Kidney Donors May Now Be Facing Pointless Insurance Challenges

Kidney Donors May Now Be Facing Pointless Insurance ChallengesNot only does a kidney donor have to have a “heart of gold” to go through the process of donating a kidney, they also have to go through rigorous health screening to be approved for donating a kidney, and only the healthiest people in the USA are approved. So why are they now facing challenges in obtaining high health scores when it comes to health and life insurance premiums post donation?

A recent study was done by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the American Journal of Transplantation on this subject. The study found that a high proportion of kidney donors experienced difficulty changing or initiating insurance, particularly life insurance.

The study was led by Dorry Segev, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.S., an associate professor of surgery and epidemiology at The Johns Hopkins University who said that although “Living donors are some of the healthiest people in the United States. They’re heavily screened before they’re approved for donation and should be easily insurable,”. In spite of that fact he and his colleagues had heard from their patients that they faced troubles after donation from insurance companies.

These stories inspired Segev to initiate a survey to find more hard data on the subject.

The study surveyed 1,046 people who donated a kidney at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1970 and 2011.

Segev’s team found the following:

  • Among 395 donors who tried to initiate or change health insurance after donation, 7 percent (27) said they faced problems. Some 15 were denied health insurance altogether, 12 were charged a higher premium and eight were told that donating a kidney was a pre-existing condition.
  • Among 186 donors who tried to initiate or change life insurance after donation, 25 percent (46) reported problems: 23 were denied life insurance altogether, 27 were charged a higher premium and 17 were told that donating a kidney was a pre-existing condition.

Although Health Insurance providers had reportedly creating unnecessary burden and stress for kidney donors in the past, they are no longer allowed to refuse health coverage or raise premiums for kidney donors due to the terms of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unfortunately these terms do not apply to Life Insurance companies.

Dr. Hassan N. Ibrahim, medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis said, “There is quite a bit of evidence that even living with only one kidney, donors are healthier and less likely to have kidney problems than the general public.” He claims that studies done in Sweden, Japan and the U.S. had found that kidney donors live as long as, if not longer than non-donors.

Ibrahim went on to say that although he suspects that even if only one percent of 5,000 donors per year actually have problems getting or changing insurance, it is concerning.

“There are about 100,000 people in the U.S. who have altruistically donated a kidney,” Segev says. “Insurance companies should make a strong effort on behalf of people who perform this selfless act to make sure that they’re well taken care of.”

Steven Weisbart, chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute in New York responded to this report stating that since the study has left many factors unexplored. He says, “There’s nothing here about how long after donation the effort to change or buy life insurance took place. If it was a long time they are much older, and there could be many factors to their health.” He continued by saying, “The life insurance market is enormous and quite varied,” he said. Some companies may be concerned about the impact of going down to one kidney and might choose to reject an applicant, but another company might accept the same person without an increased premium. Kidney donors should shop around for life insurance.”

We at LifeQuote strive to provide educational and engaging LifeNews because an educated consumer is our best customer.

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Agent’s Top Secrets for Millennials: The Vanguards of the Digital Era

Agents Top Secrets for Millennials: The Vanguards of the Digital Era Millennials happen to come along at an awkward point in history. While the Internet and e-businesses were experiencing tremendous growth, the job market and economy were shrinking into a slow down.  The cataclysmic shift from the analog era to the digital era left many industries reeling in its wake.   Tried and true professions became less viable options for employment.  The inability of Millennials (those born in the 1980s) to find steady income led some many in this generation back to college to pursue post graduate degrees, looking for other career options.  Faced with inflated student loans and lack of quality jobs it’s no surprise that 36% of Millennial are still living with their parents. That number represents the highest percentage of adults ages 18-31 living with their parents over the previous four decades.  This prolonged nesting period has created a domino effect causing many Millennials to delay embarking on their own rights of passages.

