Life Insurance For Smokers

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

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.

Insider Tips for Smokers

Quitting smoking is the surest way to lower your life insurance premiums. This section gives you some additional insider tips to help get affordable coverage based on what we have seen in our decade-plus in the insurance industry.

  • Cigarettes:
    • Current smokers can get non-smoker rates when applying for insurance.
    • They have 3 years after the policy is issued to quit smoking.
    • If they quit within 3 years, they can show test results (at their own cost) proving no nicotine in their system.
    • If successful, the insurance company will continue the non-smoker rates.
    • If they don’t quit in 3 years, the rates will increase to smoker rates.
  • Chewing Tobacco and Cigars:
    • Most insurance companies offer tobacco rates for chewing tobacco and cigar users.
    • Some companies offer non-smoker rates for unlimited use of cigars and chewing tobacco as long as it’s disclosed in the application. If you are a user of these products, it is highly recommended you contact a licensed agent, like The Annuity Expert, to take advantage of these potential savings.
  • Vape:
    • Some insurance companies offer non-smoker rates for vaping.
    • Generally, most companies charge smoker rates for vaping.

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.

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 Smokers

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.

How To Get 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.

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.

Life Insurance For Smokers Quotes

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

Life Insurance Inquiry

Questions From Our Readers

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, you can obtain life insurance even if you’re a smoker, though it’s usually at a higher cost. However, there are some opportunities to secure non-smoker rates.

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

The standard requirement is 12 months without any tobacco use.

Is vaping considered smoking?

In most instances, yes, vaping is categorized as smoking. However, there are select providers that offer non-smoker rates for vapers.

How do insurance companies know if you’re a smoker?

Insurance companies inquire about your smoking habits in the application, and you’re obligated to respond truthfully. Additionally, some companies may request a urine sample or access your medical records to verify tobacco use.

What’s the most affordable life insurance for a smoker?

Typically, the most cost-effective option is finding a company that offers non-smoker rates for tobacco users. If that’s not feasible, a term policy with smoker rates is usually the least expensive coverage option.

What qualifies someone as a smoker?

The use of any product containing tobacco qualifies one as a smoker. Some insurance providers may even classify marijuana usage as smoking.

Which term insurance is best for smokers?

Shorter term periods are usually the most affordable, especially if you can’t find a policy that offers non-smoker rates for smokers.

Can insurance companies deny coverage for smokers?

Insurance companies won’t deny coverage solely based on tobacco use. However, if there are additional health concerns, such as diabetes or heart disease, tobacco use may be considered as it can exacerbate these conditions.

How much does a million-dollar insurance policy cost for a smoker?

For a healthy 50-year-old male, a 20-year term policy with Preferred Tobacco rates is approximately $556 per month.

Is it possible to get non-smoker rates on life insurance if you chew tobacco?

Yes, in some cases. A few life insurance companies might offer you non-smoker rates if you’re willing to quit chewing tobacco within a few years after buying the policy. To confirm you’ve quit tobacco, you’ll need to take a second medical exam. Keep in mind that policies and their requirements can vary between companies.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, 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

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