Think life insurance for smokers is expensive? Smokers end up paying at least two times more than their healthier, non-smoking counterparts in life insurance premiums. Yes, we said at least. There is no leeway when it comes to smoking and the life insurance industry. Why are smokers given such harsh treatment?
Smoking harms vital organs and functions in the body; it’s the cause of one in five deaths every year in the United States; it causes more deaths in the general population than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol, murders, suicides AND motor vehicle accidents combined! Smokers also have increased health risks because of their exposure to lung cancer and other cardiovascular diseases. Actuaries, who calculate life insurance rates for providers, know that betting on the long and healthy life of a smoker is like placing a winning bet on the weakest horse that is bound to buckle under the strain of a couple lengths in the races- it just doesn’t make sense!
The only way to get affordable life insurance as a smoker is to opt for a short term life insurance policy and get on a serious plan to quit smoking. After you quit, you can re-apply and get lower rates. And if you stay off cigarettes for more than a year, you may even be able to qualify for preferred rates, proving of course that you are in otherwise good health and do not have any other debilitating condition.
Having a sympathetic and informed agent is also key, as some life insurance companies make exceptions for smokers, especially those who smoke casually or in social settings. It’s not extremely common, however, so don’t neglect the importance of a carrier’s financial strength (A.M. Best rating) just to get a lower rate. Remember, you can buy short term coverage as a smoker and make a change once you quit.
Whether you quit to save money or quit to live a longer and healthier life, just quit. It’s a win-win. Life insurance will help you protect your family, and quitting smoking will help protect you.