For many people, quitting smoking is the hardest thing they have ever done in their lives. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and the daily habits revolving around using tobacco are hard to stop doing. If you’ve decided to stop smoking and have begun to take Chantix, you’ve made a great decision.
You might be wondering what taking Chantix means for getting life insurance. If you’re planning to apply for life insurance and are still taking Chantix, you should be able to qualify for a life insurance policy. You’ll need to be upfront with the insurance company about your smoking habit and progress in the quitting process.
We’ve worked with many different life insurance companies to acquire policies for smokers and people taking Chantix. Let us help you review your options and prepare your application.
Qualifying for Life Insurance While Taking Chantix
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, with 480,000 deaths every year being attributed to smoking.
The health risks associated with smoking are widely known, so it is no wonder life insurance companies consider smokers to be of a higher risk than non-smokers. Smokers have a higher risk for:
Chantix is a prescription drug which helps people quit smoking by essentially removing the pleasure of smoking. The medication actually decreases the body’s response to nicotine, so having a cigarette isn’t as satisfying as it was previously.
Chantix usually comes in a pill form, to be taken orally. It is recommended to be taken for 12 weeks. Your doctor may prescribe Chantix as part of a more detailed plan to quit smoking. These plans usually target your daily habits and behavior, which play a big part in why you smoke. You may need to join a support group or have counseling.
Life insurance companies are not just concerned with cigarette smoking, though. You are considered a tobacco user and qualify as a “smoker” if you use electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, or nicotine replacement products to help you quit smoking (like nicotine gum, patches, or sprays.)
Unlike patches and gums, Chantix does not contain any tobacco or nicotine. Unfortunately, Chantix does stimulate the body to produce the same chemicals it makes when you have nicotine in your system. This means a life insurance carrier will consider Chantix to be like other nicotine products, and you’ll be classified as a smoker.
The Application Process
In order to be considered a non-smoker, most life insurance companies require you be tobacco-free for at least 12 months; some require 24 months to five years. Your tobacco use will come up during the application process, both on the written application and the medical exam.
It is important to be honest about how much tobacco you use (or used to use) and how frequently, as well as the fact you are taking Chantix. A urine or saliva test, both common procedures for life insurance medical exams, will reveal your tobacco use.
Even if you have not used tobacco in a while, the use of Chantix will also be able to be determined from these tests.
Be sure to disclose the details of your quit smoking plan. The life insurance underwriter may want to speak to your doctor to find out:
- What the plan entails
- How long you have been on it
- What dose of Chantix you are currently taking
- What other medical conditions you have related to smoking
- How often you see your doctor for regular check-ups
If you’re taking Chantix and have not had a cigarette in the last year, it may be possible for you to be classified as a non-smoker. Most people taking Chantix have had a cigarette in the past 12 months, so they would qualify as smokers.
Ratings You Can Expect
Assuming you have been classified as a smoker, your life insurance premiums could be twice those of a non-smoker, or more. It is possible they will be three to four times higher; each life insurance company is different. To get the best smoker rates, you need to be in otherwise good health. It is in your best interest to see a doctor and to start making health lifestyle changes as soon as possible.
If you did not use tobacco for more than ten years, you are successfully going through the steps of your quitting plan, and you are in otherwise good overall health, you can expect to receive a Preferred Smoker rating. Your premiums will be high for now, but you could also get them reduced once you have been tobacco-free for a year.
If you did use tobacco for more than ten years, or you have high risk health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or are obese, you will likely receive a Standard Smoker rating. Your premiums could be reduced once you quit smoking, but only if your other health conditions are being monitored and controlled.
Do not be discouraged to learn taking Chantix will qualify you as a smoker in terms of a life insurance policy. You should feel good you are taking steps to quit smoking. The long-term health benefits you will gain once you stop smoking are plenty to be happy about.
The policy you get as a smoker is not the same policy you have to keep forever. Once you have been tobacco-free for twelve months, you and your agent should revisit your policy and ask the life insurance company if they can adjust it to a non-smoker rating.
If you need an agent who knows how to work with smokers who are taking Chantix, please contact us. We work with many different insurance companies and understand how the process works for smokers. We can help you find an affordable life insurance policy, regardless of your history with tobacco.