Life Insurance For Smokers

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Securing life insurance as a smoker isn’t always straightforward. It’s well-known that smoking is seen as a health risk by insurers, which impacts the cost of your premiums. But here’s the deal: securing favorable life insurance as a smoker is not only possible, but, with the right advice, it’s a walk in the park. Some insurers even present opportunities to participate in a quit-smoking initiative, rewarding you with non-smoker rates for up to three years while you quit.

Here, we’ll answer crucial questions upfront:

  • Do insurers treat all smokers the same?
  • How exactly does smoking influence your rates?
  • What’s the real comparison between smoker and non-smoker insurance rates?
  • What are my strategies for finding affordable life insurance?

Myth: All smokers are alike to insurers

One of the first steps towards understanding life insurance for smokers is debunking the myths that cloud the landscape. Are all smokers treated the same? This is a common misconception. The reality is that life insurance companies differentiate between occasional smokers, heavy smokers, and even ex-smokers.

Example: John, a casual smoker who enjoys a cigar on special occasions, will likely have a different premium from James, a pack-a-day cigarette smoker.

Life Insurance For Smokers

How Being a Smoker Influences Life Insurance Rates

In the world of life insurance, smoking comes with a penalty. The smoker’s penalty, or smoker’s rate, is a higher premium charged due to the increased health risks associated with smoking. This doesn’t mean that life insurance for a smoker is unaffordable. Instead, it points to the need to select a policy and insurer carefully.

Differentiating between tobacco products

Tobacco use isn’t just about cigarettes. The type of tobacco product used can influence life insurance rates, from cigars and pipes to chewing tobacco and vaping.

Example: Sarah, who uses chewing tobacco, might find herself at different rates than Mike, a dedicated vaper. Clarifying your tobacco usage with your prospective insurer to get the most accurate quotes is essential.

Life Insurance for Female Smokers

People who smoke may have to pay more for life insurance. The price also depends on other things, like your gender, age, and health. Look at the table below to see how much female premiums can cost and the cheapest life insurance for female smokers.

Company/CostPreferred Smoker RateStandard Smoker Rate
Banner Life$124.94$169.14
Pacific Life$137.75$193.37
Lincoln Financial$148.78$200.38
Sample monthly rates for a 20-year term life policy with $1,000,000 coverage for a 35-year-old female smoker.

Life Insurance for Male Smokers

The price of a life insurance policy for men is usually higher than the price of a policy for women. The same things that affect the price of a policy for women also affect the price for men. You can see how different prices are for smokers in the table below.

Company/CostPreferred Smoker RateStandard Smoker Rate
Banner Life$161.49$220.14
Pacific Life$172.55$229.65
Lincoln Financial$185.76$251.98
Sample monthly rates for a 20-year term life policy with $1,000,000 coverage for a 35-year-old male smoker.

Strategies for Getting Affordable Life Insurance as a Smoker

Being a smoker doesn’t condemn you to exorbitantly high life insurance rates. There are strategies you can adopt to make life insurance more affordable.

Shopping Around

Different life insurance companies have different criteria for classifying and charging smokers. The key here is not to settle for the first quote you get. Shop around and compare policies and premiums.

Consider Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance may be a more affordable option for smokers. While it doesn’t offer the lifelong coverage of a whole life policy, it does protect for a specified period – usually 10, 20, or 30 years – and at a lower cost.

The Path to Lower Premiums: Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is the surest way to lower your life insurance premiums. This section explores the journey to becoming a non-smoker in the eyes of insurers, which can take longer than you might think.

The Waiting Game

Typically, it would be best to be smoke-free for at least a year to qualify for non-smoker rates. However, some insurers may require a more extended period.

The Value of Honesty

Honesty is the best policy when applying for life insurance. Lying about your smoking habit could lead to policy cancellation or denial of a death claim, leaving your beneficiaries without the protection they need.

Life Insurance And Smokers

Next Steps

Life insurance for smokers may come with challenges, but it is not impossible. Understanding the landscape, debunking the myths, and employing intelligent strategies can lead you to a policy that offers protection and affordability. Remember, the journey to securing life insurance as a smoker is a well-traveled path, and you are not alone. With this guide in hand, you are well-equipped to make informed decisions and secure the financial future of your loved ones.

Need Help Getting Life Insurance Coverage?

Contact us if you need help purchasing a life insurance policy. The service is free of charge.

Life Insurance Inquiry

Frequently Asked Questions

Who offers the best life insurance for smokers?

Because of their higher maximum coverage levels, affordable rates, and financial solid rating A.M. Best, Banner Life, AIG, and Securian offer the best life insurance for smokers.

Can I get life insurance if I’m a smoker?

Yes, getting life insurance as a smoker is possible, but the premiums will likely be higher due to the increased health risks associated with smoking.

How long after quitting smoking are you considered a non-smoker for life insurance?

The period varies among insurance providers, but generally, you may be considered a non-smoker for life insurance purposes after being smoke-free for 12 months or more.

Is vaping considered smoking for life insurance?

Vaping is usually considered smoking for life insurance purposes due to the potential health risks involved. Insurance providers typically categorize vaping as a form of tobacco use.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

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

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