Written by Kim Wilhelm
Last Updated 26 Mar 2023
Many folks assume that they can’t get a final expense policy if they’re a smoker. But this assumption is wrong, you can still get insurance, just like many other final expense pre-existing conditions. As a smoker, there are some things you should know and expect when applying for final expense insurance.
What Is Final Expense Insurance?
It's a category of whole life insurance tailored to help your family pay for your end-of-life expenses. The policies are usually smaller than traditional life policies, around $50,000 or less.
It can cover your funeral costs and other related expenses, like the service, burial, casket, headstone, or cremation if you prefer that. You can also structure your policy to help your family cover hospital costs and other debts you may have.
How Insurers Determine If You’re a Smoker
As with many forms of insurance, smokers are typically offered higher rates than non-smokers when they apply for final expense insurance. This is because smoking is known to reduce life expectancy in most cases. Therefore, it costs more to insure someone who smokes. While final expense underwriting doesn’t require a medical exam, the underwriter will need to know if you’ve smoked any cigarettes within the past year. If the answer is yes, you will be subject to smoker’s rates.
Final expense insurance normally doesn’t involve a medical exam, but you’ll be asked questions about your health. They’ll ask you whether you’ve smoked cigarettes, in any capacity, in the past year. It doesn’t matter how many cigarettes you smoke daily. Unfortunately, if you’ve only had one cigarette in the past year, you’re still labeled a smoker and are liable to smoker rates.
Smoking vs. Other Forms of Tobacco
Smoking isn’t the only way tobacco can be used. If you chew tobacco, vape, or smoke cigars, these activities may also increase your final expense insurance rates. Not all insurance companies consider other forms of tobacco use. Some companies only care if you smoke cigarettes, but be aware that you may be asked whether you use any other types of tobacco and that your answer can affect your rates.
Each company interprets tobacco use in different ways. Some insurers will piece all tobacco products together, while others only pay attention to cigarette usage.
Other types of tobacco products include:
- Chewing tobacco (dip)
- Electronic cigarettes
- Smoking cigars
People who use these products may not have to pay smoker’s rates because they don’t present the same risk. According to the CDC, smokers’ life expectancy is at least a decade shorter than for nonsmokers. Therefore, they’re riskier to insure.
Final Expense Cost For Smokers
A $5,000 to $10,000 final expense insurance policy typically costs between $40 and $60 a month for people who don’t smoke, but if you do smoke, you can expect your rates to be 30-50% higher than average. The smoker’s rate varies from company to company, so be sure to compare rates across companies before settling on a plan. If you want to avoid smoker’s rates entirely, quit smoking. If you haven’t smoked any cigarettes within the past 12 months, you are considered a non-smoker and will likely qualify for non-smoker’s rates.
The smoker’s rate differs from company to company. In general, you can expect to pay 30% to 50% more for a similar insurance policy.
The average cost is between $40 and $60 per month for nonsmokers — if you take out a final expense policy for $5,000 to $10,000. Your age and the amount of coverage you want are the most significant determinants of your premiums.
Compare and buy
How to Get Final Expense Insurance as a Smoker
The process is the same, whether you’re a smoker or a nonsmoker. When you call us, you can get rates from many different companies to compare the costs and coverages. You must be honest when providing information for quotes because this accurately shows your real risk to the insurer. If you lie about smoking habits, your policy could be altered or canceled altogether.
It’s also better to buy earlier than later. As a smoker, your premiums will be much higher the older you are.
Quitting Can Help Get You Better Rates
The CDC reports that if you quit smoking before turning 40, it lowers the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by nearly 90%. Quitting smoking not only enhances your health, but it also helps you obtain better insurance rates. You’ll need to be smoke-free for a minimum of 12 months to qualify for non-smoking rates.
Don’t Delay Getting Coverage
The longer you delay getting coverage, the more your premiums will increase. Many folks promise to quit smoking, but they keep postponing, saying they’ll start tomorrow or the next week. Don’t wait! Let the prospect of getting an insurance policy now serve as extra motivation to quit smoking.
Find Out How You Can Get Your Rates Reduced
If you currently smoke, you’ll be liable to smoker’s rates. You could get a lower price, though. As mentioned, you’ll need to quit smoking and remain smoke-free for at least one year. Once you reach this goal, you may talk to your carrier about how to get a reduced rate. It might be smart to determine how you can get your rates lowered before you apply for a final expense insurance policy.
Get Help from Final Expense Direct
Final expense insurance allows you to look out for your family even after you’ve passed. If you’re a smoker, that doesn’t exclude you from getting a policy. Let us do the work for you. Final Expense Direct will shop around to help you secure the best possible coverage and rates. Call 1 (877) 674-0236 today.