Applying for Life Insurance as a Pilot in Canada [2022]

Talk to one of our experienced advisors today to learn more about your insurance options as a pilot!

8 Minute read

Originally Published: February 4, 2022

Updated: September 12, 2022

Being a pilot may make the application process more complicated, but it is very possible to qualify for regular rates despite possibly being seen as a higher risk than the general population.

Applying for Life Insurance as a Pilot in Canada [2022]

Talk to one of our experienced advisors today to learn more about your insurance options as a pilot!

8 Minute read

Originally Published: February 4, 2022

Updated: September 12, 2022

 

applying for life insurance as a pilot

Your profession as a pilot will be a consideration when applying for a life insurance policy. Life insurance companies consider your occupation as a pilot due to the high volumes of tragedies that occur every year. However, amongst the risks associated with applying for life insurance, aviation ranks pretty low. That being said, every life insurance company has its own policies in place and being a pilot may cause higher premiums and risk your approval.

Many pilots fear they will have a more difficult time obtaining reasonably priced life insurance due to their occupation or pastime. If your health and family history are good, along with other variables, getting insurance shouldn’t be too much of a problem, whether you fly a private single-engine plane or a huge commercial plane. A common question we receive is “Can I get life insurance if I am a pilot?”

You can get life insurance as a pilot in Canada

Yes, you can get life insurance if you are a pilot, no matter what kind of flying you do! Here at Protect Your Wealth, we can help you get the best rates for your policy.

What is aviation to life insurance companies?

Aviation was once a major concern to life insurance companies, as it was considered to be high non-medical risk due to the chance of malfunctions and crashes. Other non-medical risks include having a criminal record or flying outside of the country. However, based on historical data and trends, it is found that the probability of dying from a plane crash is actually relatively low. In fact, due to their profession, pilots tend to be better educated with higher incomes and have better general health, making them pretty good risks to consider.

Life insurers break down aviation into three different categories:

  • Commercial Aviation – bring passengers to and from licensed airports
  • Private – casual pilots who bring specific passengers
  • Sport – aviation related sports including non-conventional aircrafts, competitions and performances

These categories will be taken into consideration by the life insurance companies; there are other factors that are included such as:

  • Type of aircraft flown
  • Purpose of flights
  • Number of flying hours per year
  • Type of license held
  • Pilot’s experience

Life insurance companies will take all these considerations into account when deciding the premiums and coverage for your specific circumstances.

How being a pilot will affect your life insurance

Pilots are often worried that due to their career or hobby it may be more difficult to obtain approval for an affordable life insurance policy. This is not often the case, as the chance of obtaining regular rates as a pilot is very possible. In the past, you may have been requested to include an aviation exclusion rider in all life insurance policies, but historical data has showcased that being a pilot is relatively low risk and has become more flexible with their policies. 

Key highlights to consider:

  • Being a pilot will exclude you from getting top preferred rates unless you are a crew member on a regularly scheduled airline

  • Private pilots with less than 300 hours and no instrument rating will likely receive a policy with the addition of a flat extra fee or an Aviation Exclusion Rider

  • Many employer-sponsored life insurance plans will exclude coverage on a death due to general aviation activity

  • Flying activities such as aerobatics, experimental aircraft or ultralights will likely increase your rates dramatically

As a pilot, you will be expected to complete an additional questionnaire related to aviation during your application. This questionnaire will cover details relating to your flying practices, overall experience, ratings you have received, the type of aircraft you fly and the details of your specialized flying. This information will be used to decide your rates, depending on how much of a risk they consider you to be. While the underwriting rules and processes are relatively the same across the board, the life insurance rates and policy amounts you will be offered are not. Life insurance underwriters will evaluate all aspects of an individual’s application to determine the risk class they qualify for.

Life insurance ratings are split into 5 classifications: substandard, standard, standard plus, preferred and preferred plus from most difficult to insure to least.

An example would be a 35-year-old healthy private pilot, who has not yet suffered from any accidents or violations; he estimates 250 solo hours in the air per year. He gets rated at Preferred by the life insurance agency but they require him to pay a flat extra fee of $2.50/thousand for the first two years. This means that if he applies for a 20-year $500,000 term policy, he will be required to pay an extra $1,250 each year. This number is calculated by multiplying 500 by the $2.50 fee. Given an annual premium payment for his preferred policy is $355, he will be paying $1585 each year for two years; approximately $132/month. By the third year, his flat extra fee will drop and his annual premium payment will decrease to $335 or $28/month.

What is the difference between the aviation categories?

As mentioned above, life insurance companies will take the different categories of aviation into consideration when deciding the right policy to offer you. These categories are: commercial aviation, casual and sport. 

Commercial pilots have the best reputation with life insurance companies. Pilots of civil air carriers of major airlines are the most favorable for underwriting because despite those planes being more complex, these pilots have the strictest guidelines imposed on them. Their rate of fatal accidents is 35 times lower than the other aviation categories. They may even be rated as preferred plus depending on the rest of their application.

