E-Cigarettes and Life Insurance Rates

One of the largest trends to hit the smoking community within the last decade is e-cigarettes. These devices are said to be safer than cigarettes, but not everyone agrees with that statement. Life insurance companies have a lot at stake when insuring current and former smokers, so how do they view this new trend? Here is a breakdown of how insurance companies are approaching the topic of e-cigarettes.

What are E-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are considered vapor devices. They give off a puff of vapor that looks like smoke to give the smoker the feeling that they are still smoking, without as much of the harm as smoking. The manufacturers of most e-cigarettes claim these devices to be safe, and say that they do not take a toll on the e-smoker’s health, but they have not been around long enough to have much proof on those claims.

What Most Insurance Companies Are Saying

Right now most insurance companies are waiting to see some proof on how healthy these devices are. They do not want to say that these devices are healthy only to have to pay out more down the line if the devices are found to not be safe. However, they do not want to claim them as unhealthy and make e-smokers have to pay more without the proof. While waiting to find out more and get more results, most insurance companies are leaving e-smokers in the same category as regular smokers as they still end up with nicotine in their systems when using e-cigarettes.

Rates for E-smokers

For the vast majority of insurance companies, e-smokers pay the same rates as regular smokers. That is because e-smokers still get some of the toxins in their body when they use e-cigarettes. The quantity of toxins, however, is significantly decreased over standard smokers. The problem for most insurance companies is the not knowing what the new toxins can do to the body. There is not enough research to know if these toxins are in such small supply to not cause much, if any, damage, or if the new toxins that are introduced from e-cigarettes are actually more dangerous than what a person smoking a standard cigarette would ingest. Until more proof is available, most insurance companies are sticking with what they know, which is that smoking is harmful to the health.

Exceptions

Currently there is only one life insurance company that has taken a different approach to electronic cigarettes, and that is Prudential. They believe that you can qualify for non-smoker rates if you meet their criteria, even if you are an e- smoker. Basically you have to be honest and say that you use e-cigarettes on your life insurance forms and application, plus you need to have not smoked a standard cigarette within the last 12 months in order to qualify. Once you go through the medical exams and they can prove that you only have the right chemicals in your body, you can then qualify for the non-smoker rates and cut what you must pay for insurance down significantly.

While e-cigarettes are relatively new, they can be the key to cutting down on the smoking that happens around the world on a daily basis. If they are found to be a healthier alternative to smoking, there may be more insurance companies who will credit their consumers with discounts over the standard smoking rate, but that has yet to be seen. Over the next few years, e-smokers should expect to see changes happening all around the insurance industry to accommodate the people who have chosen to smoke vapor instead of standard cigarettes.

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