Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Life Insurance
Smoking has really taken a kicking over the past few decades and as it turns out, it can be detrimental not only to your health but also to your financial well-being.
Life insurance is vital if you want to ensure that your family is well taken care of once you leave this earth. If you are a smoker interested in buying life insurance, you will instantly notice that your premiums will be much higher than your friends who are non-smokers.
This is because a smoker is more likely to make a claim as a result of early death or contracting a serious illness like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Smokers can be charged anywhere from 30% to 100% more premiums than non-smokers depending on factors unique to them. On average, a 30-year old smoker will be charged about a 30% more on his premiums while a 50-year old smoker could be charged twice the premium amount for non-smokers.
Who is categorized as a smoker?
Good question! You may have smoked two cigarettes in the past year and thought that this has no effect on your insurance. Well, you’re wrong. Insurance companies follow a simple model: if you have smoked at all in the past 12 months, you’re categorized as a smoker. It doesn’t matter if you smoked only one cigarette or you smoke 10 cigarettes per day; in the eyes of an insurance company, you are both the same.
What if I lie about smoking?
When you see just how much higher premiums for smokers are than for non-smokers, you may be tempted to lie about your tobacco use to keep your premiums down. Our advice is don’t.
Insurance companies ask life insurance applicants whether or not they smoke and lying could open you up to legal trouble down the road. Insurance companies also check the medical histories of their applicants to weed out cheats.
Most insurance companies have also made it mandatory for all life insurance applicants to take medical examinations before being approved. This excludes those applying for a no medical exam policy, which is even more expensive than a smoker’s policy.
In order to know whether an applicant is a smoker, there are two chemical compounds that insurance companies test for which are nicotine and cotinine. Nicotine is the main addictive substance in tobacco while cotinine is what your body turns nicotine into over time when trying to remove it from the body. Most medical tests seek to identify cotinine since it’s easier to detect than nicotine and it stays in the body for a longer time.
Types of tests
a) Urine tests – this is usually the first test done in a medical examination to determine if you’re a smoker or not. This is because it can get accurate results in 5 minutes or less. Cotinine stays in an occasional smoker’s urine for about 3-4 days. For a regular smoker, it can be detected in urine for 3-4 weeks. However, this test alone is usually not enough and must be coupled with other tests to be 100% accurate.
b) Saliva test – this is the second most commonly administered test for tobacco use and it is usually coupled with the urine test. Usually, a saliva test is done by taking a swab from under the tongue or the inside of the applicant’s cheek. The results can take a few hours or days to complete depending on the technology being used. Cotinine usually appears in saliva 4 days after using a tobacco product. It can take up to a month to leave saliva depending on how frequently you smoke.
c) Blood tests – these are not common, but there are a few cases which can warrant blood tests. First, there are insurers that require blood tests as a matter of policy. Second, if you fall in a high-risk class or you’re applying for a policy with a high face amount ($2 million and above), you may have to take the blood test. Cotinine can be detected in blood anywhere from 2-10 days after smoking. It can stay in the blood for up to a month or a bit longer for heavy smokers.
d) Hair tests – this is the least common test but it is the most accurate and can trace smoking from further back in time than any other tests. If you have not cut your hair for 3 years, it will have traceable data of your habits for those 3 years.
What about chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and cigars
If you don’t smoke cigarettes but smoke cigars, e-cigarettes, or chew tobacco, cotinine will still be detected in your system. As such, it’s important to note this distinction with the insurance agent as sometimes they can be lenient on such types of tobacco use. It all depends on the company you go to, but some can give you normal rates even if you engage in the above activities.
What about Vaping
Vaping is extremely common right now and it has really changed the way insurance companies view smoking. Many people are taking up Vaping as a habit while traditional cigarette smokers are switching to Vaping as a healthier option. With vaping, it also depends on the insurance provider you go to. Some will give you normal rates while others may automatically give you a smoker’s rate.
What about Marijuana?
With the legalization of Marijuana, a lot of insurance companies are confused about how to deal with it when determining insurance rates for a Marijuana smoker. Again, it depends on the insurance company. Some may still classify a Marijuana user as a smoker while others may offer them normal rates. It also depends on whether Marijuana use is recreational or medical.
Does quitting help?
Yes. If you quit smoking for at least one year, you can request for another medical examination and if you are cleared as a nonsmoker, the insurance company should start charging you normal nonsmoker rates.
How easy is it to get Life insurance as a smoker?
Even if you are a heavy smoker, we are here to tell you that you can also get life insurance easily if you work with us. We can help you find the best insurance rates from top-rated insurance providers regardless of whether you are a smoker, trying to quit, or a former smoker.
All you need to do is visit https://smokersinsurancequote.com/, fill out the online quote request form, and wait for us to get back to you with a variety of quotes from the top insurance companies in a minute or less!