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Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers in Canada 2024

Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers in Canada
Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers in Canada

Big wave surfing is an extreme sport that involves riding towering waves, some exceeding heights of 30 feet. Top big wave surf spots in Canada include Bell’s Beach in Tofino, British Columbia and Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia.

While exhilarating, surfing gargantuan waves poses serious risks of injury or accidental death. This makes having adequate life insurance for big wave surfers in Canada who want to protect their families.

This guide covers everything you need to know about getting life insurance as an extreme wave surfer in Canada.

Overview of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

Life insurance provides a tax-free death benefit to your beneficiaries if you pass away prematurely. For extreme sports athletes, having life insurance ensures your family will be financially secure if you die in an accident while surfing massive swells.

Specialized life insurance policies for hazardous activities exist that will cover death from big wave surfing. Unlike standard life insurance, these policies do not exclude highly dangerous sports.

When applying for life insurance as an extreme surfer, the insurer will assess the risks of your sport. This includes factors like:

  • Location of waves surfed
  • Frequency of surfing big waves
  • Your skill level and experience

Based on your risk profile, the insurance company will determine policy availability and calculate your premiums. Rates are likely to be higher compared to low-risk applicants.

However, price should not be the only consideration when choosing life insurance as a big wave surfer. Finding an insurer that will actually approve you for adequate coverage is also crucial.

Types of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

Types of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers
Types of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

Several forms of life insurance policies are available to extreme sports athletes like big wave surfers:

Term Life Insurance

With term life insurance for Big Wave Surfers, you pay affordable premiums in exchange for death benefit coverage for a set period, such as Term 10 or Term 20. This can provide income replacement for dependents after you’re gone.

Term policies only pay out if you pass away during the term length. If you stop paying premiums or reach the end of the term, coverage ceases.

Many big wave surfers opt for term life insurance due to the low cost and ability to match the policy length to financial needs.

Further reading: How Does Term Life Insurance Work?

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance for Big Wave Surfers remains in force for your entire life as long as you pay premiums. Two common options are:

  • Whole life – Offers lifelong coverage and builds cash value that you can borrow against. Premiums are fixed and cost 10-12x more than term policies.
  • Universal life – Allows you to adjust your premium payments and death benefit amounts subject to limits. Also builds cash value you can access. More flexible but still expensive.

Permanent policies can provide big wave surfers with continuing income protection as they age. The cash value element also allows you to accrue money that can be borrowed if needed.

Further reading: How does permanent life insurance work?

Accidental Death Insurance

Accidental death insurance pays out an additional benefit if you die from a mishap like drowning while surfing massive waves. This supplements a base life insurance policy.

Many insurers double the death payout for accidental causes for extreme athletes. This can give big wave surfers extra coverage tailored to their high-risk activity.

Disability Insurance

While not life insurance, disability insurance provides a vital income if you become unable to work due to a disabling injury sustained while surfing. This can help replace lost wages until you recover and return to work.

Disability insurance helps shield big wave surfers from income loss in the event of being seriously hurt but surviving. Payouts can be used to cover healthcare costs and daily expenses.

Alternative Options to Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

If you have difficulty qualifying for adequate life insurance as an extreme surfer, some alternatives exist:

  • Self-insuring – You can self-insure by saving and investing enough money to provide self-funded coverage. This takes substantial assets to match a policy death benefit however.
  • Group life – If you have an employer-sponsored group plan, this can provide basic coverage, often 1-2x your annual salary. Note the limits may be insufficient for your needs.
  • Association plans – Some surfing associations may offer group life policies exclusive to members. Availability varies greatly, however.

While these options can provide a limited fallback, they should not replace an individually purchased life insurance policy tailored to your situation as an extreme big wave surfer.

How Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers Works in Canada

How Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers Works
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
How Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers Works

When applying for life insurance as a big wave surfer, be prepared to go through additional underwriting scrutiny assessing your level of risk.

