The life insurance industry has had a love/hate relationship with private pilots going way back.  Most of the companies hate to insure them. A handful love to insure them.

For most insurance company’s underwriters there must be this sense that the only way a small airplane can come down is nose first. Somehow they have forgotten that the airplanes have wheels and even if the wheels give way, most of the time they seem to slide to a pretty painless stop.

If you are a private pilot and have shopped for life insurance, you know that it can be tough hunting out there. This is one area where there is no doubt that being in the hands of an independent agent with aviation underwriting experience is a must. How do you tell if they have experience? As with most health issues, if you tell an agent that you are a private pilot and they don’t ask a lot more questions, relevant questions, you’re probably on the phone with the wrong person. You can always ask what percentage of their clients are pilots. If the agent doesn’t know what to ask and where to place the business, he won’t end up with many pilot clients.

Be aware that most companies that are pilot friendly still have guidelines that they want to see met. They want to know that you are flying enough, not just to keep your rating current, but to keep your skill level current. What they are a little leery of is someone who is only flying 5-10 hours annually. Most companies want to see a minimum of 26 hours annually. There can be a little give in that requirement depending on total hours. The more experienced you are, the more you might be able to get an exception if you only flew say 20 last year.

Most companies will only allow flight in certified aircraft for their better rates. Helicopters and experimentals almost always incur a flat extra although there has been some loosening of the noose on that one in the last few years. Some of the experimentals that have been around for a long time and have a great track record, like the Vans RV series, have been getting favorable underwriting. A few companies have loosened up on helicopters as long as it is for private use only. Again, an independent agent with aviation underwriting experience will find that favorable rate. Your State Farm agent won’t. Selectquote won’t.

One area where we haven’t made a lot of progress is our friends in Alaska who think any spot on the ground wide enough to fit an airplane or any sandbar in a river that doesn’t have a bear on it, is an airstrip. But we work on those underwriters all the time. We may yet see a breakthrough there one of these days. Until then, be careful out there!

Bottom line, private pilots, can get great rates as long as they pick the right agent to shop with.

This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.