Getting life insurance goes with a lot of consideration especially for seniors. Both the insured and the insurer consider a lot of factors before committing to a policy.
Talking of life insurance, your health status and lifestyle choices matter a lot to the insurance companies. It is one of the major factors that influence the insurance rates that you will get.
One of the lifestyle choices that can greatly influence the rate you pay for life insurance is smoking. Studies have shown that smokers have pay more in life insurances than non-smokers.
What Smoking Has to Do with Life Insurance?
It is well known that smokers are charged more for life insurance premiums than people that are smoke-free. The reason has been that products derived from tobacco like cigars or cigarettes have been proven to cause serious health challenges and the use of these products reduces lifespan. This means seniors that smoke poses a higher risk for insurance firms in terms of insurance coverage.
One thing you should know is that candidates seeking life insurance policies are categorized according to their risk level, higher-risk individuals are of course charged higher premium rates than low-risk individuals.
Insurances companies will evaluate your risk level by requesting medical tests and examinations and other necessary lab work to check your health status. They also check for nicotine, which is the active ingredient in tobacco products.
When filing for insurance you are likely to ask how recent your last tobacco product usage is.
Once you tick “Yes,” it doesn’t matter if you are an occasional smoker, the insurance companies will rate you as a smoker. That means higher premium rates; nevertheless, the rates still differ for occasional smokers and heavy smokers.
Testing for Tobacco
There is no point hiding your smoking status especially if you are an active smoker. As a quitter, it is still preferable to discuss your status and condition with your insurance agents or company.
When you file for life insurance, your insurer will ask you plainly about your smoking status. It is advisable to be sincere with your situation as doing otherwise can result in “insurance fraud.”
The standard procedure is to have you check in for medicals where your blood and urine samples will be taken. The samples will be checked for traces of tobacco usage and if confirmed but you claim to be non-smoker, the chances of receiving a reasonable insurance rate just nose-dived.
You should clearly communicate your smoking status to your insurer, whether you are casual smoker, heavy smoker, quitter or non-smoker.
Insurance Rates and Categories Available to Choose from
Each insurance company gives different labels to their insurance rates or categories, however, the commonly known ratings are given below.
Tobacco: candidate in this category are charged the higher rates as they pose the highest risk to insurance companies. This category is further divided into two, which are standard and preferred.
Those that fall under “standard” are people that are regular smokers but with good general health status. For “preferred”, these are casual smokers with good general health status.
Standard: A lot of insurance candidate is under this label, this category is for those with few health issues and niggles once in a while, and however, their general wellbeing is quite good. The rates are quite fair and quitters can get something similar to these rates provided they can establish that they have quit for good.
Premium: Occasionally smokers can still find themselves under this label as well as people with average health status. In general, candidates here seem to be ok health-wise with just some minor health issues to contend with. The premium rates are still quite good for the policy offered.
Super Premium: This label right here has the cheapest rates for life insurance policy. Normally, non-smokers and people that have no blemish on their medical examinations qualify for this category.
Smokers usually go for the preferred category under tobacco, however, quitting smoking totally boosts your chance of qualifying for cheaper insurance rates.
How Long Should You Quit Smoking for Life Insurance?
There are different tests that are conducted to determine your smoking status. So, depending on the test to be used that will determine how long you need to quit smoking to qualify for lower insurance rates.
We have the urine and saliva tests that are used to detect the use of tobacco products in your system by two weeks or a little bit more than that.
Another test used is the hair test that can detect usage of tobacco products even way back than that of urine and saliva tests. Nevertheless, this test is rarely used as it very expensive so a lot of firms won’t bother. Largely, it is advisable to quit your smoking habits for a minimum of one month prior to undergoing the urine and saliva tests.
It should be noted that each insurance firms have their insurance policies concerning products containing nicotine and tobacco. While some insurer will overlook the use of nicotine patches and other products that help with quitting smoking, some will not.
In some cases, insurance companies lay down the condition of quitting tobacco use for a minimum of five years before you can be considered for lower rates. For other insurance firms, the minimum is three years.
There are insurers that offer quitting incentives to the insured trying to quit where they are permitted to buy life insurance policy at cheaper rates for one to three years. However, if they fail to curb the smoking habit after the stipulated period, the rates go back to more expensive rates for smokers.
Quitting Helps a Lot for Life Insurance
Smokers have to pay more that is the standard procedure for all insurance companies and as senior citizens; you are even at higher risk for life insurance companies. Giving up smoking habits can save you lots of money on insurance bills.
Although, people that are occasional smokers get to pay less, however, this is still considered high risk for insurance companies. In some cases, casual smokers are put under the smoker category, which means they also have to pay premium rates for smokers.
Life insurance rates reduce after every year since you gave up your smoking habit; however, you have to stop the use of tobacco products for a minimum of five years to get lower rates similar to rates paid by smoke-free people.
Life Insurance Strategies for Quitters
As a quitter, there are few things you should know when filing for a life insurance policy:
- Never mislead the insurance company concerning your past smoking habits. As a quitter, your insurer will likely confirm how long you have quit smoking by cross-checking your medical file and previous health insurance and lifestyle habits. Lying about your smoking habits can be termed insurance fraud and you stand to put your benefits at risk.
- However, if after your life insurance policy was issued and you become a smoker then it is not required of you to inform your insurance company. The same thing goes for all medical issues that come up after the issuance of a life insurance policy.
- Additionally, you can request for review of your insurance rates if you give up your smoking habit after been issued a smoker insurance policy. Your insurer will do a reevaluation of your smoking and health status and may decide to give you a cheaper rate.
Ways to Quit Smoking
It is no easy feat to give up smoking; however, it is not impossible either. There are many ways to curb your smoking habit. One of them is to join a smoking-cessation program; this program is designed to assist you in quitting smoking for good.
Additionally, you are given tips on how to live a healthier life. You can visit the nearest program to your vicinity.
There are also other ways to quit, by making use of quitting aids such as nicotine patches, nicotine gums, even hypnosis that target the addition on a mental level. You can also go cold turkey by stopping once and for all without any quitting aids.
Smokers also turn to E-cigarettes to help quit smoking, however, you must have it in mind that you could still be term smoker by some insurance companies and get slammed smoker rates.
Besides, there is no factual proof that e-cigarettes are effective in increasing the possibility of you quitting smoking. Quitting as early as possible increases your chance at a cheaper life insurance rate, which is why it is advisable to find a way that works for you in quitting smoking altogether?
The burden of expensive life insurance rates can be a motivation for you to stop your smoking habit. Even if you are currently a smoker on smoker life insurance rates, by quitting, you can still be considered later for a discounted rate.
However, you need to give up the habit by a minimum of one year. Usually, it can take about five years or above to be qualified for rates similar to nonsmokers rates.