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Does smoking affect term life insurance rates?


One of the most common questions people have about term life insurance is how smoking can affect your rates. It is important to understand this if you are a smoker or if you used to be a smoker that your ability to obtain term life insurance, and your ability to get a favorable rate, will be impacted by this decision.

First the Good News

There are plenty of options for term life insurance for smokers. Many companies will still offer you a plan, and there are even some policies designed explicitly for smokers. Moreover, if you used to smoke but have stopped, insurance companies will take that into account. Most companies treat individuals who haven’t used nicotine products for 3-5 years as non-smokers when calculating rates. You should be warned however, that has the amount of coverage you request goes up, so too does the risk that your term life insurance company will want to test you for nicotine metabolites that come from nicotine product use.

Now the Bad News

If you are a current smoker, or was a smoker in the past 3-5 years, you will likely be charged a higher rate for term life insurance.  This is because smoking doesn’t kill you from having a single cigarette, but rather through the continued damage that smoking causes over time. This means smokers represent a much greater risk to the insurance company that non-smokers do, so insurance companies must charge more to cover those risks.

As you can see, there are still plenty of options for term life insurance for smokers. However, the best way to get the best rated term life insurance is to give up your nicotine habit so that you can get the more favorable products and rates that are offered to non-smokers. Doing so will not only save you money, but may also save your life!

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