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Life Insurance for Smokers

by glenn on December 4, 2013

Are you a smoker? This will impact your life insurance premiums, however there are a number of ways to minimize this.

Smoking definition
It’s important to distinguish between whether you are a smoker and whether the insurance company will offer you smoker rates. Some smokers are eligible for nonsmoker rates and some people who consider themselves non-smokers will be offered smoker rates (even though they are not smokers).

I’m not a smoker but the insurance company will offer me smoker rates
The general guideline for distinguishing between smoker and non-smokers is whether you’ve had any form of tobacco or marijuana in the last year. If you have – even once – then most insurance companies will treat you as a smoker.

An example of this would be if you only smoke socially – perhaps once a month at a party. The insurance companies will offer you smoker premiums. If you had a weekend away last summer and shared a marijuana joint with your friends for the first time every, again the insurance companies will treat offer you smoking premiums.

I’m a smoker but the insurance company will offer me non-smoker rates
Depending on what you’ve smoked and how much, you may be able to qualify for non-smoker rates from many companies. If you are a very occasional pipe smoker or cigar smoker, many Canadian companies will offer you non-smoker premiums. Generally if you smoke either of those less than once a month the insurance companies will offer you non-smoker rates.

If you are in this category you should also not smoke prior to applying for life insurance or until after your new policy is in force. The insurance companies will expect to see a clear urine test to offer you non-smoker premiums in this instance.

I have no intention of quitting
If you have no current or future plans of quitting smoking, we simply want to find the least expensive smoking premiums. We do this by shopping more life insurance companies. If you are looking for permanent insurance we may be able to offer you non-smoker rates for the first two years of your policy, after which time the policy will revert to smoker premiums.

I plan on quitting shortly, I am in the process of quitting, or I only smoked rarely
If you currently qualify for smoker premiums but are going to quit smoking for one full year within the next couple of years, then we don’t want to lock smoker premiums for the long term right now. Instead, shop for a short term policy (typically a 10 year term) which will lower your premiums temporarily. Once you have had the policy for a year and been smoke free for a year you can request a reconsideration for nonsmoker rates. Once that has been approved you can then convert your policy to the correct type of insurance (i.e. permanent, or a longer term). Not all companies offer the automatic ability to convert to longer term or permanent insurance so we shop this out on an individual basis.

Important
Never, ever conceal your smoking status from an insurance company. You can imagine that they are sensitive about this subject because many people are seeking the lowest rates possible. If concealed or the insurance company is misled, they may deny the death claim if you die. Instead, fully disclose everything during the application process, and use the above information to ensure the lowest possible premiums.

How to proceed?
For a personal recommendation please call Glenn, toll free at (866) 662-5433. Glenn is a life insurance expert (see our media page), an experience life insurance broker and dedicated to getting his clients the lowest premiums. Glenn is also a reformed non-smoker (though not a fanatic) so he has personal experience with the processes of life insurance and smoking.

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