Friday, June 28, 2013

Be Refused Insurance Should You Smoke

Smoking increases your risk of developing chronic health problems.

Although you may be able to take out a life insurance policy if you smoke, you are going to pay a higher premium rate than a non-smoking policyholder. Other factors related to your medical history will play a role in determining whether you qualify for life insurance coverage. Company policies differ, so whether you are insurable may depend in part on how much you smoke.

Risk Factors

When applying for a life insurance policy, an insurance company will consider whether you smoke, and if you do, the company will take into account how much you smoke. Smoking is a risk factor that increases your chances for lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Even if an insurance company accepts your application, you can expect to pay a higher premium. In the event you have additional risk factors such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, an insurance company may deny your application for life insurance.

Definition of Non-Smoker

Most insurance companies allow you to list yourself as a nonsmoker only if you haven't smoked or used any type of tobacco product for at least one full year. Insurers vary in their underwriting requirements, therefore, you should check with a company's agent for specific details. Generally, nicotine use refers to cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco. Indicating on your application that you used a nicotine patch or gum can get you classified as a tobacco user as well, even if you no longer smoke. Companies usually require a urine test as part of the medical examination to detect any traces of nicotine in your urine.


Insurance companies don't normally care if you smoke only one cigarette a day or a full pack. The health risks are the same and will result in a higher premium rate. Your age and health status help classify your risk level as well. However, the worst thing you can do is to lie on your application and commit insurance fraud. If you die and the insurance company finds out you were a regular smoker, your life insurance company could deny paying the claim, placing a financial burden on your survivors.

Premium Rates

The higher rates insurance companies charge smokers can vary significantly. Rates depend on your age, health history and amount of life insurance you are applying for. In general, smokers pose an immense risk to an insurance company because they are more likely to have health issues related to heart disease and other chronic illnesses that can cut your life short. These increased health risks often raise life insurance premium rates nearly four times higher for smokers than for nonsmokers, points out Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner.

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