General Question

kevbo's avatar

What's the likelihood of getting "caught" by a life insurance company if you say you've never smoked but really have bird a handful of times in your life?

Asked by kevbo (25621points) September 8th, 2007
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

GD_Kimble's avatar

I’d imagine not very good. If you’ve really only had one a “handful” of times, your lungs etc. are probably no dirtier than any random person who, say, lives in a smoggy city.

joli's avatar

Only if a chest x-ray were to be taken and they saw damage or tar built up would they have concrete proof, and a sceptic could probably refute that. I wouldn’t try to get away with it if I were a heavy smoker. Your disadvantage in telling the whole truth is your policy will cost you more and your risk level is low. They don’t see it that way. Smokers as policy holders are a huge gamble for Life insurance. The worst outcome is they deny benefit.

hossman's avatar

An insurance company’s job is to collect premiums and deny claims. Let’s say you make a claim for lung cancer, and it is not clearly linked to any cause. A claims investigator doing some routing checking comes across that buddy of yours who mentions the once a year you go out drinking and you’ve had a cigarette. The insurance company then seeks to deny your claim, saying you are lying about the frequency of your smoking, or simply on the basis you made fraudulent misrepresentations in your application. Character is what you do when you won’t get caught or noone is watching. Whether you will get caught is not the appropriate consideration. The cost of telling the truth is not the appropriate consideration. You should be honest and tell the truth because that is simply the right thing to do. Anything else is lying, fraud and wrong. One of the reasons insurance companies are such bastards about claims is because so many people are lying to them and committing fraud. You should tell the truth and accept the consequences. Lying is lying is lying.

prince's avatar

@hossman: I think you miss the point. It is nearly impossible to get individual health insurance with any pre-existing conditions… and I say this as a 24 year-old male in excellent condition (no drinking, no smoking, exercising nearly 5 times a week) who was denied coverage because I had listed exercise-induced asthma as a child nearly ten years prior. I will give you 5 to 1 odds that if you truthfully represent any history of depression or substance abuse at any time in your life you will be denied coverage.

It’s true that there is insurance fraud, but the main reason insurance deny claims isn’t because of fraud, it’s because claims are expensive and denying them increases the bottom line. And until there is adequate health care reform in the US, people will be forced to represent themselves falsely and risk discovery in order to qualify for health care.

That said:
@kevbo: You say you’ve smoked a few times in your life? Your lungs are the same as any non-smoker. So, you can choose to misrepresent yourself and probably scoot by (though insurance companies are extremely diligent about denying claims), or you can risk being denied coverage.

Good luck.

prince's avatar

And, in reading your question, I realize that you’re talking about life insurance. Everything in my response is valid for health insurance…but not as much for life insurance.

hossman's avatar

Lying is still lying. Wrong is wrong. It also doesn’t change that if you some day have a claim, even for a completely unrelated condition, and they discovered you lied about the smoking, they will deny you and cancel your policy for fraud. And as a fat guy with diabetes, slightly high blood pressure and cholesterol, and family histories of cancer, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetes, you certainly aren’t going to surprise me about preexisting conditions. Lying is still wrong, period.

gailcalled's avatar

Who is the fat guy w. diabetes, raised bp and cholesterol, etc….Hossman or Kevbo?

And I wish that someone would tell MY insurance cos. to stop lying to me!

joli's avatar

He didn’t ask if it was ethical, he asked what were the chances of getting caught. Everyone has different circumstance and must make their own decision on what constitutes dishonesty. Insurance companies are the biggest greed ridden liars of all. Always read their fine print.

hossman's avatar

Yes, insurance companies can be dishonest and deceitful. And when you ask their lawyers about it, they will say the insurance companies say they have to be because their customers are always lying to to them. One lie does not deserve another.

gailcalled: I would never call anyone but myself a fat guy w/diabetes, etc. Kevbo actually looks pretty slim if his icon is a picture of him.

The likelihood of getting caught would depend on the size of his claim (which would affect how hard they investigate), and whether there are witnesses to his smoking. But the morality of lying is not dependent upon the probability of being caught. If I knew my wife would never find out about an affair, would that make it right?

gailcalled's avatar

@Hossman; congratulations on the most beautiful dangling participle of the day. Let me know where to send peach cobbler, should I return to baking, which doesn’t seem likely but I could mail my plastic pink flamingo if that would bring you joy.

hossman's avatar

Alas, flamingos have never brought me joy. Would that it were that easy. Peach cobbler, on the other hand, might make me follow you around like a big ‘ol hound dog. Have I left my participle dangling out? I’m half asleep and I can’t find it, could you point it out? Since I just found out today I am going to be teaching three sections of a college/high school dual credit writing workshop, I’ve got to start being more careful.

And something is wrong with my laptop’s keyboard, and I keep making stupid typos and not seeing them. It keeps hesitating and missing keystrokes.

gailcalled's avatar

@Hossman; on its way (participle, not flamingo), privately.

kevbo's avatar

I’m a big boy as well. My BMI isn’t near where it should be. Nice to know PhotoBooth takes off ten pounds.

I think I got the info I needed for this question. Thanks.

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