Whether you want to check skydiving off your bucket list or it’s become your new favorite pastime, you’ve probably thought about the risks associated with jumping from a plane. You may have also considered purchasing skydiving accident insurance to safeguard your family’s finances if something goes wrong during the jump.
Because of its high-risk nature, skydiving can present a unique challenge for participants who want to buy life insurance or other personal protection policies. In this article, you’ll learn about the types of coverage available to skydivers and how to choose the best policy for your needs.
Do I Need Insurance for Skydiving?
No. Jump schools and skydiving centers don’t typically require participants to maintain skydiving accident insurance. However, most companies require skydivers to sign a waiver so that neither you nor your family can sue for damages if the jump results in an accident despite strict adherence to safety procedures.
Does My Life Insurance Policy Cover Skydiving?
Whether your life insurance policy covers a skydiving accident depends on the carrier and individual plan. Many standard life insurance policies don’t cover deaths that occur as a result of an accident related to an extreme or high-risk sport.
When purchasing your life insurance policy, you probably filled out a questionnaire that asked about your lifestyle, including your participation in high-risk activities such as skydiving, rock climbing and other extreme sports. If so, chances are your policy includes a rider that excludes payout if you die as a result of one of these activities.
Can I Get Life Insurance That Covers Skydiving?
Yes, but it may come at a cost. Your life insurance premiums are based on your risk profile, so when you engage in high-risk activities, the price of your policy goes up. If you're a frequent jumper, your premiums could increase significantly due to a flat extra fee, which is an additional charge designed to offset the higher risk.
Regardless, when you’re shopping for life insurance, you should always be upfront about any high-risk activities you engage in. By understanding your coverage needs, your agent can find the right plan for you. Plus, if you lie about your activities, you risk invalidating your policy and forfeiting the payout if you die.
If you haven’t yet made or scheduled a skydive, however, now may be the best time to buy life insurance. Because you aren’t yet a skydiver, your premiums won’t be affected by the activity’s risk profile and you can lock in an affordable rate. Plus, your insurer won't be able to modify your policy. Just make sure your plan has a guaranteed renewable provision and don’t let your policy lapse.
Small, independent insurance companies may also offer insurance that's designed specifically for skydivers. Although this specialty skydiving accident insurance only covers you during a jump, it may include disability or personal liability benefits if something goes wrong during the skydive. Coverage amounts for these types of policies are typically lower than those of traditional life insurance.
What Other Types of Skydiving Accident Insurance Are Available?
Engaging in high-risk activities such as skydiving can make the cost of life insurance prohibitive, but there is an alternative. You can opt to purchase a life insurance policy that includes a skydiving exclusion to keep costs down, and then add an accidental death and dismemberment plan to cover you during jumps.
AD&D insurance pays out if you lose a limb or die as a result of an accident. It may be purchased as a standalone policy or bought as a supplement to a traditional life insurance policy. Some insurers do have restrictions when it comes to skydiving and other high-risk activities, so it’s important to choose a company that doesn’t exclude these activities.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Skydiving?
Travel insurance is designed to protect you from incurring financial risk on a trip. Some policies are designed for travelers who plan to participate in extreme activities and may be suitable for recreational skydivers.
How Likely Is a Skydiving Accident?
In 2019, the United States Parachute Association only recorded 15 U.S. skydiving fatalities out of about 3.3 million jumps. That translates to approximately one death for every 220,301 jumps. Tandem skydiving, which consists of a student skydiver harnessed to an experienced instructor, has an even better safety record. Over the past decade, there's been about one student fatality per 500,000 jumps. Plus, since the 1960s, the number of skydiving fatalities in the United States has dropped steadily, likely due to strict safety regulations and training policies, and improvements in equipment.
However, fatalities don’t account for all skydiving accidents, and in 2019, there were 2,522 reported skydiving injuries that required medical care. That translates to about one injury for every 1,310 jumps. Most commonly, skydiving accidents result in injuries to the ankles and legs.
What Types of Skydiving Accidents Commonly Occur?
Skydiving accidents can occur at any stage of a jump. Most incidents are classified into one or more of the following categories:
- No pull/low pull: These types of accidents occur when a jumper fails to deploy their parachute or when they deploy it at a lower altitude than needed to slow their rate of descent.
- Equipment malfunctions: Malfunctions may involve failure of the main or reserve parachutes, the steering toggles or other vital equipment. In addition to faulty equipment, malfunctions may result from incorrect chute packing or poor body positioning during the chute deployment.
- Reserve problems: Reserve problems generally involve an unsuccessful deployment of the reserve parachute, which may result from entanglement of the main and reserve chutes.
- Freefall collisions: These midair collisions involve two or more skydivers who collide during freefall.
- Canopy collisions: Canopy collisions occur when the canopies of two or more jumpers wrap or entangle, causing a partial collapse of the chutes.
- Bad landings: Many skydivers consider landings to be the most dangerous part of a jump. Landing accidents may be caused by wind, obstacles, improper body positioning or a disregard of proper procedures.
Multiple factors may contribute to a single accident, and it may be difficult to ascertain the primary cause, particularly if the accident results in one or more fatalities.
Should You Shop Around for a Policy?
If you’re shopping for skydiving accident insurance, it’s important to remember that every insurer weighs risk differently, which can affect your coverage options and your premiums. If you engage in extreme sports such as skydiving, it’s worth comparing policies from several different insurance companies to find a plan that offers the best coverage options for your lifestyle at a competitive price.