The short answer: yes, chewing tobacco will show up on a life insurance drug test. Life insurance companies test for nicotine, and chewing tobacco has a high amount of nicotine in it — "holding an average-size dip in your mouth for 30 minutes gives you as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes," according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
If you’re a user of any kind of tobacco product — cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, or even smoking cessation products that contain nicotine — and you’re shopping for life insurance, you may have seen in your research that life insurance companies split their health categories into two major groups: smoker and non-smoker. Because of the research around tobacco products showing their effect on mortality rates, being classified as a smoker can raise your rates to anywhere between two and four times more expensive than a comparable non-smoker.
However, just because you're being categorized as a non-smoker doesn't mean the rest of your medical profile is not taken into account. Just like with non-smokers, smokers have multiple health classifications that affect final rates. You'll still end up paying more because you're categorized as a smoker, but your rates could still be very affordable.
Some life insurance companies may be more lenient and categorize you as a non-smoker if you are only an occasional user of tobacco products (i.e., a celebratory cigar every six months). Every life insurance company will ask you how frequently you use tobacco products. You may be tempted to fib when they ask in order to get a lower life insurance rate. We only have one piece of advice on that: don’t.
Your life insurance company reserves to the right to rescind a policy in the first two years if they believe that fraud was committed during the application process. That includes not being fully forthright about using chewing tobacco or how often you use chewing tobacco.
This two year period is called the contestability period. Your life insurance company also reserves the right to start a new contestability period if you pay your premium late.
While it’s rare that life insurance companies investigate claims or deny benefits, it does happen. Our advice is to play it safe – life insurance is, after all, a product designed to mitigate risk.
If you’re a user of chewing tobacco and you want to buy life insurance, your best bet is to disclose your use of chewing tobacco and use an independent agent. An independent agent can help you compare a variety of life insurance quotes and help you find the cheapest policy for your specific medical profile.
Being labeled as a smoker doesn’t mean that your life insurance policy needs to be prohibitively expensive. An independent agent can help you find the right policy for you and your family at the right price.
Image: Harry Hunt