Life Insurance For Law Enforcement

Written by Jeff Root

When we think about law enforcement we think of the people that keep us safe. What we tend to forget is how these people keep themselves safe.

A career in law enforcement can be dangerous and that is why these individuals need life insurance, so they can be protected too. Also, so their families can be protected.

What Jobs Are Considered Law Enforcement?

Typically when we think about law enforcement, police officers come to mind first, but there are many other occupations that make up this field. Occupations in law enforcement include (not limited to):

  • Border Patrol
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Corrections Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Federal Special Agent
  • Police Detective/Parole Officers
  • Customs Agent
  • Criminal Profiler

Law enforcement encompasses a wide range of people in a variety of professions.

Working in law enforcement, your life is put at risk every time you clock in. And, although we may not like to think about it, accidents can happen with such a high-risk profession.

This is why law enforcement officers need to think long-term about their family and financial situation.

Now you may be thinking:

“Doesn’t my law enforcement job provide me with life insurance?”

The answer is typically yes, working in law enforcement you do have life insurance as a part of your benefits package but what you should be asking is.

“Is my life insurance policy enough to take care of my family if something were to happen?”

In most cases, it is NOT enough. The average life insurance plan offered to law enforcement gives 2 to 4 years of salary for surviving family members.

In most households where there is a house full of children, a mortgage to pay off, and a future college fund to save for.

Two to four years worth of salary can seem like a lot at first, but when you consider living expenses for your financial dependents on the long term, you begin to see it may not really be much at all.

“How much life insurance do I need?”

Experts recommend a life insurance policy with a face amount equal to 10 times your annual salary so it gives you more of a cushion if such a tragic event were to occur.

This is why law enforcement employees should be purchasing an additional life insurance policy.

Finding Life Insurance Coverage

Since you already have coverage through work you may not know where to start or what to look for when purchasing a life insurance policy.

There are a lot of life insurance companies on the market that have a lot to offer. In fact, for a lot of people looking to purchase life insurance, the number of companies and policies can be overwhelming.

That is why we strongly recommend anyone looking for a life insurance policy for law enforcement officers work with a professional insurance agent.  Specifically, an independent one, not bound to any one life insurance company, giving them the power to compare hundreds of rates and policies from dozens of companies.

We’ve got you covered. 

How Does Health Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Each life insurance company has different criteria that can make your premiums increase or decrease. Some companies weigh past family health history higher than others which can affect your premiums.

All life insurance companies grade people based on their overall risk.  Occupation and health are two of the main factors that are taken into account when calculating risk, in what is called the underwriting process.

For most life insurance policies, medical exams are required.  There is a specific type of life insurance policy called no medical exam life insurance that does not require this test, however, these policies are much more expensive as a result.

In the underwriting process, the main things that an insurance company takes into consideration are:

  • Smoking/tobacco/drug use
  • Blood Pressure
  • Health record
  • Medical record
  • DMV record
  • Criminal record

Obviously, law enforcement officers have a high risk because of their occupation.  But, a majority of law enforcement officers are also in better physical shape than the average person, so in a way, that helps to offset a bit of the higher risk.

Which Type of Life Insurance Policy is Right for Me?

Before you start getting quotes for life insurance policies, you will want to know which type of life insurance best suits you and your family.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the most common form of life insurance because (in most cases) it is the most affordable. Term life insurance provides maximum protection at the lowest price per thousand. This type of life insurance covers you for a period of time ranging from 5-30 years.

Once the term is over, you have a few options. Renew for another term which makes the premiums go up, switch over to a permanent life insurance policy with no medical test required, or you cancel the policy and become uninsured.

You want to be mindful that most life insurance companies have a required point in the term (usually before half-way through) before which you must state whether you wish to convert to whole life, or you may lose the option to do so. Also, some policies may not offer conversion riders.

Also, be mindful that renewing a life insurance policy on an annual basis is not a sustainable or affordable way to purchase life insurance, because each year the rates get dramatically higher until they become unaffordable.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance covers you for your entire life. Permanent life insurance policies cost more than term life, however, they offer some very interesting abilities term does not.

Permanent life insurance policies are unique because they generate cash value. The longer you have your policy the more its cash value grows. This gives you the opportunity to cash in or borrow the funds from your permanent life policy and use them accordingly.

This cash value can be accumulated in a number of ways such as in a Universal life, Variable life, or Whole life insurance policies. These policies each allow policyholders to invest in mutual funds and other market indices at varying levels of risk and reward.

Also, varying levels of control.  Some policies allow riders which enable you to vary your monthly payments, use the cash value to pay for premiums, borrow against your cash value, receive part of your death benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, and much, much more.

To learn more about what your whole and term life insurance options are, call to speak to one of our insurance agents today, or use our quoting engines to find coverage comparisons quick!

Term Life Vs. Whole Life Insurance

Since law enforcement careers already offer some coverage we recommend purchasing a term life insurance plan for additional coverage. This plan is clearly the best bang for your buck if you are in law enforcement.

Term life insurance allows you to purchase a term usually 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years long, so you are able to cater it towards how long you are in the force, as supplemental coverage to your life insurance from being in law enforcement.

