Scuba diving is a topic, or an avocation as they like to put it, that has insurance companies all over the map as far as how it is underwritten. If you are an avid scuba diver, you definitely want to enlist an independent agent to help you find the best life insurance rates.
There are three primary areas that underwriters look at when they break down insurability of scuba diving. The first one is easy and most everyone who dives has taken this step. You have to be certified by an organization such as PADI or NAUI.
Once you are certified, the next underwriting hurdle comes into play. Life insurance underwriters want to know how deep you dive. There are a lot of companies that are pretty comfortable with recreational diving of not more than 75 feet down. Generally recreational divers will be in the company of a dive master and dive masters are generally very conscientious about not going beyond a diver’s certified limits. The truth is that most recreational diving takes place in 30 to 40 foot depths.
For the best rates, companies start to fall off quickly when you start diving below 75 feet. There are only a handful that will offer best rates if you are diving down to 100 feet and at best two that will offer best rates if you are going down to 130 feet.
The third issue that underwriters look at with close scrutiny is best described as “other than open water” diving. Wreck diving and cave diving are the two most common “other” categories. Rescue diving and ice diving are also underwritten generally with a flat extra per thousand charge. If you participate in any of these activities, you will definitely want your agent to shop it extensively.
An interesting collision between two underwriting areas is the dual avocation of scuba diving and being a private pilot. While it would be a rare occurrence, there are apparently some issues with flying and diving on the same day.
Bottom line. By far the majority of scuba divers fall into the recreational category and there are plenty of options for companies. Options fall off rapidly as your diving becomes more advance.
Important note. If you have life insurance in force when you decide to take up diving, even the “other” categories of diving, you are covered. I will cover that in more detail in a post tomorrow.