Smoker? Ex Smoker? How Smoking Can Affect Your Life Insurance Premiums

If you smoke, the likelihood of dying from smoking-related causes rises dramatically. Therefore, life insurance companies typically charge smokers higher rates than non smokers. This is to compensate them for the additional risk they incur when extending a policy to a smoker. However, even if you do smoke, or are an ex-smoker, there are things you can do to lower your costs.

When You Quit Smoking Matters to Your Life Insurance Provider

Because smoking can have such a significant impact on a policyholder’s health, insurance companies use an assortment of classifications for smokers. These classifications are based upon the amount of time that has elapsed since the policyholder last smoked. A “preferred plus” policyholder is a person that has not smoked for 5 years or longer. For those who have avoided smoking for at least 3 years, they’re awarded a “preferred” status. Lastly, a “standard” designation is typically given to a policyholder that has not smoked for at least 12 months.

Life insurance companies use these classifications because policyholders who have stayed away from cigarettes for a longer period of time are less likely to die from smoking-related illnesses. “Preferred plus” policyholders are rewarded with lower premiums than those who are classified as “preferred.” People who have a “standard” status (i.e. having not smoked for at least 12 months) will typically have to pay higher premiums than the other 2 groups. This, of course, assumes that other factors such as blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels remain equal.

Can You Lie To Your Life Insurance Company?

Millions of smokers are tempted to lie about their habit to their life insurance company. Some do so in the hopes of avoiding having to pay higher rates. However, it’s risky and often ineffective. While providers will start by asking potential policyholders whether they smoke, they can also require a physical exam. They may even request recent medical records. Lying on an application is easy; trying to cover up traces of nicotine in a urine sample is far more difficult.

Be honest about your smoking habit. Life insurance companies consider smoking a serious issue. They’re motivated to conduct due diligence to validate your claims.

Affordable Life Insurance For Smokers

While life insurance premiums can be substantial for smokers, there are affordable options. First, if you have quit smoking, ask your provider to reevaluate the status of your policy each year. Based upon the amount of time that has passed since you last smoked, they may be able to lower your rates. Second, consider term life insurance. You may still need to submit to a physical exam, but the premiums on a term life policy are usually lower than those on a whole life policy. And of course, get life insurance quotes from several different companies – it’s often quite amazing how different prices can be for essentially the same policy.

The Realities Of Smoking And Life Insurance

The costs of smoking expand much further than the price of a pack of cigarettes. The premiums you can expect to pay on your life insurance policy will be higher than the premiums for a non-smoking policy. That being said, it’s important to understand how your life insurance provider regards smokers. You may able to lower your premiums by being aware of the various classifications used. Having your policy status updated after each year can help you graduate to a “preferred plus” classification. In the end, having life insurance is critical. Don’t let your smoking habit prevent your securing a policy.

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