Life insurance premium rates for smokers

It's estimated about one-third of the world's adults continue to smoke tobacco. That's a lot of people and it's a testament to the addictive nature of tobacco that so many people fail to quit despite the very clear evidence of the adverse health effects. What makes the number even more alarming is the number of young people starting to smoke. You can understand the old ones being hooked and not being strong-willed enough to quit. They will stop when they are hospitalized or die. But the tobacco companies are doing a remarkable job in convincing the young this is a habit they should take up. It seems there's little hope for the young until either the law is changed to restrict access to tobacco or taxes are raised to make smoking unaffordable.

Because everyone in the developed world knows that smoking shortens lives, it should not be a surprise to learn that life insurance companies include this fact in their calculations of the annual premium rate. The practical reality is that the moment the life insurance industry tags you as a smoker, you will pay twice. In a survey published at the end of 2012, the national average is smokers spend 14% of their take-home pay on cigarettes. In most states, the average price of a pack of cigarettes is $10 so, if you smoke one pack a day, that's a yearly spend of about $3,650. Even if you find cheaper packs around $7, that's still $2,555. The second way in which you spend is on higher life insurance premiums.

How do life insurance companies define smoking? Any use of tobacco qualifies whether it's in a cigarette, cigar, pipe, as something you chew, or any other format. Even using a nicotine patch to help you quit qualifies. So you will be asked a formal question about your use of nicotine. When it comes to your medical exam, there will be a blood sample taken. One of the things tested is for the presence of drugs like nicotine. If you're found dishonest, you will be refused cover. If you admit it, the life insurance quotes will increase.

How much will life insurance quotes increase? There's no fixed loading. The additional amount will reflect the type of insurance you have requested, how old you are, and the general state of your health. It varies between companies.

Does it make any difference if you are only an occasional smoker? It makes no difference. You are either a smoker or not. If the blood test shows any nicotine and you were less than honest, you will be refused cover.

The moral of this story is easy to state. If you quit, you save on the cost of the tobacco and, once your blood test confirms no nicotine, you save on the life insurance rates. Quit now if you want affordable life insurance.