The purchase of life insurance may seem like a difficult task for those who are smokers. This is because the premium cost of coverage tends to be higher for those who smoke – in some cases, the price can be three or four times higher than for comparable coverage of a non-smoker, even if you are otherwise in excellent overall health.
But the truth is that those who are smokers can still find good deals on life insurance coverage – you just need to know where to shop. In doing so, it just takes a bit more “shopping around” in order to find affordable quotes on a life insurance policy that will be suitable for the protection that you need.
It is estimated that today, approximately 25% of adults in the United States are smokers. This means that life insurance carriers know there is a market for those who are in this category. Working with a company that knows which of the carriers to turn to can be helpful as you shop for your ideal policy. Knowing where to apply up front can end up saving you countless hours of time and frustration during the application process. It can also get you the coverage that you need and want much faster. Therefore, having an ally you can work with can certainly help.
How Smoking Can Affect the Amount You Pay for Life Insurance Protection
When determining the cost of life insurance coverage, the insurance carriers will typically take several factors into consideration. These will include the type and amount of life insurance that an individual is purchasing. They will also include the age, gender, and health condition of the applicant who is applying for the policy.
In addition, an insurance carrier will also consider any potential risk factors that an applicant may pose in terms of the possibility of the insurer having to pay out a claim. With regard to life insurance coverage, these risks will typically center around potential dangers such as occupation and / or hobbies, as well as health issues such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. The insurer will also consider smoking habits.
Smoking can, in fact, play a key role in the price that a person pays for their life insurance policy. This is because it can be a major risk factor as is can lead to many types of related health conditions – some of which are fatal – including lung and throat cancer.
Does Smoking Cigars or E-Cigarettes Count as Being a Smoker for Life Insurance Coverage?
In addition to smoking regular cigarettes, there are other methods of smoking that can also have an effect on your life insurance application, as well as on the premium rate that you pay for coverage.
For example, in many instances, the smoking of cigars can also be considered in the smoking risk category, which in turn, could result in the requirement of higher policy premiums. This is because there are many life insurance companies that will consider the smoking of cigars, as well as smoking a pipe – and even the chewing of tobacco – to be a factor that could potentially decrease an applicant’s life expectancy. This is the case, even if the individual is otherwise in good health.
Although cigar and cigarette smoking are considered by many people to be two entirely different things, there are certain types of cigars that contain the same amount of tobacco as several cigarettes. There are even some instances of cigars that contain the equivalent amount of tobacco as an entire package of cigarettes. Therefore, life insurance companies will tend to rate this type of smoking with higher premium rates.
Today, given the many harmful effects of smoking to one’s health, there are a number of people who have tried to “kick the habit.” One route that numerous individuals have gone in their quest to do so is the use of the E-cigarette, or “e-cigs.” When using an e-cigarette, an individual will inhale a vapor, so there is no burning or smoke that will take place. However, the user will oftentimes still be ingesting nicotine – just in a liquid form.
As e-cigarettes are still relatively new on the market, there is not a great deal known regarding their long-term health issues – and because of this, life insurance companies have little to go on regarding how these devices can impact an individual’s overall health and / or life expectancy. Therefore, many insurers are issuing policyholders who use e-cigs with smoker’s premium rates.
In some instances, it could be possible to obtain a non-smoker Standard Plus rate. However, in order to obtain this rating, a person will usually need to be free of using cigarettes for at least one full year.
The smoking of other substances, such as marijuana, may also have an effect, on a person’s premium rate for life insurance coverage. In this case, for example, even though the use of marijuana won’t be considered to be the same as using other drugs like cocaine, the applicant will typically be classified similar to that of a cigarette smoker regarding premium rates.
Therefore, if an individual smokes marijuana on a daily basis, then he or she may be rated as a Substandard B, whereas if they only smoke it on occasion, they may be able to obtain a Standard policy rate.
What the Life Insurance Underwriters Will Want to Know
When applying for life insurance coverage, the underwriters will want to know as much as possible about your overall health condition. In obtaining this information, you will be required to complete the application for coverage. On this application, the company will ask for details regarding your age, gender, height and weight, occupation and income, health history, family health history, hobbies, foreign travel frequency, medications taken, and smoking status.
