It is common knowledge at this point that tobacco usage affects the rates that you will pay for life insurance. While it is not impossible to obtain a life insurance policy if you are a smoker, you can count on paying more money for less insurance due to the shorter life expectancy of smokers. Oftentimes, insurance underwriters will require the potential insured to undergo a test for traces of tobacco in their system to verify that the applicant is a non-smoker. While e-cigarettes are marketed as being safer than traditional tobacco products, it may not necessarily help you when it comes to getting cheaper life insurance.
Although e-cigarettes are not yet known to cause lung cancer like tobacco cigarettes, they are still not entirely safe. Vaping has been known to have negative health effects of its own. Vaping can cause seizures, lung disease and damage to your heart, among other things. The nicotine content of e-cigarettes is every bit as high as it is in cigarettes. Some vapers will ingest even more nicotine on a daily basis than smokers. While e-cigarettes are still early in their product life cycle, one thing is clear and that is this vaping is not as safe as the product manufacturers represent.
So what does this mean for those who vape and are in the market for a life insurance policy? For starters, it means that they will not obtain the same life insurance rates as one who does not use tobacco. Even though e-cigarettes are largely flavored liquid nicotine, based on a 2016 FDA opinion, they are still classified as tobacco products. Thus, when life insurance companies ask you on the application if you use tobacco, you must answer in the affirmative if you vape.
When life insurance companies give you a medical test, the substance in the urine that they are looking for is nicotine. Although e-cigarettes do not have some of the same harmful substances as cigarettes, one thing that they plenty of is nicotine. Thus, evidence of e-cigarette usage will show up when you are required to take a physical for your life insurance policy. If you deny tobacco usage when you vape, the insurance company will be able to find out based on their tests. Moreover, if you do not disclose to the insurance company that you use tobacco and then they learn it on the physical, they may be less inclined to offer you a policy.
Life insurance underwriters are in the business of pricing and selling risk. The prices that they offer you on insurance policies are a result of years of intensive statistical research into various probabilities. At the risk of sounding overly morbid, life insurance companies are studying the statistical chances of whether and when you will die and charging you enough money to cover the risk of your early death that they assume. Anything that may possibly cause negative health effects will cause the insurance underwriter to price you out as higher risk.
As far as e-cigarettes are concerned, there is simply not enough data out there for insurance companies to lower their risk assessment of these products. As of now, given all of the negative reports and data about e-cigarettes, there is no reason for insurance companies to change their view of these products. However, the FDA considers e-cigarettes and cigarettes to belong to the same tobacco family, so there is no reason for underwriters to change their policies. As the product matures and there is more data available on the health effects of the product, insurers will be able to update their pricing models.
Right now, the best that e-cigarette users can hope for is that they qualify for a “Preferred Smoker” rate. However, even this rate is much higher than the rate that a non-smoker would pay for a life insurance policy. Most likely, you would be considered the same as a smoker and will be required to pay those rates.
There may still be a handful of companies in the marketplace that will categorize vapers as non-smokers. You should definitely shop around because the categorizations and rates will vary among insurance companies. Another tip is to review the definitions contained on the application closely. Try to see what the insurance company considers to be a smoker. Most will view vapers as smokers, but some definitions of “smoker” on a life insurance application may carve out e-cigarettes usage. In addition, if there is a place on the application where you have the ability to note that you use e-cigarettes as opposed to traditional cigarettes, try to let the underwriter know so that maybe your rate can be somewhat better than that of a full smoker.
In the meantime, you should be fully open with the insurance company and hope for the best when it comes to pricing of your policy. In the event that you have a term policy, you should periodically check the rates and policies to see if the underwriters have changed their definition of tobacco user or their treatment of vaping. Given the newness of these products, the situation may be subject to change at some point in the future. Insurance companies may decide to charge even more for vapers or could downgrade the risk premium based on initial data.
There are many ways in which e-cigarettes are dangerous for your health and safety. In addition to the health effects, there is also the possibility that the vape pen can explode, causing serious injury or death. If you or a loved one has been critically injured in one of these accidents, contact a vape pen explosion lawyer for more details about your legal rights and information on how you can file a lawsuit to receive the compensation that you deserve.