It is a well known fact that smoking is an unhealthy lifestyle choice, and as you might expect, this means smokers have to pay more for life insurance. Life insurance, like any insurance, is based on models of risk, and a person who chooses to do things that may endanger their health like smoking presents a higher risk of an early pay out than someone who takes a more saintly approach to their own wellbeing (of course, anybody can come down with a fatal illness or be in an accident, but insurers have to balance out those rare cases with more predictable ones using risk data).
If you are a smoker, then, you could stand to save a lot of money on life insurance if you give up, but how long do you need to be a non smoker for this to take effect? And what if you are still using nicotine replacement therapy, or still have the odd cigar on special occasions? Here, we take a look at life insurance and smoking, and it is a more complicated matter than you might think! For more help on life insurance and personal finance, check out http://moneylooms.com.
What is a Quitter?
In insurance terms, different companies offer different products for quitters. Some have different levels of non smoker insurance; for example for people who have used no nicotine of any kind for over two years, there will be the cheapest policy, but for people who have quit for less time or are using nicotine replacement therapy there will still be a lower premium than for people who are still smoking tobacco regularly.
Casual Cigar Use
Some companies are also stricter than others in their definition of a non smoker. Someone who doesn’t smoke cigarettes or use nicotine replacement products like gum or patches but sometimes smokes a cigar may or may not be regarded as a smoker, depending on the policy. The very cheapest policies will be the strictest, however if you do not meet those criteria but are still a non smoker and have been for a reasonable period (a year or more), you will find a policy that meets with your lifestyle.
Incentives to Quit
Some insurers will offer products that incentivize smokers to quit. They may offer you the non smoker rate as long as you quit within a given period of time, like two years. This can be a good option if you are a recent quitter, as you already know you have what it takes to quit for good and can take advantage of the lower rates.
How Do They Know?
Insurers can ask for all kinds of tests, including mouth swabs and urine samples. The body produces certain chemicals when nicotine is used, which can be detected in these samples. These can remain in the body for months after nicotine was last used. It is never worth lying to an insurer about whether you smoke, or how much you smoke.
Quitting is always the right thing to do, but if you want to get the best insurance deals, it can be important to match your policy with when you quit and what you currently do.