Smoking And Life Insurance

Quick Guide to Life Insurance for Smokers

Life insurance offers people from all walks of life a way to plan for and protect the financial well-being of their loved ones. In the event of your death, you want to know that your beneficiaries have the financial help they need to pay for your final expenses and then some. For many policy holders, life insurance offers the peace of mind of knowing that their spouse, children or other beneficiaries can succeed financially without them.

But what if you're a smoker or someone who has just recently quit smoking? The good news is that being a smoker doesn't mean that you have to go without life insurance. Read this quick guide to learn how being a smoker effects your life insurance options and coverage.

How Will Smoking Affect My Insurance Policy?

Being a smoker will impact your life insurance policy. If you're a smoker you can expect to pay higher insurance premiums than a non-smoker with an otherwise similar application to your own. In fact, smokers in general pay more for life insurance than non-smokers though other factors certainly influence premium costs as well. Each case is assessed individually, but smokers are automatically placed in a smoker risk category.

Who is Considered a Smoker?

Insurance applications ask a series of questions to determine whether or not an applicant is a smoker. You'll be asked about your present and past use of a range of tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Basically insurance companies are on the lookout for any use of products containing nicotine. So if you're currently quitting using a nicotine patch or gum, then you might still qualify as a smoker.

What if I Recently Quit or Only Smoke Occasionally?

If you only smoke the occasional cigar then you still might fall into the smoker category. A lot depends on the insurance company and on their classification standards. Even if you've recently quit, you may still have to deal with higher premiums because of the greater health risks caused by your recent habit.

The mortality rate for those who have been smokers recently is still higher than the rate for those who have never smoked. The good news is that once you become a non-smoker, each passing year puts you closer to the mortality rate of a lifetime non-smoker. Occasional smokers and those who have recently quit will pay less on average than applicants who smoke a pack a day.

Should I Keep My Smoking a Secret?

Lying about being a non-smoker on an insurance application is serious business. Intentionally putting false information on an insurance application is considered to be insurance fraud. It may seem tempting to leave off the fact that you're a smoker or to bend the truth about how much you smoke.

But doing either of these is insurance fraud. It can result in denied applications and even denied insurance claims. Since medical exam results are kept on file by the MIB group for seven years, its best to tell the truth and pay a higher premium than to lie and risk the consequences.