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The Impact of Smoking on Your Life Insurance Rates

Individuals who smoke often notice that insurance charts often give a higher rate for life insurance coverage. This may seem unfair until you begin to consider how insurance calculates “risk.” Statistically, smokers are at higher risk for several health problems. As a result, this is reflected in the higher premiums. 

Health Problems Associated With Smoking

The public has been told for many years that smoking increases the risk for asthma attacks, congestive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. However, smoking has adverse effects on the body that go far beyond damage to the respiratory system. It damages blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Individuals who smoke are at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and vision loss. Smoking can also affect healing from common medical procedures. When you smoke, you cause interference with the normal circulatory processes in the body, which can lead to a host of health problems. 

Life Insurance Reflects This Increased Risk

Because smoking has so many health effects, it is considered a significant factor in contributing to conditions that can cause death. As a result, insurance companies will calculate smoking into your life expectancy and how likely it is they will have to pay on your policy. Generally, a life insurance premium for a smoker will be 2 to 3 times higher than for a non-smoker. If you want to keep your life insurance premiums affordable, avoid smoking. And if you smoke currently, take active measures to stop. 

Quitting Smoking Can Help Lower Your Life Insurance Premium

If you quit smoking, you can help improve your premium rate. Most insurance companies will offer a lower life insurance premium for individuals who have not used nicotine or nicotine replacement products for one year. 

The best life insurance companies may have a tiered system, lowering rates for each year you have refrained from nicotine, from one year to three years. If you want to lower your insurance rates, you can take active steps to stop smoking by talking to your doctor about smoking cessation medications, joining a smoking cessation support group, or by using other methods to stop. 

Final Takeaway

Insurance is a business, and like every business, it must balance its revenues with its expenses to make sure it makes a profit. Because smoking is linked to a variety of health problems that increase the risk for death, life insurance for smokers must be priced at a higher rate than for non-smokers.

Updated on April 13, 2020

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