Life insurance and high risk occupations

When you have a dangerous occupation there’s a much higher risk of accidental death, which can make finding a suitable and affordable life insurance policy a challenge for certain workers.

Here’s what you should know about life insurance for high risk jobs including how to get the cheapest quotes from the best life insurers in the UK.

What is high risk life insurance?

What questions are asked by life insurers for dangerous occupations?

How much does life insurance cost if you have a high risk job?

What occupations are classed as high risk for life insurance?

What are the best high risk life insurance companies UK?

How can I get cheap high risk life insurance?

View from rear of helicopter with two people sat in the front

What is high risk life insurance?

High risk life insurance is a type of life cover for policyholders who are at a higher risk of death, which can be down to their occupation, age, weight, hobbies, lifestyle choices and/or health conditions.

High risk insurance isn’t a standalone product or a niche type of life insurance, it’s simply a way of referring to standard life insurance cover for a policyholder who is a high insurance risk (i.e. the policyholder is much more likely to make a claim than a lower risk person).

For example, a logging worker or lumberjack (which, incidentally, is the number 1 most dangerous job in the world) will be considered a much higher insurance risk than, say, an office worker. A tree care worker could have a gargantuan tree fall on top of them, fall from a tree (from a great height!) or have a chain saw slip and slice into their flesh. Whereas most low risk office workers typically only have to worry about the odd paper cut here and there.

Read more: High risk life insurance - A guide to getting the right cover for ‘high risk’ applicants

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What questions are asked by life insurers for dangerous occupations?

When you apply for life insurance, you will be asked for your ‘job title’ and if your job title is classed as being ‘high risk’, then you will be asked more questions about your occupation.

For example, if you’re a tradesman, you’ll probably be asked:

  • if you work at heights of 12 metres or more and if so, on average, for how many hours per day
  • if you do any labour work that involves heavy-duty materials
  • what percentage of your job includes heavy-duty work
  • how many business miles your travel per year

Read: 5 reasons why protection insurance is so important

How much does life insurance cost if you have a high risk job?

We can’t provide you with an average figure here because in addition to your individual job risk classification affecting the cost of your premiums, there are the usual life insurance price influences to take into account too such as:

  • your age
  • your weight
  • the type of life policy you want (term or whole life, etc)
  • your smoking status
  • your medical history (physical and mental health)
  • your existing health conditions

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What occupations are classed as high risk for life insurance?

The higher risk your job is, the more your life insurance premiums will be and for certain occupations, you may have your life insurance application referred to the underwriter for individual assessment.

Occupation insurance risks are classed between 1 and 4 according to their level of risk - class 1 being the lowest risk occupation and class 4 being the highest.

To find out whether your job is classed as one of the highest risk occupations by insurers, we’ve put together a table showing the highest risk job classifications 3 and 4 - we have only included class 3 jobs where a ‘referral to the underwriter’ is typically made because a job is particularly high risk and needs closer analysis.

The below table is purely for guidance and information purposes only and the data has been extracted from Legal and General’s ‘occupation class guide’.

Dangerous jobs that are classed as being the very highest risk and that will typically require referral to the underwriter are marked in bold text.

If your job is not included in the following list there is no need to worry, when you get a life insurance quote with Bobatoo a member of our customer service team will call you for more information about your particular job to make sure you get the right level of cover without the guesswork.

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Higher Risk Insurance Occupation Class List (A to Z)