Slow Starters

Millennials in general appear to be in no rush to start their own families. The average age at first marriage in the United States has increased to 29 for men and to 27 for women.  By contrast in the 1990s the average age at first marriage was 26 for men and 23 for women.  With a plethora of online dating sites, one would think that Millennials have an advantage over previous generations in finding their soul mate. Even though 30 percent of Millennials list having a successful marriage as their top priority, Millennials in general are in no hurry to make long term commitments. Some attribute the marital delay to the financial climate Millennials have experience. While others feel Millennials are simply more self aware than previous generations which leads them to take a more “wait and see approach”.  Regardless of the reason behind Millennials decision to prolong their nesting period, the increased first marriage age has also pushed back the average age that Millennials purchase their first home and have their first child.

30 is the new 20

Agents Top Secrets for Millennials: The Vanguards of the Digital Era In the early 2000s many entertainers would say that “30 in the new 20” as an attempt to appeal to the growing demographic of Millennial fans who might have perceived them as old and out of touch.  At the time it was simply a marketing tool however today it rings true for approach that many Millennials take regarding their transition from dependent to independent.  Experts predict that as Millennials reach their early thirties many will feel the since of urgency to start their own families that the Baby Boomers felt as they entered their early twenties.

Millennials & Life Insurance

As with other industries insurance companies are searching for ways to appeal to their potential Millennial clients. According to census data there are an estimated 80 million Millennials in the U-S, population making them the largest generation and also accounting for 25% of our country’s population.  Their presence simply cannot be ignored.  Although some Millennials may not currently possess any of the more traditional causes to purchase life insurance such as mortgage or family protection there are still benefits and important reasons why Millennials should consider life insurance.

First and foremost is age. The younger you are the lower your life insurance premiums. The next factor is personal health history.  Applying at a younger age limits the exposure to potential health conditions that may onset at an older age which could have an impact on life insurance premiums.  Millennials may not have large long term debts to consider but any personal line of credit or even student loans could be a potential financial hazard for loved ones left behind.   Life insurance is an excellent method to protect against these potential pitfalls.

Many first time buyers are also not aware of the ownership rights granted to a policy owner that allows them to make changes to their life insurance policy. Including changing their beneficiary and even converting the type of life insurance policy they own in some cases. The flexibility of making policy changes is one of the most appealing aspects of obtaining life insurance at a younger age.  As always remember to consult with a licensed agent to make sure the life insurance policy you intend to purchase is the right one for you. Check out a free quote at www.lifequote.com

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The Sobering Reality of the Life Insurance Gap

The Sobering Reality of the Life Insurance GapA recent study has found that the gap in life insurance coverage vs. financial needs has worsened by 11% since 2008.

The 2013 study was commissioned by New Your Life and conducted by the Futures Company, an independent third party research company. They reported that while many Americans say they would want a life insurance policy that would ideally cover their household’s expenses for 14 years after the loss the family’s main income producer, they would actually only have enough protection for 3.

Prior to the recession in 2008 a similar study was done by another independent research firm, Greenwald & Associates. Both surveys required that participants be at least 25 years old with dependents and an income $50,000 or more. The 2008 survey had 1003 participants, only one less than the 2013 survey which had 1004 participants.

The 2008 study for a $289,378 deficiency when it came to coverage vs need in the 2013 survey found a shortfall of $320,000.

This gap means more than you might think. It translates to falling short when it comes to paying off a mortgage or funding a child’s college tuition, two major needs for the financial security a family depends on.

This gap is potentially due to many American families feeling the pinch in our tough economic state. The survey also reported a drop in overall feelings of financial security. In 2008 it was reported that 87% of participants felt financially secure, while the 2013 study found that only 67% felt that they had financial security. It was also reported that the number of families going without any life insurance has reached a new low, with 22% unprotected compared to the 8% in 2008.

In the past 5 years there has been a major need for American families to cut back on expenses and live frugally, which has put many of them in harm’s way when it comes to preparing for their family’s future. While it is necessary to stick to a budget in uncertain financial times, life insurance can be more affordable than you think. Try getting a free quote today and see how much you can buy for a modest monthly budget. Check out www.lifequote.com.

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July Fourth Safety Tips

July Fourth Safety TipsIndependence Day celebrations can already be felt in the air, many are planning barbecues, picnics, a get together with family and friends, watching the parade and/or the fireworks. But with the array of activities and fun, comes the need for safety plans.

