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When it comes to getting life insurance for smokers, it is no secret that the premiums will generally be more than what life insurance for nonsmokers will pay. This is because tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars carry proven health risks that can increase the chances of dying early. Such changes mean that smokers carry a greater risk for life insurance companies to cover.

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However, not all risks are the same when it comes to smokers. In fact, there are different categories, and each has its own types of coverage and premiums for those who use tobacco products.

Ratings and Categories for Quitters:

Each category may have different names depending on the insurance company, but these are generally the more common.

Super Premium: This is the most coveted category for those who want life insurance at the most affordable rates. Generally speaking, this covers those who have never smoked and passed all the medical tests with flying colors for smoking-related and non-related health issues. In essence, those who qualify are the picture of perfect health.

Premium: This is generally a category for those who have occasionally smoked cigarettes or cigars. But mostly, it is for people who are of average health. They tend to be in good shape but may have some small issues, such as elevated levels of cholesterol for example. Still, the rates are very good for this type of insurance.

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Standard: Most people fall into the standard category, meaning they may have a few issues here and there, but overall they are in good, general health. The rates are generally good but not quite as good as the above categories.

Tobacco: This is the most problematic for life insurance companies, as those who fall into this category will pay the highest rates. Interestingly enough, there are two sub-categories for smokers, preferred and standard.

  • Preferred: Overall good health who occasionally smokes a cigar occasionally.
  • Standard: Overall good health, but who does smoke more regularly?

Preferred is generally the cheapest life insurance for smokers, although quitting altogether will change that to an even less expensive category.

How do Life Insurance Companies Know if You Smoke?

Life insurance companies run tests as part of their medical examinations to determine the presence of tobacco in the system. If you stated that you were not a smoker and they find nicotine traces in their examinations that you either are or have been smoking, the result might range from a rise in your premiums to outright cancellation of your policy. Therefore, you must put that information down even if you only smoke cigars on special occasions.

How Long to Quit Smoking for Life Insurance?

It will depend on the test that is being used. The saliva and urine tests can detect nicotine in the system for up to two weeks and perhaps slightly longer in the bloodstream. A hair test can detect nicotine use going much further back. However, this is a very rare test due to the expense of most insurance companies not bothering to pay for it. Generally speaking, you should quit smoking for at least a month to ensure passing the saliva and urine tests.

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Life Insurance for Quitters:

By Quitting Smoking You Get Lower Life Insurance Rates

Smokers’ life insurance is simply more expensive than similar insurance for nonsmokers in most cases. Only in the extreme cases of a person in very poor health who doesn’t smoke will they have to pay more for their coverage. It is true that coverage for cigar smokers, those who enjoy an occasional cigar on New Year’s Eve or perhaps when a baby is born, will pay less for their life insurance coverage.

However, even this is considered a bad habit by insurance companies. Even occasional smokers will likely pay more even when including term life insurance for smokers which is generally the least expensive. In addition, it applies to life policy for marijuana smokers who also face carcinogens from their habit.

It must be noted that life insurance companies reward those who manage to quit smoking with less expensive policies. There are even incentives provided that can save you even more money when quitting, making this a very practical option for lowering your expenses.

Effective Methods to Quit Smoking:

There are some methods you can use to stop smoking that will improve your overall health and reduce your risk of dying prematurely. In addition, you will also pay lower insurance rates as your health improves from not smoking.

Cold Turkey: A traditional way to stop smoking which enjoys little success but arguably is the least effective. Going cold turkey means stopping smoking all at once without aid or assistance. If you can fully separate yourself from other smokers or simply have no alternatives, this may work, although the odds are quite low.

Nicotine Gum: This is a standard way to stop smoking, providing the body with nicotine so that the cravings can be addressed. As a reminder, nicotine gum users may be considered smokers for life insurance purposes since it appears on the tests.

Nicotine Patches: A similar method to the gum, but the patch is placed directly on the skin to provide the nicotine. It is arguably less effective in some ways because chewing the gum at least provides the mouth with something to do.

Hypnosis: This method has been used successfully for many years. It actually gets at the mental aspects of the addiction and seeks to remove them directly by introducing new habits and attitudes to turn you away from smoking.

Electronic Cigarettes: This is a relatively new way to quit smoking that offers the merits of addressing the muscle memory habits of smoking while not providing the carcinogens of tobacco. While still controversial in some quarters, there is no doubt that those who use e-cigs are at lesser risk of cancer if they use all-natural liquids.

All in all, quitting smoking will not only change your life insurance from smokers into life insurance for nonsmokers, but it will also improve your health and eliminate a potential threat to your life


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.