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How smoking could impact your life insurance

You may know smoking increases premiums, but why? Learn how habits may affect life insurance.
August 16, 2023
2 min read
How smoking could impact your life insurance

If you smoke and wonder why you could face higher costs on life insurance, we may have an answer: many insurance companies consider the many side effects of smoking. This means more health risks and rising costs of life insurance. By understanding the application process, you can make finding the right life insurance coverage a possibility. 


The medical exam

How do life insurance companies learn if someone smokes? It’s a common question when applying for life insurance. There could be a medical exam, but for some types of coverage like Term Life Insurance or Guaranteed Acceptance Whole Life, it’s not required. Premiums can be determined by how often someone smokes and by how long they’ve been smoking. Besides questions and medical exams, life insurance companies may also fact-check applicants on an individual basis.


What it means to lie

Can someone lie about smoking to avoid higher costs? The short answer is no. Medical exams test for nicotine, which can stay in your system and still register during a medical exam, even if you haven't smoked in weeks. If you were able to pass the medical exam as a non-smoker, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk by lying. Typically, if your life insurance company finds out in the next two years that your medical information wasn’t honest, they can refuse payment on your policy. 


Ways to lower premiums

Within the insurance industry, there are several ways to potentially lower your premiums. If you used to be a smoker, but recently quit, you can contact your provider to see if you’re already eligible for reduced premiums. Also, you can decide to quit smoking on your own. This decision may ultimately lead to lower premiums in the future. Additionally, some policies don’t ask about smoking, which typically means they are less expensive for smokers. And finally, some employers are willing to support their employees’ efforts to quit smoking to eventually help lower their premiums through what’s called a smoker cessation program.

Waiting to buy a life insurance policy until you’ve quit smoking could leave your family unprotected. While premiums may be higher, if you’re honest during the application process and find a plan that’s right for you, you can help provide your loved ones with the coverage they deserve.

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