There’s nothing worse than shopping around for life insurance as a smoker and finding out that your premiums are 2-3 times higher than nonsmoker rates. It may feel like insurance companies are being unfair to you, but smoking, unfortunately, comes with many health risks, so that extra liability results in higher premiums.
To save money upfront, you might consider downplaying your smoking habits or addiction but, we promise you that’s a very bad idea. You don’t want to be caught lying to your insurance provider, as your policy will be canceled. Instead, be honest, so you can get the life insurance plan that meets your needs without the headache of trying to deceive your provider.
The first thing smokers should know about buying life insurance is the definition of “smoker”.
Insurance company’s definition of a smoker is farther reaching than you may realize, which could explain why some applicants may not label themselves as smokers. So to clear things up, these are the key points that determine if you’re a smoker or not:
Nicotine remains detectable in your blood for up to 3 days, while cotinine (your body metabolizes nicotine and cotinine) remains present for a week. However, nicotine is present in the urine for a month.
Because of smoking-associated health risks, smoker’s policies, on average, are between 2-3 times more expensive than nonsmokers. Rates for smokers are dependent upon your age, general health, gender, and coverage options (term and amount).
These are the average life insurance rates for smokers in regular health looking for a 10-year term policy for $250,000:
|For Men (Age and Rate):||For Women (Age and Rate):|
|30 for $554||30 for $439|
|40 for $865||40 for $692|
|50 for $1968||50 for $1487|
|60 for $4422||60 for $3088|
Smoking is a lifestyle choice. Unfortunately, it can negatively affect your health, so when you’re applying for life insurance, if smoking is a habit you’d rather keep, then you’ll have to shoulder the weight of higher premiums. As tempting as it may be to fudge your application, especially if you don’t identify as a smoker, the risk of being found out is a much worse threat than paying higher rates.
Insurance companies utilize many methods to verify the information you provide on your application. One of their first lines of defense is the medical exam that will capture a snapshot of your health via urine or blood samples to ascertain if you’re a smoker (or not). Some other ways insurance companies determine if you’re lying are:
If you fail to mention you smoke, your provider can devoid your policy. If, for instance, an autopsy reveals you succumb to a smoking-related illness at the time of your death, your insurance policy doesn’t have to pay out to your beneficiaries. However, if your lie is uncovered through the normal investigative channels, it can result in policy termination.
The answer is no; you shouldn’t. With all the resources available to insurance providers — including your social media accounts — it’s too easy to be caught in a lie, so why take the chance? Wouldn’t it be better to have peace of mind that you and your beneficiaries are covered no matter what life has in store for you?
Margaret Huntley Margaret Huntley is a creative writing and philosophy student at Western University. She has been working as a freelance writer for over two years and has written about everything from insurance, to poker, to health and wellness for international businesses.