Tobacco is harmful to health, no matter what form you take; cigarettes or chewing one. The insurance company checks different factors before issuing any policy.
The use of tobacco is one of the major causes of denial by insurance providers. However, life insurance for smokeless tobacco users is available and you can get a good deal.
The Bottom Line is Here
- Smokeless tobacco users can get a life insurance policy.
- You can get an affordable price as well.
- Quitting tobacco use can give you long-term benefits.
- You must compare rates.
What Statistics Says!
Tobacco use accounts for more than 20% of total annual deaths in the U.S. This is according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That is equivalent to over 480,000 deaths every year, including over 41,000 deaths caused by health conditions related to secondhand tobacco exposure.
The figure is also exceeding statistics for fatalities brought about by car accidents, murders, and even HIV/AIDS.
CDC also estimates that to date, over 16 million Americans have a disease related to smoking.
It is common knowledge that tobacco smoking is linked with risks of incurring medical conditions like heart disease, lung ailments, stroke, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema), and cancer.
It is also found to increase the possibility of having tuberculosis, immune system diseases, and several eye problems.
With such information, it is not surprising that the insurance industry (not just in the U.S. but also globally) is very wary when it comes to underwriting policies for tobacco or nicotine users.
Data from CDC also indicate that tobacco smokers die about 10 years earlier on the average compared to non-smokers.
Thus, an insurer is more likely to payout benefit to a tobacco-user policyholder much earlier compared to insured people who do not smoke tobacco.
Though there are life insurance products that are offered and given to tobacco smokers, it should be noted that those policies come with much higher premiums.
It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to find life insurance products that come with premiums that are almost close to the level of policies for non-smokers.
Smokeless Tobacco is Harmful As Well
However, these days, some people prefer taking tobacco in non-smoking forms—smokeless tobacco. There are two popular types of such: chewing tobacco and snuff tobacco. Other forms also exist like dip tobacco, snus tobacco, and tobacco plugs.
Research by the Department of Periodontology of the University of Minnesota came up with an estimate of smokeless tobacco users in the U.S.—10 million people.
But according to health experts, the consumption of tobacco in forms other than smoking is not stripped of serious health risks.
If tobacco smoking is a popular culprit for cases of oral cancer and the conditions already mentioned, smokeless tobacco also brings about health problems including nicotine addiction; cancer of the pancreas, esophagus, and mouth; oral diseases; and increased risks for death caused by stroke and other heart diseases.
No less than the World Health Organization identified smokeless tobacco as among the possible causes of cancer.
Moreover, the nicotine from tobacco in smokeless forms also increases the possibility of incurring a condition called ventricular arrhythmias, wherein the heart beats abnormally leading to serious medical conditions and at times, sudden death.
Life Insurance for Smokeless Tobacco Users is Possible
Thus, although smokeless tobacco users can still possibly apply for and buy a life insurance policy, it comes as no surprise that premiums coming with such products are comparatively higher compared to premiums of policies imposed on non-tobacco consumers.
Smokeless tobacco users also have to deal with the difficulty when shopping around life insurance products with attractive premiums and coverage.
This simply implicates that smokeless tobacco is something that must also be avoided, or ditched at once. It is not good for the health just like normal smoking of tobacco.
Be Honest to Your Insurer
When applying for a life insurance policy, smokeless tobacco users must be honest in providing information because there is no use denying or covering up this fact.
Medical examinations would certainly reveal the use of tobacco, whether through smoking or non-smoking means.
One option is to choose a life insurance product that does not require any medical examination. Such policies abound in the market as well, have a look here.
However, as you may know, any life insurance with waived medical exams are generally coming with higher premiums. Thus, a smokeless tobacco user can still incur higher premiums if they opt for products with no medical exam required.
Tobacco users, whether through smoking or non-smoking means would have to live with higher insurance premiums.
But it does not mean that such costs would be high permanently. There is another way to possibly lower the amount to be paid for keeping a policy.
How to Lower the Premium?
When a tobacco user buys life insurance with high premiums, he/she would be advised to make the decision to quit smoking. But this strategy would not make the premiums lower overnight.
It would have to take time before such a move makes an impact on the amount to be paid for keeping such policies. Though it is always not too late to start the action immediately.
Most life insurance companies would require a tobacco user to free himself or herself from tobacco use for up to five years.
After that duration, they could already classify the individual as ‘tobacco-free.’ But as all tobacco users would assert, it would not be as easy as it seems.
Time to Live a Healthy Life
Quitting smoking is a very challenging task because exposure of the system to nicotine creates a form of addiction that is very difficult to break. Not many people succeed in breaking free from the habit.
A policyholder has to be determined enough to make it happen. Being tobacco-free for a full year would not be enough for a person to be declared free from the addiction.
And cheating in this regard would also be futile. Nicotine is a substance that can easily be detected through medical exams.
Quitting smoking but resorting to smokeless tobacco would also not work because as emphasized here, such form of tobacco consumption still exposes the system to nicotine and almost all substances that bring about health risks.
Fortunately, there are ways to get over this obstacle when getting life insurance. You would need to find and trust a reliable insurance agent to provide you further guidance on how to deal with every possible situation that may affect your policy.
As for people with a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that they stick to their healthy way of living and not even try to smoke tobacco or use smokeless tobacco.