When you’re applying for a life insurance policy, it’s very common to undergo a medical exam, which usually includes your vitals be recorded, a blood and urine sample taken and a series of questions about your medical history. One of these questions is going to be about tobacco. Why? Because it affects your premium rate.
How does using tobacco affect life insurance rates?
You will pay a significantly higher rate. This is because tobacco users are more likely to develop health problems in the future, which makes them a greater risk to the life insurance companies. Based on data from the CDC, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. It makes sense that rates for tobacco users would be higher, as the risk is high for the life insurance company to insure people who use tobacco. Is vaping considered using tobacco on life insurance applications?
Yes, most life insurance companies rate the usage of vaping and e-cigarettes the same way as regular tobacco users. If you vape, you will be classed as a smoker and receive the smoking life insurance rate.
How do life insurance companies know if you’re using tobacco?
Before you think you can lie your way to a better rate, you should know that your medical results don’t lie. During your medical exam, you are usually required to provide urine and blood samples and maybe even a saliva swab. These tests can detect nicotine in your system even weeks after your last usage of tobacco. Most life insurance companies don’t differentiate between the types of nicotine – meaning there isn’t really a difference in rate based on whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, use an e-vape or chew nicotine-based gum.
But there are some companies who offer a break for those who use smokeless tobacco, which is tobacco that is chewed or snuffed. A smokeless tobacco rate is higher than a non-smoker rate but less than a smoking rate. You will still get the best rate by quitting all tobacco usage and living a healthy life; however, here at Alfa®, we do offer a smokeless tobacco rate.
How long do I have to quit using tobacco for it not to affect my life insurance premium?
It can take weeks for nicotine to leave your system, so stopping tobacco use just until you take your life insurance medical exam is not a wise plan. Many companies allow you to be retested after a certain period (for Alfa, it’s 24 months) if you’ve recently quit using tobacco so your rate may not necessarily be permanent.
If you’d like a life insurance quote or have questions about how tobacco use affects your life insurance rate, contact one of our local Alfa agents today.