Life Insurance for Smokers- The Ultimate Guide

Life Insurance for Smokers and Tobacco Users- Full Guide

Life insurance for smokers and tobacco users can be costly.  Especially if you handle it incorrectly. Smoking is just another one of those lifestyle habits that can leave you falling into high risk life insurance if your not careful.  No need to worry though. We got your back and know some tricks and tips as well.

What do we mean by this?

In most circumstances smoker rates will apply to your life insurance rates.  Here’s the kicker, it doesn’t have to necessarily.

life insurance for smokers

It matters greatly which form of tobacco you use, how often or how long it’s been since you have used it is equally important.

Another huge factor for life insurance for smokers, is who you work with. What do we mean? Well the Agent and Agency that you choose is crucial to how you pay. Are you working with someone who can truly shop the market for you and obtain you the lowest possible rates?

You see… you need a life insurance agency who can effectively use the life insurance companies who are tobacco use friendly.

Trust us, plenty of smoker friendly companies are out in the market.

You just need to look around briefly with someone who can help.

However, we always recommend that if you are trying to save time that you should stick to comparing rates and quotes with all life insurance companies.

You can do this easily below using our instant life insurance quotes rate engine to compare rates with 50 of the top rated life insurance companies.

In this blog post we are going to cover the full proof method to obtaining life insurance for smokers and tobacco users in depth.  We will also cover various forms of tobacco use in depth.

Keep in mind that when we discuss various possibilities of rates or approvals as a tobacco user, it’s assuming all other health conditions are good to go!  If you mix other health conditions such as,

Then things will need a little more explaining for you to know which way to navigate, but luckily for you, we got your back in those situations as well.

Tobacco use such as… (feel free to click into your actual use of tobacco for in depth look at how each form of tobacco is treated with life insurance). Each form of tobacco use below will be able to help you in more depth for that specific form of tobacco.

As always, if we missed anything don’t forget to check out our frequently asked questions area at the bottom of the post for more answers related to your questions.

Ok, pull up a chair, lighter and ash tray because it’s time to get started saving you money on life insurance. Cheap life insurance for smokers? Where do I find this? Is it even possible.Many potential clients we speak with always ask the question “how do I find cheap life insurance as a smoker”?

Here’s the answer.

Start with an independent agency with plenty of life insurance companies to choose from. Why does this matter so much? With many medical backgrounds and different health conditions, life insurance companies view all risk differently. So, to speak, life insurance for smokers and tobacco users can be obtained much easier and much cheaper by finding a company that falls within a tobacco “niche” or that is friendly when underwriting tobacco use.

This can be a few things.  It could mean that you qualify for nonsmoker rates with the company depending on the form of tobacco you use, or it could mean they offer much better rates for the tobacco use.

How do we know this?

Well, we do it daily and frequent help clients who are paying too much for life insurance, lower the rates by switching to a different company and getting rid of that old costly policy.

The biggest problem you run into trying to find the correct information is that it’s not readily available and the answers differ so much depending on which google result you choose to read.

That’s why instead of having to read so many different articles or blogs, we hope to just make this lengthy and informative enough to help you know everything necessary to make life insurance for smokers an easy task to accomplish

What kind of tobacco user are you?

No need to hide from it.  The truth will set you free.  In addition, your life insurance medical exam/ blood test will tell the story for the life insurance company as well.

Let’s take care of this question first because it makes a big difference which direction we can go. Let’s first start with the form of tobacco use you currently tangle with.

Cigarettes- Daily use- Daily use of cigarettes is going to be tough not to have you sitting at 2-3x the normal premium amount non-smokers pay for the exact same policy or term.  Your goal as a daily cigarette smoker would be to work an independent agent who can find you the cheapest price for the coverage.

We will cover more on this later in the blog.

Cigarettes- Social Smoker-  The problem for social smokers is the wording on the actual life insurance application.  More specifically the life insurance application typically reads as follows. Have you used nicotine or tobacco products in the past…?

  • 12 months
  • 24 months
  • 36 months
  • 48 months
  • 60 months

Now here is the kicker.  Most companies even If it was 4 cigarettes on a night out with your best friends will rate you as a tobacco user at this point so the high prices remain.  Less money out of your pocket is the outcome.

You can however, find life insurance companies that can dramatically offer lower rates if you look in the right places.  For instance.

AIG will allow cigars if it’s less than 4 per month or 1 per week.  This is assuming that nicotine isn’t positive on the blood test but it’s still a huge plus to have the chance to qualify for the top rates.

Foresters Financial also offers a tobacco plus class which is very unique as well.  You can also get all the way up to a preferred rate with Foresters if you smoke 1 or less cigars per week.

John Hancock allows standard plus rates for cigar use that’s less than 24 per years.

Here’s a full guide of these examples below so that I don’t just keep typing examples all night for you.

The Life Insurance for Smokers and Tobacco Users Guide

Life Insurance for the Quitters or Ex- Tobacco Users

If you recently quit smoking or using tobacco it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in the clear.  You still have what it is known as waiting periods before qualifying for certain rates or non-smoker rates I should say.

Here’s a look at what I mean-

1 Year Quitting Mark– Minnesota Life and Nationwide will offer Preferred Rates- 10 plus other companies including Prudential, Protective, AIG, Banner Life will offer standard plus which is 1 class better than a standard rating.

2 Year Quitting Mark– Congratulations making it this far without using tobacco.  Your already on your way to saving a ton of money and now plenty of companies are offering preferred rates.

Just be sure to stick to an independent agent to help your chances of not accidently choosing the wrong company that could charge you more than necessary for the coverage.

