Life Insurance 101: The Truth About Tobacco

Terrifying Statistics It is common knowledge that smoking and tobacco use is bad for a person, but many individuals remain in the dark regarding how serious this problem really is. Did you know that male smokers are nearly twenty five times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers? In fact, smoking causes nearly ninety percent of all lung cancer-related deaths. In addition to lung cancer, there is increased risk of several others, including oral, esophageal, pancreatic, kidney, bladder, and cervical cancers. Approximately half a million people, in this country alone, die each year as a result of tobacco-related illness, yet, despite growing awareness, nearly twenty percent of the American population still smokes and an even large population uses some form of tobacco daily.

What Does this Say to Insurance Companies? The best term life insurance companies know that there are forty known carcinogens in each cigarette. All of the increased risk of death that comes with lighting up or packing a chew translates to increased risk for the insurance provider. So, it should come as no surprise that they would tack on added fees to the premiums quoted for non-smokers whenever addressing tobacco users. This is not just true of life insurance. Long term care insurance is much more likely to be used by those who have been smoking or chewing for years and have compromised areas of their bodies as a result. Thus, those premiums as well as the ones attached to critical illness insurance policies have to be punched up as well.

Of course, each insurance company differs slightly in their approach to assessing the added risk of tobacco use. In some instances, there might be differentiation made for those who use the dangerous substance only on occasion versus those who are very frequent smokers. However, the truth still holds, then when it comes to life- and disability insurance, tobacco users are going to pay more than those who avoid it.

Lying Won’t Work Not only will most policies require a physical exam that is likely to detect the substance, many companies also access medical history records. It is also a major risk to lie to the insurer. After all, you are signing the policy, agreeing that the information you provided was honest and accurate. If you die – especially of a condition caused by the bad habit – there is a chance that the policy could be rescinded.

What if I Quit? This is a very frequently asked question. After all, with the invention of products like nicotine lozenges, gum, patches, and medications like Chantix, quitting is a more realistic possibility for many users than ever before. However, it should be noted that when a person quits does matter to the insurance company. The length of time that has lapsed since the use of tobacco is the true determinate when re-evaluating the cost of the premium. Those who have only recently given up the bad habit are not likely to be cut a break. However, if you quit one, three, five, or more years ago, the price of your policy will likely be reduced. Of course, whether it affects the price right away or not, quitting is always high recommended. After all, is it the cost of the insurance policy or the opportunity to extend your life expectancy that matters most?

Insurance 360
2023 Denton Drive, Austin, TX 78758-4503
(800) 327-2866 ‎

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