As we mentioned in our blog, “Why Summer Time is the Best Time to Buy Term Life Insurance” summer has an increased rate of injuries and fatalities, and those numbers are even higher over July 4th weekend.

With that in mind, we’d like to arm you with some precautionary education before your celebratory weekend ahead.

Heatstroke and Dehydration Safety Tips:

  • Dress for success: wear absorbent, lightweight and light colored clothing
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep in mind that you must drink frequently, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Thirst is not a good measure of proper hydration
  • Drink more than just water. Electrolytes need to be replaced as well as fluid
  • Monitor your urine, it should be the consistency of lemonade, not apple juice
  • Schedule your outdoor time to be either before or after the hottest times of the day, typically 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Play with water – water play is  a cool and fun way to keep you and your kids from overheating while playing. As always, never leave children unsupervised when playing with water or water-based toys

Drowning Safety Tips:

  • Never leave your child unattended when they are in or near the water
  • Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use and store them upside down and out of children’s reach
  • Never go into a body of water if you have had too much alcohol

Burn Prevention and Fire Safety Tips for Grilling:

  • Review your grill’s instruction manual each year
  • Check propane hoses for leaks or breaks
  • Make sure charcoal grill pans don’t have any holes
  • Don’t wear loose fitted clothing and/or aprons that might get caught in flames.
  • Be sure that all utensils you use are rated for use over high-heat and open flame
  • Keep a phone, hose, bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency
  • Set up a safety zone around the grill to keep kids and pets away from the area
  • Grilling should be done outdoors only and set on level ground in an open area
  • Don’t use gasoline to start or enhance the BBQ fire
  • Don’t add charcoal lighter fluid to the fire once it’s started
  • Don’t grill when consuming alcoholic beverages or taking medication that makes you drowsy
  • If you smell gas when grilling, move away immediately and call 9-1-1
  • Make sure your coals cool completely before disposing them
  • Dispose your coals in a metal container with a lid

Traveling Safety Tips:

  • Plan ahead taking weather and traffic into account so that you don’t need to rush
  • Check your tires and fill your gas tank before you start your trip
  • Make sure your windows are not obscured while driving
  • Make sure you and whoever is in your car is always buckled in!
  • Drive responsibly, as always. Don’t dress, eat, check your directions on your phone or apply makeup while driving.
  • If you’re traveling a long distance, take breaks or share the driving with another responsible driver.
  • Never use your cell phone when driving. If you need to make a call, send a text or email or check directions, it’s best to pull over.
  • Never leave children, pets, or anyone alone in the car, the heat can be fatal.
  • Don’t drink and drive! When making plans for the weekend festivities make sure you have a designated driver as part of your plans.

At LifeQuote we want to provide you with the tools to enjoy life to its fullest! Wishing you a safe and happy July 4th!

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Healthy Employees: Going the Extra Mile

Healthy Employees: Going the Extra Mile A healthy diet is something we all work hard to achieve but good intentions don’t always result in success… especially when it comes to changing old eating habits.

But can we change if we get paid to eat right? An initiative to offer financial incentives to employees who make healthier food choices was recently launched by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a not-for-profit health service company in New England.

The program is offering employees a bonus of up to twenty dollars a month for registering grocery store loyalty cards which will then use a scoring method to assign nutritional values to over 100,000 food items. The items receive scores based on thirty different nutrient factors. Numerous grocery stores are participating in this project; some include Wegmans, Roche Brothers, Hannaford, Star Market and Shaw’s.

Each one of these food items that the employee purchases from that list is combined to create an average score per shopping trip. In order for employee to be eligible for the program, they must maintain a score of 60 or above on a scale of 1 – 100 with 100 being the best. The rewards are then deposited directly into their checking or Paypal account.

In addition to the financial incentives of the program, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is offering educational materials and healthy recipes. As of now over one-third of the Harvard Pilgrim employees are participating and more than 4,000 shopping trips have been recorded. Of those shopping trips over 65% of them have scored a 60 or above. To put this into perspective, nationally an average shopping basket has been calculated to score about half of that, only 30 – 45, indicating the potential of this program in influencing food choices with financial incentives.

