Do you like to skydive? What about rock climbing or skiing? If you engage in so-called dangerous activities or hobbies, your insurance may cost you more, or may not cover you at all. Whether you are shopping for life, health or travel insurance, a dangerous hobby should be disclosed and discussed with your insurance agent.
What Is A Dangerous Hobby?
The exact list will vary by insurance company, but it usually includes what you might expect: skydiving or any other aerial activity, bungee jumping, car racing, mountain climbing, scuba diving and cave exploration. Boating is often considered a dangerous hobby, as a high number of deaths are reported each year from boating accidents. Other outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, white-water rafting, surfing and skiing may also be considered dangerous by your insurer. Motorcycling is also often considered a dangerous activity.
Having a dangerous hobby can increase your premiums, depending on how often you engage in the activity. Insurance companies recognize that a semi-professional surfer is going to be much riskier than a casual enthusiast. According to Rachel Hartman of Netquote, an infrequent hobby may not increase your premiums at all. You also do not necessarily have to inform your insurance company if you try a dangerous activity once. So if you unexpectedly decide to go scuba diving and are hurt or injured, your insurer may still cover you. Check your policy carefully, as some dangerous activities are specifically excluded in common policies. Coverage from a professional organization will usually cover the dangerous parts of the profession, but you should fully understand what is covered and if there is a deductible.
Be Up Front
It's important to inform your insurance company of your dangerous hobbies and any health conditions. This ensures that you get the correct coverage even if you pay more for it. The reason you should be honest with your insurer is the "contestable period" and the "material misrepresentation" clause. The contestable period usually lasts two years, during which your insurance company can deny any claim or cancel your policy if it discovers an omission of any kind. According to Frank Addessi of The Simple Dollar, your insurer can deny you a claim or even cancel your policy if you do not disclose important details. If, for example, someone doesn't mention his skydiving, and is killed in a car accident, the claim can be denied if the insurer finds out information was withheld.
If you decide to take up a dangerous hobby you should contact your insurance company. It will often be willing to cover your new hobby, but your premiums will likely increase. Most life and health insurance policies will not cover you while you are traveling abroad. Travel insurance will sometimes include coverage for some common travel activities that are considered dangerous, such as scuba diving. Other travel policies have exceptions for activities such as sky diving or base jumping. If you plan on engaging in dangerous activities while traveling, discuss them with your travel insurance company; it may be able to provide you coverage for higher premiums.
With an eclectic background, Ian Johnston has written on diverse topics including literature, real estate, executive leadership and mental health. He received an Master of Arts from The University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Education from The University of Ottawa. He lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.