Important Facts

What Happens To My Life Insurance Rates If I Start Smoking After My Policy Issues?

Cigarette smoking comes with many health risks but did you know it could cause future risk to your life insurance policy. Learn about what can happen if you begin smoking after your policy is issued.

Life Insurance Rates and Smokers

Smoking after policy is issued.

There are many things that can factor into how much you'll pay for life insurance. And because the health risks of smoking have been well documented, it's difficult to find cheap life insurance for smokers. You may already understand that failure to disclose your tobacco use on your life insurance application constitutes fraud, but what happens if you take up smoking after your life insurance policy issues?

The truth is, if you start smoking after your life insurance has been approved and issued, it'll be difficult for your life insurance company to discover your newfound habit in order to increase your rates to match the risk. However, if you were to die during the contestability period (a time where the insurer can investigate information on your application) and the company discovers your tobacco use, your beneficiary's claim may be denied or the death benefit could be adjusted to reflect the amount of premiums that you should have been paying all along as a smoker. That means that your beneficiaries would lose out on the full amount of your policy's benefit.

Another effect smoking can have on your life insurance rates after your policy issues has to do with what type of policy you have. For example, if you have a term life policy and have started smoking, when your term is up and you decide to renew or replace your expired policy, you would likely be required to complete a new application and quite possibly a medical exam. At that point, it'll be difficult to get cheap life insurance because you will no longer qualify for non-smoker rates. However, if you have a permanent policy such as whole or universal life insurance, your rates are locked in for life as long as you continue to pay your premiums. Generally speaking, taking up smoking after your policy issues won't impact your premiums if you have a permanent life insurance policy and the contestability period has ended. However, smoking will certainly impact your overall health and longevity, so why start now?

The bottom line

Whether you've gone back to smoking after several years or just recently started, the bottom line is that it's difficult to find cheap life insurance for smokers. And if you've already applied for life insurance as a smoker, keep in mind that your premiums aren't necessarily locked in for life. If do quit smoking, be sure to request an evaluation from your insurance company. While every insurer is different, most will generally require that you are tobacco/nicotine free for at least two to five years before reducing your premiums down to non-smoking rates. Remember, the sooner you quit the better.

You can read more about the impact smoking can have on life insurance rates by visiting the Protective Learning Center.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Smoking and Life Insurance

Most people are aware that it's difficult to find cheap life insurance rates for smokers, but what if you start smoking after your policy issues? This article looks at how taking up smoking after your policy starts can affect your rates, future claims, and your health. For more information, visit the Protective Life Learning Center.

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