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Affordable Whole Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

Written by Jason Patterson

There are many different reasons that someone might want to apply for life insurance. Not only does life insurance provide your loved ones with the financial security they will need in your absence, certain policies can also function as investment assets that increase in value over time. Specifically, whole life insurance is a type of life insurance that covers you for your entire life and has a tangible cash value attached to it.

Though the reasons for applying for a whole life insurance policy may be obvious, sometimes the application process itself can be rather complicated. There are many different variables involved in the process of underwriting a life insurance policy and each of these variables can have an impact on the amount of money you will be expected to pay each month in premiums.

Generally speaking, life insurance companies may raise rates for any variables that are statistically correlated with shorter life expectancies. For example, if you have any serious medical conditions or any statistically dangerous hobbies such as flying airplanes, your rates may go up depending on what policy you are applying for. Similarly, because smoking is an activity that—all else equal—statistically decreases how long you are expected to live, it may influence the cost of a given policy.

The underwriting process will often require a health questionnaire, a medical exam, or both. Though you could possibly conceal the fact that you are a smoker from the underwriter, doing so risks the possibility of a significant portion of your life insurance policy being withheld from your loved ones in the event of your unexpected death. However, despite the fact that smoking can indeed complicate the process of getting a life insurance policy, there are still many reasonably priced options available on the open market. Even if you are looking for a whole life insurance policy, you are certainly not without choices.

What is the impact of smoking on a life insurance policy?

What is the impact of smoking on a life insurance policy?

As stated, most life insurance companies will increase monthly premiums for individuals who are regular smokers. This is not because they have anything against smoking per se, but they do recognize that they will possibly need to pay out the death benefit portion of your policy sooner than would otherwise be expected.

However, in the eyes of a life insurance company, not all smokers will be treated equally. A social smoker who only smokes a few cigarettes or a cigar per year may be allowed to claim the status of “non-smoker” when filling out their life insurance application.

The line between being a smoker and a non-smoker can vary significantly between different companies and different policies. If you are a borderline smoker, then it is certainly a good idea to compare premiums and policies from multiple different providers before making any final decisions. Life insurance rates for smokers will usually be about 2-4 times higher than non-smokers.

Life insurance for former smokers is significantly lower, however.  So if you are thinking about quitting, or have quit smoking, you may be in luck.

In addition to cigarettes and cigars, a life insurance underwriter may also consider whether or not you consume vaporized smoke, hookah, and chewing tobacco. Though marijuana is now recreationally legal in several states (AK, WA, OR, CA, NV, CO, ME, MA, VT, DC)—and is legal in even more states for medical usage—regularly consuming marijuana, whether through smoking or not, can also have an impact on your premiums. Because there are so many different variables that can influence the cost of a whole life insurance policy for smokers, your final decision in a life insurance provider is not one that should be made hastily.

There are some life insurance policies that will not consider your status as a smoker at all during the underwriting process. Many of these life insurance policies are marketed as “guaranteed” or “instant approval” policies. Though these claims are typically true, it is important to note that the cost of being a smoker (or an otherwise higher risk applicant) may already be “built in” to the monthly cost of these policies.

What is the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance?

Generally speaking, most life insurance policies can either be categorized as a term life insurance policy or a whole life insurance policy. The type of life insurance policy that will make the most sense for you and your loved ones will depend on numerous factors including your age, your health, your monthly budget, and the number of dependents that you may have.

Term life insurance policies are the most common. These policies have the lowest monthly premiums (often costing less than $10/month). As the name might imply, these policies eventually expire and will only cover you for a certain amount of time (the term). Typically, these terms will be 10, 20, or 30 years.

Whole life insurance policies are notably more expensive, but they do provide policyholders with numerous additional benefits. With a whole life insurance policy, you will be covered for your entire life. Additionally, these policies have an accumulating “cash value” that you can actually access while you are still living. Because of the cash value component of a whole life insurance policy, these policies are often considered to be a conservative investment asset.

