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How to get life insurance if you vape or use e-cigarettes

Some insurers are more lenient than others, so it's worth comparing rates from a few.

Some life insurance companies will give e-cigarette users nonsmoking premiums. But there’s a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of vaping, so a handful of carriers consider it as risky as smoking — which is why it’s a good idea to compare quotes from a handful of insurers to get the best possible rate.

Can I get life insurance if I smoke e-cigarettes?

Yes — but you may have to pay smoker premiums, which are always higher.

For most insurers, a non-smoker is typically classed as a person who has not smoked a cigarette, or used nicotine or any variety of nicotine-replacement product, within the previous 12 months before applying for insurance.

However, you may be able to cut down your premium if your electronic cigarettes don’t contain nicotine.

Am I considered a smoker if I use marijuana?

If you’ve smoked marijuana in the last 12 months, most life insurance companies will consider you to be a smoker. If you vape marijuana, the line isn’t as clear, and how it affects your premiums can vary from insurer to insurer.

Contact the insurer you’re interested in to find out how different types of marijuana use will affect your premiums.

How e-cigarettes affects life insurance classifications

Thanks to the recent scrutiny around e-cigarettes and vaping, life insurance companies are starting to revisit how they classify vapers.

When you apply for life insurance, your insurer will assign you a life insurance classification. This is a rating class that determines how much you’ll pay for coverage. Insurers reserve their best rates for the least risky applicants.

While each provider has its own underwriting guidelines, most insurers err on the side of caution when it comes to vaping. Even if you’re in perfect health, if you use e-cigarettes, you might be treated in the same way as smokers. You could be given a “Preferred Smoker” or “Preferred Tobacco” classification — as opposed to the “Preferred Nonsmoker” rate you’d get otherwise.

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Will e-cigarettes reduce the cost of life insurance for smokers?

It comes down to the insurer. Some insurers will base your rates on whether or not you use cartridges with nicotine in them, which are considered tobacco products for life insurance purposes — even though they don’t technically contain tobacco. For example, Prudential asks if you use any nicotine products, but lets you clarify whether you use cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco or nicotine substitutes.

If you use e-cigarettes, it’s a good idea to contact the life insurance company you’re interested in before applying to find out how they handle vaping. Smokers pay significantly more on average, and finding a company that considers you a nonsmoker can lower your premiums.

Most insurance companies agree on one thing, though — if you use e-cigarettes alongside regular cigarettes, you’re a smoker.

How to lower your premium if you smoke e-cigarettes

You can significantly lower your premiums by quitting. If you can prove that you haven’t touched e-cigarettes in at least a year, you’ll likely earn a lower rate.

If you don’t want to kick the habit, there are a few other ways to reduce your premium:

  • Apply earlier rather than later. The younger you are, the less you’ll pay for less life insurance.
  • Maintain good health. If you have a healthy BMI and no history of serious health conditions like diabetes, you can get a cheaper rate.
  • Prove you have a clean driving record. If your three- to five-year driving record is free of major traffic violations, DUIs and DWIs, you’ll be able to access lower premiums.
  • Listen to your doctor. Keep up with regular visits to your doctor and take prescribed medications as necessary. If you can prove you’re in control of your health, you’ll be looked upon more favorably.

I’ve quit e-cigarettes but already have a life insurance policy. What should I do?

You can apply for reconsideration. This means asking your insurer to reassess your case and rates, but it may involve taking another medical exam. But to get the best possible rate with your new health profile, try to hold off for one to two years.

Are e-cigarettes safer than smoking?

The jury is still out. Though e-cigarettes are regularly marketed as being better for you than normal cigarettes, there’s no great weight of research to back this up.

While e-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes, they can contain more nicotine. According to the CDC, they could benefit adult smokers who completely switch over from cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe.

In August 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 215 people have been hospitalized nationwide with severe lung disease allegedly linked to vaping, and one person has died. According to the data collected by state health departments, these statistics aren’t associated with single vaping product or device.

In September 2019, Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. And in the same month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was finalizing plans to prevent the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol. It will also require tobacco-flavored varieties to undergo federal review.

Compare life insurance policies for e-cigarette users

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18 - 60 years old
5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
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18 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on provider and policy
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20 - 75 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years.
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18 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 years to lifetime/age 121
May be required
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Nationwide life insurance
18 - 80 years old
10, 15, 20 and 30 years
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Bottom line

Each insurance company will handle vaping a little differently, so if you use e-cigarettes or marijuana it’s worth reaching out to find out how it will affect your premiums. If you’re ready to purchase a policy to protect your family, compare life insurance companies to get the best deal.

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