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Occupational Hazard

What is an Occupational Hazard?

An occupational hazard is a risk individuals working in a specific profession face while on the job. If you’re employed in a field with regular occupational hazards, you can generally expect to pay more for life insurance.

Classifying occupational hazards

You might call an obnoxious coworker or the chronically over-brewed coffee at your office an occupational hazard, but life insurance providers won’t. Instead, they care about the workplace hazards that increase the statistical likelihood of an insured getting injured, ill, or disabled on the job — or them dying there.

Generally, if a life insurance company deems that your job regularly exposes you to occupational hazards, they’ll charge you more for life insurance. That’s because high-risk jobs make you more likely to die prematurely — and life insurers want you to live as long as possible so you can keep paying your premiums.

Jobs with occupational hazards

When you apply for a life insurance policy, the company isn’t necessarily going to shadow you on the job to see how risky your daily work is. Instead, they’ll ask you to list your occupation. If your job is one they’ve classified as hazardous, it will drop you down a rating class (or more), which means paying higher life insurance premiums.

Some examples of jobs with occupational hazards sufficient to trigger more expensive life insurance include:

  • Construction work

  • Active military positions

  • Jobs in the aviation industry

  • Scuba-diving

  • Law enforcement

  • Work in an environment where chemical exposure is likely

  • Firefighting

  • First-responders

  • Mining

  • Oil and natural gas work

  • Electrical work

  • Work that brings you near an active war zone, e.g., journalist, photographer

Ultimately, the more likely you are to be exposed to occupational hazards on the job, the more likely you are to see higher-than-average life insurance premiums. In fact, in some cases, life insurance companies deny coverage altogether for individuals with high-risk jobs.

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