Smokers Life Insurance

What Life Insurance Options Do Smokers Have?

If you’re a smoker, whether you smoke frequently or only once in a while, there are some things you should be aware of when it comes to life insurance coverage. The first thing is that it can be difficult to find life insurance for smokers, but it's not impossible. The information you find here will help you in your quest for the best insurance for your needs.

Smoker Facts and Statistics

  • In 2009, it was estimated that over 20% of adults identified themselves as smokers
  • In general, males are more likely to be smokers than females; over 23% of males and fewer than 18% of females identified themselves as smokers in 2009
  • Non-Hispanic whites were the number 1 smoking group in 2009 at 22.2%; the lowest rates were among Hispanics and Asians that same year

Overview Info on Life Insurance For Smokers

Life insurance companies ask very specific questions when determining whether you will be risky to insure. Due to health concerns related to tobacco use, and smoking in particular, insurance companies view smokers as risky candidates to insure.

From an insurance perspective, smoking is not just limited to cigarettes, but also includes the use of cigars and chewable tobacco products. Use of other nicotine products such as a nicotine patch or gum can also qualify you as a smoker, although this determination can vary among insurance companies.

If the life insurance company does place you in the smoking category, you will pay higher life insurance premiums than a non-smoker.

How Much Does Life Insurance for Smokers Cost?

The cost of life insurance for smokers may vary according to your age and gender and from one insurance company to another. The rates that a smoker pays can be two to four times the cost of what a non-smoker might pay for the same coverage. By shopping around and comparing rates, you can potentially save as much as 20% on your life insurance policy.

Most life insurance will consider you a smoker even if you are a “light smoker” due to the inherent health risks and threat of premature death. However, if you are a light smoker and are healthy, then you will most likely get a higher insurance rating than a heavy smoker or one who is not in the best of health. A better rate will entitle you to a lower premium, but regardless of how you are rated, you will most likely pay more for your policy than a non-smoker.

A few life insurance companies may give “preferred non-smoker” rates if you smoke infrequently, but their decision will largely depend on the results of the medical exam and whether your blood test reveals the presence of nicotine.

Is Life Insurance For Cigar Smokers Expensive?

Many life insurance companies consider anyone who smokes cigars as a smoker. However, there are also many insurers who are much more apt to insure someone who only has the occasional celebratory cigar. These companies may offer preferred rates and even non-smoker rates if they consider you an “occasional smoker.”

Keep in mind, as you’re looking for life insurance for cigar smokers, the number of occasional cigars allowed before a premium hike can vary.

If you smoke anywhere from one to 12 cigars per year, you could be on the cusp of higher risk, as each company has its own definition of an occasional cigar smoker.

Can I Get Better Life Insurance Rates if I Quit Smoking?

In the majority of situations, you will have to have quit smoking for anywhere from one to three years before your rates will decrease. In most instances, you will have to inform the company that you’ve quit to get your rates adjusted, which means they will have to underwrite you again following another physical exam.

Should You Tell Your Life Insurer You Are a Smoker?

It is crucial to be truthful when you apply for life insurance. This is because there is a two-year contestability period during which a life insurance company can cancel your policy, increase your rates, or deny a claim if you are found to have falsified information.

When you apply for a life insurance policy, you will typically be required to complete a questionnaire and take a physical exam which may include a blood test for the presence of nicotine. The likelihood that your insurer will find out about your tobacco use is high, regardless of whether you are forthcoming about it or not.

How to Compare Quotes for Life Insurance for Smokers

When you're looking at life insurance options, make sure you're making an "apples-to-apples" comparison. It's important to understand that each policy will be underwritten differently, and that it's a good idea to request a few quotes before you buy. Cheaper doesn't always mean better - especially when it comes to life insurance. Here are a few specifics to look at:

  • Exclusions: what actions would cause you to lose your coverage?
  • Amount of coverage: will the policy cover your family, protect your assets, and give you the flexibility you require?
  • Length of time: how long does the policy stay in force? Do you want to pay more for coverage that lasts longer?
  • Reputation: Is your insurer reputable? Do they have good consumer reviews and a high rating from a qualified agency?

When you weigh all of these things, the best option may become a lot clearer. A little investment in time and research will help you find the right policy for your needs.

Now, who's ready to get their insurance problems solved?