Taking out life insurance if you’re a pilot shouldn’t be too complicated, but how eligible you are and how much it costs will depend on the type of aviation activity you take part in. Whether it’s your profession or just a hobby, being a pilot makes you higher risk to insure than somebody of the same profile who isn’t a pilot – so naturally insurers will have some extra considerations to make.

Regardless of what you do for work or in your spare time, life insurance is an important kind of cover to have in place if you have loved ones who’d be financially affected by your death. You might assume being a pilot would make you ineligible for life insurance, but this is rarely the case; it’s just that you might have some extra steps to go through and you might be charged a higher premium to be insured.

Do pilots need life insurance?

It depends on what your circumstances are outside of being a pilot. You only really need life insurance if you have financial dependents – i.e. other people who rely on your income, like a partner or children. Dependents are the people who’d be financially affected if you died, and who you take out life insurance to protect.

Can pilots get life insurance?

Yes, most of the time pilots can get life insurance. Your profession or hobby shouldn’t make you ineligible for cover, though it might make it more expensive. Having a risky job or hobby are factors that will affect you when taking out life insurance, but there are others too, including your age and health.

What is underwriting?

Underwriting is the process of an insurer deciding how risky you are to insure. Depending on what you disclose during the application process for life insurance, you’ll either be automatically or manually underwritten. Manual underwriting is usually used if something risky is disclosed during the application – like your occupation/hobby (e.g. being a pilot) or something in your health history.

During underwriting you’ll be asked questions about your:

  • Personal health history
  • Family health history
  • Height and weight (BMI)
  • Smoking status
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Job and hobbies
  • International travel

Disclosing that you’re a pilot either professionally or privately will typically lead to manual underwriting. Insurers will ask for specific details of your aviation activity to determine how much of a risk you are. This will help them decide whether to cover you and whether a loading should be added to the price of your premiums to account for any added risk.

What will insurers ask about being a pilot?

Each insurer will have its own way of measuring the risks involved with being a pilot. The questions below are typical of the kind of questions you’ll be asked if you disclose you’re a pilot, either professionally or privately, during a life insurance application:

  • Do you participate or intend to participate in any of the following:
    – Stunt or display flying
    – Record attempts
    – Competitions
    – Flying ex-military aircraft
    – Prototype or test flying
    – Military flying
    – Policy flying
    – Travelling on helicopter flights to/from oil rigs
  • What kind of aviation do you take part in?
    – Fixed-wing flying
    – Rotary-wing flying
    – Ballooning
  • Do you transport any of the follow:
    – Passengers
    – Cargo
    – Neither of the above
  • Do you fly for any of the following:
    – International commercial airlines
    – International freight carriers
    – Small private companies
    – None of the above
  • Have you ever had an aviation accident?
  • Have you ever had an air safety violation or had your licence revoked?
  • How many hours do you fly per year?

What life insurance is best for pilots?

The type of life insurance that’s best for you depends on your circumstances outside of being a pilot. Namely: who you’d leave behind and what financial situation your death would leave them in. There are a few options to choose from, including:

  • Term life insurance – which covers you for a set amount of time; ideal if your financial liabilities will eventually go away (e.g. your mortgage will be paid off or your children will become financially independent)
  • Whole life insurance – which covers you for your whole life and pays out if you die (whenever that happens); ideal if you know your financial liabilities will never go away or you decide you always want to leave a lump sum behind
  • Family income benefit – a type of term life insurance that pays out monthly if you die, instead of as a lump sum; ideal if the loved ones you leave behind would need a manageable way to support themselves financially

Read more about different types of life cover here.

How much does life insurance cost for pilots?

It depends what information you provide about your aviation activity during the underwriting process. Some insurers might charge you the same amount as someone who isn’t a pilot; others might add a loading to your premium, making it more expensive to be insured.

Don’t forget, regardless of your occupation or hobbies, the price of life insurance is dependent on a number of other factors too, including your age, health and lifestyle, as well as the cover you’re buying.

Choosing the right life insurance if you’re a pilot

Choosing the right life insurance to protect your loved ones in case you die is very important for anyone who needs it. As a pilot, you might have extra considerations to make when taking out cover.

Working out exactly what you need and choosing which policy to go with can be tricky on your own, which is exactly why Anorak exists. Our advisers are here to help you choose the most suitable cover for you, your life, and your loved ones – and to make sure you’ve considered everything you need to along the way.

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This guide has been written by Anorak's life insurance experts as guidance. Anorak also provides regulated advice online and over the phone.