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High Risk Life Insurance

Life insurance for high risk individuals is often hard to find and more expensive, but it's still worth getting — speak to a broker.

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What sort of occupations and duties are classified as high risk?

Occupations that are commonly placed in the high-risk category include those that involve:

  • Working at heights, for example, as a window cleaner
  • Working underground, for example, as a miner
  • Working with firearms, such as if you are employed as a police officer
  • Working with explosives or dangerous chemicals, for example, if you work in the demolition industry
  • Serving in the armed forces
  • Working in any other occupation in a war zone, for example, as a journalist
  • Working in an occupation that exposes you to diseases, such as working as a doctor or nurse
  • Working with heavy machinery, for example, on large construction sites
  • Working in any occupation that exposes you to danger, such as if you’re a firefighter or an airline pilot

How does a high-risk occupation affect your life insurance premium?

*Risk levels are to be taken as a rough guide. Quotes are based on a 40 year old non-smoking male living in Sydney. Information last checked on November 2021 and are subject to change.

OccupationRisk levelAverage monthly premium*
Office WorkerLow risk$82.21
Construction supervisorMedium$82.21
Train driverMedium to high$82.21
WreckerHigh$82.21

Speak to a specialist to help you get cover for your occupation

Finding life insurance for high risk individuals can be difficult and time consuming. We've made it much easier. Enter your details below and a broker will get in touch with you about your high risk insurance options.

Why compare life insurance with Finder?

  • You pay the same price as buying directly from the life insurer.

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  • We've done 100+ hours of policy research to help you understand what you're comparing.

How do insurers usually determine high-risk occupations?

Each insurer will vary in the way it assesses the risk of your job. However, as a general guide, it usually depends on:

  • Overall risk of your job title
  • Your individual duties and the hazards they involve
  • The environment in which you work in

It's worth pointing out that just because you work in one of these professions it doesn't necessarily mean that you will automatically be classified as high risk.

Insurance providers will instead use further criteria to determine the likelihood of you suffering injury, illness or death as a result of your occupation, some of which include:

  • How hazardous your individual role is. For example, if you work in the mining industry and this sometimes involves the use of heavy machinery, the insurer will require details on the type of machinery you work with and how often you do so as part of your job. If you work at heights, you'll need to provide details on the average height where work takes place and how long you spend working at that height.
  • How much experience you have in your position. You may find that someone with ten years of experience pays cheaper life insurance premiums than someone who is only in their first year in the same occupation.

Here's how your occupation could be classified:

RiskDetailsHow does this rating impact my policy?
LowLow to no manual work e.g. office workers, retail supervisorsLikely no effects
MediumWorker that involves manual labour e.g. a tradesmenHigher premiums
Medium to highHeavy manual work e.g. A factory machinistHigher premiums
High Jobs that involve dangerous activities and environments eg, a minerHigher premiums or exclusions
Non-insurableAn extremely risky job e.g. firefighting (for some brands)No cover
Individual considerationAn occupation that's not listed by the insurerFurther assessment of job required

What other methods (aside from job) will insurers use to determine risk?

Life insurers take several steps to assess whether or not you are a high-risk applicant. Each insurer employs a team of underwriters who determine whether or not your application for cover will be accepted and, if so, whether any terms and conditions will apply to your cover.

To determine whether an individual is high risk, the insurer may:

  • Ask questions about your health and lifestyle during your cover application
  • Require you to undergo a medical examination
  • Require you to provide medical reports
  • Take into account non-work related factors such as pastimes, lifestyle and smoking status

Once the underwriters have all the information needed to calculate your level of risk, they can then decide whether or not to offer you cover. If cover is provided there may be terms and conditions attached, such as premium loadings or specific exclusions.

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Written by

Gary Ross Hunter

Gary Ross Hunter is an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and news.com.au. Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 2 General Advice General Insurance certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146). See full profile

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