Best Life Insurance for Smokers

Finding life insurance as a smoker is possible

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Finding life insurance as a smoker can be challenging, and you may have fewer affordable options than your non-smoking counterparts. The same may hold true if you smoke marijuana, vape, or have recently stopped smoking.

Although you may need to shop around, you should be able to find a suitable policy. To help people who smoke who are looking for life insurance policies, we reviewed policy price, coverage options and limits, and other features before making our top choices. Continue reading to find out which companies made our list of the best life insurance for smokers.

The Best Life Insurance for Smokers in 2021

Best Life Insurance for Smokers
Best Life Insurance for Smokers

Best Overall : Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Why We Chose It: With a range of policies, excellent reputation, and the possibility of preferred health ratings to former smokers, Mutual of Omaha was our overall choice for the best life insurance for smokers.

What We Like
  • Range of policy options for people who smoke

  • Tobacco use may not result in increased rates

  • Online quotations and purchase

  • Excellent reports of client satisfaction

What We Don't Like
  • Limited online account management

  • Buying online reduces coverage options

Many insurance providers automatically classify tobacco users in a more expensive pricing range than non-smokers. However, Mutual of Omaha does not always take someone’s smoking, vaping, or tobacco chewing into consideration when qualifying them for a life insurance policy, making them our overall top pick for life insurance for people who smoke. 

If you are between the age of 18 and 80, you can buy a term life insurance policy of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years, starting at $100,000 coverage. Policies are renewable to age 95 when there are options to convert to whole life coverage.

Prices on the online quotation portal are around $100 per month for a 20-year policy with a $500,000 death benefit for a female smoker. The rate for a male smoker increases to around $150 for a male smoker. (Keep in mind that rates vary by location.) If you’re a recreational marijuana smoker, Mutual of Omaha may also consider your use at standard non-smoker rates providing the use is limited to less than 12 times per month. (Note that they may need to confirm this with a urine test).

You may be required to have a medical exam depending on the life insurance policy you choose. For example, the Guaranteed Plus Whole Life offers guaranteed coverage up to $25,000 with no medical exam, and tobacco use and health history are not factored into the pricing. 

Mutual of Omaha offers a competitive portfolio of insurance products including permanent and term life insurance. Clients have a range of purchasing options including online, over the phone, or through a local agent.

Mutual of Omaha is available in all 50 states and has an AM Best rating of A+ (Superior).

Best for Cigar Smokers : AIG

AIG

 AIG

Why We Chose It: With well-designed policies and the potential for non-tobacco life insurance rates, AIG is our top choice for cigar smokers.

What We Like
  • Preferred plus ratings available to people who smoke cigar

  • Term and whole life policy options

What We Don't Like
  • Limited selection of no-exam options

  • Some reports of poor customer service

The American International Group (AIG), offers its life insurance policies through the American General Life Insurance Company. They are a leading global insurance provider operating in 80 countries and across the United States. AIG offers a portfolio of life insurance products, including permanent and term life insurance policies.

People who smoke cigars may be concerned that their life insurance policy will cost more because of their smoking habit. However, cigar smoking and cigarette smoking are not necessarily considered equal. Providing you smoke one cigar a week or less, AIG will not impose a penalty, and you may qualify for Preferred Plus health ratings.

Using the online quote system and answering a few questions about family medical history and general health, we learned a sample monthly cost for a female cigar smoker of fewer than 12 each year, in their 40s in general good health, would be around $110 per month for a 20-year policy with a $500,000 death benefit. The same policy for a man costs around $150 per month. (Note that rates may vary based on location.)

You will likely need a medical exam for an AIG life insurance policy which may include a physical exam, questions about your medical history, measurements of your height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse, and urine and blood tests.

AIG states that tobacco use may adversely affect your premium rate, but it will not be determined solely on your tobacco use but rather an overall picture of your health. They also state that marijuana use probably won’t disqualify you from purchasing life insurance, but the amount you consume will determine how much you’ll pay.

The company does not state what they consider frequent tobacco use. However, they do mention that they will work with you to find a competitively priced life insurance policy and may be able to find a non-smoker rate depending on the nature of your tobacco usage.

People aged 18 to 80 can buy an AIG term life insurance of 10, 15, 20, or 35 years for $50,000 or more in coverage. You can renew to age 95.

AIG is available in all 50 states and has an AM Best rating of A (Excellent).

Best for Marijuana Smokers : Prudential

Prudential

 Prudential

Why we chose it: Prudential is our top pick for marijuana smokers because they may offer you non-smoking rates if you smoke cannabis less than three times a week.

What We Like
  • Allowances for people who smoke marijuana

  • Excellent reputation and customer service

  • Online quote and claims system

What We Don't Like
  • Must purchase through an agent

  • May require a medical exam

  • Policies may be pricier than other providers

  • Only available up to age 75

Many life insurance providers may not cover people who smoke marijuana or place them in higher-cost categories. However, Prudential has progressive underwriting that may cover recreational and medical marijuana users. If someone only smokes a few times per month, they may qualify for non-smoker rates, which makes Prudential our choice for best for people who smoke marijuana.

Prudential offers term, variable, and guaranteed universal life insurance. Sample costs for a 40-year-old female, on a 20-year term policy for $250,000, would be around $140 per month. The same policy for a male comes in at about $175. (Rates may vary based on location.) You can find online quotes on the Prudential website, but you will need to purchase through a local agent.

The online quote system asks fundamental questions about health, including height and weight, whether you take any prescription meds, and if you have been treated for certain conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or depression. There is also a yes or no smoking question, although it doesn’t specifically ask about marijuana. 

