Life insurance providers charge smokers higher premiums when compared to non-smokers. When applying for a life insurance policy there are rates for smokers and non-smokers. Since smoking shortens our life expectancy and is bad for our health, insurance companies increase premiums as a result.
Life insurance companies classify smokers as anyone who currently uses or has used in the past 12 months the following products which contain tobacco,
- Chewing Tobacco
- Nicotine Patch
- Nicotine Gum
- E-Cigarette / Electronic Cigarette
You should expect to be classified as a smoker if you are using any of the above. Most life insurance providers will charge the same rate for someone who is a casual smoker or someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes each day. Tobacco is still being used in either case and is considered higher risk for the insurance provider which equals higher premiums.
The only way that you can rid yourself of paying the smoking premiums is if you stop using all of the above for 12 consecutive months at which point you are considered a non-smoker.
If you currently have a life insurance policy and are paying smoker rates but have stopped using the above tobacco products for 12 consecutive months, please contact us to find out how to change your policy to non-smoking rates. This could potentially save you quite a lot of money.
How Smokers are classified for insurance
When applying for a life insurance policy, applicants are based on the information that is collected by the insurance company which typically includes a health questionnaire and medical exam completed by a nurse. If you are approved you are assigned a risk class which are outlined below,
Preferred Best – Excellent health with no family history of health issues and you are not participating in any activities or occupation that is considered hazardous or high risk
Preferred – Very good health with minor health issues (if any)
Standard – Good health with some possibly issues that increase your risk for dying (e.g. weight, blood pressure, family or personal medical history)
Sub-Standard (Rated) – Poor health with health issues that increase your risk for dying (e.g. weight, blood pressure, current or past diagnosis) or you are participating in activities or an occupation that is considered hazardous or high risk
Preferred Smoker – Excellent health other than the fact that you are using tobacco products
Standard Smoker – Good health other than the fact that you are using tobacco products
Smoker Sub-Standard (Rated) – Smoker with poor health with health issues that increase your risk for dying (e.g. weight, blood pressure, current or past diagnosis) or you are participating in activities or an occupation that is considered hazardous or high risk
We always advise our clients to contact us with more details pertaining to their specific situation so we can determine the best approach to applying for coverage. We also have the ability to speak with underwriters with the insurance providers to help you understand how your policy will be underwritten before actually applying.
Either way, we are here to help at all steps of the way. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.