The impact that smoking has on life insurance rates
Convincing evidence over the last 30 years has shown that smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use has seen a dramatic increase in mortality and the risk that an insurance company assumes when they issue a life insurance policy on someone who smokes. It is estimated that smoking claims more than 450,000 lives in the U.S. each year, and in the past 30 years, more than 3 million people have died before their time as a direct or indirect result of smoking.
Smokers Life Insurance Rates
A 40 year old female living in Florida in excellent health who does not smoke could get 500,000 of term life insurance for as little as 17.36 per month. The same 40 year female in excellent health but smokes would pay 61.41 per month. That’s an increase of more than 250%
Another example would be a 40 year old male living in Florida in excellent health who does not smoke could get 500,000 of term life insurance for as little as 18.25 per month. The same 40 year male in excellent health but smokes would pay 75.76 per month. Again that’s more than 250% higher for a smoker.
On average a smoker’s premium will range between 250 and 325% more than a non smoker in the same overall health. This percentage difference in premium will normally hold true in the younger ages. However, as a person gets older the effects of smoking begin to have a more dramatic effect on a person’s overall health. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, lung, throat, mouth, pancreatic cancer, and many other health related conditions are typically associated with smoking. If any of these conditions become evident prior to applying for Florida life insurance it will be much more difficult to purchase life insurance. Florida Life insurance rates for smokers with health related conditions may be as much as 500 – 1000% higher than a non smoker.
A typical view of how an insurance company might classify a past smoker.
- Preferred Best No tobacco – No tobacco past 5 years
- Preferred No tobacco – No tobacco past 3 years
- Standard Plus No tobacco – No tobacco past 2 year
- Standard No tobacco – No tobacco past 1 year
Do all life insurance companies view different forms of tobacco the same? No, some insurance companies view some forms of tobacco use more favorably. For example, Prudential and Northwestern Life will rate a person who chews or (dips) tobacco as a non smoker while most all other companies would consider that same person as a smoker/tobacco user.
Can quitting help? Yes! In addition to improved health and a longer life, a person who has quit smoking for a period of at least 12 months can typically get a non smoker life insurance policy. Most life insurance companies have similar guidelines regarding how long you smoked and how long it has been since a person has quit, but as a general rule, a person who has not used tobacco for more than 1 year would qualify for a standard non smoker life insurance policy. If a person has been tobacco free for 3 – 5 years, this individual may qualify for a preferred non-smoker status. Once a person has been free of tobacco use for more than 5 years they can possibly qualify for a preferred plus rating.
If you have been classified as a smoker in the past and it has been longer than one year, you can ask the company to re-evaluate your case and you may qualify as a non smoker.
One last important note: You should never cancel a policy until you have a new one to replace it. If a disease has developed since you quit smoking it may not be advisable to apply for a replacement policy until the condition is resolved. Having an experienced adviser that works with and understands the complex issues of life underwriting will greatly benefit you in many ways.
For More Information
For more information, please call us at (888)-564-2326. Our agents have over 25 years of experience working with Florida life insurance Companies, and know which companies will offer the best rates for smokers.