/ Climbing grades and life insurance

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lazzaw - on 18 Oct 2012
I'm looking for some new life insurance and want to include cover for climbing, but I was a bit stumped by how to answer one of the questions regarding climbing. Having said that I climbed, it asked if I climbed at grade above Severe.

I often climb a range from D to HVS (on a brave day) but have never climbed (and am unlikely to attempt) E numbers. Therefore my highest grade climbing is probably going to be HVS.

I telephoned the insurance company for clarification. As expected the details of the UK grading system eluded them (not understandably). I received advice in the same call that climbing at any 'severe' subdivision would be fine (ie S, HS, HVS), then a few seconds later that anything above S would be excluded and if I wanted to increase it to cover anything higher an additional premium of 26p per 1000 of cover would be levied.

For now I've said I don't climb above severe and this will require clarification with the underwriters, but any ideas if HS& HVS are classed as subdivisions of Severe or if I'm going to end up with invalid insurance?
thebrookster on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to lazzaw: I can't see that they can run with running subdivisions of severe, as I always thought that E stood for "Extremely Severe"? Or at least, that was what I was told quite a while ago when I first learned the climbing game.
Trangia - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to lazzaw:

Insurance companies are clueless about climbing. I once took out an endowment policy with Norwich Union having declared that I climbed. The endorsement on the policy stated that climbing was was excluded "where a rope was used"....
victim of mathematics - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to lazzaw:

Speak to Summit. They'll ask you some questions that actually make sense about your climbing.
In reply to victim of mathematics:
> (In reply to lazzaw)
> Speak to Summit. They'll ask you some questions that actually make sense about your climbing.

I concur with victim here - I wasted a long time with insurances trying to sort mine out.

Summit know what they are talking about. They have an association with the BMC too.

My insurances were sorted quicker than with std market providers and cheaper than all my original quotes.
Ferret on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: Agreed.... moneysuper best quote (L&G) tried to up premiums by a factor of 12 for my modest HVS max, Winter 5 max, occasional Alps type stuff.... Summit came back with something around double the first number L&G claimed to want to charge me and with some very clear and understandable wording around what I am covered for - enough to make me certain a claim will not be denied, the L&G stuff was all so wooly that I suspect even had I been daft enough to accept their 12* endorsed quote that they would have found a way to wiggle out based on their understanding being totally different from mine.

Over the years I too have seen various bizare questions around roped/un-roped and questions like 'how high do you climb', badly drafted stuff around soloing (if I slip on Sky ridge is that soloing??), no concept of winter at all (i.e. again, moving un-roped to start of a route might, by some be counted solo climbing as you use crampons and axes to do it etc). Realy shabby and amounts to taking money under false pretences as they don't clearly and acurately define any of this in a way that makes sense to the user and is likely to result in people either massivly over paying or not being covered.

Staring point with most insurers seems to be 'climbers are suicidal lemmings'.... the people that Summit use seem to have accepted that climbers generally try to opperate within their ability - clearly that doesn't always happen and risk of getting it wrong is possible and we may simply be in a more hazardous environment a few days a year, but otherwise we are sane and try not to die.

Annoys me big time as seems most insurers think if we sat at home and spent our free time shopping, over eating, and drinking in pubs and clubs all night at weekends we would be safer... Having a healthy outdoor sport that means not getting your head kicked in by thugs at 2am after a football argument in some dive or other doesn't seem to factor in and none of the normal companies ask questions that quantify what they seem to consider normal risk, that I don't personally do.

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