Smoking is a nasty, hazardous habit. Doctors know it. Advertisers know it. Even you know it. You’ve probably been told time and time again about the many studies that have been conducted which concluded that the chemicals in cigarettes can cause or contribute to severe illnesses such as lung disease, stroke, various forms of cancer, and more. This is all old news already. But here’s some news that may actually be new to you. Smoking can send the cost of your life insurance premium skyrocketing.
Though the vast majority of the population believes life insurance is necessary, only about 40% of adults actually own it. Why? People generally think it’ll cost too much. However, depending on the policy, it’s usually inexpensive, often costing less than what you spend on your daily latte—unless you’re a smoker.
Smokers can expect to pay approximately double the price of a non-smoker in similar health.
Why is this?
As we’ve discussed, smoking significantly increases your risk of falling fatally ill earlier in life, which makes you a riskier customer for insurance agencies. They would rather collect money from healthy individuals over many years than collect money for two years from a smoker before having to pay out death benefits. It sounds grim, but it’s how insurance companies stay in business. Therefore, the greater risk posed by smokers has led insurers to charge more for the same, or sometimes even less coverage.
Insurance companies define smokers as individuals who have used tobacco products (even small amounts) within the past 12 months. These individuals may get flat out rejected by some insurers, while other insurers will simply charge more. You might be thinking that you can omit the fact that you smoke when applying for life insurance, however, this is not an ideal situation to put yourself in.
In order to purchase life insurance, you must either take a physical exam or provide recent medical records so your insurer can accurately gauge your health before determining your premium. It’s likely that your doctor already knows that you smoke, and if not, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not telling him or her. This knowledge can assist your doctor in fully monitoring your health and checking for smoking-related health concerns before they grow out-of-hand. Your doctor will pass this information on to your insurer, preventing you from omitting it.
However, if you somehow get away with neglecting to inform both your doctor and insurer of the fact that you smoke, you could still be caught later on down the road. If (or when) your insurer discovers your omission, they may declare you guilty of insurance fraud and can instantly drop your coverage. This means that the money you’ve paid to date will have been wasted, plus you will now lack protection and may be unable to get a new policy.
While you can’t change many of the factors that insurers use to calculate your life insurance premium, such as gender and age, smoking is a habit that you can quit. Not only will quitting do wonders toward improving your overall health, but it’ll also save you a lot of money considering the fact that smokers can also pay more for both health and home insurance.
If you have more questions about life insurance, feel free to call our office at (616) 897-1515. We have an experienced Life Insurance Specialist on staff to answer all of your remaining questions and offer a free assessment of your life insurance needs.