A life insurance policy is something you get in order to feel safe and covered and to make sure your family is taken care of in case anything happen to you. So of course, when you are choosing between different life insurance plans, you are looking for the one that will give you the best benefits for a good price.
But if you are a nicotine user, it might get tricky. The usage of nicotine has grown considerably in the last few years, which is a concern for insurance companies.
You Can Always Get a Policy, But There is a Catch
None of these policies come without some terms and conditions. In fact, life insurance policies are very strict when it comes to certain things, for example your health. It is the most important factor insurance companies look at when approving candidates. So if there is anything threatening your health, your dream policy might just slip out of your hands.
The main question here is how does nicotine affect your life insurance? Many people would think that this is not such a big issue since a lot of people smoke anyways. But it is actually very concerning to insurance companies, for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from health to finances.
What is Nicotine and How Does It Affect the Body?
Nicotine is a chemical that contains nitrogen, and it is made by several different plants, the most known and popular being the tobacco plant. It can also be produced synthetically but studies have shown that natural nicotine is more popular and that synthetic nicotine is actually far more dangerous as the making process involves a lot more chemicals.
Contrary to popular opinion, nicotine does not cause cancer or is extremely harmful, but consuming larger amounts of nicotine whether by smoking or chewing it leads to a heavy addiction and is mostly impossible to manage as people eventually always go back to it, even if they have been clean for years.
There are different ways that you can consume nicotine. You can chew or snort it, but the most popular way is to smoke it in a cigarette, although chewing it releases way more nicotine into the body.
And while some studies suggest that nicotine can actually improve memory and intelligence, others say that the harmful effects of nicotine are too dangerous no matter how much it improves thinking.
Nicotine addiction is very serious and it is a fact that nicotine is at least as difficult to give up as heroin. This may come as a shock since smoking is legal and many other drugs are not, but studies show that people have had a harder time going through nicotine withdrawal and recovery than recovering from certain drugs, such as marijuana and amphetamines.
The Negative Effects of Nicotine
So how does nicotine affect the body? It is said that nicotine is both a sedative and a stimulant. Nicotine in the body leads to the release of adrenaline, which increases heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. Also, our brain reacts to nicotine as something good, since nicotine affects dopamine (a brain chemical which is responsible for pleasure and euphoria), so our body does not try to fight back against nicotine.
Now, the biggest problem is that as users build up a tolerance for nicotine, their needed dose of it starts to increase, so that they can have the same feeling as before. This is a classic sign of addiction beginning. This also happens for smokeless nicotine.
Nicotine can also be a problem for people dealing with stress and anxiety because users tend to use nicotine to calm their anxieties, but every next time will get worse and soon they won’t be able to calm down unless they have some nicotine.
The Effects of Nicotine on Vital Organs
There are many reasons why insurance companies might see you as a bad candidate, but nicotine is certainly one of the biggest reasons. This is because it is not just health-related, it is also a financial problem. But health does come first. So we will explain the concerns insurance companies have regarding your health if you are a nicotine user.
Nicotine affects the body in many ways. At first, people do not seem to notice or care because like any drug, it makes them feel good and the brain does not recognize it as a hazard to your body. But the long-term effects are not that good.
Many of you may think that the first thing that will be damaged when you start using nicotine are your lungs. Well, you are wrong. The biggest damaged nicotine inflicts is actually on the stomach and the digestive system. Many times, nicotine use causes acid reflux. Also, nicotine is a powerful chemical, so it weakens the stomach muscles and the bowels, so that leads to a number of problems. You may have heard many times that smokers tend to be skinny or that they lose their appetite pretty quickly. Well, this is because of the nicotine effects on the stomach.
Lung damage is the second biggest problem of nicotine use. Our lungs are one of the most sensitive organs we have, they do not call them a vital organ for nothing. Smoking tobacco, that is using nicotine, leads to big damage to the lungs and throat. It takes up to 15 years from the day you quit for your lungs to become healthy again.
While nicotine itself does not cause cancer, when mixed with other chemicals in tobacco and chewed, it could increase the risk of mouth cancer over time.
The Effect of Nicotine Usage on Life Insurance Premiums
The financial aspect of nicotine use is also something insurance companies tend to point out to you when you apply for a policy. Although legal, tobacco and cigarettes are not the most affordable things. They may not seem that expensive, but the average smoker spends at least 10-15 dollars a day in order to satisfy their tobacco needs. From an insurance company’s point of view, that is money you could have spent on a better policy.
So you really shouldn’t be surprised or offended that some insurance companies will increase the cost of your premium when they see on your medical reports that you are a nicotine user. In their eyes, it is just pure logic. If you can afford to set aside 10 dollars every day for nicotine, you can set aside a few extra dollars a month for your life insurance premium.
Of course, your nicotine use is your own personal choice, and insurance companies will never pass any judgment or insist that you stop in order to give you a life insurance policy. They will respect your wishes to do as you please, but they will also expect you to understand that they have to protect themselves and their other clients as well.
So if you are looking to get a cheap life insurance policy as a nicotine user, you will most likely be very disappointed. Insurance companies have such a strong opinion on nicotine use that premiums for smokers can cost up to a third more than for non-smokers.
When you apply for a policy, you have to undergo a routine medical exam and fill out a health questionnaire. You may be wondering if that one cigarette you smoked when you had a bad day makes you a smoker or not. Well, the facts are that insurance companies will think of you as a smoker if you have used nicotine in the last 12 months.
Do Not Try to Cheat
Some people will try to lie in order to get an affordable premium. They will claim to not be smokers and nicotine users, thinking that insurance companies cannot find that out. But the moment you make an agreement with an insurance company about a policy, they have the right to check out your medical history, which could potentially show that you have lied to them, in which case you would be facing serious problems. Like for example, if you lie on your application and get the policy if the company finds out that you were deceptive, they have the right to refuse to pay out the money to your family.
What If You Quit, Would That Help?
Yes and no. The company will check out your medical profile to see if you have really entered some sort of recovery, but that still doesn’t mean they will lower their premium cost because of the potential damage you may have already done to yourself. However, some companies will agree to give you a lower premium if you quit, but they will need proof of you quitting, such as a report from your doctor or another physician that the company works with.
In conclusion, it is not the end of the world if you are a nicotine user, but if you want good insurance – better quit while you can, it will be better!