Cigarette burning with smoking on ceramic ashtray

How Smoking Affects Your Life Insurance Premiums

Published September 8, 2023

Smoking is always a big topic in the world of life insurance. If you’re a smoker, you probably already know that it will impact your life insurance in some way. But not everyone knows exactly how smoking affects your life insurance premiums.

In this article, we will be talking about how smoking can affect your life insurance premium rates, why it does, and ways to lower it. This post will shed light on an important aspect influencing life insurance cost–your smoking habits.

Let's light up this topic!

Young woman smoking a cigarette

Why Does Smoking Affect Your Life Insurance Premiums?

Insurance companies evaluate risk when determining premiums, during the underwriting process. The riskier you are to insure, the higher your premiums will be. Smokers generally face higher premiums because smoking increases the risk of serious health issues like cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.

Understanding insurance companies' rationale is key to understanding why smoking elevates the cost of life insurance and, more importantly, why reducing or quitting can have a positive impact on your premiums.


The Hidden Cost of Smoking

Apart from the direct cost of cigarettes and potential health care costs, there’s another expense smokers may not consider: increased life insurance premiums. Premiums for smokers can be significantly higher than for non-smokers.

And when we say significantly, we mean it. The smokers pay on average over twice as much as non-smokers, and can pay up to 4 times as much for the exact same plan!

Let’s elaborate on that.

The "Smoker" Label

When applying for a life insurance policy, one of the first questions an insurer asks is whether you smoke. If the answer is ‘yes’, you are typically classified as a "smoker", and this categorization can lead to significantly higher premiums compared to non-smokers.

Remember, honesty is crucial during the application process. Your insurer assumes that all information you are giving them is truthful. Failing to disclose your smoking habits could result in a policy denial or application cancellation, leaving you without valuable financial protection.

What If You Start Smoking After You Get Your Policy?

If you start smoking after acquiring life insurance, you’re not committing fraud, so you won’t get into any legal trouble. But you could still face some problems with your provider. They might see this is an indication that you only quit smoking temporarily to reduce your premiums. If they can prove this, they can void your policy.

If you die, and there is enough evidence to show that your death was in large part caused by tobacco usage, then your death benefit may be reduced, delayed, or even cancelled. And you won’t even be around to try to remedy the situation, so be extremely careful!

Tobacco Versus Non-Tobacco Rates

Woman smokes disposable vape cigarette while talking on smart phone

Insurance companies generally have "tobacco" and "non-tobacco" rate classifications. Those using tobacco products, whether it's cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or vaping, are usually classified under the "tobacco" rate, meaning you’re likely to pay higher for your premium.

Remember that “smoking”, in general, refers to tobacco products. This often includes e-cigarettes, but doesn’t apply to marijuana. Some companies will have separate considerations for marijuana usage, but since it’s generally much safer for your health than tobacco, it won’t impact your premiums as seriously, if at all.

Varying Premiums for Different Smokers

Not all smokers are equal in the eyes of an insurer. Factors that will influence your premiums include:

  • frequency of smoking
  • type of tobacco product used (cigarettes, cigars, e-cigs, etc.)
  • how long you've been a smoker

For example, a casual cigar smoker will likely pay less than a pack-a-day cigarette smoker.

Stop Smoking to Save on Your Insurance Premiums


The good news is, even if you're a smoker now, it doesn't mean you'll always be considered one by insurance companies. Most insurance companies recalibrate to "non-smoker" rates if you've been tobacco-free for a set time, usually 12 months or more. Make sure you discuss this with your insurer.

Because premiums are always calculated based on your age and health, quitting smoking at any time will be a boon to your premiums. You’ll hit two birds with one stone: improving your health all while saving on life insurance premiums!



The bottom line is this: smoking is bad for your health, and bad health means higher premiums. So the more tobacco you use, the higher your premiums will be. On the other hand, the less tobacco you use, the less your premiums will be affected by your smoking status.

Remember, if quitting smoking is a goal of yours, not only will it be a cause for celebration for your health, but your wallet might also join in the party! As always, make sure to discuss any lifestyle changes with your insurance provider. Now that you know how smoking affects your life insurance premiums, you can confidently make the right choices for you!


Care for Your Loved Ones by Securing Their Future

Are you ready to make informed choices about your future? Secure a life insurance policy that adheres to your lifestyle and requirements. Protect yourself and your family's financial future. After all, love is making sure that even in your absence, your family is well taken care of.

Smoker or non-smoker, everyone deserves a secure future. Start your journey today to a safer tomorrow.


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