Life Insurance for Smokers – How to get the Best Rates

When you apply for life insurance coverage, many factors affect approval and how much you’ll pay for premiums. As you’re probably aware, smokers pay higher rates than non-smokers. However, you can get life insurance for smokers at affordable rates.Since all life insurers are different, the underwriting criteria and the premiums for every life insured, including smokers, varies from one insurance carrier to the next.

Who is Classified as a Smoker for Life Insurance?

When you think of smoking, you probably think of cigarettes or cigars. But, with life insurance companies this often includes:

  • Chewing tobacco
  • E-cigs
  • Smoking cessation devices such as the patch, nicotine lozenges, and nicotine gum
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Marijuana

If you’ve used any of the above within the previous twelve months, you are considered a smoker.

It’s important to note that many insurers are now classifying occasional marijuana smokers as non-smokers (this doesn’t include medicinal marijuana) and there are companies who rate occasional cigar smokers as non-smokers. You always want to be completely honest with your broker and on your application.

If you smoke cigars during the Grey Cup, note that on your application.

Life Underwriting Criteria for Smokers

The life insurance application process consists of questions regarding your age, weight, health condition, family history, lifestyle, occupation, income, hobbies, and other potential risk factors. The underwriters want to determine how much of a risk you are for the insurance company to insure you on average, not just based on your smoking habit.

They will then take all the information and decide what your premium will be based on the risk you present, the coverage amount and term you’ve applied for. The underwriter will then make an offer of preferred, standard, or rated (extra premiums)…or in some cases decline to make an offer.

Life Insurance Premium Categories

While categories differ from insurer to insurer, most fall into a variation of the following – but note that if you’ve smoked cigarettes within the past 12 months, you fall squarely into a “smokers” category. Additional health and lifestyle factors are assessed on top of your smoking status.


This is the category where the lives insured are normal health. This is the most common category.


Lives insured are in very good health and will pay slightly lower premiums than standard.

Preferred Plus

Lives insured are in excellent health, life Superman. The premium rates are much lower. Not all insurance carriers offer this category so it’s important to speak with your broker if you expect you may qualify at this level.


Those in this category generally have a health impairment, poor driving record or risky lifestyle. The insurance company needs a little more premium because they are taking more risk in making an offer to insurance … but they are not declining to insure.

How to get the Best Life Insurance Rates for Smokers

  • Quit smoking
  • Don’t chew tobacco or use an E-Cig
  • Compare premiums
  • Speak with a Life Insurance Broker

Should you put off life insurance until you stop smoking? Absolutely Not!

Life insurance is peace of mind and financial security. Insurance is important, and so is your health. Once you quit smoking and remain smoke-free for 12 months, you can ask to have your smoking statue re-assessed and the premiums can be lowered to non-smoking rates.

At Maple Bay Financial Corp., we are dedicated to helping our clients find the best possible life insurance rates. If you are a smoker, we will help you get the best value. Most of our appointments take place over the phone and online, we use screen share software to show you what we see and when you’re ready, to complete the application together. We specialize in convenience.

To find out more, call toll free to 1.888.498.5288



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