How Dangerous is it to Be in Law Enforcement? 

As we mentioned briefly earlier, law enforcement officers are an inherently higher risk than someone who works at the post office for example.

But just how high a risk are law enforcement officers considered to be because of their profession?

Last year, 72 law enforcement (police officers) were killed in the line of duty. A moment of silence. When considering there are over 900,000 enlisted police officers in the United States, this yields a 1 in 12,500 chance of being killed in the line of duty.

There are roughly 1.3 million soldiers in the U.S. Army. Of them, 450,000 are stationed overseas at any given time.  Of these men and women, roughly 3470 have died from 2001 to 2018, leaving roughly 192 per year fallen soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom.

You see where this is going.  One out of every 2,343 American soldiers deployed overseas is killed in the line of duty each year.

These are all scary statistics to read. But the depth of these situations cannot be avoided, as gruesome as they may seem.

Nonetheless, they bring back to mind why law enforcement officers need life insurance.

How Will My Risk Be Assessed?

Since law enforcement can be considered a high-risk occupation, a life insurance company, insurance agent, or underwriter, will ask you questions to see how great of a risk you are while on the job.

Some common questions life insurance companies ask law enforcement officers: 

  • Do you work in high crime areas?
  • How often do you work in the field and out of the office?
  • Do you have a specialty that is dangerous?

The more dangerous your career is, the higher some premiums will be for some life insurance policies because of the high-risk environment.

For instance, if you are a police officer who works in an area with a high crime rate you may have to pay extra for life insurance. This puts you at a higher risk because police officers spend a lot of their days in vehicles which increases the possibility of accidents.

They pull people over on the side of the road leaving themselves exposed in a vulnerable position. They are the first responders to vehicle accidents and active crime scenes.

What is the Best Age to Purchase Life Insurance for Law Enforcement?

Purchasing a life insurance can be a lot more cost effective if done at the right time in your life.

Typically people purchase plans when they are 35 years old because that is when most start a family. It is much smarter to get a plan while you are younger and in good health, than wait until you are older your health starts to wane.

While you are young you may think you do not need life insurance because of your good health but you can never be too safe especially in law enforcement.

Getting additional life insurance in this field is highly recommended because it is a very high-risk occupation in many locations.

Many law enforcement employees overlook purchasing life insurance because they think it is too expensive but when you go through a third party life insurer you can compare prices from multiple companies, and get very affordable whole life and term life insurance policies.

This strategy helps find the best life insurance policy for you and your loved ones so you can still support them if you are not around.

How Expensive is Life Insurance for Law Enforcement Officers?

Getting life insurance if you work in a high crime rate area may be at a higher premium but it is necessary in order to keep your family financially stable in case of an emergency.

Typically, not all life insurance companies increase your premiums based on your profession. The policyholder’s health is the main contributing factor. If your job is considered to be relatively high risk, life insurance companies may add a flat extra fee. This fee is added to the basic premium for a duration of time but changes as your duties on the job change.

The chart below displays life insurance rates for a police officer in the state of Massachusetts. These quotes are based on a 35-year-old male who is in excellent health. The policy is a 25-year policy that covers up to $1 million.

Life Insurance Company Monthly Premiums Yearly Premium
Legal & General $53/mo. $622/yr.
AIG $55/mo. $634/yr.
Protective $58/mo. $675/yr.
Foresters $65/mo. $740/yr.
SBLI $65/mo. $746/yr.
Transamerica $70/mo. $810/yr.

As you probably noticed from this chart, the price is increased if you are making monthly payments as opposed to paying one annual payment each year. Clearly, Legal & General Banner William Penn has the best option because it is the lowest price across the board for the policy.

However, this may change based on your personal criteria. The quotes above are for a man in excellent health, who is a non-smoker. If you look at the chart below, we ran a test with all of the same attributes in the previous chart, except that this man is a smoker.

Life Insurance Company Monthly Premiums Yearly Premium
Legal & General $231/mo. $2,681/yr.
AIG $237/mo. $2,744/yr.
SBLI $246/mo. $2,830/yr.
Transamerica $244/mo. $2,844/yr.
Foresters $274/mo. $3,130/yr.
Protective $362/mo. $4,215/yr.

This one simple change in a person’s health can make the rates skyrocket. These life insurance plans are almost 5 times the amount they were quoted before just because they are a smoker.

Health is a huge factor when purchasing life insurance so make sure you are in excellent health while searching for a plan. If you are a smoker, it may be smarter to go with a plan that does not require a medical exam until you are capable of quitting so your premium will drop.

Finding the Best Life Insurance

Working in law enforcement is an extremely difficult task. Finding life insurance yourself shouldn’t be. This is why we recommend working with an independent life insurance agent so you can compare multiple rates and find the best life insurance policy for your needs.

Find rates with a few clicks below, or give us a call today to gets started speaking with one of our dedicated insurance agents who will help you find the right life insurance coverage for your given situation, and give you insight into what your policy options are and how they pan out over time.

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Law Enforcement Officers

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