Life insurers will ask many questions about your surfing activities, such as:

  • When did you start surfing, and how long have you surfed big waves?
  • How often do you surf big waves, and where do you surf?
  • What size waves do you surf, and what is the largest you have surfed?
  • Do you surf in competitions, and have you suffered any surfing injuries?
  • What safety precautions and equipment do you use when surfing large waves?

It is crucial you disclose your big wave surfing activities honestly. If you die within the first two years of a policy, the insurer can investigate and potentially deny the claim if you lied or omitted details about your extreme surfing. This would leave your family without coverage when they need it most.

Once the insurer has assessed your individual risk profile as a big wave surfer, they will assign you a risk class rating which determines your eligibility for coverage and premium amount:

  • Standard rating – No extra premium surcharge but often excludes hazardous activities. Requires occasionally surfing smaller waves.
  • Table rating – 25-250% premium increase. This is for frequent big wave surfers or surfers of very large wave sizes. Some exclusions may still apply.
  • Declined – Considered too high-risk for traditional life insurance. Alternative options like simplified issue policies must be pursued.

The life insurance company will also require a medical exam to assess your health. Poor health combined with the risks of surfing massive waves could complicate approval and increase premiums further.

Having an experienced life insurance broker can help you through the application process and streamline securing coverage as a high-risk, big wave surfer.

When Do You Need Life Insurance For Big Wave Surfers?

Like anyone participating in extreme sports, big wave surfers should consider purchasing life insurance if:

  • You are the primary income earner – Life insurance can replace lost income to support dependents after you die.
  • You have major debts – Proceeds from a policy can pay off mortgages, loans, and other financial obligations in the event of your death.
  • You want to leave an inheritance – Life insurance can fund bequests to children, charity, or other estates plans after your passing.
  • To pay for final expenses – Avoid burdening family with costly funeral and internment bills by designating funds through a small life insurance policy.
  • To pay college costs for kids – Life insurance proceeds can be used to fully fund future university education costs if you were to die prematurely.

The death benefit from life insurance gives big wave surfers crucial peace of mind knowing their family will have financial stability even if one’s dangerous surfing hobby results in accidental death.

Pros and Cons of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

Life insurance tailored to big wave surfers has several advantages along with some potential drawbacks:


  • Covers hazardous activity – Pays death benefit if you die surfing big waves specifically excluded under standard policies.
  • Income replacement – Provides tax-free money to surviving dependents, replacing lost earnings if the primary breadwinner dies.
  • Pay debts – Proceeds can settle large debts like mortgages that could otherwise fall to spouses or children.
  • Peace of mind – Comfort knowing your family will have funds to maintain their lifestyle if you die while wave surfing.


  • Higher cost – Big wave surfing life insurance costs significantly more compared to coverage for low-risk individuals.
  • Not guaranteed – Some insurers may decline to cover surfing certain hazardous waves exceeding height limits.
  • Risk denial – Failing to disclose your big wave surfing could allow the insurer to deny a claim later.
  • Activity changes – If you take up bigger or more frequent wave surfing after approval, your original policy may no longer cover the increased risk.

Despite some drawbacks, life insurance remains essential for extreme surfers who want financial security for family members in the unfortunate event one dies while pursuing their passion for riding monstrous waves.

Cost of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers in Canada

Cost of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers
Cost of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

Insuring big wave surfers costs more than standard life insurance due to the hazardous nature of the sport. Expect to pay the following:

  • Term life – Starting around $60/month for $500,000 of coverage, depending on your age and other factors. Big wave riders often pay 2-5x more than low-risk applicants.
  • Whole life – Starting around $200/month for $500,000 of coverage. Big wave surfing can increase base rates by 25-100%.
  • Accidental death – Additional $100-$300/year for a policy doubling the payout if you die from a surfing accident rather than natural causes.
  • Disability insurance – Around $100/month for coverage, replacing 60% of income up to $5,000/month if you become disabled and cannot work.

