Cigar smoker special: Enjoying the occasional stogy could cost you considerably more than the $130 that you paid in exchange for that pack of Oud Kampens. It could drown large sums in surcharges.
What does one reduce the impact of cigar smoking on the insurance premiums? Most life insurers permit you to smoke a cigar once in a while – generally one in a month. Canada Life, for that matter, which lets you have one cigar a week. Unity Life, on the other hand, offers a separate cigar rate.
In either case, if you are required to undergo medical tests, avoid cigars for about a week prior to the test so that there is no cotinine (a nicotine metabolite) in your body. The content of cotinine in a person is used to measure one’s exposure to tobacco smoke. Cotinine has a half-life of a little less than one day. After the initial 20 hours, cotinine levels will sink to half, after the next 20 hours to quarter, etc. For these reasons, you can expect almost any dose of cotinine to metabolize completely within four days.
Premiums for cigar smokers can diverge sharply from one company to another. The lifetime difference can easily be over $40,000 for the term of the insurance policy.
As with any other insurance application, being honest when applying for coverage is vital. Plans may be contested by the insurer if you omit or misrepresent a significant piece of information. The actual incontestability period may vary from company to company.
Cigar smokers and smokers in general will get the best value when attended to by a competent independent life insurance broker who stays up-to-date on the underwriting guidelines of a range of life insurers. The same holds true for everybody with pre-existing medical conditions.