How Long Must I Quit Smoking To Get Term Life Insurance?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

When considering purchasing term life insurance as a former smoker, understanding the timeline for qualifying as a non-smoker is important. Here’s what you need to know:

Standard Quitting Period: 1 Year

  • Industry Norm: Generally, in the insurance market, you must have quit smoking for at least one year to be eligible for non-smoker rates.
  • Verification: Insurers usually require some form of verification, such as a medical exam or a declaration of your non-smoking status.

Tobacco User Products with Non-Smoker Rates

  • Prudential and Lincoln: These companies offer specialized products that may allow tobacco users (such as those who chew or dip tobacco or smoke cigars) to receive non-smoker rates.
  • Specific Criteria: Each insurer has its criteria for what constitutes a ‘tobacco user’ versus a ‘smoker’, and it’s essential to understand these distinctions when applying.

John Hancock’s Unique Approach

  • Initial Non-Smoker Rates for Smokers: John Hancock offers an interesting option where current cigarette smokers can initially receive non-smoker rates.
  • Three-Year Review: After three years, if the individual has not quit smoking, the rates are adjusted to smoker rates based on their age at that time.
  • Incentive to Quit: This approach incentivizes smokers to quit within three years to maintain lower premiums.

Importance of Quitting Smoking

  • Health and Financial Benefits: Quitting smoking not only improves your health but can also significantly reduce life insurance premiums.
  • Underwriting Considerations: Insurers view non-smokers as lower risk, which is reflected in lower insurance rates.


To qualify for non-smoker rates in term life insurance, the standard requirement is to have quit smoking for at least one year. However, some insurance companies offer specialized terms for different types of tobacco users. It’s essential to review the policies of different insurers, as they have varying guidelines and products tailored to smokers and tobacco users.

Contact us today

Request A Quote

Get help or a quote from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

Contact Us

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

Scroll to Top