Private pilots are able to obtain regular rates under some conditions, but it is more difficult. They are often offered the rates with more conditions which can cause an increase in premiums. These conditions are often related to age and experience. Another factor that may lead to additional premiums for private pilots is their geography. For instance, flying over fields of wheat is considered safer than mountainous terrain and additional premiums may be added for the perceived additional risk.

Private and sport rank similarly amongst life insurance companies due to them being viewed more as hobbies. These pilots will be investigated more thoroughly to understand and evaluate the factors life insurance companies consider. This may result in higher premiums depending on what risk rating they get labelled.

How to get the right coverage as a pilot

While pilots are healthier and more affluent than the general population, they are not a preferred risk for life insurance companies and undertake a more strict underwriting process. This process is often tedious and takes into account your age, health and medical history, occupation and hobbies. Aviation is considered a risk factor and a hobby of flying may dramatically change your ability to acquire affordable insurance.

It may be frustrating that a pilot of excellent health may be offered a premium rate higher than a non-pilot with health issues. An active pilot completes a physical exam every 6 months to 2 years, but life insurance agencies base their rates on limited and outdated aviation safety statistics, leading to penalizations with unreasonable premiums. Here are some steps to best avoid this:

It will be easier to obtain affordable life insurance as a pilot with the help of an aviation experience insurance agent who understands the guidelines and supplement form.

Common mistakes on the insurance aviation questionnaire

As mentioned previously, there is a questionnaire you will have to fill out when you mark that you are a pilot on your application. It is important you fill out the questionnaire correctly to ensure you have the most accurate quote. Here are a list of common mistakes that pilots make on the questionnaire:

  • Pilots with their CFI rating but do not instruct need to clearly state that they are not active in flight instruction since active flight instructors typically do not qualify for the same rate class as other pilots. 
  • CFIs instructing only certified pilots can qualify for a much better rate class than those instructing primary students. 
  • Pilots who partake in unusual attitude training should not mark ‘Yes’ to the aerobatic flying question, it should be stated that you perform these maneuvers for safety purposes. 
  • Pilots performing air ambulance activities must clarify whether they fly fixed-wing or rotorcraft since fixed-wing rates will be much less due to the conditions each type is likely to fly into.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about applying for life insurance as a pilot

Yes, you can definitely get life insurance as a pilot in Canada. There are of course some considerations that are made by life insurance companies based on your occupational hazards but there is still a high chance that you can get an excellent fully underwritten life insurance policy. The problem is, because of the occupation hazards there is a high chance that you will not get a standard rate, therefore you will have to pay higher premiums.  

Yes, even private pilots are able to get life insurance. There are a couple of considerations that are made for private pilots. Private pilots are able to obtain regular rates under some conditions, but it is more difficult. They are often offered the rates with more conditions which can cause an increase in premiums. These conditions are often related to age and experience. Another factor that may lead to additional premiums for private pilots is their geography. For instance, flying over fields of wheat is considered safer than mountainous terrain and additional premiums may be added for the perceived additional risk.

If you apply for a fully underwritten policy, the life insurance company will give you a rating based on your health and your medical exams. After that, they will need you to complete an aviation questionnaire, then they might have some restrictions:

  • Being a pilot will exclude you from top preferred rates unless you are a crew member on a regularly scheduled airline
  • Private pilots with less than 300 hours and no instrument rating will likely receive a policy with the addition of a flat extra fee or an Aviation Exclusion Rider
  • Many employer-sponsored life insurance plan will exclude coverage on a death due to general aviation activity
  • Flying activities such as aerobatics, experimental aircraft or ultralights will likely increase your rates dramatically

Yes, commercial aviation pilots can get life insurance. They typically will be held to some restrictions but luckily due to commercial airline pilots working in regularly scheduled flights which are straightforward compared to private flights, there is a high possibility that commercial pilots can get a standard rating.

The cost of life insurance for pilots will typically be standard in most cases but there will be some fees and exclusions included in the policy. What this means is that the price of the life insurance policy might be higher based on specific factors such as if you are a private pilot, a commercial pilot or a sports aviation pilot. 

An example would be a 35-year-old healthy private pilot, who has not yet suffered from any accidents or violations; he estimates 250 solo hours in the air per year. He gets rated at Preferred by the life insurance agency but they require him to pay a flat extra fee of $2.50/thousand for the first two years. This means that if he applies for a 20-year $500,000 term policy, he will be required to pay an extra $1,250 each year. This number is calculated by multiplying 500 by the $2.50 fee. Given an annual premium payment for his preferred policy is $355, he will be paying $1585 each year for two years; approximately $132/month. By the third year, his flat extra fee will drop and his annual premium payment will decrease to $335 or $28/month.

Finding the right life insurance for you

Even with a profession as a pilot, you can obtain affordable life insurance. You can enlist the help of an agent to find the best life insurance for you and your needs when applying for life insurance as a pilot in Canada.

If you’re not sure of what’s the best insurance plan or company for you, working with a life insurance specialist can help you find the best solution to fit your particular situation. At Protect Your Wealth, we’ve been providing expert advice for all types of life insurance since 2007. As your trusted Life Insurance broker and financial planner, we work with you to create a plan for your family or business that covers and meets your needs. 

Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, including areas such as Kingston, Coquitlam, and Airdrie.

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