Smoking and Life Insurance Policy
Smoking health risks are well documented, and increases the chance of lung cancer, stroke, and other medical conditions. It’s no wonder life insurance companies charge smokers an increased rate. Higher risk equals higher rates. However, the final rate you pay will also depend on a number of other factors such as age, health, family history and the type of coverage. Although it can be tempting to get a lower rate by lying on your application, it’s important to be as transparent as you can with your insurance application.
Can I lie about being a non-smoker to get a cheaper premium?
Insurance companies may require you to take a medical exam, and will likely take a bodily sample for nicotine, or cotinine-a biomarker for exposure to tobacco smoke. These chemicals may appear if you’ve smoked or used alternative nicotine products. They may also check your saliva, or blood for traces of nicotine that’s been in your system for weeks or more. If you lie on your application, the medical report will reveal that you weren’t telling the truth.
If your insurance company doesn’t require you to take a medical exam, you should still be truthful on your application. Insurance companies have what they call a “contestability period”. A Contestability period is where an insurance company can investigate and/or deny your claim. This period takes place the minute your policy is in effect. During this period, the life insurance company can investigate if what you claimed on your application was accurate or not. The company can deny paying death benefits if you lied, even if the cause of your death has nothing to do with your misrepresentation.
What if I’m a casual smoker?
Insurance companies generally don’t differentiate between a casual and regular smoker. The application will ask if you have smoked during a certain time frame, usually a 12 month period. If they detect any nicotine use during the time period, then you’ll be considered a smoker. Even if you only had a single cigarette in the past 12 months, you will still be considered a smoker in the eyes of a potential insurer.
However, Insurance companies are slightly flexible when it comes to cigar usage. If your smoking averages out to be one month or less, you may be classified as a non-smoker. In any case, the urine sample you gave during your medical exam would need to confirm that there is little to no trace of nicotine for you to qualify.
I just quit smoking, will my premiums go down?
That’s great news, however you need to be smoke free for at least 12 months to ask for a rate reconsideration. The insurer will need a confirmation through a medical report, to ensure there is no trace of nicotine or cotinine in your system. You’ll eventually receive lower rates, but it will take some time to come in effect.
Vaping and E-cigarettes
Although Health Canada has yet to regulate the vaping industry, they have issued advisories related to vaping and e-cigarettes. The contents of e-cigarettes varies between brands, and some have been found to contain carcinogens and other toxins that could pose the same, if not worse risk as smoking cigarettes. Therefore, most life insurance companies will still consider this as a form of smoking.
Regardless of the type of cigarette you’re smoking or vaping, you can expect your premiums to be higher. But, similar to other forms of cigarettes, your insurance rates will vary depending on the policy.
Is Smoking Marijuana the same as smoking Cigarettes?
Ever since Canada has legalized the use of marijuana, insurance companies have radically changed the way they underwrite marijuana use. Some insurance providers don’t view it as high-risk like tobacco smoking, however it can still impact your premiums, as smoking marijuana is not completely risk free.
When you’re looking for life insurance, keep in mind that policies vary depending on the individual. Yes, smoking will affect your insurance premiums, but that’s not all they consider. Being a smoker doesn’t automatically make your insurance unaffordable. Speak to an experienced insurance broker, and find the right quote for your circumstances and budget. Request your quote! Contact Easy-insured today.