You may also be required to have a medical exam and a urine test that measures THC. It’s not clear what levels will qualify or disqualify you from coverage, so we recommended calling the company to find out. However, heavy marijuana users run the risk of being declined as Prudential’s underwriting criteria only covers a maximum of six uses of marijuana each week.

Prudential is the third-largest life insurance company in the United States, provides nationwide coverage, and has an AM Best rating of A+ (Superior).

Best for No Medical Exam : Transamerica

Transamerica

 Transamerica

Why We Chose It: Even people who smoke can skip the medical exam with Transamerica. Plus, if you quit, they’ll reconsider your rate.

What We Like
  • Range of policy options

  • Online quotes

What We Don't Like
  • Must buy through a local agent

  • Substandard customer services

  • Can’t make changes to policies online

If you’d prefer a life insurance policy without needing a medical exam, consider the Transamerica no medical exam option which provides coverage up to $100,000 without needing a physical exam. Transamerica also offers a range of whole, universal, and final expense coverage options. They also offer Trendsetter Super, which is term life insurance that you can convert to permanent at the end of the term, and Trendsetter LB, which provides living benefits should someone become terminally ill. 

Transamerica does not stipulate any limitations on the availability of life insurance policies to people who smoke. However, your smoking habit may affect your health rating category which will impact the policy's cost. Using the online quote system, we found that for a 40-year-old female on a 20-year term Trendsetter Super policy for $500,000, the cost would be around $150 per month. (Rates may vary based on location.)

The same policy for a male comes in at about $160 and a medical exam is needed. Unfortunately, the online quote system only provides information for the Trendsetter policies. If you need a quote for the simplified issue with no medical exam policy, you will need to contact Transamerica directly.    

Transamerica started in 1904 to provide affordable banking solutions. Today, Transamerica offers a range of life insurance policies and financial products to companies and individuals. Transamerica policies are available in all 50 states and the company has an AM Best rating of A (Excellent).

Final Verdict 

Because using tobacco can have serious health consequences and affect your mortality, life insurance providers generally charge people who smoke higher premiums to offset the risk. 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. 

With a long history of offering insurance and financial products, Mutual of Omaha is our overall pick for best life insurance for smokers due to its range of policy options, outstanding reputation, and possible preferred health ratings to former smokers.

AIG allows cigar smokers to qualify for non-smoking rates and occasional cannabis users can find a policy with non-smoking rates through Prudential month. And if you prefer a no medical exam policy, Transamerica offers coverage of up to $100,000 without an examination.

Compare Providers

Best Life Insurance for Smokers
Insurance provider Monthly premium female Monthly premium male Coverage
Mutual of Omaha
Best Overall
$100 $150 $500,000
AIG
Best for Cigar Smokers
$110 $150 $500,000
Prudential
Best for Marijuana Smokers
$140 $175 $250,000
Transamerica
Best for No Medical Exam
$150 $160 $500,000

FAQs

What Is Life Insurance for Smokers? 

Life insurance for smokers offers the same benefits as life insurance policies purchased by non-smokers, with the main difference being that smokers typically pay a higher rate. 

People buy life insurance to help protect their family from financial hardship by leaving them a non-taxable death benefit if they die. The beneficiaries can use the money to cover the mortgage on the family home, repay personal loans, put a child through college, or cover final expenses. The life insurance payout could also replace your family’s income and allow them to maintain their quality of life when you're no longer there. 

Generally speaking, life insurance is offered either as a term or permanent policy, also called whole life. Term insurance is coverage for a set length of time like 10 years. Should you die during the term, the insurance provider will pay your beneficiaries a death benefit. If you don’t die within the term, you’ll need new coverage or go without.

Permanent life insurance provides life-long coverage, along with a cash value you can use if you need it. 

How Do Life Insurance Companies Know You’re a Smoker?

Insurance companies need to form a complete picture of your health and ask you relevant questions, such as whether you smoke or use nicotine products. It’s essential to answer these questions honestly and admit if you use tobacco, even if only occasionally. 

If the life insurance policy requires you to have a medical examination, there are tests to find nicotine in your blood or urine. They’ll also search for cotinine, which is a nicotine byproduct that can stay in your bloodstream for more than two weeks.

Although being a person who smokes may result in higher rates for life insurance, it’s never a good idea to hide your smoking habit on the application form. Even though some companies offer policies with no medical exam, you should still reveal your smoking habit and eliminate any risk of your death benefit not being paid in the event you die from a smoking-related illness. 


Does Life Insurance Cost More for Smokers? 

Life insurance does cost more for people who smoke. Smoking kills nearly half a million people each year in the United States, meaning that smoking has serious health consequences and impacts life expectancy. Insurance providers regard smokers as a higher risk than non-smokers, a factor that is reflected in the cost of premiums.

Using quotes from Transamerica to illustrate, the cost for a 40-year-old female smoker, on a 20-year term Trendsetter Super policy for $500,000, would be around $150 per month, or $160 for a man. If you quote for non-smokers, with all other details the same, the price is $38 a month for females and $48 for men. That’s an increase of 295% for women and 233% for men.

How Long After Quitting Do Life Insurance Companies Consider You a Non-Smoker?

The good news is that if you quit smoking,  many life insurance companies consider you a non-smoker if you have been smoke-free for 12 months. However, because companies have their own rules about the definition of a non-smoker, you should check with each provider to confirm.

Methodology

We evaluated 18 insurance companies offering life insurance policies to smokers before selecting the top four category leaders. We considered the cost of monthly premiums, benefit amount, and ease of applying and purchasing. Additionally, we reviewed the company’s reputation and portfolio of offerings. 

We also considered how straightforward it is to obtain a quote and if applicants need to undergo a physical medical exam as a requirement. Because customer service and financial stability are essential, we also reviewed feedback data and AM Best ratings before deciding on the top life insurance picks for smokers.

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Article Sources
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