Besides the obvious health and quality of life benefits, quitting smoking is also one of the best ways to save money on life insurance. As anyone who smokes and owns life insurance can attest to, life insurance is extremely expensive for smokers. So expensive, in fact, that it can cost about five times more money for a smoker than a nonsmoker pays, and many people who smoke can not afford proper coverage even though they may need it more than most (because smokers are at a much higher risk of dying at a young age than nonsmokers).
There are two ways that you can save on life insurance after you quit smoking. The first way would be to get a brand new life insurance policy which does not have a smoker health rating included in the price. The second option to save money is to reapply for a new nonsmoker health rating on an existing policy.
Why Taking Out A New Policy Makes Sense
The cost of life insurance has been trending downward as people live longer and insurers experience better outcomes than they expected regarding mortality rates (people are living longer than past expectations).
Taking out a new policy allows you to take advantage of the falling cost of life insurance. You may even want to consider adding additional coverage, because extra coverage can be so much more affordable after you quit smoking. To receive price quotes to see if a new policy may save you money, start by simply entering your zip code in our quote comparison toolbox.
A brand new policy may also benefit someone because when a new policy is applied for, you must go through the underwriting process again, including a new medical exam. After quitting smoking, many other health markers used to assign a health rating also improve, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and general fitness levels. By taking out a new policy and going through the underwriting process again, you are allowing yourself to be reevaluated with a higher chance that more indications of good health are taken into account by the insurance company when you are assigned a health rating by them. This leads to lower prices in addition to the cessation of smoking. For other ways to increase your health rating, see here.
Applying For A Nonsmoker Rating On An Existing Policy
The other option for an ex-smoker with an existing life insurance policy is to apply for a health rating increase based upon the fact that you no longer smoke. Most life insurance companies will grant this as long as their basic requirements for the upgrade are met, though they are not obligated to do so.
For some many people, this will not save the most money however. The reason is that many life insurance companies will simply grant a “standard” or “nonsmoker” health rating, which is considerably below the highest levels (and lowest premiums for a policy owner) after the rating is upgraded.
While applying for an improved rating saves money, it often does not save as much money as it would if a new policy was taken out. This is because there is no additional underwriting to upgrade an existing policy besides a statement from the insured person which attests that their smoking has ceased. The life insurance company is not willing to automatically assume that the insured person is otherwise in healthy physical condition, even though they may be.
If you have an existing policy and have quit smoking, please inquire with your company about whether you may qualify for a ratings increase, and what your new cost of insurance will be if it is granted.
How Long Must You Quit Smoking Before You Can Save
While every company may have it’s own rules regarding someone who used to smoke, generally an insured person must be smoke free for at least 2 years before they would qualify for consideration for a non-smoker rating. It would be very unusual to see the required length of time to be less than 1 year of being smoke free, and 3 years would be on the longer side of the typical range.
Usually a company will have the same time requirements for someone to be given a nonsmoker rating whether they are applying for a new policy or they are trying to upgrade their health rating on their existing policy, but this does not necessarily have to be the case so it will never hurt to check with your insurer.
If you have quit smoking at least 1 year ago, please review quotes for new policies using our comparison tool. This will help you save the most money on your life insurance premiums.