Occupation/Job Title Risk Occupation Class Referral necessary to insurance underwriter for individual consideration?
Actor/Actress (Stunt work) 3 Yes
Aerial Erector 4 No
Agricultural Worker 4 No
Aircraft Loader 4 No
Airline Pilot (Other Airlines) 3 Yes
Alarm Fitter 4 No
Armed Forces Member - no special duties and not under orders 4 No
Artexer 4 No
Asbestos Worker 4 No
Asphalter 4 No
Assembly Line Worker/Assembler 4 No
Baggage Handler 4 No
Baker - Bakery NOT shop 3 No
Bar Manager or Bar Staff 4 No
Blacksmith 4 No
Boat Builder 4 No
Bricklayer or Bricklayer’s Mate* 4 No
Builder or Builder’s Mate* 4 No
Building Contractor 4 No
Building Site Foreman 4 No
Bulldozer Driver 4 No
Butcher - NOT shop work only 4 No
Cafe Owner/Proprietor (Licensed Premises) 4 No
Carpenter* 4 No
Carpet Cleaner 4 No
Carpet Fitter 4 No
Carriage Cleaner 4 No
Cemetery Attendant 4 No
Cleaner - Asbestos 4 No
Cleaner (internal domestic/hospital/office and industrial premises only) 4 No
Club Manager 4 No
Club Proprietor/Steward(ess) 4 No
Coal Merchant (manual) 4 No
Coal Miner (see Miner)
Concrete Operative (Erector/Finisher) 4 No
Construction Worker (see Builder)
Crane Driver 4 No
Cricket Player (professional) 4 No
Darts Player (professional) 4 No
Debt Collector 3 No
Delivery Driver or Courier 3 No
Digger Driver 4 No
Diver or Diving Instructor 4 Yes
Docker 4 No
Door and Window - Assembler/Installer/ Fitter 4 No
Double Glazing - Assembler/Installer/Fitter 4 No
Drain Cleaner 4 No
Driver - not heavy plant or construction 4 No
Dustman 4 No
Electrical Supply (Linesman) 4 No
Electroplater 4 No
Excavator Driver 4 No
Fabricator 4 No
Factor Manager (with some manual work) 4 No
Factory Worker 4 No
Farm Labourer/Worker 4 No
Fence Erector 4 No
Fibreglass Worker 4 No
Firefighter (includes using aerial platform) 4 No
Fisherman 4 Yes
Fitter/Fitter’s Mate - usually 4 No
Floor Layer 4 No
Flooring Contractor 4 No
Football Player (professional) 4 No
Forest Worker 4 No
Foundry Worker 4 No
Furniture Maker/Polisher/Restorer 4 No
Furniture Remover 4 No
Galvaniser 4 No
Garage Tyre/Exhaust Fitter 4 No
Glass Worker/Cutter/Finisher 4 No
Glazier 4 No
Golf Player (professional) 4 No
Groundworker 4 No
Handyman* 4 No
Haulier (if driving) 4 No
Helicopter Instructor/Pilot 3 Yes
HGV Driver 4 No
Highways Operative 4 No
Hoist Operator 4 No
Hotel Bar Person 4 No
Housebuilder* 4 No
Incinerator Operator 4 No
JCB/Heavy Plant Driver 4 No
Joiner* 4 No
Jointer 4 No
Kiln Attendant 4 No
Labourer - no farm work* 4 No
Landfill Operative 4 No
Lathe Operator 4 No
Licensee (Licensed Trade) 4 No
Lifeboat Crew 4 No
Life Erector* 4 No
Linesman 4 No
Loading Bay Assistant 4 No
Lorry Driver 4 No
Machine Assistant/Operator/Minder - usually 4 No
Machine Tool Setter/Operator 4 No
Maintenance Fitter 4 No
Manager (see specific job title with ‘Manager’ in) 
Mechanical Road Sweeper Driver 4 No
Metal - Fabricator/Machinist/Plater/Sprayer/ Miller 4 No
Meter Installer 4 No
Miner - underground or surface 4 No
Ministry of Defence Police Officer 4 Yes
Motorcycle Courier/Messenger 4 No
Packer 4 No
Painter and/or Decorator (not interior)* 4 No
Panel Beater 4 No
Pavior 4 No
Photographer (aerial only) 3 Yes
Pile Driver 4 No
Pilot (also see Airline Pilot) 3 Yes
Pilot - remotely operated vehicle 4 No
Police (Pilot only) 3 Yes
Plant Hire Manager/Owner - some manual work or driving 4 No
Plant Operator 4 No
Plasterer 4 No
Pop Musician/Singer 4 Yes
Port Operative 4 No
Process Operator/Worker 4 No
Production Operative/Worker 4 No
Production Manager/Superintendent - Some manual work 4 No
Property Developer - some manual work 4 No
Publican/Public House manager/Landlord 4 No
Railway Linesman 4 No
Recycling Operative 4 No
Refuse Collector 4 No
Removals Man 4 No
Riding Instructor 4 No
Rig Electrician 4 No
Rig Maintenance Diver 4 Yes
Rig Mechanic 4 No
Rig Welder 4 No
Road Maintenance Worker 4 No
Road Sweeper 4 No
Roofer* 4 No
Royal Air Force - see Armed Forces Member
Royal Navy - see Armed Forces Member
Royal Military Police Officer 4 Yes
Rugby Player (professional) 4 No
Sandblaster 4 No
Satellite Aerial Installer/Engineer* 4 No
Scaffolder* (not on a rig or ship building or repair) 4 No
Scrapyard Dealer/Owner/Baler/Grader/Sorter 4 No
Security Guard 4 No
Security Van Driver 4 No
Sewage Works Attendant 4 No
Sheet Metal Worker 4 No
Ship Fitter/Repairer/Breaker 4 No
Shop Cleaner 4 No
Shop Fitter 4 No
Sign Erector* 4 No
Skipper (Merchant Marine) 4 No
Slate Cutter/Dresser/Polisher 4 No
Slater - see Roofer*
Slaughterhouse Worker 4 No
Snooker Player (professional) 4 No
Spot Welder 4 No
Spray Painter 4 No
Steel Erector* 4 No
Steel Fabricator/Fixer* 4 No
Stone Cutter/Dresser/Polisher 4 No
Stonemason* 4 No
Street Cleaner 4 No
Tanker Driver 4 No
Tennis Player (professional) 4 No
Tiler* 4 No
Timber Merchant (some manual work) 4 No
Toolmaker 4 No
Track Layer/Trackman 4 No
Tree Feller 4 Extra premium
Tree Surgeon 4 No
Tunneller 4 Yes
Tyre Fitter 4 No
Vehicle Body Builder/Repairer 4 No
Warehouse Operator 4 No
Waste Disposal Operative 4 No
Water Treatment Operator 4 No
Welder* - not on a rig, underwater or a Track Welder - usually 4 No
Winch Driver/Operator 4 No
Window Cleaner* 4 No
Window Fitter/Installer 4 No
Woodworker/Machinist 4 No

* All classes given in the above table only apply to life insurance applicants NOT working at heights over 15 metres for 5+ hours during a typical week or, for whole of life insurance quotes, heights at 12 metres+ for more than 10% of the time. Any jobs marked with an asterisk that involve working at heights will also be referred to the underwriters for individual assessment.

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You might want to read: Benefits of putting your life insurance in ‘trust’

What are the best high risk life insurance companies UK?

With Bobatoo, you can get cheap life insurance quotes from many of the main and best life insurance companies in the UK such as:

  • Aegon Life Insurance
  • AIG Life Insurance
  • Aviva Life Insurance
  • Legal and General Life Insurance
  • PruProtect (formerly Prudential Life Insurance and now known as VitalityLife)
  • Royal London Life Insurance
  • Scottish Widows Life Insurance
  • Zurich Life Insurance

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How can I get cheap high risk life insurance?

You should apply for affordable high risk life insurance quotes with Bobatoo to find the best life insurance deals on the market from top insurers at a reasonable price.

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