These Fictional Characters Lead High-Risk Lives . . . But Not in the Way You Think

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Last Updated: July 1st, 2020

Life insurance is one of those subjects that is difficult for many to talk about. In short, you and your loved ones are much better off having life insurance and not needing it, than needing life insurance and not having it. Thankfully for most of us, life insurance is not only accessible but also affordable. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many of the characters portrayed in film, literature, and television these days. But which characters are the least insurable? Well, we've identified the top five - and some of the characters on this list might surprise you.

Factors Affecting Life Insurance Rates

SKIP THIS PART! TAKE ME TO THE CHARACTERS!

Before we can get into just how uninsurable these characters are, it's important to go over a couple of ground rules first. There are a number of factors that can affect a life insurance company's ability to insure you. We've identified the top seven:

Age

If you are younger, chances are you will be paying insurance for much longer. Consequently, you'll likely be paying lower life insurance premiums overall; however, the older you get, the more that window begins to close.

Gender

Gender can also greatly influence pricing. The logic behind this gender bias is based on statistics. On average, women tend to live about five years longer than men, meaning they'll likely be paying insurance for longer, and will therefore enjoy lower rates.

Occupation

What you do for a living can also affect what you pay for insurance. For example, if you happen to be a race car driver, a firefighter, or a chemist dealing strictly with deadly chemical compounds, you will be paying more for health insurance. Some jobs can even cause insurers to deny you coverage! On the other hand, if you work as a marshmallow tester or something like that, you'll probably get to pay lower rates.

Current Health

Your current health status is extremely important when it comes to life insurance. Most often, you will have to undergo a medical examination before some insurance companies will offer you coverage. This exam checks for health factors like high blood pressure and disabilities. When companies see that you're in good health, they're more likely to trust you with a policy.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors including drinking, smoking, and engaging in dangerous or otherwise risky behavior will definitely count against you; however, if you quit smoking or drinking, you'll be able to enjoy lower rates over time.

Family Medical History

Insurers are also interested in your family's medical history. Does anyone in your family suffer from a chronic disease such as heart disease or cancer? If so, these conditions will most likely weigh into your rates.

Driving Record

Believe it or not, your driving record will also go under the microscope. Even if no violations are found on your current record, life insurance companies can consult with the Department of Motor Vehicles for your full history. But if your record has been clean for the last three to five years, you'll likely be in the clear.

That being said, you won't be terribly surprised to find that the following characters might have a hard time getting adequate life insurance coverage:

James Bond

James Bond, international man of mystery has been eluding death, seducing beautiful women, and drinking scores of martinis for well over 50 years. And while I'm sure MI-6 likely has a great policy in place for their double-0 agents, Bond will likely have difficulty finding someone who will insure him should he lose his government job. Then again, for someone like James Bond - an orphan who somehow manages to avoid commitment as easily as he avoids bullets - passing on benefits from life insurance may not even be an issue. But for the sake of this analysis, let's run the numbers anyway:

     Name
  • Bond. James Bond
     Age
  • Unknown
     Gender
  • Male
     Occupation
  • Spy, Assassin
     Current Health
  • Surprisingly Good
     Lifestyle
  • Gets Shot At/Tortured
  • Smokes
  • Drinks Heavily
  • Frequently Engages in Risky Behavior with Several Mysterious Women
     Family Medical History
  • Unknown
     Driving Record
  • Poor. Very Poor.

 

According to the facts, things don't look so good for 007. First, he is a male, meaning his life insurance premiums are already heightened. He also has a history of destroying expensive sports cars, promiscuity, and getting repeated shot/shot at. And if that were not enough, he drinks - all the time. The only things Bond has going for him are his excellent (and unexplainable) health, the fact that little is known about his parents' medical conditions.

Harry Potter

This list would not be complete without Harry Potter. Lay aside the fact that he's been under constant threat of death since he was a 1-year-old, Potter's entire lifestyle and demographic is just asking for impossible life insurance rates:

     Name
  • Harry Potter
  • The Boy Who Lived
  • The Chosen One
     Age
  • 17
     Gender
  • Male
     Occupation
  • Student/Wizard
  • Prospective Dark Wizard Hunter
     Current Health
  • Questionable
     Lifestyle
  • Quidditch Seeker
  • Has Almost Died Every Year of His Adolescent Life
  • Has Died
  • Practices Magic Regularly
     Family Medical History
  • Parents Died Prematurely
  • Father Spent Time with a Werewolf
     Driving Record
  • Also Poor

 

Harry Potter is a risk assessor's worst nightmare. And while Potter doesn't smoke or drink like James Bond (there are few who do), he engages in plenty other risky behavior that have repeatedly landed him in the Hogwarts hospital wing. And that's just from being a seeker on his quidditch team. The one time Potter has driven a car, the car ended up in a tree bewitched to destroy anything that comes near it. Of course, we can't forget his frequent encounters dealing with a certain dark wizard who has employed increasingly creative means - including a giant snake and reanimated corpses - to specifically kill Harry Potter. In fact, that dark wizard even once succeeded in killing Harry Potter (spoiler alert), though, whichever life insurance company enough to give him a policy will be relieved to know that they won't have to pay out that policy after all.

