How Do Personal Habits Like Smoking Etc. Matter While Choosing A Term Insurance Plan?

While it is impossible to predict an unfortunate event, it is certainly possible to be prepared for one. Nowadays, life insurance policies are available for smokers and non-smokers, but smoking can impact a life insurance policy’s health and the premium calculation as they have different terms and conditions. In fact, some of these differences can be accounted for by the policyholder’s choice of tenure or premium amounts. 

Correspondingly, some of these differences boil down to how much of a risk is posed by the policyholder to the insurer. This only means that the higher the risk an individual poses to the insurance company, the greater their liability, and of course, the higher the cost of the policyholder’s term insurance premiums. Not only that, if an individual has lifestyle habits they indulge in that directly impact their health, it can also directly affect the term insurance premiums.

How Does A Personal Habit Affect The Term Insurance Costs?

Drinking

Drinking alcohol in moderation is considered acceptable. However, excessive drinking can be a grave concern for potential insurers since it can be linked to conditions like high blood pressure, kidney and liver diseases, and coronary diseases. Also, it can result in mental health conditions and issues with substance addiction.

Therefore, while evaluating the eligibility for the best term insurance policies, alcohol consumption plays a huge part in determining the premiums. If regular alcohol consumption exceeds a certain standard, this can also be reflected in the medical records. In addition, it will directly increase the term insurance premiums as it becomes a greater risk for potential insurers.

Smoking

Long-term smoking has been linked to higher risks of developing conditions like the forms of cancer, respiratory diseases, stroke, and cardiovascular illnesses, according to medical research. World Health Organization also stated that smoking could contribute to the deaths of about half of the individuals who indulge in it.

In the face of scientific evidence, smokers are typically charged higher term insurance premiums than their non-smoking counterparts. While the premiums may be higher, these can still fall within reasonable amounts, although it is advised to reconsider smoking habits to maximize the term insurance benefits. Additionally, an individual’s term insurance cost can also be affected by how frequent a smoker is. 

Inactive Lifestyle/Obesity

This can also cause many different types of medical complications. If the sedentary lifestyle has made an individual overweight, serious health complications might happen in the future. This means that it will affect the insurance.

Profession/Hobby

Many professions like firefighter, underwater welder, miner, and more are considered risky by insurers. When an individual is involved in such a profession, the insurer will put them in their high-risk bucket. Even if the profession is safe, if the person is into risky hobbies like scuba diving, skydiving, etc., this, too, is a cause of concern for the insurance provider.

Who Is Considered A Smoker?

According to life insurance underwriters, anyone who smokes cigarettes in any quantity is a smoker. A tobacco user or nicotine user can use any of these delivery methods to be downgraded to the smoker rating for purposes of calculating life insurance premiums:

  • Dissolvable tobacco
  • Heated tobacco products
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Snuff
  • Pipes
  • Hookahs
  • Bidis (tiny hand-rolled cigarettes)
  • E-cigarettes
  • Vaping
  • Nicotine replacement, including lozenges, inhalers, gum, patches, and nose sprays

How Do Life Insurance Companies Determine A Smoker?

A life insurance company tests for nicotine use during the health exam. If a person uses nicotine, traces of the chemical remain in your system for several days to several weeks, depending on whether a person is a heavy user and how long it takes their body to metabolize the substance. 

Nicotine, absorbed by the blood when chewing tobacco, smoking, vaping, or inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke, breaks down in the liver and shows up on blood tests as cotinine. This enzyme is eliminated through the kidneys and may appear on a urine test. Cotinine generally occurs on a nicotine test for about three months after a smoker stops using nicotine.

How Does The Term Policy Work For The Smokers?

Smoking regularly can cause chronic illnesses such as lung cancer, throat cancer, bronchitis, heart disease, etc., which results in the development of such conditions in a person, which can cause a shorter life expectancy compared to a non-smoker. Since people who smoke regularly are considered with low life expectancy, the premium for their life insurance policy increases because the rate of dying is a crucial factor that is considered while calculating the premium for a life insurance policy. 

To buy term insurance, smokers must inform the policy providers about their smoking habits. Simultaneously, they will also ask how much they have smoked in the past year. Also, this includes chewing tobacco or smoking it in any form. 

This information and the medical test results help them determine which category of smokers they fall into. That said, the kind of term plan to get and the value of the premium will depend on that. Others may be tempted to misinform their smoking habits, but that does not work as they hope since the medical test always reveals the truth. 

What Are The Categories Of A Smoker’s Term Insurance?

The insurance providers are well aware of the smoking habits that affect different people. This is because not all smokers have the same habit regarding how many cigarettes they smoke. That said, the term insurance for smokers comes in three different categories, as listed below.

1. Table Rated Smoker

This category is for people with serious pre-existing health conditions directly resulting from smoking. For this category, they have to pay the highest premium because the risk of death is higher.

2. Typical Smoker

This is for smokers with minor persisting health conditions. Under this category, the insurer’s premium amount is slightly lower than the Table Rated Smoker category.

3. Preferred Smoker

This category is for smokers who are otherwise fit and have to pay the least premium compared to the other two categories.

Do Life Insurance Rates Go Down If You Quit Smoking?

Yes. A smoker that decides to quit may be able to get non-smoker premiums under certain circumstances. It could take 12 months of nicotine and tobacco-free living to qualify for a lower life insurance rate.

Once a person has decided to quit smoking, check with the insurance provider to find out if they offer a free smoking-cessation program. Successfully quitting smoking means being eligible for lower health insurance premiums, an incentive for insurance providers to provide free smoking-cessation programs.

The Bottom Line

In general, health insurance can reimburse the insured for expenses incurred from illness or injury or pay the care provider directly. Risk Managers offer peace of mind and security for individuals, families, and businesses through their life-health insurance solutions for unpredictable circumstances, such as death, disability, or health condition. Ultimately, they help you think ahead and plan for the future.

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