Monday, July 29, 2013

How Can Life Insurance Coverage Companies Test For Smoking

Cigarettes leave a trace.

Life insurance companies provide financial protection in the event of your death. Smoking, with its widely proven harmful effects to your health, is a risk most companies penalize with higher premiums. Every insurance company will ask and test to see if you are a smoker.

Blood Test

Nicotine does not remain in your system past 72 hours after your last cigarette, according to the American Lung Association. The byproduct of nicotine, however, can be detected in your blood for up to three weeks if you are a smoker. The levels on the blood test will give the insurance company enough information to determine how much you smoke.

Urine Test

In addition to the blood test, most companies will also conduct a urine test. Cotinine remains in the urine for a shorter period of time, but concentrations will usually test higher in urine than in blood or saliva. Which test, blood or urine, that an insurance company uses depends on the individual company.

Saliva Test

Some insurance companies will use the saliva test to detect nicotine, along with other drugs such as amphetamines, alcohol and marijuana. It's a test that is also difficult to cheat, though solutions are available that claim to clear the saliva of most evidence.

Hair Test

A strand of hair can be tested for nicotine. Hair tests are more conclusive and can distinguish smokers from non-smokers for a year or more but are rarely used by insurance companies due to high cost.


If you manage to fool the tests but die within the two year "incontestable clause" period that many companies carry, the insurance company can refuse the claim. If you quit for 3 to 5 years, you may find it easier to obtain life insurance without additional cost or risk of denial.

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