3 Year Quitting Mark– Killer discipline you have for making it this far without sneaking in a cigarette.

In addition to the savings you are gaining from not buying all those cigarettes, you are also saving because you can qualify for Preferred Plus rates. This is the highest possible rating you can achieve with any life insurance application.

You could look at companies such as Lincoln Financial, AIG, Protective, Mutual of Omaha and many others.

5 Year Quitting Mark–  It’s like it never even happened and will no longer be used against you on a life insurance application.

You can qualify for top rates assuming everything else is top notch on your medical background.  Congratulations again if you fit into this class of the people who truly quit tobacco!

Electronic Cigarettes, Vapes and Hookah

This is where life insurance for smokers and tobacco users can get a bit complicated due to all the forms of tobacco or ways to consume nicotine in today’s world.

How healthy are these things for you anyways?  I don’t think anyone really knows.  Not enough information is currently available from any credible sources to know for sure.  What I can tell you is that life insurance companies aren’t huge fans of it.

Yes, I know.  This is heartbreaking to hear because you probably thought you were doing yourself this huge health favor by switching to the vape or the electronic cigarette.

The fact of the matter however remains the same.  Due to life insurance companies not really understanding the risk, they don’t really offer any better rates.

BUT WAIT. What if a few companies did offer better rates?

Because guess what?

A few companies will give you a break on the rates as an electronic cigarette user.

I’ll send yah 10 bucks right now if you can name that company!  Obviously, I have no idea which company you are thinking of, so I will save you the money on the life insurance application instead.

Prudential offers non-tobacco rates to electronic cigarette users.  It also appears more companies soon may be adapting this practice as well because Prudential reels in a lot of business due to servicing this niche market for vapers and other forms of tobacco use.

For now, stick with an independent agent who can help you find the most current, cheapest company that will afford you coverage using an electronic cigarette or vape.

Chewing Tobacco, Snus, Nicotine Patch

Many people whether they chew tobacco daily or occasionally are wondering if they can obtain affordable life insurance.

Life insurance companies do understand that some people use nicotine very occasionally. They also understand this poses a much smaller risk to your overall health over the long term therefore, if your honest on your application, it is possible to obtain life insurance as a tobacco user at affordable rates.

Prudential is a great company for those of you who chew tobacco.  You can be offered non-tobacco rates but will face standard rates at best.  It’s just the tradeoff for getting non-tobacco rates.

Keep in mind, this is still a huge money savings for you long term and initially per month and per year.

Also keep in mind that your overall health plays a huge role as well.  If you have several other issues, it’s going to be tough to obtain the standard rating whether it’s chewing tobacco or not.

Cigars and Pipes

Cigars and pipes, I would argue is the easiest form of tobacco use to still obtain affordable life insurance for smokers and tobacco users.

Most companies are going to have a limit on the number of cigars you can smoke in a given month or a given year.

You can always refer to our graph above for a better look at how many cigars you can have.

Again, a top company pick for cigar smokers would be Prudential.  Noticing any common themes with Prudential yet?  They have an excellent niche underwriting class for affordable rates to tobacco users.

Other honorable mentions or companies that offer great rates to cigar and pipe users would be.

  • AIG
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • Minnesota Life

Marijuana Use

This is always an interesting one to discuss and worth a deeper look.

Marijuana use is looked at extremely carefully by the life insurance companies.  It depends greatly whether your using the marijuana for medical reasons or for recreational use.  It also matters how often you are using it.

Once a month?

Once a week?

Has it caused any other issues in your life such as DUIs or possibly other criminal charges.  Yes, the life insurance companies ask about your criminal background.  Why would they want to insure someone’s life for a million dollars if you recently got charged with armed robbery?

Criminal records tend to show the life insurance company that you can do dangerous things or that you are living a dangerous lifestyle.

Typically, if the marijuana use is due to medical condition the life insurance company will dig deep to learn more.

They will most likely want medical records and a full detail of all information pertinent to your overall medical state and overall health.

More on Social Smokers

Social smokers I wanted to touch on one more time because it’s important.

Don’t be discouraged or think you must wait to get life insurance.  This is a huge mistake and many people have probably unfortunately, learned this the hard way. Or at least their loved ones did.

You just need to tell your life insurance agent the truth and let him find coverage for you.

You never know what tomorrow brings and giving up coverage for your family just because of a cigarette you had at a bar 3 weeks ago is not a valid excuse to give up the chance to protect your family.

The Medical Exam and Nicotine and Tobacco Test

You always have the option for no medical exam life insurance.

We recommend always speaking to an agent before making that decision to ensure you aren’t paying too much and can’t do better with an exam or another option.

It’s also imperative that you be honest and upfront during this underwriting process.

It’s illegal and fraud to lie about tobacco and nicotine use on a life insurance application or during the underwriting process.

It can greatly impact if the life insurance company ultimately pays your claim.  Especially true if something happens in the first two years of the policy.

By law, the first 2 years of the life insurance policy being in force is contestable by the life insurance company which means they are likely to double check several things before settling a death claim.

Be sure to be honest and upfront.  If you do, you have nothing to worry about and your family will ultimately be protected. Trust us, we have handled the beginning stages of the claim process as well.

If you follow the guidelines, your family will be given the death benefit. In a timely fashion as well. Plain and simple.

The truth shall set you free.


Life insurance for smokers or tobacco users doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  It can be cheaper than you think if you choose the right life insurance agent and agency to represent you.

Someone with plenty of options. Be sure to inform your agent of everything pertinent to your application and let him or her to go work for you.

Have we left anything out when it comes to life insurance for smokers? We would love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment below or fill out the quote form on the right to get the process started.

What are you waiting for?


Resources: NCSLReutersHHS