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The Top 5 Best Life Insurance Companies for Smokers in 2020

Written by Jason Patterson

Smokers have higher life rates than most, but we can help you find the best life insurance rates for smokers.

Typically, smokers experience 2-5 times higher life insurance rates than non-smokers.

This is a result of the inherent risks of smoking.  Tobacco usage has been linked scientifically to a higher chance of developing multiple deadly health conditions such as:

  • COPD
  • Cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Heart Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease

These are just a few of the reasons life insurance rates for smokers are higher.

Top 5 Best Life Insurance Companies for Smokers

Here are the top 5 life insurance companies for smokers:

Company A.M. Best Rating Customer Reviews
Prudential A+ 4.2 / 5
AIG A+ 4.3 / 5
Transamerica A+ 4.0 / 5
Brighthouse (MetLife) A+ 4.2 / 5
Banner Life A+ 4.1 / 5

Let’s look at each one and the products they provide along with sample rates.

Prudential Life Insurance for Smokers

Prudential has been around since 1875, and was founded in Newark, N.J.  If you are old enough, you probably remember the Prudential slogan: “Get a piece of the rock”. Prudential has been using the Rock of Gibraltar as the backdrop of their logo for years, and that logo prompted those famous commercials.

Prudential Life Insurance Products for Smokers

Prudential offers a wide variety of life products, including:

  • Term Life
  • Universal Life
  • Indexed Universal
  • Variable Universal

The two products most designed for smokers are their MyTerm product and Term Essential policy.

MyTerm is a term life product that does not require any medical exam. If you are a smoker with health issues, this might be the way to go. You can get coverage from $50,000 to $250,000 with this product.

The Term Essential product is their traditional term policy.  Benefits include:

  • Term Lengths from 15 to 30 years
  • Coverage available up to 65
  • Can be converted into a whole life policy

Unique Prudential benefit…they like cigar smokers.

Cigar smokers receive non-tobacco rates at Prudential regardless of the product they sell.  They use their “standard plus category” for daily cigar smokers and you can even qualify for a “preferred best” rate if you smoke 2 or fewer per month.

Prudential Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

Life Insurance Smoker Rates for a 30 year term policy monthly premium:

Age $100K $250K $500,000 $1 Million
35 Male $56 $109 $211 $414
35 Female $44 $82 $158 $309

Read Our Review

AIG Life Insurance for Smokers

AIG is well-known name in the financial industry. They were actually founded in Shanghai China in 1919 and moved to New York City in 1939.  They specialize in a wide variety of term life options and do really well with hard to place customers, such as smokers.

AIG Life Insurance Products for Smokers

Like most carriers, AIG offers a mix of both term and permanent. Here are the major categories:

  • Term Life
  • Return of Premium Term
  • Universal Life
  • Variable Life
  • Whole Life
  • Accidental Death Insurance

Both their Whole life and Accidental death products could be a fit for smokers. However, the Whole Life product is really designed for adults over 50 with pre-existing medical issues. The max coverage amount is only $25,000 as well.

AIG Select-A-Term

AIG’s Select-A-Term product is their best product for smokers.

Select-A-Term features:

  • Coverage from $50,000 up to $10 Million
  • Premiums don’t increase over the policy term
  • At the end of the term, it can be renewable
  • Convertible into a permanent policy up to age 70

If you have stopped smoking within the last 5 years, you might be eligible for their best non-tobacco rates. If you’ve quit only a year ago, you can be considered for a standard non-tobacco rate.

AIG Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

Smoker Rates for a 30 year term policy monthly premium

Age $100K $250K $500,000 $1 Million
35 Male $43 $81 $148 $290
35 Female $32 $56 $105 $203

Read Our Review

Transamerica Life Insurance for Smokers- AM Best Rating: A+

Transamerica was founded in San Francisco in 1904 by Amadeo Giannini, however, it wasn’t until 1956 they began using the name Transamerica. They are a premier life insurance company. Their iconic pyramid shaped build towers over the San Francisco skyline today.

Transamerica Life Insurance Products for Smokers

Here are the major categories of Transamerica’s life products:

  • Term Life
  • Whole Life
  • Universal Life
  • Variable Life
  • Final Expense (Burial Insurance)

Transamerica does have a no medical exam policy which could be an option for smokers. This is their Living Benefits Term policy.

Their regular term policy is the best overall policy for Smokers. For the most part, Transamerica is consistently competitive against other companies for smokers as you will see in their rate samples below.