Katniss Everdeen

When it comes to life insurance, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games franchise is a difficult one to figure out. On the one hand, death is constantly knocking at her door, but on the other hand, she might not be as huge an insurance risk as you would think.

     Name
  • Katniss Everdeen
  • The Girl on Fire
     Age
  • 16
     Gender
  • Female
     Occupation
  • Hunter
  • Tribute
  • Revolutionary
     Current Health
  • Questionable
     Lifestyle
  • Under Constant Threat of Danger
  • Engages in Regular Combat
     Family Medical History
  • Father Died in Coal Mine Accident
  • History of Malnutrition
     Driving Record
  • None

 

There are a number of reasons why Katniss Everdeen would be difficult to insure. First of all, unless you happen to live in the capital, I'm pretty sure life insurance isn't an option for most of the citizens of Panem. So access is a big deal. Secondly, she lives in a coal mining community, which means an increased risk of respiratory disease and even lung cancer. What more, before she won the Hunger Games, she would often go days without eating, which can greatly deteriorate one's health, and chances at good insurance rates. Conversely, after she won the Hunger Games, she was eating a lot better, but her mental health began to decline, which might also be considered an insurance risk. And, oh yeah, everyone keeps trying to kill her. Did I mention that?

On the other hand, Katniss might not be as difficult to insure as everyone else on this list. Females tend to have lower rates than males do when it comes to life insurance. And when you think about it, save for the constant threat of gladiator-style executions, she actually tries to live a healthy lifestyle. When she can eat, she only eats organic, and she seems to avoid the coal mines her district is known for, meaning better respiratory health. She stays fairly active, and the best way to avoid a poor driving history is to simply never drive a car.

Everyone on Game of Thrones

In the five seasons Game of Thrones has been on the air, roughly 60 major and minor characters have died in one way or another. And if you follow the show, it's no secret that nearly every character on the show has an increasingly shortening shelf life as the seasons progress. What makes insuring Game of Thrones characters so difficult is the fact that death seems to come upon everyone - regardless of health, occupation, age, or gender. Quite frankly, the show throws all the life insurance rules out the door! And since it's so difficult to assess the risk of future characters, we need to go with what information we do have (to skip this list and see the highlights, click here).

To see just how randomly and ridiculously death manifests itself in this show, just read the fourth column in succession - out loud:

Name Role Time of Death Means of Death
Will Ranger of the Night's Watch S1ep1 Beheaded
Jon Arryn Hand to the King S1ep1 Poisoned
Jory Cassel Captain of the Guards S1ep5 Stabbed through Eye
Viserys Targaryen Exiled Head of House Targaryen S1ep6 Molten Gold Poured on Head
Benjen Stark First Ranger of the Night's Watch S1ep7 Unknown
Robert Baratheon Lord of the Seven Kingdoms S1ep7 Killed by Boar
Syrio Forel Sword Fighting Instructor S1ep8 Killed in Sword Fight
Eddard Stark Hard of the King Lord of the North S1ep9 Beheaded
Drogo Chieftain of the Dothraki S1ep10 Smothered to Death
Rhaego Son of Khal Drogo S1ep10 Stillborn because of Blood Magic
Mirri Maz Duur Enslaved Godswife S1ep10 Burned Alive
Rakharo Dothraki Bodyguard S2ep2 Beheaded
Yoren Recruiter for the Night's Watch S2ep3 Killed in Sword Fight
Renly Baratheon Master of Laws S2ep5 Killed by Shadow
Rodrik Cassel Master-at-Arms S2ep6 Beheaded
Irri Dothraki Handmaiden S2ep7 Murdered
Master Luwin Maseter of Winterfell S2ep10 Stabbed with Spear
Qhorin Ranger of the Night's Watch S2ep10 Asked to Be Killed
Pyat Pree Warlock from Qarth S2ep10 Burned Alive
Doreah Handmaiden S2ep10 Locked in Stone Vault
Xaro Xhoan Daxos Merchant in Qarth S2ep10 Locked in Stone Vault
Hoster Tully Lord of Reverrun S3ep3 Illness
Jeor Mormont Lord Commander of the Night's Watch S3ep4 Stabbed to Death
Craster Wildling S3ep4 Killed by Night's Watchman
Krazyns Salve-Trader S3ep4 Burned Alive
Bernic Dondarrion Leader of Brotherhood without Banners S3ep5 Killed in Combat
Ros Prostitute Sepe6 Shot with Crossbow
Talisa Stark Wife S3Ep9 Stabbed in Stomach
Robb Stark King of the North S3Ep9 Shot with Crossbow, then Stabbed through Heart
Catelyn Stark Wife of Eddard Stark S3ep9 Throat Slit
Polliver Man-at-Arms S4ep1 Stabbed in Throat
Tansy Servant S4ep2 Eaten by Dogs
Joffrey Baratheon Lord of the Seven Kingdoms S4ep2 Poisoned
Karl Tanner Brother of the Night's Watch S4ep5 Impaled
Locke Man-at-Arms S4ep5 Neck Snapped
Rast Ranger of the Night's Watch S4ep5 Ripped Apart
Lysa Arryn Lady Regent of the Vale S4ep7 Fell to Her Death
Oberyn Martell Prince S4ep8 Skull Crushed
The Mountain Knight S4ep8 Poisoned by Spear
Grenn Ranger of the Night's Watch S4ep9 Killed in Combat
Mag the Mighty Giant S4ep9 Killed by Night's Watchman
Pyp Brother of the Night's Watch S4ep9 Shot by Arrow
Styr Thenn S4ep9 Bludgeoned in Head by Hammer
Ygritte Soldier S4ep9 Shot by Arrow
Jojen Reed Warg S4ep10 Stabbed Multiple Times, Burned by Fireball
The Hound Member of House Clegane S4ep10 Died from Wounds
Shae Prostitute S4ep10 Strangled
Tywin Lannister Head of House S4ep10 Shot with Crossbow while on Toilet
Mance RAyder Leader of the Free Folk S5ep1 Shot by Arrow
Janos Slynt Former Commander S5ep3 Beheaded
Barristan Selmy Former Kingsguard Member S5ep4 Killed in Combat
Maester Aemon Maester at Castle Black S5ep7 Dies of Old Age
Karsi Chieftainess S5ep8 Mauled to Death
Shireen Baratheon Daughter S5ep9 Burned Alive
Hizdahr zo Loraq Scion S5ep9 Stabbed to Death
Sleyse baratheon Wife S5ep10 Hangs Herself
Stannis Baratheon Lord of Dragonstone S5ep10 Executed
Myranda Servant S5ep10 Pushed off Ledge
Meryn Trant Knight S5ep10 Blinded, Stabbed, Throat Slit
Myrcella Baratheon Daughter S5ep10 Poisoned

