How does Smoking Impact Your Life Insurance Premiums?

Life insurance premiums may be more expensive for someone who smokes, but you shouldn't have a problem finding a policy if you're generally in good shape.

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by Leigh-San Mo

Last update 15 Apr 2021


As a smoker, you may wonder if your life insurance premium will be more expensive than that of a non-smoker.

You may also wonder whether there is any way around paying less for your premium, despite your smoking status.

These are valid questions we can help you with.

If you would like to compare life insurance policies now (no matter what your smoking status may be), click here for a free comparison.

Key Points

Life insurance may be more expensive for someone who smokes, however, if you're generally in good shape, you shouldn't have a problem finding a policy.
If you quit smoking, most insurers will consider you a non-smoker after 12 months. However, this is assuming you are quitting by choice and not because of health issues that have arisen due to smoking.
You should always be honest about your smoking status as insurance companies may ask you to undergo a medical exam.

How Will My Insurer Know I Smoke?

It is rarely the case that an insurance company will simply take your word when claiming to be a non-smoker.

You will most likely be asked to undertake a medical examination.

It's not a good idea to lie about your smoking status, as you could be caught red-handed for this reason.

Both smokers and non-smokers may be asked to complete the medical exam.

Your claim will not be confirmed until its completion.

Not only will a medical exam uncover the truth about your smoking habits, but it will also give your insurer insight into your overall health.

Honesty is the best policy for almost any situation, life insurance included.

What Information Do I Need to Provide In Regards to My Smoking Status?

Your insurance company will not only want to know if you smoke, but also:

  • How often you smoke
  • How much you smoke

These factors may affect the cost of your premiums and your ability to secure coverage.

During your medical exam, a doctor will likely check for signs of illnesses related to smoking that could affect the likelihood you will make an insurance claim.

Will Smoking Affect My Premium?

Premiums will be more expensive if you smoke.

There is no way around this.

While everyone purchases life insurance with the hopes of never using it (ironically) we know that, statistically, smokers are more likely to submit a claim.

For this reason, smokers will usually pay 2-3 times more than non-smokers for their life insurance premiums.

The exact rate will vary among providers, but this is a good indication to keep in mind.

More specifically, premiums are based on the following factors:

  • Frequency of smoking: Are you a casual or heavy smoker? How many packs of cigarettes would you consume daily? This information is important to your healthcare provider as it determines your exposure to potential health risks. Your insurer will also be interested in the type of nicotine you consume. For example, do you consume nicotine in the form of cigarettes, cigars, or a nicotine patch?
  • How long you have been smoking: The length of time you have been smoking will determine your exposure to risk. Someone who has been smoking for many years is more likely to develop serious smoking-related illnesses than someone who has been smoking for a few months. Either way, your insurer will take time into consideration.
  • If you quit smoking, when?: If 12 or more months have passed since your last cigarette, you will be considered a non-smoker for life insurance related purposes.

What If I Fail to Tell My Insurer I Smoke?

If you do not tell the insurer you smoke, this is considered insurance fraud.

You have a duty of disclosure when you complete your insurance application and must provide information about your health status and your smoking status.

Insurance companies may take a number of steps to verify your honesty, such as:

  • Reviewing your Medicare records
  • Contacting the doctors you were seeing at the time of your application

If you have been dishonest, your policy may be retroactively cancelled and no benefits will be paid out.

What if I Quit Smoking?

As mentioned above, if you have quit smoking 12 or more months ago, insurance companies will consider you a non-smoker.

Good news - you will not face a nasty price hike.

If you quit smoking less than 12 months ago, you will still be considered a smoker.

Also note that quitting due to doctors recommendations or serious smoking-related health concerns will be taken into account.

Quitting has to be optional, or in other words, a choice you make, rather than a necessity to prevent disease from escalating.

How Should I Shop for an Insurance Policy as a Smoker?

As a smoker, it is very important to shop around for a policy that will offer the coverage you need at a price you can comfortably afford.

But what exactly should you be looking for?

  • Types of coverage: (including the death benefit and sickness coverage): There are different forms of life insurance and varying policy types to suit individual needs.
  • Premiums: Pricing will vary among insurers. We can help you compare quotes side by side to ensure you're paying the bare minimum for what you're getting.
  • Policy conditions and exclusions: Not all policies will provide you with what you need. Everyone has different requirements, so ensure you carefully read the fine-print for inclusions/exclusions and possible conditions that will affect your cover.

This guide is of an informative nature only and not representative of Compare Club products. It should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.