If you are a smoker, you already know it’s bad for your health. We are not here to belabor that point. We’re here to give you all the information you need to obtain smokers life insurance – affordably.
If you did a double-take: you didn’t read that wrong. The truth is affordable life insurance for smokers exists.
According to the Surgeon General, adults who smoke cigarettes are at an all-time low – roughly 14% of adults classify as smokers. In spite of this, over 16 million Americans suffer from a smoking-related disease.
Most blogs will scare you by telling you your premiums will be incredibly high as a smoker. This is true; your premiums will be higher than the premiums for nonsmokers! You can also expect the presence of any smoking-related-disease will place you in a higher risk class. However, it is possible to earn a decent rating as a smoker. The key is knowing where to look.
Let’s take a look at your risk as a smoker and how to find smokers life insurance that won’t break the bank.
Defining and Rating Smokers
Life insurance is based on life expectancy. This is why smokers and nonsmokers are not rated the same. Smoking lowers your life expectancy compared to the average person.
Defining as smoker is not strictly limited to cigarette use. Any sort of “nicotine delivery system” can label you a smoker, a nicotine user, or a tobacco user, including but not limited to:
- Chewing tobacco
- Other e-cigarettes
- Nicotine patches, gums, inhalers, or lozenges
- Snuff tobacco
- Marijuana products*
*Marijuana users are occasionally categorized as smokers, depending on how frequent the use.
If you smoke cigars regularly you will be classified as a smoker. One cigar or less per month may define you as an infrequent smoker – and you could earn a non-smoker rating.
Smoking Life Insurance Rates
If you are shopping for regular life insurance policies as a smoker, you can expect to pay nearly twice as much as non-smokers do for coverage. The risk will increase depending on your age, gender and the face value of your policy. Let’s take a look:
A 30-year old, standard-category male shopping for a 20-year term policy with a face value of $500,000 can expect to pay roughly $444.80 annually in premiums.
Now, if you take that same person and only change their status to smoker, the annual premiums could potentially increase to as much as $889.60 annually!*
*These quotes were obtained through averaging results in our instant quote form.
If that premium increase made your palms sweat, it’s okay! We can help.
Your Application Matters
The first step to getting affordable life insurance is to be incredibly honest on your application. Life insurance companies have multiple ways to verify your health and smoker status, so lying won’t get you anywhere.
Typical life insurance companies require that you undergo a full medical exam. This includes blood and urine tests. These tests reveal the presence of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, in your system.
Cotinine can also be found in hair and saliva samples. It is possible to pass a test without revealing cotinine in your system, but remember: if you list yourself as a non-smoker but you pass away with nicotine in your system, your beneficiaries will not receive your benefits.
ExamOne reports that roughly 23% of life insurance applicants fail to disclose their tobacco use on applications. This stat applies mostly to individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, and is based on the number of applicants who have had cotinine present in urine tests, but haven’t disclosed tobacco use. ExamOne performs the medical exams for life insurance companies.
Additionally you can expect that your carrier will request a copy of your medical records when underwriting your risk.
Any nicotine use – past or present – will appear on these records. Insurers will also take a look at your current and past prescriptions, where any nicotine use might show in the form of smoking cessation prescriptions.
You can also expect that your life insurance company will reference past applications, and if the answers don’t match up your application will be flagged as a risk.
It is important to be as honest as you can on your life insurance policy. Just because you are a smoker does not necessarily mean you are going to be stuck with premiums you can’t afford. You have options.
Choosing the Right Carrier
We want to bring you back to one of the most important aspects to looking for high risk smokers life insurance: each carrier views your risk differently.
This means that the definition of “smoker” can vary from company to company.
For example: Prudential Life Insurance is actually quite lenient if you are a cigar smoker. If you have not had a cigarette in a year, you will be rated as a non-smoker – and you can smoke a pipe or chew tobacco and still get this classification!
This is why using a life insurance agent is incredibly important – especially if you are high risk. An insider who knows which companies will look at your situation favorably is your best bet to getting affordable life insurance as a smoker. We can help! Give us a call today.