The Impact of Smoking on Life Insurance
A smoking habit can lead to major health implications and a shortened lifespan. Those of us who smoke are keenly aware of this. Life insurance companies, who are in the business of evaluating factors impacting death, are also very aware. Because of the increased fatality risk smoking causes, those who smoke will pay more for life insurance coverage at every age.
For those under 30, typically smoking will nearly double the price of life insurance. For those over 30, the price will more than double for smokers, and can be more than triple the price for older applicants. You can use our instant quote generator to compare the price difference of smoker and non-smoker rates.
What constitutes a smoking habit?
For a life insurance application, you must say “Yes” to being a smoker if, in the last 12 months, you have smoked cigarettes or consumed any other tobacco or nicotine product. You must also say “Yes” if you have used any smoking cessation product in the last 12 months.
When it comes to cigars, typically insurance carriers will not assign smoker status for those who have only smoked 1 or 2 cigars in the last year. However, those casually smoking on a more regular basis will be assigned smoker status and given higher rates.
If you are considering life insurance in the near future, make sure to verify what is allowable to retain non-smoker rates and stay within that limit in the year preceding purchase. It may mean you’ll have to miss out on a couple Cubans at the barbecue, but it will certainly save you money in the long run.
Vaping and e-cigarettes
While many who vape do so without any nicotine, many insurance companies classify a vaping habit as equivalent to smoking cigarettes, regardless of nicotine content. This is because the long-term health effects of vaping are unknown and insurance companies therefore cannot accurately quantify the risk it poses. Let us know if you vape and we will make sure your policy is with a company that views it more favourably.
Since October 2018, recreational access to marijuana has been legal in Canada. Marijuana use does not immediately constitute smoker status. For the casual user, marijuana will not impact price, typically up to two joints a week, or the equivalent in related products, like edibles and hashish. In the case of medically prescribed cannabis, this weekly limit may be relaxed further. More frequent use, unfortunately, may result in paying the same price as a smoker would.
For those who have quit smoking, or are considering doing so
Quitting smoking is an excellent financial decision, both in terms of immediate cost savings and a decrease in long-term healthcare costs. If it has been 12 full months since any use of nicotine, tobacco, or cessation products, you can apply for insurance as a non-smoker.
Some companies, however, will ask about smoking further back than one year, typically up to 2 or 5 years. This is done to help determine whether you qualify for preferred rates and a lower price than standard.
If you have a specific question related to smoking and insurance, you can email us.