Just because you smoke does not mean that you will not qualify for life insurance. If you are a smoker and you recognize your need for life insurance, it is important to take time to learn about how your lifestyle habits, your health, and the type of life insurance plan you apply for will affect the premiums that you are quoted. Virtually all of the best life insurance carriers will extend coverage to smokers as long as the applicant does not pose too much of a risk for filing a life insurance claim. Here is your basic guide to understanding your life insurance options for smokers, and how specific factors can affect your premiums.
Types of Life Insurance for Smokers
There are two different types of life insurance that you can choose from: term or permanent. As you are shopping for life insurance, you will need to distinguish between term and permanent. A term insurance policy is a temporary contract that will last a specified number of years between 1 and 30 years. The premiums and death benefit of a term plan will stay level, and coverage will remain valid until the term expires.
A permanent insurance plan, which is typically a whole life policy, will stay in force for the remainder of the insured’s life and premiums are determined at the age the policy is issued. Permanent insurance plans contain a life insurance component and an investment component which will raise the total payout over time, and the premiums for these plans are significantly higher. You will need to determine whether your needs are temporary or more permanent in nature before you select a plan that satisfies your needs and fits your budget.
Lifestyle Habits and Health Factors That Can Affect Premiums
Once you decide which plan to apply for, you need to take the time to understand what makes you a risky applicant for coverage. Smokers pose a higher risk long term than non-smokers, but smoking habits that are combined with specific pre-existing conditions can lead to denials or high-rated plans. If you are a tobacco users, you can expect to pay tobacco rates, but many applicants qualify for Preferred Smoker ratings if they are in good health. If you are in poor health and you have been diagnosed with a moderate or serious medical condition, smoking can entirely disqualify you for coverage. You should be aware of this before you start submitting your applications.
Virtually all insurance companies will test your saliva for the presence of tobacco before issuing an insurance policy. These oral swabs can detect tobacco use as much as 6 months before the test. When you are applying for term or permanent life insurance as a smoker, it is important to be upfront and honest. Apply for coverage today to protect your family. If you ever decide to quit smoking, you may be eligible to receive non-smoking rates by resubmitting oral swab testing.