Sunday, January 16, 2011

Higher Life Insurance Costs for Smokers

One of the biggest factors determining the cost of your life insurance policy will be whether or not you're a smoker. If you're a smoker, you can expect to pay over a thousand dollars a year (and likely much more) for your life insurance than if you are a non smoker.

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Yes, smokers looking for low cost affordable life insurance are in for tough times. Smokers are included in the high risk category for the most obvious reason. Hence smoking and high insurance costs go simultaneously together. Any form of nicotine consumption or tobacco products would result in you being included in the high risk category. Pipes, cigar, chew, nicotine gums, snuff, cigarettes, nicotine patches and dips are regarded as tobacco products by most life insurance companies, if not all. Usage of any of the previous automatically invites higher premium amounts. Smokers face a higher probability of lung disease, heart disease, cancer and other cardio vascular problems than an average non smoker. Thus, insurers charge more to insure the life of smokers.

Your smoking habit has an impact on the premium determined also. If you are a regular smoker and smoke daily then you will be included in the highest risk premium category. You would be a social smoker if you smoke with friends at parties or a couple of times in the week. However if you smoke once in a while, just randomly couple of times in a month or so then you would be included in the occasional smoker category. Regardless of the category of smoker you fall in, you will be paying higher insurance costs than a non smoker. Nonetheless an occasional smoker might be able to manage some discounts from the insurer as they pose relatively lesser threat to the company than the daily smokers.

There are two prime reasons that smokers get tagged with higher life insurance premiums.

1) The act of smoking causes an increase in a number of health issues which can contribute to an early death.

2) People who are smokers have behavioral habits that are generally higher in risk than non smokers. These higher risk habits result in more frequent deaths.

Of course, smokers are not the only high-risk group in the life insurance pool, but they do tend to be the most highly publicized. For years, insurance companies have asked other health related questions such as the history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer that have influenced the premiums on life insurance policies. However, it has only been in the last couple of decades that they have become aware of enough evidence to support including smokers as a high-risk group.

Example of smoker policies costs, compared to non-smokers:

  • 35 year old female smoker in Massachusetts with regular health - Monthly cost of a $450,000, 30 year term life insurance policy: Around $109/month (non-smoker, around $48 per month).

  • 40 year old male smoker in California with regular health - Monthly cost of a $500,000, 20 year term life insurance policy: Around $160/month (non-smoker, around $65 per month).

  • 45 year old male smoker in New York with regular health - Monthly cost of a $200,000, 30 year term life insurance policy: Around $187/month (non-smoker, around $80 per month).

  • 50 year old female smoker in Texas with regular health - Monthly cost of a $300,000, 10 year term life insurance policy: Around $100/month (non-smoker, around $45 per month).

  • 55 year old male smoker in Florida with regular health - Monthly cost of a $250,000, 20 year term life insurance policy: Around $255/month (non-smoker, around $105 per month).

  • 60 year old man smoker in New York with regular health - Monthly cost of a $400,000, 10 year term life insurance policy: Around $450/month (non-smoker, around $200 per month).
How can you save money when comparing smoker life insurance plans?

  • Consider term life insurance which may cost you 2-3 times less than permanent life insurance.
  • Buy life insurance while you are young and healthy, rates increase with age.
  • Quit smoking to get a non-smoker rate for your life insurance policy. Insurers may adjust your rate to non-smoker once you have quit for 1-2 years.
  • Compare life insurance quotes from several insurance companies because rates vary by insurer.
Note that insurance companies protect themselves from being cheated. They are aware on the tricks used by the customers, and may check by calling your family to verify the submitted data. In case of the information mismatch with the data you provided, your premium rates will be instantly altered from non-smokers’ to smoker’s pricing category. Also, if you have a non-smoker’s life insurance policy, and you started smoking after the policy purchase, it is recommended to contact your agent and admit the change in your smoking status. Otherwise, if you die, and it is discovered that you actually smoked, your life insurance policy may be considered invalid on grounds of providing untruthful information, and your family will not get any benefits at all. So be careful, and take in consideration that insurance companies have their ways of getting intelligence information, helping them to save their money.

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Sources and Additional Information:


  1. Some types of life insurance have cash benefits available while you're living. In these types, a portion of your premium goes into a cash reserve and builds on a tax deferred basis. You can access this money, called cash value. Some people use it to help education costs, enhance retirement cash flow or for any reason. Two of the most common types of "permanent life insurance" are called a term life insurance quote and universal life insurance.

  2. I've been smoking for years and I was able to get a Life Insurance Quotes with out being asked any personal information.

  3. Life insurance is designed in such a way that the insurer hopes that you live a long healthy life so that you can pay your policy in full, for, as you can imagine, if you take out a policy and pass away in a few months, the insurer still needs to stay true to their side of the bargain, resulting in financial loss for them.

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    1. That is true. Higher risks should results in higher premiums. However, the cost difference for smokers and non-smokers sometimes is disproportional. Do insurance companies charge more somebody how is always eating in McDonald's?

  4. Certainly, living a healthy lifestyle is the best solution to rising insurance costs. It benefits not only your body but your finances as well.

    Chris from


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