Smoker Life Insurance Rates

When you apply for life insurance, companies will place you in a risk category which will determine how much you pay for your premium. Each company has its own risk formulary. However, all companies risk categories are determined by your overall health and lifestyle, including whether or not you smoke. There are companies which specialize in offering life insurance for high risk applicants including smokers. You can find these companies on the web or by working with an independent insurance broker who represents multiple insurers.

Are you considered a smoker?

If you smoke several cigarettes a day or half a pack, you are considered a smoker for purposes of life insurance. The insurance companies see the health risks as basically the same for occasional as for heavy smokers – and therefore the rates are often the same. However, cigar smokers who light up 3 or 4 times a year might be classified by some companies as non-smokers.

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The life insurance application questions about smoking and tobacco use are very specific. A typical application question is , "Have you used a tobacco product in the last twelve months?" If you answer yes to this question, you will be asked to explain whether you use cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco or other nicotine products and how often you use the tobacco product.

It Is Critical to Tell the Truth on Your Life Insurance Application

During the life insurance application and underwriting process, you may be required to get a medical examination which may include blood and urine tests. Insurance companies will expect a negative reading for nicotine if you are applying as a nonsmoker.

Your body generally rids itself of nicotine within 72 hours. So, if the blood test and urine sample are given 72 hours after you last smoked, the nicotine level while very low but will still be positive. If you've submitted your application as a non-smoker and have any type of positive result for nicotine, the insurer may raise the rate or choose not to issue a policy. So telling the truth on the application is the best policy.

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If you're a smoker and you lie on the application you can be charged with insurance fraud. In addition, if somehow you make it through the application process and your insurer discovers you lied on the application while investigating a claim that is made after your death, the company can deny the claim based on your misrepresentation of the facts. If your lie is discovered during the 2 year contestability period, the insurance company has the right to cancel the policy.

What if you start smoking after the life insurance policy is issued?

If you start smoking after the life insurance policy is issued, you are not required to tell your insurer. However, if your policy premiums were based on the nonsmoker rates and your cause of death is found to be a smoking-related illness, your beneficiary could have problems when making a claim.

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