Obtaining life insurance as a smoker is possible, but it can take a little bit more time to understand your options because of the increased risks. By doing your research and comparing choices, you’ll be able to find the right life insurance plan for you and your loved ones. Read on to find out about how life insurance for smokers works.
Why is life insurance more expensive for smokers?
Life insurance rates tend to be higher for smokers because they are based on life expectancy, and smoking increases your risk of dying at a younger age compared to those who don’t. Because of this, smokers can pay almost four times more for life insurance.
Life insurance rates are based on how long you’re expected to live, so anything that has to do with your mortality rate will be accounted for in your quote.
What qualifies you as a smoker for life insurance?
Several forms of usage can qualify you as a smoker when it comes to life insurance, including:
- Chewing tobacco
- Nicotine replacement therapies like patches and gum
Some life insurance companies also consider you a smoker if you use marijuana frequently. On the other hand, if you only smoke cigars occasionally, you may be regarded as a nonsmoker and won’t experience increased rates.
If you were a nonsmoker when you applied for a life insurance policy and decided to start smoking afterward, your rates wouldn’t change. And if you purchased your life insurance policy with a smoker’s rate and quit smoking later, you can always contact your insurance agent to understand options that may lower your rates.
Many life insurance companies consider you a nonsmoker if you haven’t smoked in twelve months or more, but the rules are different for each company. If you’ve developed a health condition due to your smoking, your rates may increase. Ultimately, whether you’re considered a smoker may depend on the life insurance company you’re getting a quote from.
How do life insurance companies know you’re a smoker?
It’s crucial that you fill out your application for life insurance truthfully because there are ways that the insurance company can verify your health. The most common form of verification is a life insurance medical exam, including blood, saliva, or hair samples. These samples can reveal nicotine or cotinine in your system, and your application can be denied if the results from your medical exam reveal that you were a smoker when your application did not indicate it.
A few other ways that life insurance companies can find out if you’re an active smoker are by requesting your doctor’s records, pharmaceutical databases, previous life insurance, and other health records.
How to get life insurance without a medical exam
Some life insurance companies don’t require a medical exam and don’t ask any health-related questions. Their rates are simply based on your age, gender, and the amount of coverage you need. Two types of life insurance do not require a medical exam:
Simplified issue life insurance
This type of life insurance doesn’t involve a health exam, but you’re still required to fill out a health questionnaire when you apply for a new policy.
Guaranteed issue life insurance
There is no health exam or questionnaire required for guaranteed issue life insurance when applying. It is beneficial for those with age or health-related factors that may disqualify them from being approved for coverage.
Although no medical exam life insurance may sound like a good alternative, many life insurance companies have much higher rates and lower amounts of coverage. So, it may be smart to select a traditional life insurance policy, like term or whole life insurance, and pay the smoker’s rates.
Don’t settle for the first quote you stumble on, and don’t get discouraged. To find the best life insurance rates for smokers, you’ll have to shop around and get quotes to find out what policy fits your needs.