Life insurance for vapers? We all know vaping is much safer than smoking. But does switching earn you a price break on insurance?

Posted by on 10/4/2016 to News

How does the insurance industry treat vapers?


But most vapers have a major strike against them when buying insurance of any kind. We're almost all ex-smokers, and we're usually nicotine users. Those things tend to mean higher rates. Cigarette smokers can wind up paying as much as six times as much as non-smokers for life insurance. And just about any kind of nicotine use will increase what you pay.

If you're an ex-smoker, the cost drops eventually. It takes at least a year for you to be considered for non-smoker rates at most companies. What if you quit by vaping? How does that affect the cost? Well, are you vaping nicotine?

And they'll be testing too. Medical exams are required.

Personal finance writer Barbara Marquand says that some companies require abstinence from all nicotine use to get the best rates. MetLife's best rating class, for example, requires no nicotine intake for at least five years. That includes vaping, and even NRT products like nicotine gum or patches. In fact, even their most basic non-smoking category requires a year without any kind of nicotine use.

And they'll be testing too. Medical exams are required. Those usually include blood, urine, or saliva tests for nicotine, which the liver metabolizes from nicotine. It usually requires about a week without nicotine use to avoid a positive nicotine test. The test can't tell the source of the nicotine in your system, but for most insurance companies, nic is nic.

Some companies allow occasional cigar smoking but still require a clean nicotine test. Others allow marijuana use. Of course, marijuana wouldn't cause a positive test for nicotine use anyway.

Insurance especially for vapers?


Interestingly, our friends at E-Cigarette Forum (ECF) seem to have found an insurance agency that's aiming squarely at the vaper market. Latitude Insurance is advertising itself as a partner of ECF and ECF is featuring the agency with promotional banners.

The Bellingham, WA, agency is a so-called independent insurance broker. That means the agency offers insurance from multiple carriers, and can compare the prices and features across a lot of available policies. That may be a better option for consumers than going to the local branch of a single major insurance company.

Health insurance is the larger issue.

David R. Gould, an agent at Latitude Insurance, actually has a thread on ECF in which he's actively engaging vapers and addressing some of their concerns. It's interesting. Gould says part of his job is to get more companies to recognize and reward the healthy choice vapers have made, And he's right. When that happens, prices will go down further, and vapers will have more insurance options.

But a lot of vapers' questions are about health insurance, which Gould and Latitude don't offer. Health insurance is the larger issue. When health insurance companies recognize vaping as a practice that lowers their costs, they may just drag the rest of the American health establishment along with them. But that may not happen until there are real long-term studies of how vaping improves the health of ex-smokers.

David Gould think that offering life insurance for vapers may push the providers to change their attitudes. He hopes to use this as a foot in the door so to speak to influence other areas of insurance like Health, Disability, and Long Term Care.

Every vaper looks forward to the day when switching to a far safer way of getting nicotine earns us less expensive health insurance. It will happen eventually. Meanwhile, wanna buy some life insurance?

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