Does vaping affect life insurance?

LifeCovered - Insurance Broker | Insurance Terms | Does Vaping affect your insurance?

What may surprise you is that the cost of life insurance would roughly double if you vape. In other words, the insurance company believes you are twice as likely as someone who does not vape or smoke to die due to related health risks such as heart disease, cancer, and lung disease, raising your rates proportionately.

E-cigarettes harm lungs and increase illness risk, impacting life insurance.

The number of people who vape is increasing, and insurance companies are working hard to figure out how to work with individuals who use e-cigarettes.

Many insurance companies charge the same rate whether someone vapes or smokes a cigarette because of the health risk.

Researchers say smoking tobacco or vaping nicotine is a health hazard and may lead to shorter life expectancy.

Insurers follow their risk guidelines to determine the cost of a policy. For example, insurance companies will apply smoker rates if you use an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or even occasionally smoke a cigar.

In this post, we explain how vaping affects your life insurance policy, how insurance companies screen for smoking, the consequences of lying on an application form, how to get the lowest life insurance rates, and how to guarantee that your policy will pay out.

Life insurance if you vape - Key Points

  • Vaping is considered the same as smoking for most insurers (but not all).
  • Insurers can test to see if you have nicotine in your system by asking you to take a cotinine (COTS) test.
  • Suppose you have not used any tobacco products, nicotine replacement products or e-cigarettes for 12 months; you will be considered a non-smoker by most insurers.
  • If you are unsure, tell your insurer or insurance broker everything, and they will be able to tell you whether you should be classed as a smoker or not.
  • Smoking or vaping can affect the cost of your life insurance, critical illness coverage, and income protection insurance. 
  • Seek advice from an independent life insurance specialist. Our specialists have extensive knowledge in this area, and they will be able to find the best insurance company for you at the best price.

Is vaping considered smoking for life insurance purposes?

It all depends. Some life insurance companies consider vaping to be smoking (and thus charge the same premium as someone who smokes cigarettes). On the other hand, some insurers may question whether the e-cigarettes you use contain nicotine, and if they don’t, you’ll be classed as a nonsmoker or qualify for a lower premium than if you smoked. We’ll explore how to acquire the best and cheapest life insurance if you smoke or vape later in this post.

Vaping involves using an electronic device to inhale the vapour that may or may not contain nicotine and other chemicals. There is currently insufficient research to link vaping to lung cancer. However, carcinogens are in e-cigarettes.

Life insurance smoker vs nonsmoker

To highlight the cost difference, we have compared the prices of life insurance coverage for smokers and non-smokers below, demonstrating how smoking influences the cost of your life insurance. We examine the cost of $350,000 level term life insurance over a 25-year term for people aged 25, 35 and 45. At the time of writing, the statistics were accurate.

Monthly cost for $350,000 life insurance over 25 years with level premiums for non-smokers vs smokers.

Age Cover Term Non-Smoker

Insurer Smoker Premium
25 years
Asteron Life
25 years
Asteron Life
25 years
Asteron Life

Lying about vaping on life insurance applications

A life insurance company will question whether you have smoked cigarettes, used an e-cigarette, or used nicotine replacement medicines in the last 12 months.

You must think carefully and be entirely honest.

Even if you are just a casual smoker or do not believe vaping is smoking, you must answer yes. You may always explain your circumstances later in the application process. If you are unhappy with the final premium provided, you can deny the quotation and look for lower offers elsewhere.

Your insurance policy may be cancelled if you are a smoker (according to the insurer’s definition) and you respond no to the smoking question. You risk the life insurance policy not paying out if you make a claim.

When you file a death claim, the insurance company may request medical information from your doctor, which may expose your smoking habits at the time of your application.
To be eligible for non-smoker rates, most insurance companies require you to quit smoking and refrain from nicotine for an entire 12-month period.

Insurers typically ask whether you use nicotine products when applying for life cover. If you answer untruthfully, for example, if you have the occasional e-cigarette at a party and need to lodge a claim one day, your benefit might be declined.

Although all insurers have different definitions of what constitutes a smoker, most will require you to pay higher premiums if you:

  • Have smoked one or more cigarettes in the past 12 months.
  • Are taking nicotine replacement products such as Champix and Nicabate (including patches and gum) within 12 months of quitting smoking.
  • Smoke e-cigarettes.

So, if you haven’t used electronic cigarettes in the last 12 months, chances are you might get non-smoker rates.

Health New Zealand, a New Zealand Government entity, has written about vaping and e-cigarettes. It’s worth reading and will help you understand what to anticipate if you vape or use e-cigarettes.

What if I don’t tell an insurance provider that I vape?

Even if you just vape occasionally, this is not a smart idea. It is considered a “material misrepresentation” not to tell your insurance company that you smoke cigarettes or use electronic cigarettes.

You don’t want your beneficiaries to have their claim denied because you were dishonest. That’s why it’s crucial to be honest if you occasionally smoke.
No one is perfect, and accidents may happen, but if you intentionally or carelessly mislead your insurer, they have the right to consider your insurance policy cancelled.

If you were to die and it was found that you were a smoker, the insurance provider may refuse to pay out a life insurance claim. In that situation, your best-case scenario would be that an insurance provider would pay a smaller amount. But there’s a real risk that your beneficiaries will be completely turned down for a claim.

Vaping vs smoking

The main difference between nicotine cigarettes vs electronic cigarettes is the number of chemicals they contain. Cigarette smoke consists of thousands of chemicals, 20+ of which have been shown to have a connection to causing cancer. On the other hand, many of the chemicals found in vapour relate to the process of flavouring, with only four components regularly included; Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerine, flavourings and nicotine.

You can easily compare life insurance quotes from New Zealand’s top insurers here. Call us at 0800259925 for unbiased financial advice if you want to understand more about smoking and vaping and what they mean for your life insurance policy.