We sure aren’t going to be breaking news if we say that life insurance companies treat the issue of smoking aggressively. They are keenly aware that smoking causes health issues and exacerbates others and that the combination with certain health issues makes no sense at all. If you are a perfectly healthy smoker you can expect, best case, to pay at least twice as much as a comparable non smoker. With most companies it is closer to three times higher.
Let’s put that in perspective. If a person is perfectly healthy except for being type 1 diabetic, they wouldn’t pay three times what a non type 1 diabetic would pay for life insurance. If a person was a low stage and grade breast or prostate cancer survivor they wouldn’t pay twice as much as a comparable person with no history of cancer. We can’t think of any one thing that carries so much potential negative baggage with it as smoking does.
Now let’s go for a little more reality therapy and stick with us here. Try to put on your life insurance underwriter glasses and consider how you would feel about underwriting someone who smokes and 1. has had a heart attack and CAD surgery in the past or 2. has asthma and takes multiple medications each day or 3. has COPD with an FEV1 of 60% or 4. has a family history of lung cancer deaths in their immediate family. We’re in the business so for us it’s no stretch at all to say these should all be declined life insurance. Do they have a right to keep right on smoking in spite of the stupidity (our take) of that decision? Sure. Do they have the right to be approved for traditional life insurance? Absolutely not.
Does a person who smokes have the same need for life insurance that someone who doesn’t smokes does? Sure they do, but the reality is that to stay within their budget they may not be able to afford as much and if money is not an issue, then they can fully fund their needs. Our experience has been that smokers are a lot less likely to follow through with a life insurance application once they find out the price. The need didn’t go away but their enthusiasm did.
We’re sure this post isn’t going to bring a lot of smokers to our site looking for quotes, but it really is worthy of a discussion about reality. We encourage those who smoke to get life insurance, but we never miss the chance to let them know what those prices would be if they quit smoking. For those very few who actually only smoke a cigarette on occasion there is a small window of opportunity. We’re not naive enough to believe it is easy, but the good reasons for quitting far outweigh any other aspect of the habit.
If you have questions or want to see quotes both as a smoker and what it would be if you went the next 12 months without smoking, call or email us. We can help.
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