Many smokers may think that they aren’t eligible for a life insurance policy. The good news is that there are life insurance plans for smokers, but they may come at a higher price point. Whether you’re a casual social smoker, vape, smoke cigars, or smoke regularly, you may be wondering if you qualify as a smoker for life insurance.
Here’s what you need to know about how smokers are classified by life insurance companies and how to still get a great rate even if you smoke.
Who is considered a smoker by life insurance companies?
The categorization of a smoker may vary a bit between life insurance companies. But there are a few types of usage that many companies agree with to classify someone as a smoker, including:
• Chewing tobacco
• Vapes and e-cigarettes
• Nicotine patches or gum
• Marijuana (depending on the insurance company, occasional marijuana users may not be categorized as smokers)
Many rates are also based on how recently you’ve smoked. For example, after 12 months without smoking, some insurance companies may offer non-smoker rates. But others require you to be five years smoke-free before offering optimal rates.
How do life insurance companies know if you’re a smoker?
Life insurance companies typically ask a series of medical questions when you apply. One of those questions is tobacco use.
And it’s critical to be honest with your response, as a failure to be honest on your application can be considered insurance fraud but also because certain life insurance policies require an in-person medical exam. Those medical exams will uncover if you have nicotine in your bloodstream, allowing the insurer to rate coverage accordingly.
How to get good life insurance rates as a smoker
Here are tips to get the best rates on life insurance for smokers:
• Compare quotes from multiple companies. The cost of life insurance for smokers will vary between companies. That means you could save money simply by shopping around.
• Be honest on your life insurance application. The worst-case scenario for a smoker who lies on their life insurance application is that the death benefit won’t be paid out to support loved ones after you pass. And that could happen if you die from a smoking-related illness, as revealed by an autopsy. If you’re honest about smoking, you’ll have more peace of mind to ensure the policy’s death benefit will be paid out to loved ones.
• Focus on health besides smoking. If you’re a smoker, you may still qualify for a reasonable life insurance rate. But it’s critical to be sure your health is good in all other areas. For example, if you’re classified as being overweight, losing weight could put you in the normal weight range and qualify you for lower rates.
• Consider quitting to lock in better rates. While getting coverage with a life insurance policy right now is critical to protect your family, quitting smoking could lead to lower rates. If you’re enrolled in a smoking cessation program or plan to quit, talk to your life insurance company about how you can qualify for less expensive, non-smoker rates.
The bottom line
If you’ve smoked cigarettes or cigarette alternatives in the past 12 months, you may be classified as a smoker for life insurance purposes. You may still qualify for life insurance coverage but may face higher premiums.
But the cost of life insurance for smokers may be worth it to give you and your loved one’s peace of mind. Before committing to a policy, shop around for multiple quotes to ensure you’ll get the level of protection you need at the best price possible.