Eric H. Schultz, CEO of Harvard Pilgrim, said that the concept of the Eat Right Rewards project is all about encouraging shoppers to think about what they are putting in their shopping baskets and rewarding them for buying nutrient rich, healthy foods,” He went on to say, “The concept is so simple; it is surprising that it wasn’t created long ago. We will be carefully monitoring results, and we will report back on how the program is going.”

It is a well-known fact that a poor diet can lead to a host of chronic diseases, making a program like Harvard Pilgrim’s Eat Right Rewards a step in the right direction. It’s not only good for the employee; it benefits the employer as well since statistically healthy workers are more productive and less absent from the job.

We at LifeQuote strive to provide educational and engaging LifeNews because an educated consumer is our best customer. Lifequote.com.

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Empowered Women Are Making Top Financial Decisions

Empowered Women Are Making Top Financial Decisions Women have taken charge of their finances, empowered by their independence and career success. A recent study done by Ameriprise Financial found that 41% of women ages 25 – 70 are making financial decisions on their own, 56% said that they share the household financial responsibilities equally with their partners and only 4% of the women surveyed said that they had no involvement with the financial decision-making at home.

Of the women who were making financial decisions on their one, 63% were single while 37% stated that they were in long-term relationships and taking the lead in their household’s financial decisions.

This financial motivation may be partially due to the fact that on average women outlive men and therefore need to be prepared for financial independence. The Insured Retirement Institute notes that women live longer than their male counterparts, which means they need to plan for a longer retirement.

Another factor may be that many women are either unmarried or are single parents and therefore need to take the reins when it comes to their own finances and that of their families. financial responsibility for themselves an

A study conducted in 2013 by Whitman Insight Strategies found that women felt a key point in taking control of their financial future was making decisions that kept their current spending focused by sticking to their household budget and by paying credit card bills in full each month. Those choices enable them to stay debt free.

A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor found that women hold at least half of the high paying managerial positions in the workforce, which means they are making higher salaries and are climbing the corporate ladder… a possible direct correlation to women’s newfound financial confidence.

Due to these factors and others, financial empowerment for women is clearly a step in the right direction.

One area in which women are still lagging behind is life insurance ownership. A study by the insurance marketing firm LIMRA found that there is a considerable gap in life insurance ownership between men and women, a fact that is counterintuitive given that more women are financially on their own and have families depending on them.

U-S households have traditionally relied only on the man’s life insurance policy, while forgetting that the woman’s earnings are vital to the household income… especially in dual-income families. That means there is little financial fall back in the case of single women with families.

Part of a solid economic program includes life insurance; it’s simply smart financial planning, say money advisors. Investment specialists contend that, among other reasons, such as mitigating risk, life insurance products are not correlated to market performance and therefore can add stability to a client’s portfolio. For women, another positive windfall is that they are generally rewarded with lower premiums than men because statistically they live longer than their male counterparts, and thus present a lower risk to life insurance carriers.

When designing a game plan on how to prepare for the future, recent data is pointing towards independence, leadership, staying a step ahead, and expecting the unexpected.

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E-Cigarettes, Tobacco Products and How They Might Affect Your Life Insurance Rates

E Cigarettes, Tobacco Products and How They Might Affect Your Life Insurance RatesOne of the fastest growing trends currently in the tobacco industry is the E-cigarette. You’ve most likely seen these pen-like devices with a glass chamber being used in public or perhaps you own one for yourself.

While the rise in popularity of the E-cigarette is relatively new, the product itself has been around since the early 2000s. The first E-cigarette was produced in China, closely resembling a real cigarette in look and size. It contained single use cartridges that were non-refillable. Now E-cigarettes can be found in many different sizes and are used with a synthetic liquid that comes in both Nicotine and Nicotine-Free form. Initial studies suggest that E-cigarettes are healthier than traditional tobacco products, howevever without conclusive data on the long term side effects from prolonged use, the FDA has not made a formal endorsement of E-cigarettes as a confirmed safer alternative to cigarettes. Some states have even passed legislation that prohibits the use of E-cigarettes in public enclosed establishments, in the same manner that cigarettes are also banned. That’s because little is known about the effects of inhaling second-hand vapors on others around the e-cigarette “smokers.” With such limited data available regarding E-cigarette use, insurance company underwriters are using their traditional tobacco guidelines for prospective applicants who use this trendy product.

