Let’s get right to the question you want to know.
If you “vape” or smoke e-cigarettes, will you have to pay the same life insurance rates as a cigarette smoker?
Answer: NO, but you MUST apply at the right company and be prepared.
Keep reading and we’ll tell you exactly how.
Why Are E-Cigarette Users Classified As “Smokers” by Most Life Insurance Companies?
On the surface, this may seem absurd. E-cigarettes are not tobacco, so one should not have to worry about them carrying the same health risks. There are really 2 reasons why most insurers have thus far refused to consider vaping and e-cigarettes separately.
#1- FDA involvement
Before 2015, e-cigarettes were not regulated by the FDA at all.
The FDA, of course, being the Food and Drug Administration. This giant regulatory agency is responsible for regulating the safety of drugs and food products in our country, along with tobacco products.
Most health professionals and consumers have generally had no idea exactly what ingredients are contained in the e-cigarette formulation.
Because of this gray area due to lack of regulation, most life insurance companies have tended to opt for a more conservative approach, lumping e-cigarettes in with tobacco.
Update: After much pressure from health advocates and groups like the American Lung Association, the FDA has decided to bring e-cigarette regulation more in line with regular tobacco products. We shall see what the future brings but for now, most insurers are still playing “wait and see”
#2- No accurate testing method
Insurers rely on medical records and exams in large part to confirm your application information.
Within the body, nicotine is metabolized and the byproduct is cotinine. The presence of cotinine is what they are actually testing for. Since both smoking and vaping will result in cotinine on a test, there is no way to tell which one are actually using. This is the 2nd reason insurance carriers err on the side of caution and will classify e-cigarette users with tobacco smoker status.
Vaping vs Smoking-Health Risks
Everyone knows the health risks of smoking tobacco.
But how does vaping compare?
About the only known component in e-cigarettes with complete certainty is nicotine. Nicotine is the same chemical found in tobacco that causes addiction.
The real concern is what other potentially “nasty” ingredients e-cigarettes might contain. There has been some studies that suggest certain formulations may contain carcinogens like formaldehyde and a chemical found in antifreeze.
For all we know, e-cigarettes could contain some funky, latent flesh-burning acid that will melt your face off 10 years from now…
Ok, maybe that was a bit of an over exaggeration…just remember, for the most part, we don’t know what these devices contain. So it’s hard to say what negative health effects they may or may not cause.
On the other hand…there have been some promising studies claiming that e-cigarettes pose much less danger than traditional tobacco cigarettes.
Bottom line: We don’t quite know just yet but this story is still developing.
Where to Apply to Get Non-Smoker Status
Prudential is your best best if you want to get non-smoker rates.
With any other insurance company, expect smoker rates for sure which can be 2-4 times higher. Prudential will allow an e-cigarette user to be placed as high as the Standard Plus rating class. This is the 3rd highest health rating available.
In order to qualify for Standard Plus from Prudential, you will need to do 3 things:
- No smoking of regular tobacco cigarettes within past 12 months.
- Be in otherwise good health. Underwriting is about much more than just whether you vape or not.
- Make sure they know you are an e-cigarette user. Failure to clarify this could result in smoker rates.
Testing positive for nicotine is NOT an issue with Prudential and won’t matter if you have done the above.
If you have other health concerns, make sure to consult with an independent broker ahead of time to get the best plan of attack. Even you don’t, there is really no reason not to apply through an independent agent. They don’t cost anything and the rate you receive will be exactly the same as going directly to Prudential. This is fixed by law to protect you.
As other companies change their stance on vaping, there may be other options. Make sure to consult with someone you trust that stays up to date on the changes in the industry.
How Much Will My Life Insurance Premiums Cost as an E-Cigarette User?
Getting non-smoker rates when you vape will save you a lot of money. Let’s take a look at an example:
Tim is a 43-year-old male who vapes. He is in good health and has not smoked cigarettes for 18 months. He needs a 20-year term.
|Standard Plus (Vaping)||$45.90 per month||$84.15 per month||$122.40 per month|
|Preferred Tobacco||$92.18 per month||$177.76 per month||$263.78 per month|
|Standard Tobacco||$122.12 per month||$235.64 per month||$357.16 per month|
At a minimum, Tim saves $11,107 over the life of his policy.
At a maximum, Tim saves $56,342
Think it’s worth it to make 100% sure you are applying with the right insurance company?
What If I Just Switched to E-Cigarettes?
To qualify for Prudential non-tobacco rates, 12 months does need to have passed since you last smoked a tobacco cigarette.
Don’t lie about this on the application. It’s fraud and if they find out your policy could be canceled. Even worse, if you die they could deny paying the death benefit.
If it hasn’t yet been 12 months, get the coverage you need now at the higher rate. After 12 months pass, you can request a reconsideration. Another option is to get a 1 year Annually Renewable Term (ART) and then apply for long term coverage after the 1st year is up.
Taking the Next Step
Your usage of e-cigarettes is only one of many factors that will be considered when determining life insurance rates.
Always remember that premiums can vary widely between companies.
That’s why it’s SO important that you understand how the different carriers might view your personal situation. Shopping around will result in you getting the best life insurance coverage for your needs at an affordable premium.
Next Step: If you haven’t smoked tobacco cigarettes in 12+ months and are in good health, go to our quote engine. Select “Standard Plus” health class and “No” for Smoker. Find the rates for Prudential. You will see lower rates at other companies in this list but you won’t qualify for Standard Plus with them.
Not sure if your health is good enough otherwise for Standard Plus? Contact us and we’ll let you know.
We are one of the rare independent brokers that only sells life insurance so we’ve gotten pretty darn good at it.
If you are ready to get started, please fill out a quote request. Always feel free to contact us with any questions on obtaining life insurance for e-cigarette smokers or anything else.
We are free, here to help, and will never pressure you in any way.