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What a difference from a year ago. Private pilots have been freed up from the $5+ per gallon fuel and are once again logging hours.

Underwriting for private pilots with most of the aviation life insurance friendly companies calls for a minimum number of hours annually for proficiency. Most companies use 25 or 26 hours and a few use 50, but all of them want to see enough hours that they can kind of feel assured that you remember what you’re doing when you go there.

Last year I talked to a lot of my pilot clients who, because of the price of fuel, had been flying anywhere from 25-150 hours annually but cut way back, many of them to below the company cut offs. While that didn’t impact their in force coverage, it did put a squash on additional insurance or being able to change to a new company if a better rate popped up. For some it meant not being able to take advantage of milestones like becoming instrument rated, a point where they would normally be able to find better life insurance values than they could with a VFR rating.

One of the other underwriting milestones is total hours as pilot in command. Again it varies from company to company, with the best being at 100 hours and the strictest being 250 hours. Several companies will approve at preferred rates and a few at preferred plus rates depending on how the criteria stacks up.

Bottom line. While the price of fuel went up and came back down, the good deals on life insurance remained constant for most private pilots.