Transamerica Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

Smoker Rates for a 30 year term policy monthly premium

Age $100K $250K $500,000 $1 Million
35 Male $35 $75 $145 $275
35 Female $28 $55 $110 $202

Read Our Review

Brighthouse (MetLife) Life Insurance for Smokers

If you’ve ever seen Snoopy selling insurance policies on TV, you are familiar with MetLife. Met no longer uses Snoopy, but they still have great products, especially for smokers. MetLife was founded in 1868 and has become one of the largest life companies, not only in the US but throughout the world.

In August of 2017, MetLife separated their life insurance products from their other products and put them under a new name – Brighthouse Financial.

Brighthouse Life Insurance Products for Smokers

Metlife is thinner on product offerings compared to other carriers. They have a guaranteed level term policy and a universal life policy.

Their level term policy is the most competitive product for smokers and has a wide range of options and term up to 30 years.

Read Our Brighthouse Review

Banner Life Insurance for Smokers

Banner Life consistently ranks at the top of most insurance company lists.  Banner is owned by London based Legal & General Insurance and was founded in 1836.

Banner Life Insurance Products for Smokers

Banner sells primarily a term policy and universal life policies. The term policies are their most competitive for smokers.

Term features:

  • 10 to 30 year term options
  • Coverage available for 20-55 years old
  • Premiums will not increase during term
  • Convertible to a universal life policy

Banner Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

Smoker Rates for a 30 year term policy monthly premium

Age $100K $250K $500,000 $1 Million
35 Male $35 $76 $145 $275
35 Female $28 $55 $103 $200

Read Our Review

Why Do Smokers Have Higher Rates?

Insurance is about spreading risks over large groups of people. This is how you are able to invest such little money into a policy and be guaranteed such large returns.

There is no way of knowing with 100% certainty who will have a claim. But insurance companies are certain not everyone will have one at the same time.

Is your head spinning yet? Stay with me.

With all this probability of claims, insurance is able to identify certain groups of people with similar traits who are more likely to have claims. Think about auto insurance.

Young people are way more likely to have a claim than an older adult. People with speeding tickets are more likely to have accidents than moderate drivers. Because of these stats, insurance companies are able to charge more for claim prone individuals.

Let’s translate this to life insurance.

Life insurance only pays when a person dies. The insurance company is really insuring lifespan, and it pays to know the factors that contribute to or lessen a person’s lifespan. Life Insurance companies probably have more data on life expectancy than any other segment of the population.

They know women outlive men. Younger people outlive older people (yes, that one is obvious without loads of data). Because of these facts, life insurance is cheaper for women and young people.

There is plenty of other factors they look for and use in rate making. Health history, family history, weight, height, blood pressure, etc. all factor into life rates. There is one factor that impacts life expectancy more than any other: smoking

You already knew that, didn’t you. If you don’t have life insurance today, you’ve probably thought about quitting and then applying. Great idea!

But, if you are like the rest of us, you will keep putting it off until age becomes as big a factor as smoking.

How Can I Get the Best Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

Here’s what to do. Buy it now. Then re-apply for cheaper rates when you quit. Life companies look favorably on people who quit.

Oh, and don’t think you can fib on your application. They will find out, and because of the misrepresentation, may not offer you a policy even though they have one for smokers.

Most policies will require a medical exam. Smoking can be detected through blood, urine, and saliva tests. You usually have to give all through for other tests as well.

You might be asking, how long does nicotine stay in your blood?

Life insurance companies don’t care. They are looking for nicotine. They are looking for cotinine which a chemical byproduct your body produces when processing nicotine. Cotinine is much easier to detect.  On average cotinine can be detected within a 30 day window, sometimes longer if you’ve been a heavy user.

Hey, if you can go 30 days without nicotine, you might as well quit!

Best Life Insurance Companies for Smokers – Wrapping it Up

As you can see there are a lot of options for smokers, and these are just the top 5. As an independent life broker, we represent a wide variety of company. We are experts at designing products for you.

We know the in’s-and-out’s of our insurance companies, and can direct you to not only a competitive product, but one we know fits your needs. We understanding the underwriting guidelines and requirements each company will require and can guide you through the process.

Don’t try to figure all these features out on your own. Talk with one of our agents today, and let them help you understand the best life insurance investment you can make.

Or, use our online quoting engine to compare life insurance rates for smokers from the best life insurance companies for smokers instantly!

Compare the Best Life Insurance Rates for Smokers using our Quote Form

About Jason Patterson
About Jason Patterson

Jason Patterson has been in the insurance industry for over fifteen years. Starting in 2005, he became one of the first agents to sell medicare supplements online. From that small start, he grew an agency that helped thousands of people with their insurance needs in all fifty states.

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