• Michael Christensen

Pilot Life Insurance

It may have been a while since your last life insurance review. Your life insurance policy may have an exception for accidents in small planes. With the recent changes in the life insurance industry, this may be the best time to get your insurance policy updated. Life insurance can be crucial for a pilot.

Of late there has been a lot of challenges for the aviation insurance industry with increased security, increased risk perception and increased litigation. For most the effects have resulted in substantially increased insurance premiums. But these premiums are for hull and liability insurance and not life insurance, which is affected by the changes in the life insurance industry.

Post-9/11 Changes

Everybody is aware of the increased costs in flying, financial and operational, thanks to 9/11. In terms of insurance, liability premiums have gone through the roof and coverage for acts of war have become more restrictive if not non-existent.

Changes as substantial however did not occur in the life insurance industry apart from certain specific coverage's. Life insurance coverage for military aviation personnel for deployment overseas has become more expensive and also more difficult. Besides these for pilots, the other changes in the life insurance industry have mostly been more subtle. The word in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was that with the overall downturn in the aviation industry, fewer pilots would initiate or renew life insurance.

Pilot-Centered Life Insurance

The biggest change in life insurance for pilots in the last few years has nothing to do with terrorism, war or increased liability awards. With increased competition among insurance carriers, some life insurance companies are examining the nature of flying by insured pilots more closely.

Earlier most in the life insurance industry hardly make any distinction in the different types of flying. All pilots were lumped into the same risk category, whether commuter pilots, weekend warriors or agricultural application pilots. Many life insurance carriers also previously excluded a death caused in a GA accident, with many pilots being unaware of the lack of coverage for this type of accident. The life insurance agent either did not mention it or the pilot to avoid higher rates chose to not mention their flying.

Lately life insurance companies have reduced insurance premiums for most weekend warriors by splitting pilots into categories according to the type of flying. Naturally the implication is that pilots in more risky aviation activities may pay more but some insurance carriers are now realizing the differences. Insurance companies are aware that those with higher incomes and higher education have a lower mortality rate. The reason for this isn't all clear but the fact is that as a group, pilots tend to have higher education and higher incomes than the average.

The aviation medical examination for pilots also ensures better physical shape for pilots, due to the dual reasons of revealing a risk factor as well as the likelihood of pilots to get preventive medical care in order to keep their aviation medical certificate.


Life insurance carriers can also sometimes reduce insurance premiums by capitalizing on another pilot peculiarity of staying with one policy longer than non-pilots.

Finally, take some time to find out from various life insurance agencies, particularly the ones who understand pilots and flying, reading the fine print to save hundreds of dollars a year on life insurance premiums. Even if online insurance premium calculators are too basic to help in getting a good policy and rates comparison-shopping needn't take time. A few phone calls to insurance companies like PIC can be enough to get quotes accounting for your specific needs and flying situation.

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