By most insurance company guidelines to qualify for a non-tobacco rating an applicant must have discontinued tobacco consumption for a consecutive period of at least 12-24 months. The applicant must also test negative for any traces of nicotine in their urine sample provided during their exam. This also means that even the use of smoking cessations products such as Nicotine Gum and Nicotine Patches can prompt the underwriters to render a Tobacco user rating. E-Cigarettes containing nicotine will show up positive on lab results and prompt for a Tobacco user rating as well. While some E-cigarette cartridges do not contain nicotine, insurance companies are still hesitant to completely rule them out of the smoker class. Primarily because there is insufficient evidence to prove that lengthened periods of vapor inhalation do not lead to some of the same diseases that are associated with traditional cigarette use, such as diminished lung function and heart disease. For the time being E-Cigarettes are classified in the same category as smoking products, however that could change should evidence present itself that the nicotine-less vapor form does not lead to other more serious health problems.

E Cigarettes, Tobacco Products and How They Might Affect Your Life Insurance RatesWhile use of most tobacco products will result in the classification of a Tobacco user, there are some exceptions to the guidelines. Some carriers will consider clients for Non-tobacco ratings even if those clients use chewing tobacco or smoke an occasional cigar. Since it is assumed that people who smoke cigars do not inhale the smoke, these applicants must have little to no traces of nicotine in their lab samples. While these are exceptions that will allow an applicant to be considered at a non-tobacco user class, that does not mean it is guaranteed. Each insurance company has their own guidelines regarding the permissible amount of cigars a client can smoke per year and still qualify for non-tobacco ratings. It is important to be forthright and transparent when speaking with an agent regarding smoking habits. This will allow the agent to match the applicant with the insurance company who best matches their profile.

All former tobacco users seeking to qualify for a non-tobacco rating should discontinue use of all tobacco products or products containing nicotine. This will give them the best chance to obtain a rating as a non-tobacco user. If an applicant fails to qualify for a non-smoker rating at the time of their application all hope is not lost. If the application is approved and the policy is placed in force, many Insurance Companies would be willing to reconsider the client for a non-tobacco rating on the policy’s first year anniversary with new lab work that show negative results for nicotine. This means that clients, who have recently quit tobacco use and do not qualify for non-tobacco rates, do not have to be uninsured while they seek to change their classification. Once the applicant is eligible for non-tobacco rates they most likely will see a significant reduction in their premiums. Often times with risk factors it is in the best interest of the applicant to take out an insurance policy to bridge the gap until they can qualify for a better classification. This way should any new risk factors arise they’ve already taken the steps to protect their family or business while essentially buying themselves time to correct other areas.

For a free quote today visit www.LifeQuote.com

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Term Life Insurance: The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift

Term Life Insurance: The Ultimate Father’s Day GiftWith the countdown for Father’s Day this weekend the search is on for the perfect father’s day gift, which he undoubtedly deserves. But most dads will selflessly say they prefer to give rather than receive because giving to their kids is the greatest gift of parenthood.

From the first time you hold that baby in your arms a parent is constantly giving in every way. We anticipate their needs and do our best to fulfill them. This instinct goes across the board, from putting food on the table, setting aside quality time, and of course securing their financial future, such as saving money for their college tuition.

As a testament to our parental duties, it’s our job to plan for their future. The planning starts at birth; that college savings account, and one that many parents forget to do, according to national statistics — setting up a life insurance plan naming your spouse and children as the beneficiaries.

Consider the immediate and long-term expenses when purchasing a term life insurance policy. Consider your kids’ ages now and how much they would need and for how long they would have financial need if you weren’t there to provide for them.

There is not much in life that we are in control of, and premature death is certainly not one of those things. Of course money could never replace a parent, but it certainly helps with the grieving process when financial concerns aren’t also a terrible burden for your family.

