For the Purposes of Life Insurance Testing, How Long Is Nicotine Detectable in the System?


When insurance companies hand out life insurance policies, there are several things they typically will want to know. Because they are in the business of building a risk profile and providing a premium amount off of that profile, they need to know whether a person is engaged in behavior likely to lead to an early death. This is where evidence of smoking comes into play. If you are a smoker, then you are at elevated risk for heart disease, lung cancer and other associated conditions. Life insurance providers need to know this so the can know whether to insure you or how much to charge you for the coverage.

With this in mind, life insurance companies will often perform nicotine testing to figure out for certain whether you smoke. While companies in the past would ask people to be honest about their smoking habits, rampant fraud made it so that many modern companies do their homework before handing out coverage. You might be wondering just how long nicotine is detectable in your system if you’re facing a life insurance inquisition.

Urine testing and life insurance
Most life insurance companies will use a urine test to see whether you have nicotine in your system. With this form of testing, nicotine will stay in your urine for anywhere between three days and one week. Four days is the average, so you should plan accordingly. On top of that, if you have been a smoker for an extended period of time, then cotinine may stay in your system for as long as three weeks. While not all life insurance companies go so far as to test for this byproduct of nicotine, many are starting to do so because it is more difficult to conceal.

The danger of committing insurance fraud
You may be thinking that it is a good idea to try and hide your smoking habit so that you can either get insured or you can cut down the premiums you’ll pay for coverage. With a four-day half-life for nicotine in urine, it may sound easy enough to pass the test, lie to the insurance company and take the policy as a supposed non-smoker. You should know that this comes with many dangers, not the least of which is a potential fraud charge.

It is against the law to lie on an insurance application in this way. If you are caught, you may face state and federal charges. Even if you are not charged with a criminal offense, an insurance company may cancel your policy if they happen to figure out what you are up to. When you consider these potential consequences, the idea of cheating the system seems like less fun.