Typical Costs of Life Insurance For Smokers

male smoker enjoying a cigaretteAccording to the American Red Cross, 480,000 smokers in America die every year from causes related to their smoking. This figure represents approximately 1 in 5 deaths annually in the U.S.

Smoking rates have declined over the decades due to public health campaigns but still remain high with over 34 million adult smokers in the U.S.

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Why Are Life Insurance Costs Higher For Smokers?

There are a few key reasons why life insurance costs are typically higher for smokers compared to non-smokers:

  • Health risks - Smoking is associated with a higher risk of various diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, etc. These health conditions can significantly reduce life expectancy, which increases the risk of an earlier payout for the insurer. So smokers are seen as higher risk clients.
  • Shorter life expectancy - Studies show that on average, smokers have a shorter life span compared to non-smokers. This again increases the chances of an earlier payout. Insurers price policies based on life expectancy estimates.
  • Higher mortality rates - Mortality data indicates that death rates are significantly higher for smokers compared to non-smokers of the same age. Insurance companies rely heavily on mortality statistics to calculate premiums. The higher the mortality risk, the higher the premiums.

It's no surprise, then, with the increased health risks, shorter life expectancy, higher mortality rates, and potential for more frequent claims makes insuring smokers much more expensive.

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Insurance companies know these statistics, so, because the likelihood of death is increased, the life insurance costs are higher for smokers or tobacco users.

Research has shown that almost 90 percent of all cases of lung cancer are caused by cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke.

For this reason, smokers looking for life insurance should expect to pay rates that are three times higher than a non-smoker. Smoking can also exacerbate other types of cancers like breast cancer and bladder cancer.

Do Men Pay More For Life Insurance?

Rates are also higher for men than they are for women. Male smokers are going to pay more for their life insurance coverage than female smokers, but if you take time to compare prices and options from different companies, you still can find a life insurance policy that is somewhat affordable.

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Average 10-year term life insurance premiums for men that smoke, and healthy:

$250,000 $500,000 $750,000 $1,000,000
30 Year Old Male $31 $52 $73 $85
40 Year Old Man $42 $76 $108 $142
50 Year Old Male $99 $176 $261 $345
60 Year Old Man $229 $429 $640 $765

Premiums on 04/23/2024 - your rates will most likely be different. Your specific situation will dictate your rates.

Average 20-year term life insurance rates for smoking males:

$250,000 $500,000 $750,000 $1,000,000
Male, Age 30 $41 $69 $99 $129
Man, Age 40 $70 $126 $186 $234
Male, Age 50 $159 $299 $446 $566
Man, Age 60 $377 $724 $1,086 $1,357

Premiums on 04/23/2024 - your prices will most likely be different. Your specific situation will dictate your premiums.

Take a look at these sample of rates for a male forty-year-old smoker who is otherwise healthy.
A $1 million term life policy for twenty years would cost on average:

  • American General - $424 per month
  • Genworth Life - $387 monthly
  • Liberty Life - $310 per month
  • Transamerica Occidental - $418 monthly
  • West Coast Life - $475 per month

Obviously the rates are very high.

Meanwhile, a similarly aged woman with the same health history would pay:

  • American General - $311 per month ($3,732 per year)
  • Genworth Life - $280 monthly ($3,360 yearly)
  • Liberty Life - $215 per month ($2,580 per year)
  • Transamerica Occidental - $305 per month ($3,660 yearly)
  • West Coast Life - $310 per month ($3,720 per year)

What Kind Of Questions Will I Be Asked?

You'll need to answer some health and lifestyle questions that may end up raising or lowering your life insurance rates. For example, your family history of illness, medications you are taking, details of your job, your hobbies - skydiving, scuba diving, bull riding, piloting planes, rock climbing, can all negatively impact your life insurance rates.

Having been arrested for DUI or reckless driving also counts against you - life insurance companies don't like to insure alcoholics.

Will I Need A Medical Exam?

Yes, you may need to take a medical exam.

Any life insurance company is going to need to know your latest cholesterol values, your blood pressure reading, your weight and height, your liver function values, etc. So, you'll need to have a blood test done also. They can also detect if you smoke, so, don't lie on your application.

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For someone born in 1980, the life insurance rates are going to be much lower. Purchasing life insurance when you are younger helps keep the costs low. For someone who is currently 28 years old, rates range from $87.50 per month to $200 per month. You quickly see that the earlier you purchase a life insurance policy, the lower your rates will be.

Life insurance is a necessity, especially if you have a spouse or children that rely on your income. Should anything happen to you, a life insurance policy ensures that their standard of living will not drastically change. Death is hard, but facing the emotional stress of losing a loved one on top of losing a home due to lack of income is a tragedy.

Here's a video explaining why life insurance for a smoker costs so much: