Life Insurance for Pilots – Flying High or Grounded?

Written by Jeff Root

Buying life insurance is never a fun or easy task. There are multiple factors to consider, and it’s even more complex if you are a pilot because you are part of a high-risk group.

If you are a pilot, insurance companies consider you high risk because the chances are greater that you will die at a younger age in some type of accident involving a plane you are piloting.

For this reason, your premiums will be higher than they are for someone who is not high risk and there may be specific limitations or exclusions you need to consider when shopping for life insurance.

How Does Being a Pilot Affect My Life Insurance Options?

Many standard life insurance policies have an Aviation Exclusion Rider, which is a rider attached to the policy that states that the life insurance won’t pay death benefits if you are killed in any aviation accident unless you were a paying passenger on an airline flight.

Obviously, if you’re a pilot any policy with an aviation exclusion is a bad idea. There are also some types of pilot life insurance that differentiate between a commercial pilot and a “hobbyist,” or someone who flies primarily for pleasure on small aircraft.

What Kinds of Life Insurance are Available for Pilots?

The two main types of life insurance offered to the general population are also available to pilots. The differences will be in the premium rates, amount of death benefits and types of exclusions.

Term Life Insurance is a policy that lasts for a set period of time. After that time period, it expires. Because it is less expensive than a permanent life insurance, you can purchase more coverage while spending less money.

Who is term life insurance best for?

For anyone on a budget or with a small business, this is a great way to free up some extra cash while protecting your loved ones financially.

Some term policies have a conversion clause that allows you to convert the policy to a permanent policy at the end of the term. The premiums can fluctuate on term life, so be aware that the premium you pay now could increase over the life of the policy.

Permanent Life Insurance has higher premiums and a lower death benefits for the price, but it lasts until you die regardless of your age or how long you’ve owned the policy.

Permanent life insurance also builds cash value as you pay the premiums over the years, something term life policies don’t offer. You can use these funds later in life or apply them to the death benefit amount. The premiums will never go up on a permanent life policy – once it is locked in, it stays the same.

Who is permanent life insurance best for?

If you get a permanent life policy while you are still relatively young and healthy, you won’t have to worry about future health problems interfering with your life insurance coverage because the policy can’t be canceled for health reasons.

Someone looking to invest in their future, and build cash value with their policy is perfect for whole life insurance.  Many companies also offer a multitude of policy riders that can add more coverage for loved ones and more options to the life insurance policy.

Life insurance companies offer both term and permanent insurance policies to pilots, but most of them are tailored to the added risk of pilots, so the premiums and benefits will be structured differently to take this risk into account.

The Best Life Insurance Rates for Pilots

For the best rates and benefits, you should buy your life insurance policy from a company that works regularly with high-risk clients.

These companies will consider not only your health and age but your specific aviation activities, how often you pilot a plane, your years of experience, your safety record and multiple other factors in order to find you the right coverage at the right price.

Because the guidelines for insuring a pilot can change overnight, you should carefully examine every quote and ask questions before purchasing a policy.  This can be complicated, so we recommend you work with a life insurance agent to find the best life insurance rates for you.

Because of the difficulty of finding the best life insurance rates for pilots, we constructed this list of the 4 Best Life Insurance Companies for Pilots to give you a great starting point from which to begin your research:

How Does Being a Pilot Affect My Life Insurance?

In the past, aviation exclusions were more common and almost anyone with a pilot’s license ran the risk of losing their death benefits if they died in a plane-related crash. Today the aviation exclusion is still in some policies, but with limits.

The typical individual can fly on a commercial airline and be covered. Piloting your own plane is handled differently. Because pilots tend to be in better health and better educated than the general public, they can still get decent rates for life insurance, but the type of planes you pilot and what kind of aviation license you have will affect your rates and coverage.

Life Insurance for a Hobby Pilot

When applying for life insurance for hobby pilots, you’ll need to present some information to the provider in addition to your answers to typical life insurance questions about age, gender, etc.

Most life insurance carriers will ask the following questions before preparing a quote:

  • How many flight hours do you log per year?
  • What kind of pilot’s license do you have?
  • How many hours/years of flight experience do you have?
  • What is the purpose of your flights?
  • What kind of aircraft do you pilot?
  • Do you have any aviation violations on your record?
  • Are you instrument rated?
  • What kinds of licensing and certifications do you have?

From the answers to these questions, the insurance carrier can determine how risky it is to insure you. For instance, private pilots who fly more than 150 hours each year have a higher risk of accidents simply because they fly so often. On the other hand, pilots who rarely fly are also an insurance risk because they don’t have enough experience for optimum flight safely.

The higher your risk, the higher your premiums will be. In some cases, life insurance for pilots may include a flat extra fee added to standard premiums to cover the company’s increased risk.

Life Insurance for a Commercial Pilot

Commercial pilots who work for major airlines can get much better premium rates than private or pleasure pilots because they follow strict FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) guidelines and go through rigorous training before becoming commercial pilots.

They also have to take continuing education and training in order to keep current on the latest flight and safety standards.

Other criteria that may be considered for either private or commercial pilots when quoting a life insurance policy for pilots include the various kinds of flying a pilot may engage in, including:

  • Aerobatic/Stunt flying
  • Agricultural (i.e. crop dusters, etc.)
  • Private pilot for hire
  • Flying homemade or experimental aircraft
  • Instructional flights
  • Flying ultralights
  • Flying air ambulances
  • Flying helicopters

Because aviation is a niche life insurance market, some life insurance providers will adjust their rates according to not only industry accident rates, but their own death benefit statistics for pilots they have insured.

What to Look for in a Life Insurance Company

You want to be leary of using small life insurance providers. We chose the top life insurance companies for pilots based on a few factors: 

  • Financial Stability
  • Customer Reviews
  • Claims Paid Out
  • Affordable Life Insurance Rates

While these niche companies may have better rate, you really want to consider a larger provider that may be slightly more expensive, but has 100+ years of dependable service to fall back on.  When it comes to something like the financial well-being of your family, it is better to get quality and dependability.

Who Can I Talk to About Life Insurance for Pilots?

If you belong to any aviation associations, consult with them first.

Many such associations can recommend insurance companies that offer the best coverage and rates for pilots. Some associations and organizations have endorsed specific insurance providers.

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) endorses term life policies by major insurance companies. If you are a member of the NBAA, you can even get a discount on your premiums if you apply through their website. They also offer and endorse Loss-of-License and Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their members.
The Airline Pilots Association, International (ALPA) also offers its members specially priced, 10- and 20-year term life insurance coverage as well as a group term life policy to supplement coverage from aviation industry employers.
You can purchase up to $1.5 million in coverage, although rates do go up with each decade that you age past 40 years. The special rates for ALPA members are underwritten by the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and can’t be found elsewhere.

Best Life Insurance Companies for Pilots

Let’s take a quick look at this chart of our best life insurance companies for pilots:

Company A.M.Best Customer Reviews
1. AIG A 4.1 / 5
2. Banner Life A+ 4.3 / 5
3. MetLife A+ 3.9 / 5
4. Transamerica A 4.0 / 5

Before we get into a bit more about these companies, the types of coverage they offer, and what makes them the best, let’s take some time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about life insurance for pilots.

What Companies Offer the Best Life Insurance for Pilots?

Most of the major life insurance companies offer some kind of high-risk life insurance policy for pilots and others who have a higher risk of dying sooner than the typical person.

The key is to find the ones that offer reasonable rates while still offering you adequate coverage for your investment. You also need to look at what kind of exclusions or riders are included on a high-risk life insurance policy so there are no unpleasant surprises for your beneficiaries when you die.

Our Picks for Best Life Insurance for Pilots

1. AIG

AIG has several options for high-risk life insurance policies. Pilots, even those with less than perfect records, can be covered with an AIG policy. They also offer high-risk coverage to individuals with various high-risk illnesses such as gestational diabetes and some brain injuries.

2. Banner Life Insurance

Competitive rates and excellent customer service both contribute to Banner’s excellent track record for offering life insurance to pilots and others who engage in high-risk activities such as flying and mountain climbing.

3. MetLife

This company is well known for offering reasonably priced, high-risk, term life insurance policies to fit almost every stage in your life. Since they’re also in excellent financial shape, you can trust that there won’t have a  problem when it’s time for your beneficiary to claim your death benefits.

4. Transamerica

Although this isn’t one of the larger insurance providers, Transamerica has a solid track record working with occupational high risk customers as well as high risk due to hobby or health risk.

Transamerica seldom declines a high risk insured, although the premium adjustments and flat fee increases vary depending on several factors. Be sure to give the company detailed, accurate information about your piloting so the company can give you an accurate quote.

There are also a few life insurance carriers who specialize in coverage specifically for those in the aviation industry.

These are smaller, boutique-style insurance providers and can often provide surprisingly good rates because they understand the aviation industry, pilots and the risks involved in the industry.

Because they are experienced in both aviation and insurance, they often go the extra mile to tailor a policy to a greater extent than a general life insurance provider.

Speak with an Independent Insurance Agent

One of the most important things you should when looking for the best life insurance company for pilots is to speak to an independent insurance agent.

While comparing rates online has never been easier, there are still a lot of factors that go into purchasing the best life insurance policy for your family.  A life insurance agent can help break down policies, providers, needs, wants, financials, riders, benefits, and more of each policy to help find the coverage you need.

And… It’s free!  Skip the confusing parts, and speak with an independent insurance agent today to find the best life insurance rates for pilots for you!

Compare the Best Life Insurance Rates for Pilots.

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About Best Life Insurance Companies
About Best Life Insurance Companies

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates.

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