life insurance


Original Post
germsauce Epstein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

Applying for term life insurance as i have a kid on the way, want to make sure him and mom are good if I go splat. It's asking about my activities, wondering if I climb. can anyone explain the ramifications of answering this question? Clearly there's a difference between attempting K-2 and bouldering at The Spot. If I just answer "yes" will i be denied or pay a higher premium? If i answer no and actually die in eldo, will they withhold benefits to my family?

Mike McKinnon · · Golden, CO · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 25
germsauce Epstein wrote:Applying for term life insurance as i have a kid on the way, want to make sure him and mom are good if I go splat. It's asking about my activities, wondering if I climb. can anyone explain the ramifications of answering this question? Clearly there's a difference between attempting K-2 and bouldering at The Spot. If I just answer "yes" will i be denied or pay a higher premium? If i answer no and actually die in eldo, will they withhold benefits to my family?
I have to go through this all the time. Insurance companies dont really know the difference between K2 and just normal rock climbing. At any rate, you will have to shop around and get some different rates. All of them had me fill out a form. It asked me things like:

What elevation do I climb at?
How long have I been climbing?
dO I clib internationally?
How many times do you climb in a week? Month?Year?

I finally got an insurance company that did not jack up my rate on me.

You dont want to lie because if you die climbing, they wont pay out. But you also dont want to let them know how much you do it since it is considered a risk.

I had one term life policy go from $120/month (for $2M) to $1000/month when they found out I climbed!

I finally found one that went only went up $10/month after my climbing declaration.
germsauce Epstein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

Super helpful thanks dude.

curt86iroc · · Golden, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 3

first place to look is your employer. i purchased additional life insurance, and because im an employee, i don't have the deal with any of the climbing questions.

gumbotron · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2008 · Points: 0

I went through this recently, and for the same reason. I found that the premium increase differed dramatically across insurers. The cost of Metlife quadrupled. I found a local agent who suggested Ohio Life, and it went through with a tolerable increase. Questions are very similar to what Mike McKinnon mentioned. The group route, through and employer, is also worth looking into--and I agree that the scrutiny will be much lower. However, I tend to switch jobs every few years, and was more in favor of a 20 year term policy that was independent of my employment.

germsauce Epstein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

just finished my USAA claim form. we're looking at $40/month for $500k in coverage, but i just submitted detail on climbing activities, it actually asked what YDS grade i climb... I wonder how they factor that one in? But they didn't ask sport or trad, or if i wear a helmet etc...

I'll check back in when my quote gets adjusted to let you all know how it changes. I Appreciate the helpful responses.

jleining · · CO · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 8

I did a quote for USAA aswell. Before telling them I climbed it was $27 a month after telling them I climb 5times a year at the 5.12 level and have been climbing for 20 years my rate went to $130 a month. I told them to go pound sand.
I'm guessing yours will be around $275 a month.

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 129
gumbotron wrote:I tend to switch jobs every few years, and was more in favor of a 20 year term policy that was independent of my employment.
Many employer group life plans have continuation or conversion options that allow you to keep some or all of you coverage when you terminate employment. Premiums might not be as low as when you were employed, but it might still be a better deal than paying extra for an individual policy because of perceived climbing risks.

OTOH coverage under employer group life plans is often limited to something like 5 x annual earnings, which might not be as much as you're looking for.
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 5

i second (or third) looking into employer coverage, if you have the option. i upped mine from $150k to just over $500k. no questions asked about climbing. its either $7 or $14 every 2 weeks, i forget. but either way, thats pretty darn cheap.

Ernest W · · Camarillo, CA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

Ditto the comments above. You definitely want to acknowledge you climb and all the insurance companies will then send you a further disclosure questionnaire. After that it varies by company in terms of what questions, how much detail, etc. my experience was that the rate increases varied dramatically between insurance companies so apply to multiple companies and plan on the whole process taking a long time (it was about 6 months before I got through the whole process).

Klimbien · · St.George Orem Denver Vegas · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 140

Following

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,228
Mike McKinnon wrote: Insurance companies dont really know the difference between K2 and just normal rock climbing.
I think the good ones certainly do. Those questionnaires are produced in conjunction with actuaries that base their rates on death/injury statistics. If you climb K2 there is a notably higher rate of death/injury then sport climbing in Colorado and they have a pretty good basis for knowing this. Thus when they ask if you go above 18,000 feet or climb in Patagonia, Alaska, or the Himalaya, then you better believe your rates will reflect your answer. Admittedly some companies have better actuaries than others, so sure, some companies appear to know nothing (I know of a company that won't insure any who climbs above 5.10, which is certainly an ambiguous cutoff). That said, companies like Prudential with significant actuary resources are asking pointed questions with real statistical reasons behind them.

germsauce Epstein wrote:Applying for term life insurance as i have a kid on the way, want to make sure him and mom are good if I go splat.
To the OP, I would be very careful with how you answer their questions and error on the side of honesty. This could really be important because, for example, if you eat sh*t trad climbing 1000 feet off the deck, but you wrote in your questionnaire answers that you only sport climb sub-100 feet, then chances are their lawyers are going to determine that you were in breach of contract and they owe you and your kids squat. Will this cost you more money? Almost certainly. But if you don't answer the questions honestly, then you may just be paying for no coverage at all in the event of an accident that you aren't covered for.

