There are many different variables that are accounted for in the life insurance underwriting process. Naturally, anything that statistically increases the probability of an early death will likely increase the amount of money (premiums) the insurance company charge you each month.
Some of the things that life insurance companies will look at include your current health, your age, and various details of your personal life. Due to the damages smoking inflicts on your lungs, heart, and other organs, one of the most common reasons that life insurance premiums will be increased is that the individual applying is an active smoker.
When filling out a life insurance application, it can be very tempting to lie and claim that you are not a smoker even if you currently are. Though this may be something that is able to slip through the cracks at first, it is still generally a good idea to tell the truth to your insurance provider. If your death can be traced to a tobacco use habit and your life insurance provider finds out that you lied about your usage, they may legally withhold a significant portion of the policy from your loved ones upon your death.
What Classifies Someone as a Smoker?
The definition of what constitutes an “active” smoker will vary tremendously by life insurance provider. Additionally, many life insurance providers may be willing to readjust your monthly premiums in the future if you are able to effectively kick your habit (and prove it).
Even if you are an active smoker, most life insurance companies still want to have you as a client. There are even many life insurance policies that are specifically tailored to smokers and may be much more affordable than you initially assumed. Though finding the perfect company to satisfy your needs can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, by taking the time to compare multiple different providers, you will be in a much better position to recognize which life insurance company is best for you.
How Expensive are Smoker Life Insurance Rates?
Compared to your non-smoker counterparts, smoker life insurance rates usually run about 2-4 times higher. Why? Well, put simply, life insurance premiums are based on risk profiles. The higher the risk you present to a life insurance company, the higher your rates.
That being said, some of the main health complications that come from smoking are:
There are dozens of more health problems that result from smoking on a regular basis. The point is, these will result in higher life insurance premiums.
The 5 Best Life Insurance Companies for Smokers
While you can expect to pay higher rates for life insurance as a smoker, there are some companies out there that provide superior rates to smokers in comparison the the majority of life insurance options on the market.
These companies are able to do this because they have extensive histories in the United States, and some of the best underwriting processes, allowing them to classify smokers in the lowest risk health classes possible. On top of this, these companies also have large asset portfolios, and manage billions of dollars worth of risk, allowing them to achieve affordable rates for smokers due to their massive scale.
Lastly, before introducing these companies, it is also important to note that they each have excellent records for paying out claims, and supporting customers.
AIG (American International Group) is a company that has been continually operating in the United States for nearly 100 years. The primary services that the company provides for consumers are life insurance, general insurance, and retirement insurance. The company is reported to work with 87% of all Fortune Global 500 companies and has an extensive variety of insurance packages to choose from.
Currently, there are several different categories of life insurance that the company actively offers. Many of these insurance plans can be mixed and matched in order to address your specific needs. The types of life insurance that AIG provides are:
There are a few different reasons that AIG is generally considered among the best life insurance companies for smokers. Not only does the company have an extensive history, but some of its policies—such as the guaranteed issue policy—do not require any sort of medical exam or general health questions. As long as you are between the ages of 50 and 85 years old, you can qualify for a reasonably priced life insurance package whether or not you smoke.
Other useful life insurance policies for smokers provided by AIG include the incredibly flexible variable universal life insurance as well as the health-centric quality of life insurance. Portions of these policies can be added to an already existing plan. Though, depending on your health and age, you may be able to find cheaper policies elsewhere, considering an AIG life insurance policy is certainly an excellent place to begin.
The following charts shows AIG’s smoker rates for men and women 32 years of age who smoke a pack a day for $500,000 of coverage on 10, 20, and 30 year term policies.
The name Transamerica represents one of the most prominent buildings in the San Francisco skyline as well as one of the most historically reliable life insurance providers in the United States. They are a company that is generally highly regarded by third party evaluators and also pride themselves in for their commitment to making financial assets available for everyone, not just the very wealthy.
Like many of the other life insurance providers featured in this article, Transamerica offers consumers numerous different policy types to choose from. The company currently offers term life, whole life, universal life, variable life, and final expense policies. The policy that will be best for you will depend on your current financial situation, health, and long-term goals.