Knowing that you’ve given your children the gift of life from the day they were born to the day you’re no longer there to protect them may indeed be the best Father’s Day gift you receive this year. So treat yourself… and treat them… to the ultimate father’s day gift this year, a term life insurance policy… to protect their tomorrows.

 

 

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Term Life Insurance for Diabetics

Term Life Insurance for DiabeticsA key factor in determining a life insurance premium is the applicant’s health. The better your health, the lower your premium. But there’s more… it’s not actually quite that simple.

Those with a family history of certain health conditions or those with current chronic health issues are considered a “higher risk” to insurance companies and therefore are usually quoted a higher premium. This fact can lead many diabetics to think that they won’t be able to afford a term life insurance policy, but that’s not always true. There are steps that can be taken that can lead to an affordable life insurance premium, even with diabetes.

Life insurance companies look at a number of factors when reviewing an application from someone with diabetes. Two of the main ones are:

  1. That the diabetes is being properly treated with medications and/or lifestyle changes
  2. That the patient is proactively taking steps to keep their diabetes under control

How does the insurance company know if the diabetic is properly controlling the disease? They look closely at the applicant’s medical history to look for regular doctor’s checkups indicating the patient’s compliance under a health expert’s supervision.

Specifically they’ll investigate these factors:

  • The specifics of the applicant’s diagnosis (Type 1 or Type 2)
  • The age the applicant was diagnosed
  • Medical records and lab test results showing the A1C levels and glucose levels
  • Medical complications associated with diabetes (i.e.: kidney disease, vision, heart disease, nerve damage, osteoporosis, skin irritation)
  • Nicotine use

In addition to closely examining the current health of the applicant in terms of their diabetes, life insurance companies are also more likely to pay closer attention to the overall health and lifestyle of a diabetic’s application; if they are of normal weight, and other factors.

It’s important for all life insurance applicants, and particularly for a diabetic, to take the steps to care for themselves and their health. A licensed insurance agent knows a diabetic will not get the Super Preferred risk classification from an insurance carrier but will have a better chance of finding an affordable term life policy if the disease is controlled and the applicant is otherwise “healthy” without other life-threatening health complications. The goal of that agent is to help you achieve approval for a policy and the lowest possible premium given the health circumstances

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The “Premium” Cost of Smoking

The “Premium” Cost of Smoking It’s no secret, smoking is a bad habit… not just because of the health risks but because of the financial consequences. Smokers pay higher life insurance premiums than non-smokers.

Why? Because life insurance companies base your premium on the type risk you present. Statistically, a smoker’s life expectancy is ten years shorter than that of a non-smoker, thus smokers present a higher risk of dying sooner and the company would theoretically have to pay out the death benefit.

How much higher are a smoker’s premiums? About 30% higher than that of a healthy non-smoker. That’s a costly habit!

Life insurance companies will look at your use of cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco to assess if you’re considered a “smoker.” Some will even consider the use of nicotine patches and nicotine gum to classify a “smoker” since they’re looking at all forms of nicotine use– not just the inhaled type. Those trendy, new e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine in vapor form also fall into this category.

What about social smokers, or occasional smokers? Insurance carriers don’t differentiate much but do draw differences between a young applicant who smokes versus an older applicant who smokes. The reason is because research indicates that someone who quits smoking before the age of 40 decreases his/her chances of dying from a smoking-related disease by 90%. So if you’re in your 20s or 30s, quit smoking now! A good idea for a brighter future for your health as well as your budget.

If you’re over 40 and have already purchased or are considering purchasing a term life insurance plan, your premium can be reevaluated a year after you kick the habit.

It’s very important to be honest about your use of nicotine with your insurance agent. Lying about smoking has severe consequences and will cost you in the end. The lab work required with your insurance application will detect nicotine use. As in all health related questions, honesty is the best policy when it comes to filling out your life insurance application.

Since the cost of term life insurance varies, it’s a good idea to shop around. LifeQuote works with a variety of insurance companies and can help you find the best policy for your situation. If you have any questions our agents will help guide you.

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