Besides the risks of big wave surfing itself, factors like your age, medical history (also called pre-existing conditions), tobacco use, family history, and other lifestyle risks also influence life insurance premiums.

Read more: Life Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions

Getting quotes from multiple insurers helps big wave surfers find the best rates. A knowledgeable independent broker can provide expert guidance in securing more affordable coverage.

Compare Insurers of Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

When seeking life insurance as an extreme wave surfer, these top life insurance companies provide specialized underwriting, offering better chances of approval:

Assumption Life

  • Will insure surfers riding waves up to 15 feet with a Table 4 rating
  • Covers popular big wave spots like Tofino and Nova Scotia
  • Term, whole, and accidental death life insurance
  • Quick underwriting process

Full review: Assumption Life Insurance

Foresters Financial

  • Competitive rates for surfers of waves up to 25 feet
  • Accidental death rider pays an extra 25% if death from a surfing mishap
  • $300,000 minimum death benefit requirement
  • Permanent cash value life insurance policies only

Full review: Foresters Financial Life Insurance

The Edge Benefits

  • Leading broker for action sports like big wave surfing
  • Secures coverage from Lloyd’s of London insurers
  • Access to the largest number of specialty insurers
  • Life insurance packages tailored to individual risk criteria

Full review: The Edge Benefits Insurance

Consulting an independent broker that works with these insurers gives big wave surfers the best chance of finding a policy. The broker can advocate for the most favourable underwriting on your behalf.

Application Tips for Big Wave Surfers

Applying for life insurance as an extreme surfer requires meticulously preparing to qualify for the best coverage and rates.

Follow these tips when seeking big wave surfer life insurance:

  • Thoroughly answer all questions on the application truthfully. Omitting details jeopardizes claims.
  • Ask the broker to help you phrase answers to highlight safety consciousness and risk mitigation.
  • Provide documentation of any surf training, certifications, and safety courses completed.
  • List the sophisticated safety equipment and procedures you follow when surfing dangerously large waves.
  • If possible, limit the listed height of waves surfed to the low end of your range if you want the lowest premiums.
  • Mention any first aid, water safety, or rescue training you have undertaken as a surfer.
  • Emphasize if you surf high waves infrequently or are reducing your wave heights.

Full transparency is required when applying for life insurance as a big wave surfer. Having an expert broker guide you through the process can optimize securing coverage at reasonable rates.

Buying Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

You can purchase life insurance policies by:

  • Applying online – Many insurers offer applications on their websites. This allows you to get quotes and buy policies directly.
  • Using a broker – Independent life insurance brokers can contact insurers on your behalf to get approved for specialty coverage. Brokers may offer more options and negotiate better pricing.
  • Contacting insurer agents – Agents work for a single insurance company. They can advise on their company’s underwriting policies but cannot broker outside firms.

Independent brokers may provide the most value for big wave surfers, given their challenge in qualifying for coverage. Brokers can leverage connections with insurers willing to cover hazardous sports like extreme surfing.

How to File a Claim on Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

If you die in a surfing accident, quickly initiating the life insurance claim allows your designated beneficiaries to receive funds promptly:

  • Your beneficiaries should contact the insurer immediately to start the claims process. Most have 24/7 claim hotlines.
  • The death certificate stating the cause of death must be provided. For surfing, the claimant will need to include proof it resulted from an accident.
  • Police, medical examiner, and other investigative reports will be required to document the circumstances around the death.
  • If insuring an especially large surfing wave, documentation validating the anomalous wave height is recommended.
  • The insurer will research details independently and may require interviews with those who witnessed the surfing death.
  • Once approved, the tax-free death benefit will be paid out to the assigned beneficiaries per limits and terms of the policy.

An experienced broker assisting beneficiaries can expedite the processing of a claim and get the life insurance money paid.