In addition, it is likely that you will also be asked to undergo a medical examination. Here, you will meet with a paramedical professional at either your home or another convenient location. This exam will only take approximately 30 minutes. The paramedical professional will take a blood pressure and heart rate reading. They will also obtain from you a blood and a urine sample.
These samples will be tested for certain types of risk factors by the life insurance company. It is here that the samples will typically also show that you are a smoker if this is, in fact, the case. This is because most life insurance medical exams can assess, and in turn, confirm the levels of cotinine – a byproduct of nicotine – that are in a person’s body. In doing so, the insurer will be able to determine whether or not you will be considered as a smoker by the company’s underwriting standards and criteria.
Once all of your information has been received by the life insurer’s underwriters, a determination can be made regarding your policy – and regarding your policy’s premium classification. In most cases, life insurance companies will have the following categories in which they will place their policyholders:
- Preferred – If a person is in excellent health – even above the health of the average policyholder – they may be considered a Preferred. These policyholders will typically be charged a lower amount of premium than the average, or Standard, policyholders.
- Standard – If your health is considered to be average, then you will likely be placed into the Standard policy class. Here, your premium rate will typically be that of the average policyholder.
- Substandard – A Substandard policyholder will typically have health that is considered to be somewhat below average as compared to other average policyholders. As such, their premium rate will be higher. Here is where many smokers are placed.
How to Reduce Your Life Insurance Premiums If You Are a Smoker
Regardless of what type of smoker an applicant or policyholder may be, there is good news in that there are ways that you could reduce your premium. For example, if a person quits smoking, it can lead to other positive health factors, such as a lowering of his or her blood pressure, as well as an increase in energy.
In addition, there are other positive steps that can also be taken to help in reducing the premium, too. For instance, beginning – and maintaining – a regular exercise program can also help in moving one into a more positive state of health, which can, in turn, increase life expectancy. Likewise, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are also other factors that can move one in the right direction in terms of a more positive quality of life.
It is important to note that once a person does quit smoking, they will oftentimes have to be a non-smoker for at least one year – or in some cases, longer – before the life insurance company will consider reducing their rates. This is because the insurer wants to be sure that the individual will maintain his or her non-smoking status. It can also take some time for the nicotine and other negative attributes of smoking to exit one’s body.
Where to Get the Best Premium Quotes on Life Insurance for Smokers
When seeking life insurance for smokers, it is typically best to work with a company or an agency that has access to more than just one life insurance carrier. This is so that you will be able to more directly compare numerous options – and premium quotes – that are available to you. While you could go from one individual insurer to another in order to obtain this information, this can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating. It can often only take minutes to compare and contrast your options with a company that works with multiple insurers.
What many consumers will often not realize is that, even though most insurance carriers will have some type of criteria in place for categorizing their applicants for coverage, this system is not identical across the board for all companies. What this means is that an applicant may apply for coverage at one insurer and be accepted as a substandard policyholder based on their criteria. However, the very same applicant may apply for coverage at another life insurance company and be accepted as a Standard policyholder – with a much lower premium rate. Therefore, it certainly pays to shop around prior to making your final determination regarding which insurance policy and carrier will be the best option for you and your specific coverage needs.
When you are ready to begin seeking your life insurance policy, we can help you. We work with many of the top life insurers in the marketplace, and we can assist you with obtaining all of the important details that you require for making a well-informed purchasing decision. We can do so for you quickly and easily – without the need to meet in person with an insurance agent. If you are ready to move forward, fill out the form on this page.
Should you find that you have any additional questions along the way regarding life insurance for smokers – or, even if you just happen to have any questions regarding life insurance in general – we can provide you with answers. Our experts can help you with finding the information you need regarding what type of coverage may work best for you, the amount of coverage that you may need for your survivors, and/or which of the many carriers in the marketplace will work the best for you. We can be reached directly via phone, toll-free, by dialing 888-402-8582.
We understand that the purchase of life insurance can be a big decision. This is especially the case if you’ve had trouble finding suitable coverage in the past. But the good news is that you now have an ally on your side who can point you in the right direction to finding the coverage and the carrier that is right for you. So, contact us today – we’re here to help.