One of the biggest roadblocks that people often cite for not obtaining life insurance is the cost of the monthly premiums. Unfortunately, even if you are an occasional smoker, you might find yourself paying at least twice as much for life insurance premiums as a nonsmoker. 

The spike in price is usually a result of life insurance companies placing you in a higher “health and lifestyle risk” category because of the negative side effects of nicotine. Many people believe that this only applies to those who smoke cigarettes, but prices are typically higher for those who chew tobacco or use e-cigarettes as well.

Finding the right affordable life insurance coverage can be difficult for someone who smokes or used to smoke. That is why Insurify makes it easy to compare a list of quotes from qualified insurance companies in just a few minutes.

To start reviewing your quotes today, just answer a few questions, and you will be provided with life insurance policy options from over 20 companies, all in one easy-to-view place.

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Best Life Insurance Policies for Smokers 

Before we have a look at what life insurance options are available for smokers, let’s explore what insurance companies consider a “smoker” to be. 

During the application process, you will be asked whether you smoke. Regardless of your answer, life insurance companies will still require you to partake in a medical exam for most types of insurance. During the exam, a sample of blood, saliva, or urine will be taken and analyzed for traces of nicotine or cotinine.

Along with these chemicals, any signs of THC in your system will be clear indications that you have recently used cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, vaping pens, pipes, or marijuana and will result in you being labeled as a smoker.

For potential policyholders who have recently quit smoking, there is still the possibility that nicotine residue will be found in your body. To be fully considered a non-smoker, you must be nicotine-free for at least one year.

This also goes for anyone who is trying to quit smoking by using items such as nicotine gum or nicotine patches. The medical exams that some insurers require will pick up on the nicotine in your system, even though you’re trying to quit.

Consumers who find themselves classified as smokers may be wondering what the best type of life insurance for them is. Luckily there are several policies available that will provide you with comprehensive coverage. Options such as term life insurance, whole life insurance, and guaranteed issue life insurance often provide the most value for smokers.

Term Life Insurance

As mentioned before, one of the biggest struggles facing smokers who want to purchase life insurance is the actual cost of a policy. In most cases, insurance rates are sometimes two or three times higher when compared to non-smoker rates. This is why a term life insurance policy is an appealing product for smokers.

Term insurance is an affordable life insurance product that will provide smokers with coverage for a set number of years. Typically, policies range from 10 to 30 years and include a payout that will be given to a beneficiary upon your passing. It is important to keep in mind that once the term is up, you will need to either buy a new term policy or seek new coverage.

Whole Life Insurance

Another viable option for those classified as smokers is a whole life insurance policy. What makes this plan different from term life insurance is the length of coverage. With whole life insurance, you will remain covered until your passing, as long as your premiums are paid.

In addition to lifelong coverage, there is also a savings component that comes with whole life. For this reason, some people will also use the product as a part of their overall financial plan. Even though there are many benefits to whole life insurance, policies tend to be much more expensive than term life. 

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

One of the most unique options available is a product known as guaranteed issue life insurance. With this type of policy, there is no requirement for a medical exam or health screening, making it appealing to those with existing health conditions and smokers. 

Unlike other life insurance policies, guaranteed issue life insurance will look at factors such as age, gender, and amount of coverage to base your premiums on. Since there is a higher risk for an insurance provider to offer plans like these, the death benefit tends to max out around $25,000.

With so many options available to you, it can be hard to compare quotes from an insurance agent or multiple insurers. That is why Insurify makes it easy to quickly complete the life insurance application and browse quotes from up to 20 reputable insurers all in one location. 

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Term Life Insurance Quotes for Smokers 

Shopping for the perfect plan is a great way to ensure that you not only get the coverage you need but avoid paying higher premiums as well. To give you an idea, Insurify has compiled some term life insurance quotes for smokers, averaged across varying term lengths and age groups.

Life Insurance Company Monthly Quote
Bestow $43
Assurity $113
Haven Life $136
Fidelity Insurance $190
Legal and General $232
Prudential Financial $309
Banner $323
Mutual of Omaha $345
SBLI $348
Transamerica $361
Pacific Life $535

And to give you an idea of what smokers pay for life insurance versus what non-smokers pay, we’ve compiled a list of average term life insurance quotes for each. 

Age Group Smoker Non-Smoker
30-40 $83.6 $73
41-50 $181 $95
51-60 $208 $113

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Best Life Insurance Companies for Smokers

Even though smokers and tobacco users often face an uphill battle when it comes to finding a life insurance company, there are several insurers that provide competitive options. Places such as Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Prudential, American General, and Transamerica should be on your list of places to get a quote. Instead of going to each company to receive a quote, you can get quotes from multiple companies on Insurify.

