It hasn’t been that long since admitting that you were a student pilot or a flight instructor on a life insurance application was, well, might as well have been an admission that you were a bush pilot or crop duster. Most companies weren’t and actually still aren’t all that crazy about the new guys and the guys sitting next to them.

Companies have come in and out of the pilot life insurance competition. From this end sometimes it seems like someone at a life insurance company board meeting said, “I think we need a couple of thousand student pilots and maybe 1500 flight instructors to round out our private pilot life insurance portfolio. Lower the rates on them until we fill that quota”. A couple of classic examples of companies deciding they had enough of that particular risk were Prudential when they threw out student pilots last year and American General when they did an about face on just about all pilots a few years back.

That leaves a void and there always seems to be a company that wants “a bit” of that risk and steps in to fill the void. And sometimes companies never change their stance but seem to come and go because all of the companies around them are doing the dance. Anyway, suffice it to say that if you have an agent that is staying on top of the game, there are almost always good rates to be had for whatever your level in the aviation world currently is.

So, let’s drag out a couple of sample guy and see what the best possible rate is with different levels of pilot life insurance. Our guys are both 45, one in perfect health and a svelte 6′, 185, the other in perfect health and a svelter 6′ 240. Both want a $1,000,000 20 year term policy. Premiums are annual. With each of these there are minimum total hours expected, minimum and maximum annual hours, and with airline pilots assuming they aren’t doing something like instructing on the side.

Pilot status/Svelte/Svelter


Primary instructor/$1250/$2080

VFR pilot/$1205/$2005

IFR pilot/$1205/$1490

Airline pilot/$1160/$1405

One of the pieces to the puzzle that a lot of “pilot expert” agencies never really addressed when they were trying to shove everyone into one or two pilot friendly companies was the what if…..the pilot doesn’t qualify for those great rates based on health. In a lot of instances what would have seemed to be the best deal for an IFR pilot with one company could be trumped by another company if something as simple as weight or treated blood pressure was also in the picture.

Bottom line. The best rate will come from an agent or agency who isn’t married to one or two companies and can truly take you to the company where the best rate you qualify for lies waiting.