Both whole life insurance policies and term life insurance policies may consider whether or not you smoke.

What are some of the best whole life insurance providers for smokers?

When comparing different life insurance companies and policies, it is very important to remember the policy that is best for one person may not be the policy that is best for another. As stated, things such as your age, sex, health, financial situation, and status as a smoker can all profoundly impact which choice makes the most sense for you.

Some companies provide affordable life insurance rates for smokers, while others do not cater as well to them.  Doing the research to find out which companies are more lenient towards smokers can save you thousands of dollars on an annual basis.

We take a brief look at some of the best whole life insurance policies for smokers.

Best Whole Life Insurance Rates:

  • If you are a middle aged man who smokes, Nationwide’s whole life insurance policy will usually make the most sense. In order to secure a policy that offers $500,000 in coverage (a fairly standard amount), you will typically need to pay just over $500 per month. In this particular situation, other life insurance providers may charge you upwards of 10% for the same amount of coverage.
  • If you are a middle aged woman who smokes, a $250,000 whole life insurance policy can usually be purchased for less than $300 per month. In this particular instance, the most affordable option will often be AIG.
  • If you are a young person (aged 35 years or less), then you will have an even wider range of affordable options to choose from. After all, even if you are a smoker, you will still likely have significantly longer to live than your older counterparts. For a 32 year old who is seeking $1,000,000 in coverage, they may be able to purchase a policy from Assurity for as little as $213 per month.

As you can see from the examples listed above, there is a significant amount of variation in costs depending on your personal circumstances. If any of the individuals in these examples had chosen to go with the first provider they looked at (and not use an independent agent), then they could be paying up to 20% more than they need to for life insurance coverage.

There are also several life insurance companies that have been recognized as generally friendly towards smokers and should probably be considered no matter what other personal circumstances may apply.

Best life insurance companies for smokers:

Below, we have constructed a list of some of the most affordable life insurance companies for smokers in the market.  While we cannot guarantee that these firms will always be able to provide the best rates for your given situation, they have solid histories as being some of the most affordable life insurance options for smokers.

Even if you end up using the first life insurance company you decided to look at, taking the time to look at all of these different options will at least allow you to know you are still getting a good deal and to be much more confident in your final decision.

If these options do not work best for your specific situation due to other health problems, you can always speak with one of our agents to find the best smoker life insurance rates quickly and easily.

When does it make the most sense to go with a whole life insurance policy?

Though whole life insurance policies typically cost significantly more than term life insurance policies offering comparable levels of coverage, there are still many different reasons that a person might want to apply for a whole life insurance policy.

  • You are young enough to still “lock in” relatively low premiums
  • You want coverage that will last your entire life
  • You want to build equity through your policy via the accumulating cash value
  • You want your life insurance policy to be function as a financial asset that can help create a more diversified, well-rounded portfolio
  • You want your life insurance policy to be a component of your retirement planning strategy

Generally speaking, a whole life insurance policy is best for individuals who have the discipline (and financial means) to make sacrifices in the short-term in exchange for long-term benefits. If you anticipate being a policy holder for a considerable period of time, then a whole life insurance policy may make the most sense for you. If you cannot afford a whole life insurance policy in the status quo, many term life insurance policies will offer you the option to convert further down the road.

Affordable Life Insurance for Smokers: To Wrap it Up

Your status as a smoker is just one of many things will be accounted for during the life insurance underwriting process. You should not let the fact that you smoke deter you from applying for a policy—if you do not have any negative health issues present, smoking will typically have a minimal impact on the cost of a policy. Additionally, if you decide to quit smoking in the future (usually for 3 years, 5 years, or 7 years), many life insurance companies will be willing to adjust your monthly rates downward.

Overall, the life insurance application process can be quite complex. There are many health and financial details that will need to be accounted for. But if you can take the time to do your research and look at the many different options you currently have available, you will likely be able to find a policy that can effectively give you the coverage you need.

Compare the best life insurance rates for smokers here

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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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