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Being charged up to twice as much for life insurance because you smoke is shocking and probably makes you want to avoid life insurance overall.
But guess what:
Most people don't know that there are a few niche insurance companies that specialize in life insurance for smokers and other tobacco users.
Today I am going to go over how smokers life insurance will work, who some of the best companies are, and how to get the best rates possible.
What Is Life Insurance For Smokers
In the eyes of an insurance company you are seen as a tobacco user if you are currently smoking or have quit for less than 12 months.
Each company will treat you different in regards to when you are considered a “Non-Tobacco User” if you do decide to quit.
Don’t think that if you stop smoking today that you will get non-tobacco rates tomorrow.
Depending on the insurance company, the type of tobacco you use, and how often you use tobacco, you still could be considered a tobacco user.
Most insurance companies need to see consistency and that you have stopped using tobacco or nicotine products for at least 12 months.
Insurance underwriters no that kicking the habit is hard, and many people start smoking again.
Can A Smoker Get Non Smoker Rates
If you need life insurance and you use cigars, a pipe, chewing tobacco or nicotine other than cigarettes (patch, gum, etc.), there are some insurance companies that will give you a Non-Smoker or Non-Tobacco rate!
There's even a company right now that will offer an occasional cigarette smoker a non-tobacco rate as long as no more than 24 cigarettes are used in a year and no nicotine shows up in the lab results from your insurance exam.
On permanent life insurance, there are 2 companies right now that will give you non-smoker rates as a quit smoking incentive...one of these companies will give non-smoker rates for first 3 policy years and the other in the first policy year only. To keep paying non-smoker rates, you have to show evidence that you've quit using tobacco/nicotine.
What If I Have Pre-Existing Conditions & Smoke
If you are a diabetic, have any type of cardiac issue or if you have a weight issue, or you are looking for life insurance for seniors over 70 and you smoke cigarettes this could have a big impact on what you'll ultimately pay for life insurance.
When an insurance company is underwriting you for insurance, your total lifestyle is being reviewed.
This means that someone who was approved for life insurance as a diabetic could be declined if they are a diabetic and smoke.
If you have been finding it hard to get coverage as a tobacco user with a pre-existing condition, then you should fill out our accurate quote form below so that we can assist you.
What Are Best Life Insurance Companies for Smokers
This really depends on your age, medical history, plan and amount of life insurance that you want.
For current cigarette smokers who can qualify for Preferred rates, some of the best preferred smoker companies right now are Assurity Life, Northwestern Mutual, Cincinnati Life, Banner Life, Penn Mutual, Pacific Life and Columbus Life.
You can run an instant life insurance quote by using the quoting tool on the upper right hand side of this page, to check out which companies may be best for you.
Or simply click on link below for an accurate quote and we'll send you all of the best insurance premiums and insurance products available to you.
Life Insurance For Cigar Smokers
Even daily cigar smokers and other “non-cigarette” or alternate tobacco users can get non-tobacco or non-nicotine rates.
Most life insurance companies will NOT preclude “celebratory” cigar smokers from their better “non-tobacco” rate classifications, but the allowable amount of cigars per year can vary greatly.
Twelve or less cigars per year is not a problem for most life insurance companies, and many will allow you to still qualify for their best rate.
Just remember the amount of allowable cigars varies from insurance company to company.
And to qualify for the absolute best rates as a cigar user, no nicotine can show up in your lab results during free insurance exam.
The best insurance companies and rates for cigar smokers!
American General will allow you to smoke up to 1 cigar per week (52 per year) and you can still qualify for their absolute lowest “preferred plus” rates.
However, the kicker is that no nicotine can show up in your lab results from your free insurance exam.
Furthermore, you can not have smoked cigarettes in the previous five years to qualify for the best rates with this company.
If your health is very good, you can just run a quote request using the quoter above, choose “Preferred Plus” for “Health” category, and you can look for the rates from American General as these rates are best case scenario for one cigar per week users.
Met Life will allow you to smoke up to three cigars per week to qualify for their third best rate classification (Regular Plus on quoter), but again, no nicotine can show up in your insurance exam lab results.
Best If No Nicotine Shows Up In Lab Results
Based on my experience, there is no exact amount of time to refrain from smoking cigars before your lab results will be clean for nicotine.
Everyone’s body and metabolism is different, and yours could take longer or shorter than anyone else’s before no nicotine shows up.
If you do smoke one cigar per week, then you should wait at least a full seven days or longer after your last cigar before having the free insurance exam.
To be safe, I feel a full two weeks of no nicotine based products is a safer amount of time to make sure no nicotine shows up in your labs.
Whether you refrain for a week or two, drink lots of water to flush your system of the nicotine.
Remember to refrain from using cigars and ALL other nicotine based products for as long as possible prior to your insurance exam.
Also, drink plenty of water during this time to flush your system of all nicotine.
If nicotine does show up in your lab results you’ll only qualify for a significantly higher Smoker or Tobacco rate with the companies mentioned above.
What about daily cigar smokers?
