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Smoking and vaping. How does it affect life insurance?

Smokers can pay up to 3x the price (or more) compared to what non-smoker’s pay for life insurance.


It is no surprise that smoking affects your health. According to the CDC, the life expectancy of smokers is 10 years less than that of non-smokers. There are major well-known smoking-related health issues such as lung, throat and mouth cancer and COPD, as well as an elevated risk of heart attacks and strokes. These potential health issues are taken into consideration when insurance companies calculate the cost of premiums (your rates) for smokers.

To life insurance companies there is no difference between casual and regular nicotine users.  If you smoke twice a week and only with meals or smoke a pack a week, you are considered a smoker when it comes to life insurance underwriting.  Insurers classify you as a smoker if you use cigarettes and vapes, there is no difference between the two. Some insurers will tolerate limited use of cigars, if you consume cigars once a month or less and they will still consider you to be  a non-smoker. Some insurers also permit the use of chewing tobacco and still consider you a non-smoker.

Ask us how you may qualify for non-smoker rates if you smoke cigars or use chewing tobacco!

If you have quit smoking, you typically need to be at least 12 months removed from the time you stopped smoking to be considered a non-smoker and qualify for lower non-smoker rates.  However, if you are planning on quitting or have recently quit, do NOT wait on buying life insurance.  We strongly suggest getting a policy placed as quickly as you can and look at replacing the policy to obtain lower rates after you’ve successfully quit smoking for at least a year.

You also do not want to lie to an insurance company about your previous/current tobacco use.  Failure to divulge your smoking habits to an insurer when you apply for a life insurance policy is fraud and could result in your policy being cancelled or a claim being denied.

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