Its widely known that smoking is bad for your health — and your wallet. The government puts heavy taxes on cartons of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco in order to discourage people from partaking in the potentially lethal habit.
Smoking is linked to a number of health problems and shorter lifespan, so it should come as no surprise that insurance rates are higher for smokers than for non-smokers.
Insurance companies take a bigger risk in insuring smokers since they are more likely to make a premature claim on their policy for critical illness and even early death.
Generally smokers pay two to three times more for life insurance than a non-smoker, so the best way to reduce the price of your premium is to kick the habit.
How do I know if Im considered a smoker?
If youve smoked within the last 12 months, whether you smoke once a month or a pack a day, you are considered a smoker.
According to experts, occasional smokers are likely to become regular smokers who use tobacco consistently.
Many insurance companies require medical exams or perform background checks on your medical history in order to weed out cheaters. A simple urine test can determine if you have nicotine in your body, so even people who use electronic cigarettes or nicotine patches may be asked to pay higher premiums.
That being said, some insurance companies will look at your individual case to determine if you qualify for a preferred smoker rate depending on your tobacco use and medical history.
What happens if I lie on my application?
Lying to your life insurance provider is considered insurance fraud and can lead to serious consequences. If you lie on your application and then get sick or die from smoking-related complications, your coverage could be revoked and you and your family could be denied payment of benefits.
If I quit smoking, will my premiums go down?
Generally, life insurance companies will review your policy once youve been smoke-free for 12-18 months. The requirements for providing proof vary between providers and may include a simple check of your medical profile, urine and blood tests, or even a chest x-ray.
You will pay for being a smoker, and in more ways than one, but there are options for finding and/or qualifying for more affordable life insurance premiums.
There are several term life insurance companies that now offer non-smoker rates and other exceptions for those who meet their underwriting guidelines.
The easiest way to determine the life insurance company with the best rates for you is to contact an agency like SelectQuote. We have experienced, impartial agents that represent a number of highly rated life insurance companies that specialize in different risks.