Will Quitting Smoking Lower My Life Insurance Premiums?

Hands breaking a cigarette in half

There are many reasons to quit smoking, and reducing the cost of life insurance is one of them. When you kick the habit, you save money not only on the cost of cigarettes and healthcare, but on life insurance premiums as well. If you are ready to quit, talk to our friendly agent about how and when it will get you better life insurance rates.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Life Insurance Premiums?

Insurance companies classify individuals according to risk, and the higher the risk, the higher the premium for life insurance. Many insurers require lab work and a medical exam to gauge the risk, testing for diabetes, high cholesterol, and other health issues. They also test for nicotine, which can remain in the bloodstream for several days, as well as a byproduct of nicotine that remains in the body for even longer. A urine test can reveal smoking or tobacco use weeks after the last consumption.

You will probably be asked if you have used a tobacco product within the past year. Even if you only smoke occasionally, if the answer is yes, you will be classified as a smoker and pay higher rates for life insurance. However, premiums for heavy smokers may be even higher than for lighter, more casual smokers.

How Long Do You Have To Be Tobacco-Free To Qualify For Lower Rates?

Different insurance companies have different policies for tobacco and nicotine products:

  • Some companies will give you a break if you are using a nicotine patch or other smoking cessation products, provided you are no longer smoking.
  • Some insurers require that you have not used tobacco for at least five years to qualify for lower rates.
  • Other companies require policyholders to have not used nicotine products for at least three years.
  • One insurance company offers non-smoking rates to individual policyholders who are trying to stop using tobacco products. This quit-smoking incentive allows people to purchase life insurance at lower rates for one to three years while they are trying to kick the habit. If they are still smoking when that time expires, premiums go up to higher smoker’s rates.

How Much Does Smoking Increase Your Life Insurance Costs?

Smoking can increase your life insurance rates substantially. A smoker may pay twice as much or more than a nonsmoker for the same coverage. The higher your age if you are a smoker, the higher your rates will be. For example, the average annual premium for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a death benefit of $250,000 is $753 for a 30-year-old male smoker, as compared to $7,107 for a 60-year-old male smoker.

What If You Are Vaping Instead Of Smoking?

Vaping has become more popular over the past decade, particularly among younger people. Insurance companies have different policies about vaping. Some will treat you as a smoker if you vape, because of the nicotine contained in the products, while others may classify you as a nonsmoker. Most insurers do not treat vaping as a smoking cessation aid, even if you are using it to quit.