We’ve talked a lot over the years about exclusions in life insurance policies. There’s the dark side which is mostly urban legend. The cases we’ve all heard about where, a claim is denied because a person died in a car accident after suffering a heart attack at the wheel. The company says they would have paid for death due to a heart attack, but not for death due to an accident.

As mentioned, there is a lot of urban legend out there and the one described above is highly improbable because life insurance covers all causes of death. Different story if the person had accidental death insurance. The there is at least a valid question as to what the cause of death was.

The other side of the question goes to when a person, say a private pilot with very few hours, takes an aviation exclusion on a life insurance policy, thus allowing him to get coverage for every conceivable type of death except a plane crash at the best rate class he qualifies for based on health. Then he takes out a supplemental accidental death policy to cover aviation. He’s then covered for all causes of death and even has excess coverage for accidental death other than aviation related.

To date I’ve been under the impression that all companies held to the same standards for exclusions. It’s a given that they won’t exclude a health issue much to the chagrin of those who would probably be preferred plus candidates without their bad heart or bout with cancer, but I had never heard until a few days ago of a company that would exclude anything but aviation. Always learning. I had a mountain climber call and ask about accidental death insurance to cover his climbing. When I asked about his life insurance he said he had all of that in place but it excluded mountain climbing.

Curiosity peaked I sent an email to my favorite underwriter at that company, as well as every other company I work with and asked, besides aviation, just what they would exclude. Now this all has an asterisk next to it because use of exclusions is a matter of individual state insurance law. Some states just don’t allow anyone to exclude anything but aviation (the only one that all states agree on), but in those states that will allow it this particular company will exclude just about any type of activity including foreign travel whether it is to work in a war zone or long term missionary travel. If they didn’t have life insurance in force already, someone leaving on either of these excursions would have to wait until they returned to get an actual life insurance policy. If they had a current policy covering their travel it isn’t an issue, but if not they are generally stuck taking out accidental death insurance.

And what started this grilling of one of my favorite life insurance companies was a mountain climbing exclusion. Well, add to that just about anything from base jumping or any kind of dangerous sport and also professional car and motorcycle racing. People who do have hobbies or occupations like these regularly come to me for accidental death and dismemberment and disability coverage, but until now I wasn’t able to cover the big picture. A life insurance policy that covers everything but, and a supplemental policy that covers but.

I’m sure I’ll have all of my life insurance agent friends laughing at me for not knowing this bit of information, but I’ve grilled several associates who have been in the business longer than me who had no idea. So, fortunately for all my clients I am not through learning and the portfolio continues to expand.

Life insurance companies treat dangerous occupations and avocations, generally speaking, in one of two ways. They either decline to offer coverage such as a client I shopped recently who is leaving on a six month mission to Ghana. Transamerica “No offer for travel to Ghana”, Protective “6 months in Ghana would be a decline”, or Banner “No offer until applicant returns from Ghana”. Or they charge a giant flat extra that makes the insurance insanely expensive.

Bottom Line. Now I’ve got my tool bag complete. If you need life insurance and have a dangerous hobby or profession, let me show you how to combine coverage so nothing is left out. If you have any questions or need quotes, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.

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