/ Life insurance and climbing

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TobyA on 13 Jan 2018

I know this has come up before but just interested to hear others' experiences. We are in the process of buying a house, I can't remember if the our mortgage provider insists on or just strongly advises life insurance for the amount we are borrowing but it didn't seem a bad idea. We are lucky that having sold our old house we only need to borrow about a third of the value of the new house, so the original quote to cover myself and my partner for the amount we are borrowing over the term of the mortgage was 17 quid a month which didn't seem too bad.

But just now going through all the lengthy questions to arrange it, I obviously triggered the climbing question page, and after answering the questions as honestly as I could the quote had gone up to over 40 quid a month. The chap was helpful in trying to find out which question made the difference and he said it seemed to be "do you climb over the UK severe level?" If I didn't answer this 'yes' there would have been virtually no change to the premium. The guy at the Nationwide we were talking to is our mortgage advisor and also knew nothing about climbing, so he is going to talk to Legal and General who Nationwide use to get further details for me. I get that they can't send a risk assessor out to follow me around for a day at Stanage to note that I only climb to VS, HVS on low gravity days, and favour well protected crack climbs, but more than tripling my half of the premium because I climb over severe sounds silly. Have others come across this issue? Any advice?

Thanks all!

Trangia on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Have you tried Summit Financial Services 0345 565 0937 ?

They advertise Life Insurance for Climbers in the BMC Handbook, which suggests they have an understanding of what climbing is about and the risks involved.

Good luck.

Hooo - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

All the insurance companies vary in their exact criteria. I have life insurance from Aviva, who don't load the premium for UK climbing up to HVS, or might even be E1.

Interestingly, it's the grade you climb when you take out the insurance that counts, so if I somehow start climbing E3 my premiums won't go up.

Post edited at 11:53
Hooo - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Trangia:

Summit are good, but you pay a lot for their expertise. You will save a lot of money if you can buy a standard policy direct, so it's worth trawling through them all to see if you can find one that covers you by default. This is admittedly a very long and tedious process.

Kevster - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

My insurance was a B**ch about this. 

I wanted income protection and life insurance (assurance?)

Climb E4 and over 7a sport, sometime abroad, and the premiums were silly. They also were funny about route length and altitude. Over 200m multipitch etc. Its rock climbing!!! Not mountaineering...... They have absolutely no concept of climbing, grades, safety in climbing, or the risks involved (more not involved - how compare trad with sport? or a sport route in Spain vs a sport route in Horseshoe). They also wanted most things translated to a grade scale which we dont use much.

I got quite angry over it as I felt I was discriminated against with no justifiable reasoning behind the premium hike.


Anyway, I'm not covered if I have an accident climbing. I also figure, if the accident is significant enough to need to claim I'll probably be dead so the income protection doesnt matter. And to top it off, I now basically havent climbed outside for 6 months because I have a new baby - so probability of needing to claim when climbing - not very high.


just means a bigger premium......


Good luck with it all. 



TobyA on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to all:

Thanks folks for experiences so far. The question that triggers all this was did I do a sport involving certification, licence or special safety equipment (not including cycling). So downhill bikers don't need to worry, nor skiers I guess but potter about at Stanage on a VS and you are a risk?! Also if I didn't climb and go up hills in the UK I wouldn't be getting much exercise, so it makes all the heart disease stuff less likely...


SDM on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I originally tried to take out income protection and life insurance via a standard broker. He initially seemed to be finding decent deals but I lost count of the number of insurers who, when we progressed with the application, referred my case for extra checks due to my climbing which always resulted in an increased premium or a long list of exclusions or sometimes both!

From the questions they asked, it was obvious that at no stage did I talk to anyone who had a clue what climbing was and their terms had also clearly been decided by someone who knew nothing about climbing.

Some of the things that led to withdrawal of an offer, an increased premium or exclusions:

- Climbing "extreme" grades

- Climbing harder than 7a

- Climbing harder than 7c

- Climbing anything with more than one pitch

- Climbing alone (including bouldering 2m high above a grassy landing!)

- Climbing without a helmet (as above)

- Climbing above water

- Soloing (although they couldn't define what soloing was or whether highballs counted)

- Climbing outside Europe

- Climbing abroad for more than 2 weeks a year

- Climbing more than 50 days per year

- Climbing above 3,500ft altitude (so you couldn't even go to Magic Wood)

Eventually I gave up with that broker and went to Summit. You talk to a climber who understands your needs. They arranged cover that includes worldwide climbing and bouldering up to 4,000m with no additions to the premium or exclusions.

Post edited at 20:33
Wayne S - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

From what I recall there was no real impact on premium at E3 and Alpine routes,  seems it’s 6000m plus in remote places and rock above E3/4 where premiums increase, at least when I applied!  I was quite suprised.

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