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Let me answer the question first and then go on to explain. Tell the agent NO and go find an agent that can deal with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I have been helping a client with type 1 diabetes get life insurance. He had been declined by one of the giant whole life insurance companies due to the diabetes. When we were going through all of the health questions he told me he had never used any tobacco or nicotine products. Based on the excellent diabetes control he had we were able to get several offers and applied for the best of those.

He did a new exam and within a few weeks the company gave me a heads up that the client tested positive for nicotine which meant that he was not only looking at a rated policy for type 1 diabetes insurance, but also it would be rated off of standard tobacco user rates essentially tripling the cost. When I call him he vehemently denied any tobacco use ever and as proof offered to send me his labs from the previous insurance exam showing nicotine negative.

I sent those results to the company I applied through and asked them, based on conflicting results if they would allow a retest. They kicked it around a few days and finally said no. The test, they said, was just too accurate and bombproof to have been an error.

Well, this client had used the previous labs to also apply to Prudential and they approved a rated non nicotine policy. Since I still had offers from other companies that would have been better than Pru as a non smoker I called the client one day after I had told him of the positive nicotine results and told him we could save significant money if he was willing to take a nicotine/cotinine test the next day. Why the next day? Well, each day that passes after nicotine use decreases the chances of it being detected. I, after consulting an underwriter with the company I was proposing, was comfortable that with only two days warning no results could be manipulated.

I also discussed with the underwriter the possibility that the first set of labs showing negative nicotine could very well have been manipulated. If the client had confessed to that agent that he chewed or was smoking, the agent very possibly could have coached him to delay the exam for 3-4 weeks with no nicotine use which would result in a negative reading. As shameful as this is, it is far more common than you might think.

When I called the client and suggested the new application and a new nicotine test the next day, well, he was going to be really tied up for 2-3 weeks and didn’t see how he could squeeze in a urine sample. He said he would just accept the Prudential policy. Based on that unwillingness to retest for a substantially better rate I suspect it’s far more likely that he took an agent’s advice to game the system than the possibility that he truly has never used nicotine products.

So, is it possible to game the system and win. Almost always no. If your labs don’t tell, usually your medical records will. And if you die and it is contested, even if your medical records didn’t show tobacco use an investigation will turn up someone who knows you and tells the truth.

Bottom line. If you lie you are putting the death benefit for your family in jeopardy. It’s simply not worth it.