The average person knows that smoking will, in some way, affect their ability to get life insurance, but what they may not realize is that any kind of tobacco use will most likely raise their life insurance premiums. That includes cigars, no matter what kind of cigar or the size or the shape. Here’s how cigar smokers can find affordable life insurance.
As far as the life insurance industry is concerned, cigarette smoking isn’t the only form of tobacco use a life insurance provider considers when you are applying for a policy. If you use other tobacco-related products, like cigars, you may have to pay more for your life insurance policy than you would if you didn’t use any of those products.
There are all kinds of cigars. They come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes and they have been smoked since the 10th century. Most cigars are composed primarily of a single type of tobacco (air-cured and fermented), and they have a tobacco wrapper. They can vary in size and shape and contain between one and 20 grams of tobacco. Three cigar sizes are sold in the United States: little, large, and cigarillos.
Today, the cigar industry is one of the world’s largest legal industries. It is responsible for the employment of hundreds of thousands of people, often in countries where work and money are scarce.
Do you like to light up a stogy every now and again? Even if you only have a the occasional cigar at your weekly poker game, it could still render you a smoker in the eyes of a life insurance provider, and that could drastically alter your chances of getting an affordable term life insurance plan.
Without overstating the obvious, a cigar is a bundle of tightly rolled and dried tobacco. Thus, tobacco is the key word here, not smoking. But don’t you need to smoke it for it to matter? Well, yes — but because of its chemical makeup, cigars can send nicotine to the brain even if the smoke isn’t inhaled.
Many cigar smokers tend to not inhale the smoke. They take it into their mouths, but not their lungs. Nevertheless, all cigar and cigarette smokers, whether they inhale or not, directly expose their lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and larynx to the smoke and its toxic, cancer-causing chemicals.
Health Risks of Cigars
Cigar smoking has traditionally been considered a less risky alternative to cigarette smoking. This stems from a landmark study by the surgeon general way back in 1964, and the belief has continued to this day.
Cigarettes come with a warning label, cigars come with a fancy box. They can be marketed with candy, fruit and chocolate flavors, plus cigars are taxed less and can be sold as singles, unlike cigarettes that must be sold in packs of 20.
Cigarette smoking has steadily declined over the years, but cigar smoking has become more popular. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 an estimated 12.4 million people in the United States aged 12 years or older (or 5.2 percent) were current cigar smokers.
The bad news is that cigar smoke, like cigarette smoke, contains toxic and cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. In fact, cigar smoke is possibly more toxic than cigarette smoke. Cigar smoke has:
- A higher level of cancer-causing substances: During the fermentation process for cigar tobacco, high concentrations of cancer-causing nitrosamines are produced. These compounds are released when a cigar is smoked. Nitrosamines are found at higher levels in cigar smoke than in cigarette smoke.
- More tar: For every gram of tobacco smoked, there is more cancer-causing tar in cigars than in cigarettes.
- A higher level of toxins: Cigar wrappers are less porous than cigarette wrappers. The nonporous cigar wrapper makes the burning of cigar tobacco less complete than the burning of cigarette tobacco. As a result, cigar smoke has higher concentrations of toxins than cigarette smoke.
Cigar smoking causes cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, and lungs. It may also cause cancer of the pancreas. Moreover, daily cigar smokers, particularly those who inhale, are at increased risk for developing heart disease and other types of lung disease.
Higher Premiums for Tobacco Users
Tobacco users generally pay higher premiums for their life insurance than people who don’t use tobacco because people who smoke and use tobacco products are more likely to die—and at an earlier age—than people who don’t.
Over 20 percent of all deaths in the U.S. are from tobacco use. That’s more than murders, car accidents, and HIV/AIDS combined. One person dies every six seconds from a tobacco-related disease. So it’s no wonder the insurance industry is leery when it comes to insuring tobacco/nicotine users. A life insurance company is far more likely to have to pay out a benefit to the insured—and much earlier than they’d have to for non-tobacco users.
So when it comes to people who smoke cigars, those policyholders usually have to pay higher premiums. Your best bet is to shop around to find the best policy for your particular situation. There are many varying factors involved, so it would benefit you to work with an agent who deals with these issues on a daily basis.
A licensed True Blue Life Insurance agent can help you. Just call 1-866-816-2100 and ask how you can purchase a life insurance policy as a tobacco user. There is affordable life insurance for cigar smokers and tobacco users.
As a note of encouragement, though—just because you are currently labeled as a “tobacco user,” it doesn’t mean you’re going to have to pay higher premiums forever. In fact, let’s say you quit using tobacco-related products for a full year. You could then take a medical exam or a blood, saliva, or urine test to confirm your new status. It’s possible that the insurance company would re-evaluate your situation and then lower your premium payments as a result.
That’s great news for anyone who not only wants to lower their insurance premiums, but also improve their overall health.
Applying for Life Insurance as a Tobacco User
One of the first questions you are going to be asked when you apply for life insurance is regarding your tobacco/nicotine use. Do you currently use tobacco products? Did you quit using tobacco products within the past year? Maybe you stopped two or three years ago.
No matter what tobacco-related product you are using, some providers are going to charge you more for a life insurance policy if you admit to using any of them, past or present. Maybe you stopped smoking cigars six months ago. Or maybe it has been a full year. Some insurance companies will require you to be free from having used any tobacco-related product for as long as five years before they’ll give you a “tobacco-free” rate.
The timing of your use matters in the eyes of the insurance company, although to what extent will vary depending on the insurer. That’s why it pays to do your research and shop around for the best policy.
The companies we utilize for the best rates for cigar smokers are:
- American General (AIG)
- LG America (Banner)
- American National
- Mutual of Omaha
The company you choose depends on whether you are willing to take a medical exam, or prefer to buy a no medical exam policy. The good news is that we have a high success rate in getting cigar smokers, non-smoker rates, which is a savings of about 75% off the cost of your policy.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Make sure you are honest about your cigar usage on your life insurance application. Lying is not only considered fraud, but the truth will eventually come out when you take a medical exam that would likely include blood, saliva, or urine tests. Nicotine and other tobacco-related substances could take days, maybe even weeks or longer, to get out of your system. It really depends on how much you have used and for how long you’ve been using it.
The end result for you? Best case scenario, the insurance company will simply raise your rates and label you as a tobacco user. But you could also be refused coverage—or worse. Lying on your life insurance application isn’t worth the risk.
If you decide to pursue a no-exam policy—which probably sounds like a good idea if you use tobacco-related products—you can avoid the testing, but it will likely be more expensive as a result. The insurance company doesn’t know much about your health, so issuing a policy to you without any knowledge of your health would put them at greater risk. They cover those risks by charging higher premiums.
Affordable Life Insurance for Cigar Smokers
As a cigar smoker, you have a variety of options available to you in selecting the best and most affordable life insurance policy for your given situation. This certainly requires some time and effort, but ultimately, it’s worth it. The problem is, you may not have the time to shop around and do a lot of research.
At True Blue Life Insurance, we will work with you to do that research and help you find the best policy to fit your lifestyle. You won’t have to randomly search the internet hoping to find your best solution—or what you think your best solution is. We don’t just compare rates for you. We get you insured as well. And nobody is quicker than True Blue. Our business model is built on providing instant life insurance rates and utilizing technology to get policies issued without wasting time.