Friday 6th of December 2019

How Smoking Affects Life Insurance

It’s no secret that smoking can send your life insurance premiums through the roof. When you look at the mortality rates for smokers, you can see that these costs are more than justified. In fact, the average smoker loses 28 minutes of life expectancy for every pack of cigarettes he or she smokes. Overall, smokers have an average life expectancy that is 25 years shorter than that of nonsmokers. Given this information, smokers obviously represent a much higher risk to life insurance companies, which explains the higher life insurance rates. In this post, we’ll talk more about how smoking affects life insurance.

Falling Premiums

Compared to the costs of ten years ago, life insurance is much cheaper to buy now. Premiums have decreased across the board for both smokers and nonsmokers. For non-smoking males, premiums have dropped 53% in the last ten years, and 48% for non-smoking females. With smokers, rates have dropped 48% for men and 45% for women. However, within the last year, costs for smokers have actually risen, which implies the end of the trend toward cheaper coverage for smokers.

A Costly Habit

The expense of buying cigarettes isn’t the only cost associated with smoking. For a $100,000 policy for a 35-year-old man in Connecticut, a healthy nonsmoker would pay $95-$117 per year. By contrast, a healthy smoker would pay $288 to $308 per year. On average, smokers pay three times the premiums of nonsmokers.

Quitting Can Help You Save

Most insurers are willing to lower your rates once you have quit and stayed quit for 12 months. If you do manage to quit, you can contact your insurer and request another medical exam in order to have your premiums reduced. Quitting will likely save you hundreds of dollars per year on premiums, not to mention the money you will save by not buying cigarettes. To qualify for the best rates, you will need to have not smoked even a puff in the last five years. To qualify for “normally healthy” rates, you will need to have been smoke-free for three years. If you manage to abstain for a year, you will qualify for “standard” rates.

Trying to Hide Your Tobacco Habit from the Insurer

When you consider the sky-high premiums smokers pay on life insurance policies, it’s no wonder some are tempted to lie about their tobacco usage on their application. Don’t do this. First of all, you will have to undergo a urine test when you apply, and your insurer will be able to detect the presence of nicotine in your system even if you abstain for days. Even if you pass this test, some insurers will randomly call applicants to review the information they provide on the application. This is where most people are caught because they are inconsistent in their reports or slip up and reveal the truth inadvertently. When this happens, you will be charged smoker premiums anyway, so you might as well tell the truth and focus your efforts on quitting.