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  • Writer's picturejimmy ting

The TRUTH About Life Insurance and Smoking

If you’re searching for, life insurance for smokers, I bet you think you won’t be able to find affordable rates!

…but here’s the truth…

Whether you smoke cigarettes, a pipe, marijuana, e-cigarettes, or chew tobacco, you ABSOLUTELY can find affordable life insurance for smokers.

Let’s face it life insurance for smokers isn’t a straightforward topic!

This is a must read if you’re looking for information on life insurance for smokers and want to make the right choice for you and your family.


If you’re looking for life insurance for smokers, whether it be cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers, it’s likely you’ve run into rates that are DOUBLE even TRIPLE the premiums non-smokers pay.

WHEW! Now that’s not what you want to hear.

The good news is there are some life insurance carriers whose niche is offering the lowest premiums for cigarette smokers…

…and still, others that offer Non Tobacco ratings for people who are cigar and pipe smokers.

Finally, there are even a few carriers that offer Non Tobacco ratings to e-cigarette or even Marijuana users!

The trick is to figure out which company is right for YOU.

I Already Quit Smoking Cigarettes! How Will Life Insurers Rate Me?

High five! Quitting is NEVER easy so kudos to you. My answer? It depends on WHEN you quit and how healthy you are.

Because there are a lot of quitters out there that don’t want to be penalized for past performance.

This is why I created this handy chart to illustrate how life insurance companies may view your particular circumstances:

After Quitting Smoking For 1 Year

Congratulations!  Most companies will consider you for their Standard non tobacco rates after quitting smoking cigarettes for 1 year.  However, I know of at least 10 companies who may offer better than standard rates after quitting for 12 months.  Banner Life claims to offer Standard Plus (one rate class better than standard), as well as Prudential, John Hancock, Protective and six more.  But wait! There are two progressive companies who will consider an offer of Preferred Non Smoker, which are Minnesota Life and Nationwide!  After only one year of not smoking!  Pretty good, huh?

After Quitting Smoking for 2 Years

Wonderful!  At the 2 year mark, 6 more carriers will consider an offer of Standard Plus non tobacco, such as American National, Met Life and Voya. But more importantly, another 8 join the ranks of those companies offering a possible rating of Preferred non tobacco!  Remember, the better the rating, the better the pricing!  As you see, it is vital that you use an independent agent so you will have access to the best carrier for your specific case!

After Quitting Smoking for 3 Years

Preferred Plus, yes, I said Preferred Plus, the very best rating an insurance company offers, is potentially available after your 3rd anniversary of smoking cessation, as long as the rest of your health and lifestyle qualifies for that rating!  At the time of this writing, 5 insurance companies – Banner Life, Lincoln National, Minnesota Life, Mutual of Omaha and North American (if under 70) use this criteria for underwriting!

After Quitting Smoking for 5+ Years

If this is you, every insurance company that I know of will consider you for their best non smoking class, as long as you can qualify for that class otherwise. In other words, you can quit reading this article right now!

INSIDER TIP: Be sure to tell your physician that you quit smoking! It’s also important for you to share the date you had your last cigarette. You want them to record this in their file. Otherwise your medical records will likely show you are still a smoker after you quit! Specifically ask your doctor to make this notation to avoid any complications at a later date.


There are 4 types of life insurance policies available and they include:

  • Term LifeGuaranteed

  • Universal Life

  • Whole Life

  • Universal Life

Virtually all types of life insurance are obtainable if you are looking for life insurance for smokers.

However, we focus only on the two safest forms of coverage:

  • Term LifeGuaranteed

  • Universal Life (GUL)

Term Life Insurance

Term life is the most affordable form of life insurance, hands down, for smokers and nonsmokers alike.

This type of policy covers you for a specified period of years known as a ‘Term’ which can be 10, 20 or 30 years, for example. You pay a set premium for that term and this type of policy provides a death benefit.

However, once that term is up, it will have to be replaced with another policy if your need for life insurance still exists. Most Term policies are also Convertible, which simply means that instead of ending, they can be converted to a permanent policy if the replacement is cost-prohibitive.

Guaranteed Universal Life

Guaranteed Universal Life is our other set-premium form of coverage. It is guaranteed to remain in force, as long as you pay the agreed premium, well into old age.

You can select a policy that will take you to age 90, 100, or for as long as you live, no matter how long you live.

This policy is more expensive than the Term policy, however, it lasts longer and will never need to be replaced, which is a comfort, especially to our older clients who don’t want to have to qualify for, or afford a new policy once they reach 60, 70 or 80 years old.

You also have the option of buying term life insurance in addition to having a guaranteed universal life insurance policy to tide you over for periods of time when you think you need extra coverage.

Whole Life

Generally, we don’t recommend whole life – if you MUST go for a permanent policy we typically suggest Guaranteed Universal Life to our clients.


Ok! I get it! You are looking for cheap life insurance for smokers.

Now that we’ve seen how smoking affects your life insurance rates – you probably understand why I reiterate your need to shop around!

As you can see one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to life insurance for smokers and you need someone who gets your SPECIFIC needs.

Smoking can really ratchet up your premiums. When you’re talking about doubling even tripling your premiums there is NO room for messing around.

The savings can be in the 10’s of thousands of dollars over a 30 year term! That is NOTHING to sniff at.

For more information about Life Insurance call JCT Insurance Agency at (626)354-2000 or email

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