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There is a common belief with people who smoke that they are not able to buy life insurance or that any coverage which they are able to get will be too expensive. However life insurance for smokers doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive, but a smoker will pay more for term life insurance,which can be about four times more than a non-smoker.
When you are looking for life insurance for smokers then you will need to find the right company, the right coverage, and the best quotes.
With some effort you will be able to find life insurance policies for smokers that are reasonably priced. As a smoker you will then need to shop around, do your research, and compare life insurance quotes so that you are able to find an affordable policy.
On average, about 25% of Americans smoke. This means that you will fall into a major market for life insurance companies.
Dangers of Smoking
Smoking has many negative health effects and it is able to lead to lung cancer as well as stomach, mouth, and liver cancer. Smoking also has an ill effect on your lungs and can lead to severe conditions like bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking can also damage your heart, which is why smokers are more likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke and a heart attack.
Life Insurance for Smokers – Underwriting
The underwriting criteria and the premiums will vary for every customer. Whether they smoke or not, the criteria will depend on the life insurance company.
There are very specific guidelines that insurers use in order to classify smokers. The questions that they ask may even seem to not make sense. For instance, one such question that you might be asked is ‘have you used a tobacco product in the last 12 months?’ If you’re a smoker, the answer you give is probably a resounding “yes.”
You can be defined as a smoker as you use tobacco cigarettes or cigars. But life insurance for smokers can also include those that chew tobacco or dip, which actually is not smoking. You can even be classified as a smoker if you use smoking stopping aids like nicotine gum, a nicotine patch, or electronic cigarettes, otherwise known as e-cigs.
Essentially, what insurance companies are looking for, is any regular or habitual use of nicotine. You will find some life insurance for smokers companies that do differentiate between moderate and heavy nicotine users and will give a lower rate for smokers that are only occasional.
Medical Examinations for Life Insurance Policies
If you lie about anything in your life insurance application including if you smoke or not it can be considered as insurance fraud.
When you apply for life insurance you will have to go undergo a thorough health exam that will take measure of your height, your weight, your medical history, blood pressure, diseases, pre-existing conditions, and genetic pre-dispositions to certain health conditions.
Many of the medical exams for life insurance will also give tests that will assess and confirm the levels of cotinine levels in the blood. Cotinine is a byproduct of nicotine. The results of these medical exams will show if you are to be considered as a smoker or not by the underwriting standards of the company.
Once you have completed your medical exam, you will then be classified into a risk category by the insurer. The risk categories are:
- Preferred Plus
- Standard and
- Standard Plus
However, your smoking habit will not decide on the category that you are given. You could be a young smoker that is in good health and carry little risk to the life insurance company. In the case that you’re classified as a low-risk insurance individual, you could then be classified as preferred or preferred plus, but keep in mind that you will be charged a higher premium because of your smoking habits.
The Consequences of Life Insurance for Smokers Fraud
Even if you manage to successfully lie on your policy application, pass the medical examination, and get term life coverage at non-smoker rates, your provider could still retain your claim and not pay it out based on your initial intentions. Upon your death, the life insurance company will first verify your personal and health details. They will also review your medical records and look at the circumstances surrounding your death.
If your insurer then learns that you were a smoker, and knowingly applied and received your policy fraudulently, then the life insurance claim by your loved ones will be declined. Your family will get nothing but a refund of the premiums that you thus far paid.
Also, you won’t be able to fool one company into believing that you are a non-smoker after you have applied for life insurance elsewhere. The companies will have access to medical records and the results of your previous medical exams are held by the MIB Group database for a standard holding period 7 years.
How to Quit Smoking for Cheaper Rates
If you make the decision to quit smoking then you will be rewarded. If you quit smoking at some point then you can be reclassified as a non-smoker and your premiums will then be adjusted to a lower rate.
Quitting smoking only to get cheaper rates on your life insurance for smokers shouldn’t be the only reason you to follow through. You should look for other motivation such as family and friends, your children, your own health, or to help the environment. Find your motivation and begin the quitting process today.
The time that you will need to stay smoke free so that you can be reclassified as a non-smoker will differ between each company. However, most insurers will need you to be smoke free for at least a year before you are able to reapply. There are others that use a graduated scale. This is where the rates will get cheaper the longer you are smoke free. It’s worth inquiring about this exact stipulation with the final insurance company that you end up choosing to get insured with.
Tips for Life Insurance for Smokers
- You should buy life insurance when you are young. The premiums for term life insurance will increase with age, especially if you develop a health condition later in life. Coverage is then cheaper for young adults, which is when you are in your 20s or 30s. You will still be able to find life insurance that is more affordable as a much younger smoker.
- You will also need to get the right amount of coverage. Knowing how much coverage to get can mean the difference between over or under insuring your family. If you buy too much then you could be just wasting money, whereas not enough could leave your family with financial hardships.
- The lowest rates that are offered with life insurance are known as preferred or select rates, which usually only go to the healthiest of applicants. When risk and premiums are calculated, insurers will also look at lifestyle, behavior, and financial responsibility. Companies calculate their premiums differently. Again, it is advised that you search for numerous plans for life insurance for smoker.
- If you’d like the lowest rates, you shouldn’t go with an insurance company that puts all smokers together in one group of higher premiums, especially if you only have a cigar now and then. You need to find a company that will assess your smoking accurately and has an eye for health. There are some companies that will charge moderate smokers less money. It is not impossible to find term life insurance for smokers at an affordable rate, but it will take some effort, time, and research on your part. As with most types of insurances you will need to shop around. You will need to gather quotes from various insurance companies so that you can see which one will offer you the coverage that you require and also a premium that won’t blow your budget
- If you are quoted a premium that is too high then don’t be afraid to walk away, as there are plenty of other insurance companies that you can go to for life insurance for smokers.
- One of the best ways for you to get life insurance quotes that are competitive is to use a system online that will source various quotes for you. Here you will be able to make a comparison between the coverages that you have been offered and also the premium.
Remember that you need to get the right amount of coverage. If you get too little then your family could pay the consequence when you pass away, but on the other hand if you get too much you will be paying for a product that you don’t fully need.
Life insurance for smokers does carry higher premiums and you can lower these through negotiation or by kicking the habit altogether. You will need to prove to your insurer that you have quit smoking and you may have to go through another medical exam to confirm the tobacco quantity in your body.
As a smoker you should be upfront with your insurance company. There is no point in lying about if you smoke as they will at some point find out and it could lead to some serious consequences in the future especially for your family that may not receive anything after you are gone.