How Things Like Smoking, Drinking, and Vaping Affect Your Life Insurance
Professionals in veterinary and orthodontic practices need life insurance to protect their families, or even their business. But, what about if you smoke, drink, or vape? You may be concerned that you won’t be able to find coverage, or that your rate will be too expensive. Maybe you’ve tried to find coverage on your own, but the process was long and discouraging.
If you need life insurance, but you have a history of smoking, drinking, or vaping, you will first need to get an experienced life insurance professional to find you the best rates. Because of multiple factors involved in assessing these activities, our team here at Loyall Group can identify the carrier who will give you the most favorable rate. Start your free and easy quote here.
How Life Insurance Carriers Assess You
Life insurance is designed to give your family or loved ones financial protection if you pass away during your earning years. It is also required to get a business practice loan if you decide to purchase a practice. You will pay a premium each month, and in return, if you die, the life insurance company will pay a death benefit to your beneficiary.
To determine the cost of the coverage, or whether to offer coverage at all, life insurance underwriters assess your risk for dying. They apply a system of credits and debits based on your overall current health and lifestyle habits. Drinking, smoking, and vaping fall into the category of “lifestyle habits”.
During the application process for life insurance, you’ll be asked to sign a release of medical information. After you sign a release, the insurance carrier will obtain all the information they can about you, your lifestyle, and your health. It’s important to disclose all your information up front, because insurance carriers verify your health using as many as nine different sources, according to this article by Forbes. After they gather their data, they will assign you to a risk group, or underwriting class, which will determine your coverage and premium price.
Let’s take a brief look at how drinking, smoking, and vaping could affect your life insurance.
For insurance companies, the risk factor for drinking depends on how much alcohol you are consuming. A moderate use will usually not affect your premium or eligibility for coverage.
Significant use, which is characterized by alcohol affecting your lifestyle, is a large risk for an insurance company. Based on RIA Health, if alcohol abuse is present in your life, it will show up through your behaviour, medical assessment, or even your driving record. You could be at risk for diseases such as heart damage, diabetes, depression, pancreatitis, stroke, or neurological disorders. Additionally, significant alcohol use can lead to alcohol poisoning, driving while intoxicated, or violence, which can lead to death.
If you have a pattern of significant alcohol use, or have a record of driving while intoxicated, your rate may be higher or you could have difficulty finding coverage. It is always important to accurately describe your drinking habits, because if you die from a disease usually related to alcoholism, or from a DUI, your life insurance policy could be voided.
In almost all carriers, smoking comes with a higher price tag due to the high amounts of smoking related deaths. The CDC reports that 7 million people each year die from smoking related diseases. As this article from the International College of Angiology states, the most prevalent risk is lung cancer, but there are other health risks such as cardiovascular diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
According to this article by Very Well Health, the Affordable Care Act gave insurance companies the right to upcharge smokers. Depending on the State you live in, you could be charged up to 50% more as part of the smoker rating in insurance companies. Three States have a cap on the surcharge to less than 50%, and seven States prohibit increasing rates for smokers. However, even within the State laws, individual health insurance can have their own rules up to the legal amount (50% in most States). That is why it is important to contact our experienced team at Loyall Group to navigate the carriers and find you the best rate.
While most people believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, there are still health consequences to vaping. The CDC has just started researching the long-term effects of vaping. A preliminary data set is available on deaths related to vaping. According to this article by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vaping has risks for respiratory diseases.
Because of the uncertainty of vaping outcomes, insurance carriers aren’t standardized on how they classify vaping: smoker or non-smoker. A large factor of the classification is what you are vaping. This article by Reuters explains that vaping marijuana products containing THC, which can contain a chemical “vitamin E acetate”, is riskier than vaping tobacco products. Vaping products such as these would put you in the smoker class at best in underwriting, and may exclude you from coverage, depending on the carrier.
Navigating the Underwriting Process
Since there are so many factors that affect your life insurance approval and rate, you should know your options in getting the life insurance policy that you need. While traditional life insurance has a full underwriting process, including a medical exam, there are other underwriting processes that can avoid the medical exam altogether. Some companies provide accelerated underwriting, simplified issue underwriting, and guaranteed life insurance which do not require a medical exam. Or, if you are planning on quitting smoking or vaping, you may want to apply for a term life insurance policy that has an annual renewal, so that you could qualify for a lower rate in the future.
To get the best rate, contact our team here at Loyall Group. You can begin with a fast and easy quote online. We will work hard to find you the best rate, guide you through the underwriting process, and make insurance easy for you.