If you are a young person who actively smokes, you may be able to access a Transamerica Term Life policy with up to $2 million in benefits without ever needing to take any sort of medical examination. The company is also quite popular because of its excellent customer service and the many different riders that can be underwritten into a given policy. Some of these riders include those for children, disabilities, estate protection, long-term care, and accidental death. Whether or not you are an active smoker, it is certainly nice to have some options within reach.
The following charts shows Transamerica’s smoker rates for men and women 32 years of age who smoke a pack a day for $500,000 of coverage on 10, 20, and 30 year term policies.
Prudential is one of the oldest life insurance companies in America (dating back to 1875) and currently operates all around the world. The company’s primary focuses are retirement services and life insurance. As time has gone on, their product offerings have considerably expanded and creating a customized policy with Prudential to meet your needs is now easier than ever before.
Within the category of “Term” Life Insurance, Prudential currently has several different policies available. These policies include My Term, Term Essential, Term Elite, PruTerm WorkLife 65, PruTerm Return of Premiums, and PruTerm One. Naturally, each of these policy types should be considered before making any lasting decisions. My Term is a policy that does not require a medical exam and offers up to $250,000 worth of coverage. However, the Term Essential policy is generally the most affordable and can also be converted into a whole life policy later in life.
Prudential also offers an extensive array of universal and variable life insurance policies as well. However, some of these policies may require a medical exam which can be problematic for some individuals who are active smokers. Fortunately, Prudential has one of the most detailed websites in the industry that makes it easy to see which options are available for you.
If you are considering applying for a Prudential life insurance policy, you may want to consider experimenting with the many different policies that are currently available. When compared to other insurance providers, Prudential focuses significantly more on your age than on your health.
The following charts shows Prudential’s smoker rates for men and women 32 years of age who smoke a pack a day for $500,000 of coverage on 10, 20, and 30 year term policies.
MetLife is another life insurance provider with an extensive history and also one of the most widely recognized names in the industry. Since March 2017, the life insurance branch of MetLife has been referred to as Birghthouse Financial. The company is one of few that has been able to successfully earn an A+ rating from the A.M. Best (a third party evaluator).
When compared to some of the other life insurance providers mentioned in this article, MetLife has a relatively straightforward product offering. The company’s Guaranteed Level Term Life Insurance is remarkably affordable, offers you anywhere between 10 and 30 years of coverage, and also does not require any sort of future reapplications. This particular plan distinctively offers you the choice whether or not you take a medical exam. While the traditional plan will require it (and will be more affordable for some people), the simplified issue allows you to skip the medical exam.
The other policy type that is currently offered by MetLife (Brighthouse Financial) is called the Premier Accumulator Universal Life Insurance. This plan offers the unique benefits of permanent coverage and an accumulating cash value that can be accessed later in life. However, this policy is notably more expensive and may be even more difficult to secure if you are an active smoker. Still, with MetLife’s well-earned reputation for providing quality products, they are certainly a company that is worth considering.
5. Banner Life
Banner Life may not have the same extensive history (originally founded in 1981) as some of its competitors, but it has still established a reputable name for itself. Currently based in London, the company operates on numerous different continents and has more than 10 million customers living around the globe.
Like MetLife, Banner Life is recognized for its surprisingly straightforward product offering. Consumers will have the option to choose from a term life insurance policy or a universal life insurance policy. The policy that is best for you will depend on how you plan to incorporate life insurance into your general financial portfolio.
While some companies only offer term policies in 10-year blocks, Banner Life gives you the option to choose a term length anywhere between 1 and 30 years. These policies are fairly affordable and can usually be easily accessed by smokers.
Banner’s universal life insurance policy may also be easily accessed by individuals who smoke. In fact, the company is widely recognized for being amongst the most affordable for individuals who have experienced complications from smoking such as cancer or other pre-existing (before you apply) conditions.
The following charts shows Banner Life’s smoker rates for men and women 32 years of age who smoke a pack a day for $500,000 of coverage on 10, 20, and 30 year term policies.
The Best Life Insurance for Smokers – Summing it Up
Overall, the impact that being a smoker will have on your quest for life insurance will vary tremendously by company and even the different policies that a given company offers. Being a smoker does not automatically disqualify you from most life insurance policies, but it does mean that you may want to spend some additional time comparing the different options you have available.
There is no single life insurance policy that can be considered the best for every smoker in the United States. The policy that is best for you will depend on numerous different variables. By taking the time to compare the different options you currently have available, you will be in a much better position to make an informed decision.