While prices still may be higher than for a non-tobacco user, each of these five companies does a great job of providing competitive products and are more lenient on tobacco use. In some cases, you might even be able to secure coverage without a medical exam

#1 Lincoln Financial

Lincoln Financial offers a no-medical exam term life policy, making it a great option for those with a history of nicotine use. By giving applicants the ability to avoid blood and urine tests, the company has become a favorite for those with pre-existing medical conditions and smokers alike.

In addition to their life insurance products, they are also extremely competitive when it comes to providing life insurance coverage for marijuana users. Many people who have low-level health conditions or small amounts of marijuana use can still receive better insurance rates than with a competitor.

Positives:

  • There is an option to skip the medical exam for some products
  • Accelerated underwriting allows for most policies to be completed within a few days
  • Better rates for marijuana users, pipe smokers, and those that smoke cigarettes or cigars

Negatives:

  • Permanent life insurance policies are quite pricey, especially for younger applicants
  • There are no whole life policies available through Lincoln Financial

#2 Prudential

Prudential is consistently viewed as a top life insurer for underwriting applicants with complicated medical histories, smokers, and former smokers. Their expertise in working with applicants from different backgrounds gives them an advantage in being able to provide custom solutions for each customer.

Along with its competitive underwriting, the company has a strong reputation spanning more than 140 years. Having served over 3.7 million clients, there is a peace of mind that comes with choosing Prudential as your life insurance provider

Positives:

  • Strong reputation spanning more than 140 years
  • Excellent underwriting for applicants with complicated medical histories and former tobacco users
  • Provides the ability to make updates and changes to your policy online
  • Claims can be filed online by beneficiaries

Negatives:

  • For applicants in good health, premiums can be higher than other providers
  • Turnaround time for applications can be lengthy and arrive in the mail, rather than email  
  • Customer rating and experience is lower than other insurance companies in the industry

#3 Transamerica

Transamerica makes up for slower underwriting times by providing special preferred rates for smokers and cancer patients. Even people who are social cigarette smokers or cigar smokers face higher rates with most companies. At Transamerica, the preferred classification can help keep these premiums closer to that of a non-smoker

Another advantage of going through Transamerica for a life insurance policy is that some of their life insurance products come with no medical exam. Instead, the underwriter will only ask you medical questions during a phone interview.

Positives:

  • Very competitive rates for basic term life insurance 
  • Medical exams aren’t required for certain groups of applicants and for policies under a specific coverage amount 
  • Preferred rates available for smokers and cancer patients

Negatives:

  •  Applications tend to be slower than others in the industry
  •  Very little changes can be made online, most must be mailed in to take effect

#4 American General 

American General combines competitive pricing and a wide range of flexible insurance term periods, making it a great choice for consumers.  The company consistently comes in with rates well below competitors for term life insurance and is one to consider if price is an important factor for you.

American General also offers a customizable life insurance solution that features lower rates, minimal death benefits, and several rider options. Those who use either marijuana or CBD can expect to see lower pricing options as well.

Positives:

  • Competitive pricing for a wide range of ages and groups 
  • Highly customizable term life insurance policies
  • People with common health conditions can receive better rates
  • Achieved an Excellent rating from A.M. Best, A+ from Standard & Poor’s, and an A2 from Moody’s

Negatives:

  •  Often ranked low or poorly by customer ratings for unsatisfactory customer services

#5 Banner Life Insurance

Banner Life has built a reputation for offering some of the lowest monthly premiums in the industry for individuals with health histories. Frequent health conditions, such as high blood pressure or smoking, typically result in higher rates, but not with Banner Life. For shoppers who want a competitive price, this is a great place to start.

Along with competitive pricing, Banner Life goes above and beyond in regards to term length. While most insurers will only provide term life coverage for up to 30 years, they will insure you for as long as 35 or 40 years, giving you and your loved ones an added peace of mind. 

Positives:

  • Very competitive rates for smokers and people with common health histories
  • Large range of coverages for applicants with a complicated medical history
  • Term lengths available up to 40 years

Negatives:

  • Temporary coverage is very hard to come by; anyone who has a history of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and alcohol or drug abuse within the past five years is ineligible 
  • The underwriting and medical exam for reconsideration of benefits are paid for by the individual, not the insurer

Find the Right Life Insurance Policy for You

As a smoker, finding a life insurance plan that is both affordable and provides the proper coverage you need can be difficult. Unfortunately, many insurers view people who have used nicotine in the past as riskier to insure and often assess higher premiums because of it. Thankfully, there are companies like Transamerica and Lincoln Financial that provide better options for smokers.

The process of identifying and comparing all your available options is one that can be daunting as well. That is why Insurify has simplified the life insurance buying process. By answering just a few simple questions, you will be shown multiple quotes all in one place. 

Buying life insurance doesn’t have to be difficult, and with the help of Insurify, you can be confident knowing you made the right choice.

Updated January 7, 2021

Doug Shaffer is a freelance writer for Insurify. While he has been writing for the insurance sector for the past three years, his writing career spans more than a decade. During the moments he manages to break away from the keyboard, he can be found spending time with his family.