I guess because I live in Tennessee and it was known for many years as tobacco country, there are still a lot of tobacco smokers. Tobacco use is a very expensive rating on life insurance policies, usually double or triples the non tobacco rate. Most life insurance companies do not distinguish between the different types of tobacco use. Whether a person smokes cigarettes, chews tobacco, dips tobacco, chews nicotine gum and wears a nicotine patch, they are all considered for tobacco rates. The one exception I have found is the occasional cigar smoker. There are a few companies that do allow a person to smoke an occasional cigar and still receive non tobacco rates on their life insurance.
I have personally found a couple of life insurance company underwriters willing to give the occasional cigar smoker a break on their life insurance premiums. They do have to meet the following criteria. They cannot smoke more than 12 cigars per year or one per month. Remember it is the occasional cigar smoker they are looking for not the weekly cigar smokers. When the paramedical examiner or nurse comes out to collect blood and urine samples, they must test negative for tobacco use. Here is the little secret. Most life insurance companies are not only testing for nicotine but also cotine. It is true that an occasional cigar smoker can be nicotine free in about 48 hours. However, cotine stays in the blood for up to 14 days. Therefore, to write an n occasional cigar smoker and secure a non tobacco rate, he or she must not use any tobacco 14 days prior to the paramedical exam and not smoking more than one cigar per month.
Certainly the best way to get the best rates on life insurance is to stop smoking or nicotine intake all together. Even if you quit almost all underwriters are going to want to see you nicotine free for at least one year in order to give you the non tobacco rate. That clock does not start on your last cigarette but on the last time you wore a patch or chewed nicotine gum. Remember they are looking for nicotine and cotine which still shows positive in your blood while using non smoking aids.
If you are using tobacco I wish you the best of luck in the journey to becoming smoke free.
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Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 27 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.