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Life Insurance for Smokers

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Smokers face more health risks than individuals who are not using cigarettes. While it is important for everyone to have life insurance coverage, having a policy may be especially essential for people who smoke. If you develop a serious illness, whether it is related to smoking or not, you want to ensure you are able to pay for medical costs and provide for yourself and your family if you cannot work. Life insurance will allow you that peace of mind. Life insurance cover can also provide for your dependents and allow them to achieve financial security if you pass away unexpectedly.

Can smokers purchase life insurance?

Smokers can purchase life insurance policies. You may find insurance coverage to be more expensive, since insurers charge higher premiums to smokers. However, if you are generally in good health with no serious pre-existing medical conditions, finding a policy should not be difficult. There are also guaranteed issue policies to cover things like funeral costs that you can get without a medical examination or background health check, which may be an option if your smoking is making typical policies too expensive for you.

What types of life insurance can smokers buy?

You may purchase any type of life insurance policy, including a policy providing sickness cover as well as a policy that will pay out upon your death. Insurers will not generally refuse coverage for life insurance policies on the basis of smoking. However, you may have to pay higher premiums.

How does an insurance company know you smoke?

One of the first questions you are asked when you apply for life insurance is whether you are a smoker. You must be honest when answering this question as well as when providing other health information to the insurance company.

Your insurer may request you undergo a medical examination when you purchase coverage. At your exam, your doctor will also discuss your smoking with you and may be able to identify any health issues caused by smoking. You may have to undergo blood tests, a urine test, and a general physical exam when applying for a policy and the results of these exams and tests can help an insurer to determine if you smoke or not.

What information must you provide about your smoking?

The insurance company is not only going to want to know if you smoke, but is also going to want to know how often you smoke and how much you smoke. All of this affects your ability to secure coverage and affects the cost of your premiums. When you admit to smoking on an application, the life insurance company is likely going to ask you to submit to a medical exam. The doctor will examine you for signs of illnesses related to smoking that could affect the likelihood you will make an insurance claim.

How much does smoking affect premiums?

As soon as you admit to smoking cigarettes, you are pushed into a higher risk category and your premiums will be more costly. Insurance companies have underwriters that assess the risk of an insurance claim being made. Underwriters know how different smoking habits and different smoking-related medical problems affect illness and mortality rates. Based on the added risk your smoking presents of a payout, the insurer will adjust premiums upwards accordingly. In some cases, you may pay around double what a nonsmoker would pay for the same coverage.

What if you don’t tell the insurer you smoke?

If you do not tell the insurer you smoke, this is considered insurance fraud. You have a duty of disclosure when you complete your insurance application and must provide information about your health status and your smoking status. Insurance companies may take a number of steps to verify whether you were dishonest and failed to live up to your duty of disclosure, such as reviewing your Medicare records and contacting the doctors you were seeing at the time of your application. If it is determined you were dishonest, your policy may be retroactively cancelled and no benefits will be paid out.

What if you quit smoking?

Most insurers will treat former smokers as non-smokers after 12 months. If you are applying for life insurance for the first time, the insurer will treat you as a non-smoker if you have not had a cigarette in the 12 months before applying for the policy. If you purchased coverage as a smoker and have since quit smoking, you can contact the insurer after quitting to have your premiums adjusted to reflect your new non-smoker status. The insurance company may look into whether you quit because of a health issue, and you may be required to provide medical evidence that you did not stop smoking recently only on medical advice because the smoking was beginning to cause health concerns.

How should I shop for an insurance policy as a smoker?

As a smoker, it is very important to shop around for a policy that will offer the coverage you need at a price you can comfortably afford. Look at the different types of coverage (including the death benefit and sickness coverage), as well as the premiums and the policy conditions and exclusions as you determine what insurance coverage is right for you.

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