The following is a guest post about life insurance. If you’re interested in guest posting on Disease Called Debt, please get in touch.
At a time when people are being encouraged more and more to give up smoking cigarettes the use of nicotine patches is fairly common. But if you are using nicotine patches does this mean that your life insurance premiums should be lower than those for a smoker?
You may think that the fairest answer to that question would be yes, but life insurance decisions are based on the risk the insurance company is taking in insuring you and nicotine intake has an adverse effect on your health no matter how it gets into your body. Insurers do not generally differentiate between cigarettes and other nicotine products when they are making their decisions.
How will the insurers know about my nicotine intake?
When a person states on a life insurance application that they have had no nicotine intake for a defined amount of time insurers will often want to check whether this is actually the case. This is done by asking an applicant to attend a medical. Attendance at a medical depends on several different factors so whether you actually have to prove that you have had no nicotine intake can depend on other information included in your application.
If you are asked to attend a medical the medical professionals will take a sample of your blood and urine and they will be tested for traces of cotinine. This is a common identifier of nicotine in the blood and will show whether you have had any nicotine intake; it usually remains traceable for 72 hours. This is how insurers will decide whether or not you are a nicotine user.
They usually do not distinguish between someone who is a heavy smoker, someone who is an occasional smoker, or someone who has been using nicotine based smoking cessation products such as gum and patches. You should always tell the truth on your Suncorp life insurance application; if you are found to have lied insurers may refuse you altogether, or they may just charge you premiums that are applicable to a nicotine user.
What if there is no trace of cotinine in my blood and urine?
Technically it is possible that you could be a nicotine user, including patches, and cotinine not show up on tests at your medical. It is still best to be honest with the people who are insuring you; you may think you are getting away with something by not telling the truth but this is usually not the case. Even if you continue to keep up the rouse, when you die if there is any medical record of you having smoked or used nicotine patches the insurers can refuse to pay out.
At the end of the day it is always worth using nicotine patches in an attempt to quit smoking, from a health point of view. You may still have to pay the increased insurance premiums associated with smokers but if you are eventually successful in giving up smoking and coming off the patches this situation can change.
*Image courtesy of Flickr