Even if you’re a daily cigar smoker and nicotine does show up in your urine, you can still get non-tobacco or non-nicotine rates with
Lincoln National Life
These companies will all allow you to qualify for non-tobacco rates even if you test positive for nicotine on your insurance medical exam.
As long as the cigar use is admitted to on the application and you have not smoked cigarettes in the previous 12 months.
Even daily pipe smokers, tobacco chewers, snuff users, nicotine gum or nicotine patch users can qualify for non-tobacco rates with some of the companies above.
Below are sample rates for a $250,000 - 20 year term policy for a male at various ages that do smoke cigars daily or often enough so that nicotine will show up in their lab results.
These rates assume good health and are all monthly rates rounded to nearest dollar:
Age 35: $24
Age 40: $32
Age 45: $50
Age 50: $73
Age 55: $111
Age 60: $189
Age 65: $333
The rates above are about 50% less than what 99% of all other life insurance companies will charge you if you regularly use cigars, pipe, chew, snuff, or any nicotine replacement products and nicotine shows up in your system.
Whether you use tobacco once per year or every day, there will be one life insurance company that is best for you.
E-Cigarette Users Cannot Get Non-Smoker Rates
UPDATE October, 2019
See memo from Prudential below, the only company that previously offered non-smoker rates to E-cigarette users:
"As you are aware, vaping has been at the center of the news over the past few months and linked to a few deaths and multiple illnesses. There have been warnings from the FDA, federal government and some states banning the use of flavored e-cigarettes."
"We took a stand a few years ago when e-cigarettes started gaining popularity to treat them similar to the way we assess the use of cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, etc…treat them as non-smokers and offer Non-Smoker Plus as our best class. We received some pushback from our reinsurers at the time but stood by our decision and wanted to keep a close eye on it."
"We truly believe it is time for us to change and classify vaping as a smoker and reduce the overall risk exposure to the company. Our reinsurers also have been asking us when we will make the change so obviously support this action."
We certainly expected this change with no carriers offering non-smoker rates to vapers due to all of the controversy over vaping and e-cigarette use.
If you happen to use non-nicotine based e-cigarettes for that hand to mouth “smoking ritual,” then we have many more companies that will consider you for non-smoker rates as long as you have not used other nicotine based products in previous 12 months.
If you have smoked regular cigarettes in the previous 12 months, then you will generally only qualify for tobacco or smoker rates with all life insurance carriers.
There are exceptions made regarding this, but they are infrequent.
Getting Life Insurance As An E-Cigarette User
If you’re an e-cigarette user or “vaper” and you want life insurance, then here’s what we will need to know to get you the best offer:
With the above information and considering your overall health, we’ll be able to narrow down the absolute best e-cigarette life insurance company for you.
Remember to be honest about your e-cigarette and other forms of tobacco or nicotine that you use when applying for life insurance.
If you don’t admit to your e-cigarette use and cotinine shows up in your labs, then we will have a hard time convincing the underwriter that you “forgot” to mention the e-cigarette use, which can lead to a trust issue.
What about applying for a no exam life insurance policy?
There are currently no “no exam” life insurance companies and products available that will offer non-tobacco rates to e-cigarette users.
Lying about smoking on life insurance applications isn't a good idea and could result in your beneficiary not getting the life insurance payout upon your death.
So be honest and do the right thing!
Marijuana And Life Insurance
Finding the best life insurance for people who smoke weed may not be easy.
However, there are some marijuana friendly life insurance companies and more companies may liberalize their stand on marijuana use in the near future.
Being the third most popular recreational drug in America after alcohol and tobacco.
Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in:
Oregon, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Washington State.
You can see that this trend is only increasing and more and more states are getting added to this list annually.
I’ve recently read that over 16 million people use pot in any given month.
Over 20 states currently allow people to smoke medical marijuana.
could marijuana actually be good for you?
Based on information from Hank George at Insureintell.com, marijuana has been shown to provide significant medicinal benefit in a wide range of disorders, such as:
Cancer treatment and prevention
Neuropathic pain due to various causes
Withdrawal from addiction to harmful drugs
Inflammatory bowel disease
Hank also has collected research on a whole list of issues for which I previously thought marijuana would be a contributing factor in premature death, but that is not the case.
"Cardiovascular mortality was somewhat less in pot users than in non-users, and cancer mortality was significantly lower in those indulging in cannabis.”
Studies have also shown that marijuana smokers who do not also smoke tobacco have no increased risk of either COPD or lung cancer.
Based on everything I’ve read, I do believe that marijuana is safer than alcohol and cigarettes.
The supposed “evidence” for increased likelihood of premature death due to recreational marijuana use that insurance companies have used in the past is based on incorrect information, I believe.
What Life Insurance Companies Think About Marijuana Use?
At least one underwriter I know at a highly rated insurance company just told me that recreational use of marijuana less than three times per week can still qualify for their best non-tobacco rate!
This is a big change from the recent past, when most life insurance companies would have offered a Standard or Regular Tobacco rate at best.
Even though there’s no tobacco in marijuana, the old underwriting rules would still place regular pot smokers in a tobacco or smoker rate classification.
