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Adrenaline Junkies and Insurance Rates

San Diego is a Mecca for thrill-seekers, but if you're a die-hard skydiver or paraglider, you may feel grounded when you see your insurance premiums. Why would your hobbies or your job impact your life insurance and your car insurance? Read on as we talk about the risk factor in insurance and ways you can offset that cost.
Insurance rates are dictated by factors, and you have the power to dictate some of them by taking advantage of the ways to look for pricing, industry ratings, and even claims satisfaction ratings. After all, saving hundreds of dollars can be an adrenaline rush, too!
 

Thrill-Seeking in San Diego

San Diego is one of the biggest surfing cities in the world, but as you can see, surfing isn’t the only way to get your heart racing there. There’s also Top Dog Air Combat, skydiving, paragliding, speed boating, and jet skiing.

If you’re a thrill-seeker, San Diego is your place, and you can even feel like Superman and Aquaman combined! JetPack America at the Flight Center at Mission Bay’s Sports Center will set you up with a water jetpack to fly through the air and dive beneath the sea.

It’s a tempting place for an adrenaline junkie.
 

Signs that You’re an Adrenaline Junkie
If you crave intense and thrilling activities that give you an adrenaline rush, you might just be an adrenaline junkie. Most of us are quite content with the adrenaline rush from a roller coaster ride, a haunted house tour, or even a scary movie.

But adrenaline junkies crave the energy boost and sharpened senses on a higher level and are drawn to extreme sports like skydiving and shark diving, adventurous hobbies such as storm chasing, and potentially dangerous lines of work, such as firefighting or emergency rescue.

There are a lot of positive traits thrill-seekers have like flexibility and openness to change, a desire for complexity and novelty, a drive to pursue challenges, spontaneity, curiosity, and creativity.
But what makes insurance underwriters concerned is the potential of adrenaline junkies to seek the rush by driving well above the speed limit, mixing drugs and alcohol for an increased effect, and behaving aggressively.
Adrenaline Junkies and Life Insurance
How your insurance underwriting sees your thrill-seeking depends on the category and the frequency, as your occupation and your hobbies are two major factors that determine your life insurance premium.
How Life Insurers Deal with Risk
You would think that life insurance companies would welcome adrenaline junkies. If you’re staying active, you’re probably more fit. By pushing your body’s limits, you’re burning calories, improving your balance, enhancing your endurance, and increasing muscle strength.

But they consider what you’re doing by the level of hazard and risk. There is a much higher risk of several injuries attached to high-adrenaline hobbies and jobs. So there’s a greater chance your insurance carrier may have to pay a death benefit claim.

For example, the more dangerous the hobby, the riskier you are to life insurers. If you have a $500,000 policy, you’ll pay about $1,500 a year if you’re a rock climber, and $2,500 a year if you scuba dive or skydive.

Life insurers note these occupations as the 10 most dangerous:

  • Fishing industry
  • Loggers
  • Aircraft pilots
  • Extraction workers (oil field or large-scale construction demo)
  • Iron and steel workers
  • Roofers
  • Garbage collectors
  • Farmers and ranchers
  • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
  • Power line installers and repairers

If you have one of these jobs, you could be paying from two percent to eight percent more for your life insurance premium.
 

How You Can Deal with High-Risk Life Insurance
While you can’t change life insurance underwriting factors of age, gender, and family health history, you may already be on the right track with your own health if your thrill-seeking keeps illnesses such as obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure at bay.

Life insurance rates are higher if you’re overweight or have a medical condition. You can also help yourself by not smoking, as a nonsmoker status will lower your rate. Another tip is don’t wait to apply for a policy. The younger you are, the more the age factor works in your favor.

It also pays to shop around for quotes if you have a high-risk occupation or hobbies. Start with a free online quote tool to get a sense of what you will pay. Then look into some of the best life insurance companies in San Diego such as State Farm, Farmers Insurance, Nationwide, Allstate, GEICO, and USAA.

Do some “underwriting” of your own. Check A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Fitch for companies’ ratings, see the history of consumer complaints on the Better Business Bureau, or National Associations of Insurance Commissioners, and find easy-to-understand policies that meet your needs.

Follow up your online research by talking with a local agent or broker and let them know how much life insurance you want. They will help you determine the best type of policy.

If you feel you’re still paying too much for your life insurance, one last possibility is reducing the amount of your policy. Most life insurance companies will allow you to lower the amount of your death benefit in exchange for a lower premium.

If you lower the] amount of a permanent life insurance policy enough, your carrier may consider you paid up and allow you to stop paying premiums altogether.
 

Adrenaline Junkies and Car Insurance

Your occupation is also a major factor in auto insurance underwriting. Your hobbies don’t usually count, but auto insurers feel there are more chances of you driving unsafely if you’re seeking an adrenaline high, and that’s why your driving record is also a major rating factor.
 

How Car Insurers Deal with Risk
When it comes to occupation, auto insurance companies make a correlation between your profession and the risk of accident. For example, if you’re a truck driver, you’re on the road constantly and therefore more likely to be in an accident, so your rate will be higher.

If your need for an adrenaline high leads to trouble with the law, you’ll also be in trouble with your car insurance company. They will consider you high risk, and charge you accordingly.

The average speeding ticket can raise your rate by 13 percent, and even higher if you are speeding at least 30 miles per hour over the limit. And serious violations like a DUI or a hit-and-run could significantly raise your rate by over 70 percent.

The state of California requires an SR-22 filing with DUI cases. This is a form your insurance company must fill out certifying you have adequate coverage. Unfortunately, once you tell your company that you need an SR-22, it alerts them to the fact that something significant has happened.

The SR-22 requirement typically lasts three years, and you also have to inform your insurance company when the requirement is done. An SR- 22 can raise your rate up to 89 percent. And as with life insurance, your carrier could decide to drop you.

If you receive a non-renewal, you can try some of the big auto insurance companies, like Geico, Nationwide, and Farmers, which have subsidiaries that work specifically with high-risk drivers. But you may have to find a smaller insurer for a non-standard auto policy that will also increase your rate.
 

How You Can Deal with High-Risk Car Insurance
Like with life insurance, some underwriting factors are out of your control, like your age, gender, address, marital status, and your driving history. But you can do yourself some favors to help you lower your auto insurance premium.

Newer cars have a higher insurance rate for collision coverage because they are more expensive to replace than an older car. Also, newer cars tend to be financed, which means your lender will require you to have collision and comprehensive insurance, even if it’s not part of your state’s minimum car insurance requirements.

Steer clear of these expensive cars to insure:

  • BMW i8
  • Maserati GranTourismo
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Tesla Model X
  • Porsche Panamera

So ideally you want to aim for a car that you don’t have to finance but one that is recent enough to have safety and anti-theft features that insurance underwriters smile upon.

You can also raise your deductible to lower the cost of your premium. Look into usage-based car insurance if you are a low-mileage driver, too.

There is a long list of auto insurance discounts that could save you up to 10 percent on your premium. Some of them include bundling, auto-pay, pay-in-full, multi-car, loyalty, good student, and safe driver.

When you’re sizing up the auto insurance companies, you want to mirror your life insurance reviewing.Check the ratings check, customer satisfaction,and the claims processing.

Shop around for car insurance as well, starting with free online quote tools. Then go with at least three companies from the list that are the most affordable based on your research, and meet with them to make sure they can meet your needs.

Now that you’ve learned how to lower your risk of high insurance premiums, get back to that San Diego surf, and don’t forget to watch out for sharks!

Karen Condor is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com.