Life Insurance for Smokers: Rates & Eligibility

Image of cloud of cigarette smoke for Quotacy blog Life Insurance for Tobacco, Nicotine, and Marijuana Users.

Tips and Strategies to Get Your Best Rate

Not smoking is the best way to get the most affordable coverage.

But, of course, that’s not helpful advice in this context.

Let’s unpack some cost-saving strategies.

Work With an Independent Broker

The most effective strategy to get the best price on a life insurance policy is to shop around. However, this can be incredibly time-consuming if you do it solo. Work with an experienced broker that can help you shop the market to get quotes from insurers that may have more favorable terms for tobacco users.

Adjust Your Policy Terms

If the quotes you receive from insurers are still too high for your budget, you can try adjusting your coverage or term length to find a more affordable option.

Unsure how much life insurance you need? Try our life insurance calculator.

The Cost of Life Insurance for Ex-Smokers

Ex-smokers may be eligible for non-tobacco rates, but the number of tobacco-free years required to qualify can vary between insurers.

While some insurance companies may consider offering non-tobacco rates just 12 months after you’ve quit, others might require as many as five years without tobacco use.


Anna and Jane are siblings and decide to quit smoking together. One year later, they both independently decide to buy life insurance to protect their families.

Jane works with a broker who finds her an insurer that offers non-tobacco rates after just one year without smoking. Her life insurance policy costs $29.33 per month.

Anna, on the other hand, goes through her neighbor, a captive insurance agent. Unfortunately, the insurance company the agent represents requires five tobacco-free years to qualify for non-tobacco rates. Despite having the same coverage as Jane, Anna’s monthly premium is significantly higher at $96.89.

This scenario is another reason why working with a broker is the best way to find favorable pricing. A knowledgeable broker understands these variations and can match you with the insurer who has more forgiving guidelines for tobacco-free years.

FAQs: Smoking and Life Insurance

Finding affordable life insurance as a smoker can be challenging. Here we answer some common questions which may help you during the buying process.

What If I Buy a Policy as a Smoker and Later Quit?

If you initially receive tobacco rates but later decide to quit smoking, you can reapply for a non-tobacco policy. If approved, your life insurance rates will be adjusted.

However, other factors in your life could negatively impact your rates, even if you quit smoking.

Consider the following:

If your health worsens, your rates may not decrease.
Another medical exam will likely be required to prove you’re smoke-free.
Some insurers consider you smoke-free after 12 months and some require up to five years.

Never cancel a policy until you have a new one 100% inforce.

What If I Start Smoking After Getting Life Insurance?

If you buy a life insurance policy at non-tobacco rates and then begin smoking, don’t worry; it won’t change your current coverage or the death benefits.

As long as you were truthful on your initial application, carriers cannot retroactively penalize you for smoking after securing coverage – no matter what.

Can Claims Be Denied if the Insured Smokes?

Insurers cannot deny a claim because you started smoking after obtaining coverage.

As long as you accurately reported your smoking status on your application, the insurer must honor the initial terms.

What If You Lie About Smoking?

Tobacco use will be detected in the urine test, a standard part of the medical exam.

If you lie on your life insurance application and say you’ve never used tobacco, you’re hiding a significant health factor, which is insurance fraud.

Some or all of your policy’s death benefits may be withheld from your beneficiaries.

Should You Delay Buying Life Insurance If You’re Trying to Quit?

You shouldn’t delay buying life insurance if you’re trying to quit smoking.

Getting coverage as soon as needed is the best course of action. Your health could worsen, which means your rates won’t decrease. Or you could get in a car accident tomorrow.

Protect your family now. If you quit smoking later, you can reapply to lower your rates. 

Compare Life Insurance Quotes for Smokers and Apply Today

Life insurance is purchased by smokers every day. The process doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming.

At Quotacy, we are dedicated to matching you with the right life insurance product and company for your situation. By understanding your specific needs, we aim to secure the best price possible.

Don’t leave it to guesswork; explore your options and get free, anonymous term life insurance quotes today. Take control of your future by making an informed decision that suits your lifestyle.