Why Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers Matters

While rewarding, surfing massive waves comes with inherent risks that make having life insurance coverage essential:

  • Huge waves can instantly put surfers in life-threatening peril. Even very experienced surfers drown or suffer catastrophic injuries.
  • Big wave surfers may sink underwater after wiping out, and they may have little time to reach the surface before drowning. Surviving the battering of monster waves requires luck.
  • Colliding with the shoreline’s rocky bottom or coral reefs can cause severe trauma. Just the impact of water falling from heights exceeding 25 feet can maim or kill.
  • Even a serious non-fatal injury may leave the surfer permanently disabled and unable to work to support a family without insurance.
  • The remote locations of big wave surf spots mean delayed emergency response times that jeopardize survival chances.

No matter one’s skill, surfing giant waves remains extremely dangerous. Unexpected accidents and errors can happen. Having life and disability insurance ensures big wave surfers can continue financially providing for their families even if the ultimate price is paid pursuing their passion.

When it comes to securing life insurance for extreme sports in Canada, we offer invaluable advice that extends far beyond just Big Wave Surfing. Our guides provide customized strategies for rock climbers addicted to scaling sheer cliff faces, motorcycle racers who push limits on treacherous motocross courses, bungee jumping fanatics driven by free fall, mountain skiers chasing that next endless powder run, and hang-gliding thrill-seekers who love soaring at eagle heights. We help all types of extreme daredevils navigate insurance complexities to find affordable premiums.


Big wave surfing is an incredible but dangerous extreme sport. Surfers tempting fate riding mountainous waves need life insurance to protect dependents if injured or killed.

Specialized policies for hazardous sports activities are available that cover death while surfing massive swells exceeding 25-30 feet in height, which are normally excluded under standard insurance.

Finding coverage requires researching experienced insurers, being honest about your surfing risk factors, and working with a knowledgeable independent broker. While costlier, big wave life insurance provides vital income replacement and death benefit protection so families can maintain financial stability even after losing a loved one to the merciless sea.

Visit Life Buzz and request a free quote from our experienced team of brokers. We make securing specialty life insurance for big wave surfers quick, easy and affordable. Don’t ride the giants without proper protection – protect yourself and your family by getting covered now!

Frequently Asked Questions about Life Insurance for Big Wave Surfers

Can I get life insurance if I surf big waves?

Yes, life insurance policies specifically covering dangerous sports like big wave surfing are available. Approval requires finding specialty insurers catering to extreme athletes and disclosing your surfing activities accurately.

What wave size is considered big wave surfing?

Most insurers classify big wave surfing as riding waves over 15-25 feet tall. Extreme variations of the sport may involve surfing waves exceeding heights of 60 feet.

Will any life insurance cover surfing injuries?

Basic life insurance only pays out upon death, not for non-fatal injuries. You need supplemental disability insurance to cover lost income from being hurt and unable to work while recovering.

Does life insurance cover surf competitions?

Typically no. Professional competition surfing is considered too high risk for individual life insurance policies. Some group and association policies may offer coverage for competing surfers.

Can I get life insurance if I had a surfing injury before?

Yes, but be prepared to provide details on any surfing injuries sustained. Severe prior injuries may complicate approval or increase premiums as it raises your assessed risk level as an insured.

What is the minimum death benefit for life insurance for big wave surfers?

Most insurers require minimum death benefits of $250,000 to $500,000 for life insurance for big wave surfers given the high mortality risks involved. Lower amounts may not justify the extra underwriting efforts.

What is the maximum death benefit amount for life insurance for big wave surfers?

Policies can go up to $5 million or more in death benefits for life insurance for big wave surfers, depending on the insurer's risk appetite. Higher amounts may require extra documentation of training and precautions taken.

Does life insurance for big wave surfers cover head injuries from surfing?

Yes, life insurance policies for big wave surfers cover all causes of accidental death while surfing giants, including severe head trauma from collisions with the waves, ocean floor, rocks, or reefs.

Can life insurance for big wave surfers be voided by dangerous behavior?

Yes, recklessly surfing while intoxicated or intentionally putting yourself in peril could allow insurers to void a policy for life insurance for big wave surfers on the grounds of gross negligence.