On average, smoker rates are two to three times more expensive than non-smoker rates.
Based on all the statistics I’ve seen about marijuana use, it’s not fair that recreational marijuana users pay the same rates as cigarette smokers.
In the past, when I had conversations about marijuana use with any life insurance underwriter, the illegality of it always came up as an issue.
Many underwriters told me that they personally had no issue with it, but their companies guidelines would prevail.
Times are changing, and this is good news for all of you marijuana smokers out there who need life insurance.
Especially if you already have life insurance but are paying too much.
I put together some rates below so that you can see the difference between the best case marijuana rates of the past, vs the rates of today.
Marijuana Use Up To 3 Times Per Week Best Rate Class!
These are all monthly rates for $250,000 of term insurance.
These rates assume marijuana is not smoked more than three times per week, health checks out as very good, and that no cigarettes or other tobacco have been used within the past five years.
Old Rates New Rates
Age 35: $39 $12
Age 40: $55 $14
Age 45: $89 $20
Age 50: $138 $29
Age 55: $195 $45
Age 60: $286 $69
Age 65: $458 $117
Age 70: $742 $224
Age 75: $1,000 $432
As you can see from above, the old rates are significantly more expensive than the new rates.
Based on all of the other information above, I definitely have A LOT of ammunition to negotiate all marijuana life insurance cases now.
I can easily get you offers from hundreds of different insurance companies based on your specific marijuana use and overall medical condition to narrow down which company may be best for you.
If you do smoke weed and need life insurance, or if you’ve been paying too much for your life insurance because of marijuana use, now is the time for you to save money on it.
Quitting Smoking Case Study - 1 Year Term
I recently placed a policy in force for a gentleman who needed $2,000,000 of life insurance for a buy-sell agreement.
He’s a 38 year old cigarette smoker who told me he was in the process of quitting smoking.
He was also recently diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), a disease that can be serious, and his treatment for the GBS only ended seven months prior.
Daily cigarette smokers always pay significantly more than non-smokers anyway.
If you add a health issue on top of the smoking, more research has to be completed to find the best rates and insurance companies for him.
He and his business partner wanted a 20 year term plan on each of them, so I inquired with all of the best 20 year term companies.
The best $2 million tobacco rate available to my client, who was quitting smoking and had the other issues mentioned above, had annual cost of $6,695.
This was significantly more than they had budgeted to pay for life insurance.
I also offered a 10 year term option, which was $3,800 per year.
It was still more than double the cost of what his business partner would pay, and they really didn’t want to pay that much.
This gentleman was adamant that he’s quitting smoking.
I quoted him the best one year term rate (also known as an annual renewable term) for $2 million, which cost $1,320 this year.
My client and his partner really liked this rate even though it increased in cost each year.
Their intent was to replace this policy with a better rate after he had quit smoking for 12 consecutive months.
The Best One Year Term Rate
An underwriter from the company told me that if the person to be insured still had any symptoms whatsoever from the Guillain Barre Syndrome that they would decline his application
Pacific Life offered the next best one year term rates and their policy was like American National’s.
The Pacific Life underwriter told me they’d offer a rate of $2,560 this year.
This rate was almost double the cost of American National’s rate but still significantly better than even the 10 year term rate of $3,800.
I had my client apply to both American National and Pacific Life, as there’s never any guarantee that a specific rate will actually be offered.
I wrote letters to the underwriters at both companies in my attempt to summarize this man’s GBS and other health history.
I also indicated how he just quit smoking and how the client felt he was fully recovered and back to 100% strength from the GBS.
American National agreed to offer the better rate of $1,320 this year since my client’s exam results were decent.
Over 10 years, this American National $2,000,000 policy will cost $30,380.
Remember also that the best 10 year guaranteed level term rate available was $3,800 per year or $38,000 over the 10 years.
I told my client that as long as he was still not using tobacco/nicotine in the coming 12 months that we would have him re-apply for the best 20 year term rate available.
But if he is still smoking or has had any negative change in his health, American National Life offers an awesome opportunity to automatically convert or extend his policy to a 20 or 30 year term.
This is the perfect way to lock into a longer guaranteed level rate if my client cannot qualify for a new, better rate later.
I rarely consider or even mention one year term insurance to anyone unless they have a very short term need for life insurance.
I was actually surprised at how competitive American National’s one year term rate was compared to all of the competition, even over a five and ten year period.
This could be a very good option for anyone who needs life insurance and smokes but intends to quit or who just recently quit smoking.
How To Get Cheap Life Insurance For Smokers
Getting the cheapest life insurance coverage for smokers is a process, but luckily I have gone through this process with plenty of people.
So, how does a tobacco user ensure they're receiving the best life insurance rates?
Simple – fill out the instant quote request form at the top of the page to compare rates and insurance carriers or click the above button for an accurate quote and we will email you with information and best rates for you.
We can help whether you want term life insurance, universal life or another type of permanent insurance.
You can also simply call us toll free at 1-800-380-3533 or click here to email us.