Ernest W wrote:my experience was that the rate increases varied dramatically between insurance companies so apply to multiple companies and plan on the whole process taking a long time (it was about 6 months before I got through the whole process).
Ernest is right about rates varying notably between different companies (some won't even insure you for some activities). Probably the easiest thing to do (especially if your time is tight), is to just get a single insurance agent and let them shop around for you. Essentially you want to find an agent who is able to do business with any number of companies so you are able to get a reasonable and quick assessment of what exists for you.
BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5

On a side note, from what I understand if you already have a policy in place(>2yrs) THEN start climbing/scuba/etc. they have to pay out even if it is/was one of those high risk activities

Robert Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 101
germsauce Epstein wrote:just finished my USAA claim form. we're looking at $40/month for $500k in coverage, but i just submitted detail on climbing activities, it actually asked what YDS grade i climb... I wonder how they factor that one in? But they didn't ask sport or trad, or if i wear a helmet etc... I'll check back in when my quote gets adjusted to let you all know how it changes. I Appreciate the helpful responses.
I have USAA as well and answered all their questions honestly. The initially quoted rate did not go up. However, I don't climb expedition peaks, which I imagine would send your rates up.

In a way, I was a little insulted that my mountaineering and rock climbing levels did not warrant a rate increase, but I didn't really complain!
germsauce Epstein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

Thanks RMS and everyone else for the helpful advice. I will also ask my employer, but i'm waiting a few weeks to let him know that we're expecting (nearing end of 1st trimester) and i'd rather not raise suspicion in the short term.

USAA has always been impressively awesome so i'm hoping i don't have to shop around or deal with a broker. I may go edit my response that i don't climb over 400ft based on J Albers response, as I guess i do occasionally still get further off the deck (when i'm lucky) although w/ a baby that'll probably be less and less in the next couple years. I'd hate to go splat from 500 ft. and have my family get nothing for it.

mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0
BigB wrote:On a side note, from what I understand if you already have a policy in place(>2yrs) THEN start climbing/scuba/etc. they have to pay out even if it is/was one of those high risk activities
Anyone know the general applicability of this?

I put a policy in place at a time when I was not climbing (thought I had retired having had kids), but now am back at it. That policy should still be valid, correct?

And a policy I put in place today, as a non-climber, should payout if I deck after > 2years?
Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 129
BigB wrote:From what I understand if you already have a policy in place(>2yrs) THEN start climbing/scuba/etc. they have to pay out even if it is/was one of those high risk activities
Here's how it works. If you die when a policy has been in force for less than two years then the insurer has the right to question into the information you provided in you application. If it turns out that you weren't entirely truthful then they can deny the claim. But if you really didn't start climbing until after you took out a policy and then died in a climbing accident, the insurer has to pay no matter how short a period the policy has been in force.

In most states, after two years the insurer can't deny a claim on the grounds that something was misrepresented in your application. This is mandated by state insurance law.
Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 45

This is a bit paranoid, but you may want to delete this comment. If you die in a climbing accident and they find this pretty easily accessible thread would be good grounds to void the policy.

Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 45
mike again wrote: Anyone know the general applicability of this? I put a policy in place at a time when I was not climbing (thought I had retired having had kids), but now am back at it. That policy should still be valid, correct? And a policy I put in place today, as a non-climber, should payout if I deck after > 2years?
Depends on state law and the policy. But very likely you are fine.
Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 45
Ana Tine wrote: But then you quote it, so he can't erase it. (Not saying he would) but if someone like OP were to downplay climbing on the life insurance form, it would be irreconcilable considering that is the exact purpose he bought it for.
True. I was planning to delete it if he did :)

Agreed re OP. Good to be truthful. I was with USAA and got a good policy. But I don't do any mountaineering. They didn't seem to distinguish between trad and sport, which seems a bit foolish, though not sure about the stats on that.
Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 129
Mike McKinnon wrote:Insurance companies dont really know the difference between K2 and just normal rock climbing.
J. Albers wrote:I think the good ones certainly do. Those questionnaires are produced in conjunction with actuaries that base their rates on death/injury statistics... That said, companies like Prudential with significant actuary resources are asking pointed questions with real statistical reasons behind them.
I'm flattered that you have such a high opinion of actuaries. I'm one myself, and I used to work for a life insurance company (but not doing mortality studies). However, I think that Mike McKinnon is closer to the mark. There isn't a whole lot of science behind the rates that are being quoted. Meaningful statistics about the risks of climbing are very difficult to compile, because no-one really knows how many climbers there are, or how often they go climbing, or exactly what sort of climbing they do. And the statistics that are available aren't all that relevant to insurance companies, because a disproportionate number of climbing accidents involve single men in their early 20s, whereas the type of person that buys life insurance is generally somewhat older with a couple of dependents. So most of the time what you're quoted is just someone's educated guess.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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