Canadians addicted to cigarettes always complain about the extremely high price of insurance premiums. They pay double or triple the premiums for non-smokers. When calculated, their premiums add up to thousands of dollars more than what non-smokers pay for coverage.
Buying life insurance as a cigarette smoker, tobacco chewer, or vaper can be really daunting because insurance companies in Canada consider you a higher risk to insure.
However, not all insurance companies treat smokers the same way. Some insurers offer better rates than others. The trick is to find which insurance company offers the best rates for smokers.
If you are looking for life insurance for smokers, this blog post will enlighten you on how smoking affects your life insurance and what you can expect when searching and applying for your life insurance policy.
Can I Get Life Insurance For Smokers?
If you smoke, chew tobacco, or vape, there is still a chance that you can get life insurance. Getting life insurance with a smoking habit might seem challenging, but there are still options available.
That smokers cannot buy life insurance because they don’t qualify is an incorrect assumption. The only valid assumption is that coverage for life insurance is more expensive for smokers than for non-smokers.
Insurance companies in Canada offer smokers rates that are higher than standard rates for non-smokers. Smokers pay nearly two to five times more life insurance premiums.
In your insurance application, you will be asked if you smoke. You must answer honestly. Insurance policies have a contestability period of two years. During this period, your insurer can rescind your life insurance and refund the premiums if you misrepresent any information during the application process.
Suppose you die within this period and the insurer discovers that you lied about your smoking status. In that case, they can rescind your policy and deny your beneficiary access to your death benefit.
Further, the insurance company might ask you to take a medical exam that requires blood and urine testing. This will help them determine your smoking habits.
How Does My Smoking Habit Affect Life Insurance?
Approximately 4 million Canadians smoke cigarettes, and about 45,000 die from their use every year.
Smoking has several health effects, like cancer and heart disease. Lung cancer is the most popular effect of tobacco. It causes more death than any other type of cancer. Most lung cancer victims are currently smoking or have smoked at some point.
Life expectancy is the basis for all life insurance policies. Every factor that impacts your life expectancy is considered in your life insurance quotes. The earlier you are likely to die, the worse it is for your insurance company.
Smokers lose about nine years of their life expectancy. 21% of the deaths in the past decade can be traced to smoking. Insurance companies have to compensate for the additional risk you present as a smoker.
That is why they offer life insurance premiums higher than the standard for non-smokers. On average, smokers will pay two to five times the life insurance premiums a non-smoker will pay at the same age, gender, and health status.
Can I Lower My Premiums as a Smoker?
Yes. You can. You can lower your life insurance premiums if you quit smoking. If you stop smoking to improve your health, you may also improve your life insurance options.
The year you quit smoking, you will experience a drastic improvement in your health and your finances. However, there might be no immediate effect on your life insurance premiums.
The insurance company would have to verify that you have not smoked cigarettes or consumed tobacco products in the last 12 months. There will be a declaration stating that you no longer smoke, consume or use cigars, cigarettes, chew tobacco, nicotine patches, or gum.
Further, you will have to confirm your non-smoking status by undergoing a medical underwriting, which most likely involves a urine test. The urine test will examine to check that there is no trace of nicotine or cotinine in your system.
Also, they will confirm that there hasn’t been any significant adverse change in your health status. You may be eligible for non-smoker rates and get lower premiums when all these are done.
What Other Factors Affect Life Insurance For Smokers?
When we talk about smoking, everyone thinks of cigarettes. However, there are other products that life insurance companies consider. The average insurance company will classify you as a smoker if you use any of these products.
- Vaping: Insurance companies consider the health effects of vaping. Some of the carcinogens present in vaping have a long-term impact on their users. Vaping, electronic cigarettes, and the flavored tobacco products used are considered as smoking.
- Marijuana and cannabis: While recreational marijuana usage is legal in Canada, the classification of cannabis smokers in Canada has changed. Before now, recreational marijuana smokers were considered smokers by insurance providers. That is no longer the case. Marijuana users are usually asked how much marijuana they consume. Heavy marijuana usage and marijuana mixed with tobacco are classified as smoking.
How To Find The Best Life Insurance For Smokers
Smokers may not get the same rates as non-smokers with the same health and lifestyle characteristics.
However, you can find a better rate on your life insurance policy if you choose an insurance company that is more lenient towards smokers.
Here’s what to consider when looking for the best life insurance companies for smokers:
- Affordable premiums for smokers: Some insurance companies in Canada offer more competitive premiums for smokers than others. They might offer better premiums if your smoking is occasional or doesn’t involve smoking cigarettes specifically. It is essential to shop around and get quotes from insurers to see who offers the best premiums.
- The chance to lower your premiums: Some insurers allow smokers to lower their monthly premiums if they quit smoking for at least 12 months. You should ensure that you find an insurance company that offers the possibility of lowering your premiums. It will be great for your bank account.
Types Of Life Insurance for Smokers You Can Buy
There is still a range of life insurance options for smokers in Canada. You can seek out the best rates if you are a healthy smoker. If you already have smoking-related health issues, you still have some insurance options.
However, you will most likely pay higher premiums and receive a smaller death benefit. Here are a few available life insurances for smokers.
Term Life Insurance for Smokers
Term life insurance is a simple and affordable life insurance type. It pays a death benefit to your family if you die within the policy term, and if you survive the term, you get nothing.
A term life insurance policy can last for a specified period, usually 10 to 30 years. You can consider buying a term life insurance policy if you plan to quit or have recently stopped smoking.
If you have stopped smoking for at least 2-5 years, you can apply for level-term life insurance and get better premiums than you would get as a smoker.
Whole Life Insurance for Smokers
A whole life insurance policy lasts a lifetime. Your death benefit is paid to your beneficiary after your death. It is more like fill-it-shut-it life insurance.
The whole life insurance policy comes with a cash value account that grows over time. You can withdraw or borrow against the cash value whenever you want and for whatever purpose you wish. The cash value is for you to use while alive.
However, whole life insurance premiums are usually higher than term life insurance policies, especially for smokers.
Guaranteed Life Insurance for Smokers
Guaranteed life insurance doesn’t require a life insurance medical exam or health screening. So, if you have smoking-related severe health issues and are concerned you won’t get affordable standard life insurance, you should opt for a guaranteed life insurance policy.
Though you will have to pay higher premiums and receive lower death benefits than standard life insurance, you should know that your protections are guaranteed.
Guaranteed life insurance offers financial protection for your dependents and loved ones. Unlike simplified issue life insurance, which requires you to complete a health questionnaire, guaranteed issue life insurance doesn’t come with any health requirements.
This type of life insurance is perfect for Canadians whose health and age prevent them from buying other types of coverage.
Final Thoughts On Life Insurance For Smokers
As a smoker, the idea of buying a life insurance policy can be intimidating, especially when you think about the high premiums you will have to pay.
Life is expensive, and life insurance doesn’t have to be too expensive. Take control of your financial future and get a life insurance policy that offers the best rates to smokers.
You can speak to an experienced insurance advisor to guide you on the best options available.
Hi, I'm Adeola Adegoke. I am a licensed Insurance Broker in Manitoba, and I hold a master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences (with a major in Financial Modeling) from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Tanzania.
Also, I have a second master's degree in Statistics from the University of Regina, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Manitoba.
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