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Smokers And Life Insurance, What You Know Can Save You Dough!

May 17, 2008
Most tobacco users are the first to put off purchasing life insurance because they anticipate the rates being out of reach. Insurance companies do consider a smoker to be a higher risk to cancer, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, missed work and death and will rate the insured at standard the majority of the time. Approximately 90% of the carriers we reviewed required 3 to 5 years smoke free to qualify for the best rates of preferred and preferred plus rates.

One interesting fact is that some Insurance carriers distinguish between cigarette smokers and those you use tobacco products such as pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, nicorette gum and nicorette patches as many of these users can still qualify for non tobacco rates with a few select carriers if otherwise medically qualified. Typically an occasional celebratory cigar user 1-2 per month can still qualify for preferred rates. Tobacco usage has always been a risk factor in the underwriting of life insurance. However, based on current information, the true occasional cigar smoker has shown little if any true excess mortality.

Are You Blowing Smoke?

Usually, when you are applying for life insurance, the agent or application will inquire about your smoking habits, and ask you if you are or have smoked in the previous 12-72 months. Typically you will be asked if you've used tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, dip, snuff and chewing tobacco during this time period. If you enjoy a good cigar from time to time or smoke just two cigarettes year, you are a smoker by insurance standards, even though the nicotine traces won't show up in your required urine test. How should the occasional smoker answer that question? You should probably let your conscience be your guide. The application you sign becomes part of your policy which is a legal contract between you and the insurance company.

How Do I Determine If I am Qualified for Non Smoker Rates?

Most companies will require you to test negative for nicotine in order to qualify for non-smoker rates. While at others, testing positive for nicotine is acceptable. If you are a smoker and are concerned about paying high premiums for your life insurance, you need to do a bit of comparison-shopping in order to get the best price for your life insurance policy. Many agencies now provide these tools to compare rates online, where hundreds of insurance companies will provide free life insurance quotes for smokers. You should request quotes from a number of companies, then compare what each has to offer. When you are comparing each company's quote, there are three things to be aware of: rates, product features and the insurance industry rating. The rate is self-explanatory and the product features refers to the policy itself. The insurance industry rating refers to the insurance company providing the life insurance quote, and a review of companies can be found by visiting the AM Best website. Also, there are insurance companies who specifically cater to high-risk individuals. One of these insurance companies may be able to secure a lower rate for you in your insurance policy
We looked at both nonsmoker and smoker rates from an online insurance quoting service for a 20-year term insurance policy of $150,000 for a 44-year-old male in Florida. A preferred-plus person (a healthy nonsmoker of 5 years or more) would pay $22 to $44 a month, while a standard smoker whom has smoked within the last 12 months (who is healthy, despite the smoking) is charged between $79.00 and $244.

As you can see it can be imperative to do some shopping online with an insurance quote engine. If you are uncertain you should contact a knowledgeable agent to insure proper coverage for your budget. Additionally for those who seek to go it alone, there is the Instant Non Medical protection available that allows you to quote, apply and or pay online for immediate coverage. Even healthy tobacco users can benefit from such an option since under most circumstances they could be charged more for fully underwritten products.
About the Author
Christopher Beard is a virtual agent who uses automation to simplify the consumer buying experience. He is the president of Trinity 1 Financial Group and works with clients planning mortgages, insurance and annuity wealth building strategies. Visit his site at for a free instant term life quote:
www.trinity1financialgroup.com or obtain a life quote at
www.golifequote.com
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