Life Insurance for Smokers

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UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jun 29, 2022Fact Checked

The affect of smoking has been well documented, and no one knows that more than life insurance companies. Statistics showing the number of cancer related deaths attributed to this habit are used in every company’s life insurance underwriting process. In addition to cancer, a smoker is at a greater risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. These facts and others have caused life insurance for smokers to cost almost twice as much as a non-smoker who are similarly situated. The good news is if you are a smoker, you still can get life insurance that is reliable if you take the time to shop.

Life Insurance and Smokers

Insurance companies screen for smokers on life insurance applications by asking, “Have you used any tobacco products in the last 12 months”. This would include, chewing tobacco, cigarettes and even an occasional celebratory cigar. If you answer yes to the question, you will be pay higher premiums than a non smoker.

TIP: The question is meant to include ANY use of ANY tobacco product. If you think that the occasional dip when you are drinking, or a cigar while golfing with friends, or the trendy late night hookah stops do not count, then you are wrong and your policy can be void if you die during the contestability period.

This question always makes a person think about simply lying on the application, but chances are good you will get caught. Most life insurance companies medically screen for smoking. In most cases, you will have to submit to a physical to get life insurance. This may include a swab of your cheek or blood test. Tobacco residues can be found in your blood or saliva long after you quit. Even if you managed to get through the blood test, you have to remain a non-smoker to keep the non-smoker rates. If the insurance company can establish that you were a smoker, it may be able to avoid paying a claim on your life insurance policy.

Many states have statutes requiring that life insurance policies contain an incontestable clause, which after a time (typically two years), restricts the reasons for which an insurer may cancel your policy or refuse to pay a claim.] This may offer you some protection after that time elapses, but before then, the insurer can still reject a claim for misstatements on the application. Some states also permit insurers to claim fraud even after the contestability period has elapsed, and a company may do that regardless of whether or not there was a fraud. If you are a beneficiary who feels like the insurance company is wrongfully denying the claim by alleging the insured party committed fraud, speak with a local attorney before taking action. Attorneys offer free consultations and charge a contingency fee only if you get money from your legal action, so do not be afraid to speak with one if you have a case.

Best Rates for Life Insurance for Smokers

All is not lost for smokers who are looking for an affordable life insurance plan. There are things that you can do.

  • For one, you can quit. Although easier said than done for most, quitting can cause your rates to come down. If you do quit however, your rates won’t drop immediately. They’ll likely improve after a year, but depending on the company you choose, the best rates may not be available for up to five years after you quit.
  • Buy the right type of life insurance for your budget. A term life insurance plan can be very affordable. If you purchase a short term, you can even take that time to quit smoking and get a better rate the next time you need life insurance.
  • The most important thing to do is to shop around. Affordable, competitive rates exist now for smoker’s term life insurance. Different companies underwrite differently and therefore rates will vary. Make sure after you have chosen a life insurance company, you do your homework!

Of course, the health alternative for anyone is not to smoke. However, if you find yourself still nursing this habit, life insurance for smokers is available at a competitive rate. To obtain the best smokers life insurance quote, click here and use the Free Advice quote center today.

Read more articles to help you understand life insurance by clicking here.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

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