Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2022

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

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The Facts of Life

  • Life insurance rates for smokers are almost always more expensive than rates for people who do not smoke
  • Your life insurance application will be denied if you lie and say you are a non-smoker
  • Some companies may offer other discounts on life insurance coverage to help balance out the extra amount you pay for coverage as a smoker

When you are shopping for life insurance, you have a lot of options at your fingertips. You could choose a term life insurance policy that lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 years, or you could choose one of the many versions of permanent life insurance that will cover you until you pass away, regardless of how old you are.

Regardless of the type of life insurance you choose, there is a guarantee that you will pay more for life insurance for smokers than you will for someone who does not smoke. Life insurance for cigar smokers, cigarette smokers, and people who use vape pens is almost always more expensive than life insurance for people who do not.

If you are shopping for the best life insurance for smokers, you will want to shop around and compare coverage types and monthly rates with multiple companies. Finding cheap life insurance for smokers may be difficult, but you can always compare quotes to make sure you choose the most affordable policy you can find.

In fact, you can use our free quote tool above to find and compare life insurance rates for smokers from top companies in your area today.

Can people who smoke buy life insurance?

People who smoke will most likely be able to purchase some sort of life insurance policy, but, in general, smokers pay more for life insurance than non-smokers do. Life insurance rates for smokers tend to be higher simply because smoking has been proven to cause many health problems and ultimately lead to death at a younger age.

While smoking and life insurance do not really go together well, it is a bad idea to try lying about smoking on life insurance applications or during medical exams. If you’re wondering, “will the doctor tell insurance companies I smoke,” the answer is yes.

Most insurance companies require medical exams before they issue a policy. With a medical exam, you will be required to provide a lot of information, participate in a physical exam, give a blood sample, and give a urine sample. When the doctor discovers that you smoke, this will be noted in your insurance medical exam results.

While there is no life insurance smokers test that companies issue to potential policyholders, your life insurance company will find out that you are a smoker. So it’s a good idea to shop around for affordable life insurance for smokers rather than lying to try and get cheaper rates.

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Does smoking void a life insurance policy?

The only time smoking will affect your life insurance policy is if you lie on your application. If you say you are a non-smoker and your medical exam proves otherwise, you will be denied life insurance coverage. Otherwise, the life insurance claim will not be denied due to smoking when your beneficiaries file to collect the death benefit of your policy.

While your policy will not be voided because you are a smoker, your rates will be higher than those for people who do not smoke. The table below shows the average monthly rates for term life insurance for non-smokers.

Average Monthly Term Life Insurance Rates for Non-Smokers
Age$100,000/10-year Average Monthly Rates$100,000/10-year Average Monthly Rates$100,000/20-year Average Monthly Rates$100,000/20-year Average Monthly Rates$100,000/30-year Average Monthly Rates$100,000/30-year Average Monthly Rates
Non-SmokerMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemale
25$8.27$7.57$10.03$9.06$13.29$12.41
30$8.27$7.57$10.12$9.24$14.08$12.94
35$8.27$7.57$10.12$9.42$15.31$13.11
40$9.86$9.15$12.50$11.18$19.45$15.84
45$13.38$12.50$17.95$14.96$28.51$21.91
50$17.78$15.40$27.19$20.50$48.58$32.12
55$22.53$18.83$38.37$28.60$83.60$57.99
60$37.14$25.61$68.64$46.11N/AN/A
65$59.93$37.93$113.61$72.07N/AN/A
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Now, compare non-smoker life insurance rates to the next table, which shows the average monthly rates for a term life insurance policy for smokers.

Average Monthly Term Life Insurance Rates for Smokers
Age
$100,000/10-Year Average Monthly Rates
$100,000/20-Year Average Monthly Rates
$100,000/30-Year Average Monthly Rates
Smoker
Male
Female
Male
Female
Male
Female
25$18.57$15.93$22.53$17.78$35.02$28.95
30$19.80$16.28$24.46$19.62$39.86$33.35
35$21.47$16.90$27.28$22.09$49.02$39.86
40$26.93$22.79$38.90$30.27$69.78$57.99
45$36.26$31.68$55.53$42.06$111.67$85.27
50$52.98$41.89$84.13$60.54$153.65$115.54
55$78.23$56.58$126.54$88.70N/AN/A
60$113.87$84.04$195.80$131.21N/AN/A
65$173.36$117.83$299.64$209.97N/AN/A
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As you can see, life insurance rates for non-smokers can be significantly cheaper than rates for people who smoke. Typically, tobacco use life insurance can cost anywhere from five to 20% more in premiums. And life insurance for smokers over 50 can get very expensive.

When are you considered a non-smoker after quitting?

If you used to smoke and have quit, you are typically considered a non-smoker after 12 months. This time frame could vary depending on the company you’re applying with, so be sure to speak with an agent or representative if you are unsure.

You may worry about life insurance rates being too high because you are a smoker, but there are some things you can do to lower your monthly rates for coverage. One of the best ways to lower your monthly rates is to ask the insurance company whether you qualify for any discounts on coverage. Some of the most common life insurance discounts include:

  • Safety discounts
  • Bundling discounts
  • Group discounts
  • Loyalty discounts

If you believe any of the discounts above may apply to you, you can ask if you are eligible. You can also lower your monthly life insurance rates by shopping for a term policy rather than a whole life insurance policy or by choosing a lower coverage limit on your policy.

Why do smokers pay different life insurance rates?

Life expectancy is the basis for life insurance rates. So factors that impact your potential “mortality,” or life insurance expectancy, are factored into life insurance quotes.

Cigarette smoking among adults is at an all-time low of 14%, according to a 2020 report from the Surgeon General. But 16 million Americans have a smoking-related disease. And you don’t have to already have health consequences in order to get stuck with higher life insurance rates. Simply being a smoker will usually push you into higher rates when you shop for life insurance.

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The Bottom Line

It may not seem so on the surface, but obtaining life insurance as a smoker is actually super easy. Since this habit carries so many health risks, smokers generally need to pay more for their life insurance premiums; and they could have a more complicated application process.

But as a smoker, having adequate life insurance means your family will have financial security and be able to continue their lifestyle should you pass away.

Also, be sure to shop around and compare life insurance coverage amounts from several companies to make sure you are getting the cheapest rates possible.

As you shop for life insurance coverage for smokers, be sure to use our free quote tool below to find and compare life insurance rates from top companies in your area today.