Highlights from This List

What becomes clear of this list is that while some deaths are more predictable than others, most of them could not have been foreseen. For example, it's understandable that Syrio Forell, a sword fighting instructor was killed, of all the ways, in a sword fight. The nature of his occupation puts him at high risk, and he would not likely have qualified for insurance anyway. On the other hand, Tywin Lannister, head of his own house, was shot by a crossbow while on the toilet!

Risk Assessment for Game of Thrones Characters

Let's say for a moment you were a Game of Thrones character. You saw everything that was going on around you, and you wanted life insurance. Here are a few questions your insurance rep might ask you:

  • Do you have, or have you ever had, one of the following:
    • A Neck
    • A Heart
    • A Skull
  • Are you generally well-liked on the show?
  • Are you in a position of either authority or servitude?
  • Have you been featured on the show for at least one episode?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then your risk is quite high.

And Apparently, Any Character Played by Sean Bean

Whether he's asked for it or not, actor Sean Bean has made a career out of letting people watch him die. And while not all of his characters have experienced on-screen deaths like that of Game of Thrones's Eddard Stark, the trend is significant enough to pay attention to (again, the fourth column is the only interesting column here):

Character Movie/Television Show Year of Movie Release/Air Date Means of Death
Ranuccio Caravaggio 1986 Throat Slit
German Soldier War REquiem 1989 Impaled
Tadgh McCabe The Field 1990 Falls off Cliff
Carver Doone Lorna Doone 1990 Drowned
Gabriel Lewis Screen One 1991 Stabs Himself
Robert Lovelace Clarissa 1991 Stabbed
Sean Miller Patriot Games 1992 Beaten, Impaled, Blown Up
Lord Fenton Scarlett 1994 Stabbed
Alec Trevelyan GoldenEye 1996 Crushed to Death
Dave Toombs Airborne 1998 Shot
Jason Locke Essex Boys 2000 Shot
Boromir The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring 2001 Shot by Arrows
Patrick Koster Don't Say a Word 2001 Buried Alive
Cleric Errol Partdrige Equilibrium 2002 Shot
Robert Aske Henry VIII 2003 Hung
Dr. Bernard Merrick The Island 2005 Hung
Loki Far North 2007 Frozen to Death
Danny Bryant Outlaw 2007 Shot
John Ryder The Hitcher 2007 Shot
John Dawson Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord, 1973 2008 Shot
Pyke Kubic Ca$h 2010 Shot
Markus Kane Death Race 2 2010 Shot
Ulrich Black Death 2010 Quartered
Major Jack Jones Age of Heroes 2011 Shot
Lord Eddard Stark Game of Thrones 2011 Beheaded

 

Of course, these statistics will only really matter to you if you end up having a movie made about your life and Sean Bean is a potential candidate to portray you. Chances are, it won't even matter if you're still alive when the movie is released - the cinematic powers that be will somehow work a death scene into your life story. And while having Sean Bean portray you in a movie won't necessarily increase your risk or make it harder for you and your loved ones to enjoy the benefits of life insurance, not signing up for life insurance definitely will.

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