Whether you’re a confirmed adrenalin junkie or simply crossing things off your Bucket List, you may have attempted any one of these activities in your lifetime. These insane activities surely send chills down your insurance agent’s spine since they are some of the deadliest hobbies in the world. We bring you the craziest activities that thrill-seekers everywhere enjoy, much to the detriment of their insurance providers.
10. Scuba Diving
The world has hidden depths that we simply can’t get enough of. Scuba divers take that literally, and plunge into the sea to explore the underwater world. While the endless blue is said to bring a sense of calm, your insurance agent certainly gets anxious at the thought of it. There are about 150 deaths per year in the U.S. due to scuba diving accidents, according to Dr. Larry Taylor of the University of Michigan. A diving safety coordinator himself, he says this can be caused by equipment failure, cardiac arrest, improper ascent or descent, or unforeseen variables. Life insurance companies account for this, and divers who go beyond 150 ft. are generally denied coverage by most companies, being too hazardous to cover.
If driving a four-wheel vehicle has a significant risk, what more a motorcycle? The risk of having your unprotected body atop two wheels in a sea of dynamic variables is simply too great. Statistics show that even without motocross, motorcycling is one of the most fatal activities on this list. According to data from the American Motorcyclist Association, 4,462 people were killed riding motorbikes. This could range from a number of things like intoxication, excessive speed, lack of control, or collisions with cars. Despite the danger, there are still those who opt for the thrill of an engine thrumming between their legs. Of course, they face a significantly higher life insurance premium as well.
It seems many hobbies involving the ocean blue tend to turn your insurance agent green. Of course, we’re not entirely sure if he’s nauseated because he genuinely cares for you, or he’s seeing green at the prospect of the high premiums you’ll be paying. Recreational boating has killed 736 Americans, caused 3,358 injuries and around $36 million in damages in a single year, according to the Coast Guard report. The causes of accidents due to recreational boating range from intoxication, bad weather, or error on the captain’s part. The insurance companies certainly try to avoid error by charging regular boaters extra on their premiums!
7. Sky Diving
While sky diving isn’t as statistically deadly as the aforementioned hobbies, it certainly jacks up the price on your insurance. All sky divers face a certain amount of risk in the form of parachute malfunctions, midair mistakes, loss of consciousness, etc. Even veterans must be extra careful and watch out for slip-ups at every jump. Statistics show that this pays off, with sky diving only causing 21 deaths in 2010, according to the U.S. Parachuting Association. With an estimate of around 3 million jumps a year from the same organization, that’s around one death in 142,000 jumps. While sky divers enjoy the drop in altitude, they won’t be seeing a drop in insurance prices any time soon.
6. Mountain Climbing
It seems the people who design insurance plans are all acrophobic. Just like sky diving, scaling those mountains can turn your insurance cost into a pretty hefty sum. Premiums have been increased by about $3.50 for every $1,000 of coverage in America for regular climbers. Mountain climbers face many risks in the form of falling, equipment malfunction, avalanche, dropped equipment, loose rocks and the like. However, it seems these risks are mitigated by the skill and group nature of the hobby. Statistics from the American Alpine Club show that mountain climbing averages about 25 deaths per year. Doesn’t change the fact that as you scale those cliffs, the price of your premium goes just as high!
5. Civilian Pilot
Commercial aviation has exorbitant prices for a reason. The massive scale at which commercial airlines transport people requires extensive testing and training before they’re allowed to do so. While commercial flyers do face a certain amount of risk, it’s not as great as non-commercial pilots. Hundreds of accidents occur each year due to civilian pilot error, equipment malfunction, or bad weather. Non-com pilots simply don’t have the same scale of safety resources that all commercial flights have. In 2009, there were 1,248 accidents for civilian pilots, and close to 400 deaths in 2010. If you fly non-professionally, be prepared for the insurance prices to fly high too!
4. Hang Gliding
Another piece of evidence that insurance providers are afraid of heights! Sure, hang gliding is one of the most dangerous air sports out there, but statistics show that it has caused less deaths than boating or motorcycling. With only 7 hang gliding deaths in 2011 according to the National Transportation Safety Bureau, the sport still causes insurance premiums to rise substantially. The risk of death from this recreational activity is 1 in 116,000 flights, according to HSE. If you’re a regular hang glider, be sure to hang on tight because that might be all the insurance you’re going to get. Some providers can opt to refuse coverage altogether if you love taking to the skies this way.
3. Base Jumping
Ah, BASE jumping. Ever had one of those bad dreams where you see the ground rushing up to meet you and there’s nothing you can do? BASE jumpers engage in this completely willingly! The sport has grown out of sky diving, and while it’s done from lower altitudes, BASE jumping is much more dangerous. Sky divers utilise the air flow from the high altitude for stability, controlled descent and clean parachute deployment. Because BASE jumpers enter free fall from lower heights, they don’t have as much control. With only a small window of time in which to land, one misstep could be fatal. Bad jumps will not only let you take off from Buildings, Antennae, Spans or Earth, but also send you crashing into them.
2. Big Wave Surfing
It seems the general trend for activities on this list are those done either in midair or in the sea. Extreme surfing takes the water sport up a notch, with thrill-seekers venturing out into open water in search of monster waves. Big Wave Surfing is an understatement. The sport tows out adrenalin junkies to find some seriously destructive waves at 20-50 ft just so they can surf on them! Take note, these waves are strong enough to decimate villages. If the sheer strength of the wave doesn’t drown you, there’s still a strong possibility of bashing your head on the rocks or your own board. It certainly puts “Wipeout!” into a whole new perspective.
If you’re looking for a brush with death, street luging is the way to go. Find a nice, sloping hill with an open road, climb to the top, lie supine on a sled and say goodbye to your insurance (and possibly your life). Street luges don’t have brakes, are inches away from bone scraping asphalt, and oftentimes, have a strong tendency to sail over cliffs. One mistake with the limited steering you’re given and you can tumble over the side of the hill, faster than you can say “Cowabunga!” If your greatest ambition is to skateboard while lying down, street luging is the way to go. Just be prepared for the possibility of having your face scraped off and a significantly higher insurance premium!