If you use e-cigarettes and vape, you probably know first-hand the difficulties surrounding life insurance coverage.
As would be expected, one of the greatest misconceptions about vaping and life insurance is the rate class you can be approved for.
More and more research suggests the negative health impacts of vaping, prompting life insurance companies to think twice before extending coverage to anyone engaging in this risky behavior.
Although e-cigarettes may seem like a healthier alternative to nicotine and are considered more socially acceptable, vaping is still unregulated for the most part.
Some vaping liquids even have a stronger nicotine concentration than traditional tobacco products. But, there are some products on the market with little to no nicotine.
This means it’s still very easy to become addicted to e-cigarettes, so they aren’t the most ideal smoking cessation tool.
Since so much misinformation is published online, it’s hard to determine whether a person can secure non-smoker rates or if they’re stuck paying the smoker tax.
Let’s clear the air and talk facts, shall we?
The Truth About Vaping And Life Insurance
Let’s make this very clear from the beginning:
Whether you use nicotine or not, you are eligible for non-smoker rates!
Nope, this is not a typo. Nope, you are not dreaming.
So, what’s the catch? This is too good to be true, right?
You are only eligible for non-smoker rates if you haven’t touched a cigarette in the last 365 days – but you have to disclose your use of cigars or other forms up front.
Some companies are more strict with their conditions, mandating no less than 2 years smoke-free before becoming eligible.
Only one insurance company offers non-smoker rates, and the best rate class available is Non-Smoker Plus, the third-best rating.
Additional discounted premiums, like Preferred or better, are unavailable.
Why Just One Insurance Carrier?
Aside from this specific carrier, for every other carrier the jury is still out for lack of hard evidence on whether long-term use of e-cigarettes causes the same decrease in life expectancy as with other tobacco products.
Life insurance for smokers is so much more expensive because this decrease in longevity is up to 10 years. Most insurance companies would consider this drop in longevity not only a significant risk, but also a huge liability concern.
Most carriers also recognize that smoking is one of the most popular substance addictions (and therefore one of the most difficult habits to quit). Just because an applicant is attempting to quit cold turkey doesn’t mean he or she won’t relapse in a few weeks or months.
Smoking is also still a leading (yet preventable) cause of death among Americans today, even with the copious amounts of research backing up its detrimental health effects.
The Vaping/Tobacco Use Debate
In May of 2014, the Association of Home Office Underwriters (AHOU) held a 4-day conference where the issue was discussed.
More than 150 underwriters, or the folks who approve or deny applications for insurance, gave their professional opinions on whether or not e-cigarettes should be classified as tobacco use. Inhaling water vapor should be less harmful than inhaling toxic cigarette smoke, right?
Most said yes.
But, not everyone did.
A release from Munich Reinsurers said not only did 26 percent of the attendees disagree with the classification, but another 18 percent also mentioned their companies hadn’t installed underwriting guidelines for vapers due to a lack of information.
This is great news for anyone who vapes because it shows serious consideration for this newer market segment.
However, in 2016, the FDA determined that e-cigarettes, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), are considered tobacco products and subject to federal regulation. This is why so many vapers experience smoker rates when it comes to life insurance coverage.
Nonetheless, this is great news for e-cigarette users, because it’s obviously not a slam dunk case to call vaping tobacco use.
But the fact remains there is but one carrier making the non-smoking offer, and the top life insurance companies in the United States aren’t about to change without proper evidence.
Most expect it could be several years until the majority of industry giants take a stand on the issue. Of course, long-term research studies and concrete data from authoritative sources would help propel these determinations.
Sample Life Insurance Quotes For E-Cigarette Users
Many consumers don’t realize how much you can actually save. When compared to the rates of smokers, it can be quite substantial (and trust me, your wallet will thank you!).
Let’s take a look at a sample case:
We assume a 20-year level Term policy for a 40-year-old healthy male who’s been vaping for at least one year.
Clearly, the annual savings are big – maybe even bigger than you expected.
However, what if this gentleman hadn’t been using the e-cigarette for a full year? Is he forced to pay the high premiums now or go uninsured?
Thankfully, we have another way he can save.
Rather than pay the extraordinary smoker premiums, consider applying for an annual renewable term (ART), which is just a one-year term from someone other than this single company.
After the year has passed, you can simply switch and apply at the vaping rates for life insurance.
In this way, you’ve completely circumvented paying smokers’ prices. Doesn’t seem too complicated, right?
Here are some sample rates for the yearly renewable term:
Most carriers don’t offer a Preferred Tobacco health class for their ART products, but the savings aspect is still quite significant from longer duration policies.
Just remember, for each year that passes, premiums rise due to age.
You’ll want to be certain of your insurability at the life insurance rates for vapers after that one year is up.
Bonus Tips For Securing Top Rates
There are still a lot of assumptions in the sample quotes we’ve provided above.
Among them, the rest of your health is in good order, you have a clean driving record, and your family history isn’t prohibitive of top rates.
Any of these, or a combination, could mean you’ll see worse than the Non-Smoker Plus rates, but you’ll still be free of the smoker premiums.
Here are some other bonus tips to consider for securing top rates:
- Prepare ahead of time for your blood test, and take your physical seriously.
- Admit to your examiner you use an e-cigarette before commencing the exam.
- Do not lie, either directly or by omission, during the underwriting process (including the exam).
- If you’ve cut back on your vaping habits or quit cold turkey, inform your agent immediately.
- Conduct your research and know what to expect before applying for coverage.
Although the third may seem obvious to some, not disclosing smoking habits truthfully could mean denial of claims and/or a non-payment of death benefit should the insurance company discover otherwise.
If the death benefit is paid out, the amount will more than likely be reduced. Your policy could even be labeled fraudulent, and your beneficiaries would deal with the consequences.
Failing to disclose a habit or illness to secure better insurance rates is considered insurance fraud.
In this case, lying about your smoking habits (whether regular cigarettes or e-cigs) to obtain non-smoker rates can surely prove detrimental in your family’s greatest time of need.