What medical tests are required for life insurance for big wave surfers?

Expect full exams assessing your overall health risks. Cardiovascular and respiratory fitness are evaluated given the physical demands. Insurers access your medical records.

Can life insurance for big wave surfers cover helicopter surfing?

No, helicopter tow-in surfing is considered too high risk by insurers. Limited group policies may offer coverage. Liability issues and mechanical risks make helicopter surfing uninsurable for individual policies.

What is the average wait period for life insurance payouts for big wave surfers?

After submitting a claim, life insurance payouts for big wave surfers occur on average within 1-2 weeks once the insurer completes its claim investigation and all documentation is provided.

What documentation is needed to claim life insurance for big wave surfers?

Claim documents include a death certificate, coroner/police/EMS reports detailing accident circumstances, proof of wave height surfed, evidence you held an active policy and beneficiary information.

Can life insurance for big wave surfers cover shark attacks?

Yes, death from a shark attack or other marine life while surfing giant waves is covered under life insurance for big wave surfers. It falls under accidental causes from the inherent hazards of the sport.

How does underwriting work for life insurance for big wave surfers?

In-depth profiling of your exact surf activities, risk mitigation efforts, safety training, and surf skills allows underwriters to accurately assess mortality risk and set suitable premium rates.

What causes the most claims on life insurance for big wave surfers?

Drowning from prolonged hold-downs in huge surf and major traumatic blunt injuries from strikes by the heavy whitewater are the most common causes of death resulting in life insurance claims by big wave surfers.

Can life insurance for big wave surfers cover cliff jumping after wipeouts?

No, cliff jumping would void coverage as it demonstrates intentionally putting one's self in needless peril outside the normal risks of surfing. Insurers have a duty to deny claims caused by gross negligence.

Does life insurance for big wave surfers cover pre-existing health conditions?

Pre-existing conditions are factored into underwriting and premium costs, but death from covered surfing accidents unrelated to pre-existing conditions is covered, unlike exclusions on standard policies.

What is the maximum age for big wave surfers to qualify for life insurance?

Most insurers offer coverage up to age 65-70 for life insurance for big wave surfers, though rates become quite high past age 50 due to the amplified mortality risk combining age and dangerous surfing.

Can life insurance for big wave surfers cover heart attacks suffered while surfing?

Yes, assuming it was not a pre-existing condition specifically excluded by the policy. Accidental death includes medical emergencies precipitated by the rigorous physical exertion of surfing giant waves.

What causes high premiums for life insurance for big wave surfers besides the surf risk?

Factors like age, tobacco use, medical history, family history, other high-risk hobbies, and occupation also raise premiums for life insurance for big wave surfers beyond just the surf hazard.

Insurers want to see surf rescue courses, strong swimming skills, big wave surfing clinics, fitness training for extended hold downs, and practice in progressively larger surf.

Is term or permanent life insurance better for big wave surfers?

Term life insurance is generally the most cost-effective option for life insurance for big wave surfers looking to maximize death benefit protection. Permanent policies can supplement term coverage if desired.

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Written by Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen is an award-winning insurance expert and industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is the chairman and director of IDC Insurance Direct Canada Inc., one of Canada's leading online insurance brokerages.

Ben is renowned for his extensive knowledge of life, health, disability, and travel insurance products. He is the prolific author of over 1,000 educational articles published on LifeBuzz, BestInsuranceOnline, and InsuranceDirectCanada. His articles provide Canadians with advice on making smart insurance decisions.

With a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) designation, Ben is frequently interviewed by media as an insurance industry spokesperson.

He has received numerous honors including the Insurance Council of Canada’s Pivotal Leadership Award, the Canadian Insurance Hall of Fame induction, and the President’s Medal from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Ben continues to shape the vision and strategy of IDC Insurance Direct as chairman. He is dedicated to advancing the insurance industry through his insightful leadership.

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