- Pilots, space travel and life insurance
- June 5, 2015
In the early days of aviation, any form of flying was considered to be so hazardous that the risk was either excluded altogether or made subject to a substantial extra premium as far as life insurance was concerned. As improvements in pilot skills and technical developments increased, underwriting restrictions relaxed. If you are an extensive traveler, companies do not consider restrictions unless traveling to countries with federal warnings.
The treatment of pilots depends on the person’s age, experience, training and amount of flying. Pilots will generally qualify for the following:
Standard: Ages 27-60 with at least 100 hours experience and does not fly more than 200 hours per year. Extra premiums may be charged for those with less experience and flying times that exceed 400 hours.
According to Edward Graves from McGill’s Life Insurance, credits are commonly allowed for advance training. Accidental death benefit riders often exclude aviation deaths if the insured was the pilot or crew member of any type of aircraft.
When there is an indication that the applicant will be involved in any aeronautical activity that might present a special hazard, the applicant is usually required to complete a supplementary form that gives the company full details of past, present and probable future aviation activities.
While private pilots and skydivers have to take out additional life insurance to cover their hobbies, what about a space trip? This has become a more repeated questions since the crash of Virgin Galactic’s Space ship, a space ship designed to take tourists to space that crashed on October 31, killing one of two pilots. Virgin will not give up and is currently working on the next vehicle. More than 700 customers have signed up to fly on the $250,000-a-seat craft when it finally launches to the public. Other companies are developing similarly owned space ships. But, will life insurance pay out?
According to industry experts, life policies should pay in the event of death; however, this should be disclosed when purchasing a new policy. If someone died in a space travel attempt during the contestable two year period, chances are paying out the death benefit would be debated.
If currently researching companies for life insurance, it may not be unusual for companies to start including underwriting questions if you plan to travel to space anytime soon.
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