There is probably no worse platform to jump off of than answering the first page question on a life insurance application about whether you use tobacco or nicotine products, if you do. While I’ll get to some exceptions to the rule in a minute, with almost every company if you smoke, chew or suck on something with nicotine in it, you will pay smoker rates and those, in a best case scenario will be twice as much as your non nicotine counterparts. Most companies go as high as three times higher than non nicotine users.
No big secret there. Instead of you get what you pay for, you pay for what you get. Smoking cigarettes especially is the equivalent of a high risk life insurance impairment, like diabetes or heart disease. It is inherently dangerous to your health and your life and life insurance underwriters treat it that way. And most life insurance companies lump cigars, pipe smoking, chew, nicotine gum and e-cigarettes into the same life insurance underwriting category.
Fortunately for those who are more conservative with their nicotine use there are a life insurance few companies that distinguish between cigarettes and other types of nicotine use. Several companies will allow occasional cigar use, like one a month or less as long as you don’t test positive for nicotine use on the life insurance exam. You test positive and that generally means either you weren’t quite honest about the amount you use or you made the brilliant move of having your occasional nicotine use the day before the exam.
But, for those alternatives to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chew there are a few companies that will provide non smoking life insurance rates. It’s not their best rate class, but it is non smoking versus smoking. Just a heads up. If you have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, you will have had to not smoked in the last year to qualify. This is the same time frame all companies use to consider you a non smoker (cigarettes) when you quit, but almost all of them don’t consider the move to e-cigarettes as quitting.
So, depending on what company you use, if you are say a 40 year old male looking for $500,000 of 20 year term and a year ago you made that switch, Company A would charge about $1500 annually and the more rational Company B would charge just shy of $800 annually. There is one other tiny opening, and we do mean tiny. For a social smoker, defined as on average no more than one cigarette a month, there is one company that will offer preferred plus non smoking rates. Told you it was tiny, but nevertheless huge for those who fit through it.
Bottom line. If you are a cigarette smoker, well, you probably know the life insurance boat you are floating in, but if you use nicotine in some other form and are paying smoker rates, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.