of your premiums as a result of an illness or a hobby, you must nonetheless always give a full account when making a life insurance application. Especially when it comes to a hobby we have been doing for years and feel poses no danger to us, it can be tempting to leave those details out of your application.

However, if you do not disclose everything that could make you a higher risk, your policy will be invalidated when you pass away. Your investment will be wasted, and your loved ones will have no financial protection.

Whether you like to surf the occasional wave or take perilous dives to the bottom of the sea, you need to tell the insurer to protect the validity of your policy.