Cigarette Smokers and Life Insurance Coverage

The question I often get from smokers as a life insurance agent, is whether or not they can get life insurance coverage. The answer is a YES with a slight BUT. Typically speaking, cigarette smokers will pay double the rate of a non-smoker. They are some insurance companies that will not insure cigarette smokers and there are others that will. Insurance underwriters will typically make a decision based on your lifestyle as a smoker including asking “how long you have been a smoker, how many cigarettes smoked per day, if you have any medical ailments from smoking, etc”. Underwriters will get all of this information from your medical records through your doctor’s office. However, if you want to avoid going through medical underwriting, smokers can get what is called No Exam life insurance coverage.

As I said earlier, No Exam medical underwriting for smokers can be very expensive to buy and the number of companies underwriting such policies are limited. These companies will typically insure smokers to a maximum coverage amount around $150,000. I tell my clients whether they are smokers or non-smokers that having some amount of life insurance is better than having NO life insurance.

Don’t wait to get insured! Even if you get insured as a smoker at higher premium, in the event you quit smoking for 1 year after getting insured, you can get in touch with the insurance company to be reclassified as a non-smoker for better and lower rates. This process will require some additional questions and medical underwriting to prove that they are no nicotine in your system. For most clients who do this, they get to see reduced premiums, get more insurance if they request an increase and a new lifestyle that does not involve smoking.

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