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The Dangerous and Deadly

January 12th, 2010 by Penny Hagerman

OK, take this quick quiz:

What do Fishermen, Loggers and Pilots have in common?

Give up?

They work at the three most dangerous and deadly occupations in America! That means, if you’re a fisherman, logger or pilot, insurance is likely to cost you more than it costs a worker in any other occupation in the U.S.

When I first heard this statistic, I balked.

“How dangerous can fishing be?” I thought. “How can standing in the water or on a boat trying to hook fish be dangerous?”

I had it all wrong. Fishermen do much more than that. They work long hours on rough seas, in unpredictably bad weather and often in isolation—which makes it difficult to reach them in case of emergency. Together, these three factors make the job the most unsafe profession there is.

When it comes to logging, that one made more sense. It stands to reason that, when you’re in the forest cutting down trees, you stand a fairly good chance of a tree falling on—or at least near you, right? (But if no one was around, would it actually make a sound when it hit the ground? Sorry, that’s a topic for another day!)

Regarding pilots, I could totally understand the danger involved in their jobs, which often depend on clear weather and perfect communication to avoid mishaps. (One bumpy flight and you couldn’t pay me enough to stay in that cockpit!)

Because of the risk involved in these three jobs—which often require workers to perform perfectly in perilous or unpredictable conditions—insurance companies charge them higher life insurance rates than the average person to cover the added risk.

But job function isn’t the only determinant of insurance rates, either.

“Generally, high-risk jobs affect life insurance, but not health premiums,” says Cheryl Randolph, spokeswoman for UnitedHealthcare. ”Health status is much more predictive of medical risk than a high-risk job.”

On the other hand, a healthy person with a safe job would pay lower premiums for individual medical, life and disability insurance than a healthy person with a high-risk job, she says.

If you’re shopping for lower insurance rates, we definitely don’t recommend fishing, logging or flying, to be sure. But other occupations are almost as deadly.

To find out what they are, and how they affect your premiums, read our article on dangerous and deadly jobs now.

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