For numerous Canadians, smoking has developed into a regular habit that intertwines with their everyday lives. In 2019, approximately 15% of the country’s population, aged 12 or older, smoke on a daily or occasional basis. Due to the social stigmas and public education campaigns, the number of smokers has steadily declined in recent years. Nonetheless, smoking remains a prevalent activity for significant segments of the population.


The subject of smoking has been analyzed by life insurance underwriters for a long time. The distinction between smokers and non-smokers is taken into consideration when selling insurance policies and accepting new clients. The smoker’s status is also highlighted when making payments to the beneficiary’s family after a death or illness. Suffice to say, tobacco consumption is an important factor for life insurance applications.


Are you a full-time or part-time smoker interested in getting life insurance? As a smoker, you will benefit from a better understanding over the details of your life insurance policy and coverage. In the following guide, we will describe in detail what life insurance for smokers entails.


Can I get life insurance if I smoke?


Yes, you can receive life insurance if you smoke. In fact, life insurance is accessible and available for any kind of smokers. Whether you have smoked for your entire life, or you’ve been dabbling in cigarettes every now and then, you can purchase life insurance.


The Canadian life insurance industry has detailed specifications in how a smoker is defined. Most insurers will categorize their clients as smokers if they consume tobacco or nicotine in any variation. These products include cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and chewing tobacco. Smoking cessation items, such as nicotine gum and patches, are also included within this classification.


In addition, your history of smoking will be analyzed. Even after you have quit smoking, some insurers may still classify you as a smoker until a set number of months or years have passed.


Smoker vs non-smoker life insurance


Your smoking history matters because it affects the life insurance coverage you may receive. Life insurance for smokers will differ from non-smokers, with the key difference being the premium amounts. Smokers will be required to pay higher monthly or annual premiums than non-smokers. This guideline applies to all types of smokers, regardless of how regularly you smoke.


Why is there a higher insurance premium? This is because smoking can raise the risk for many chronic health issues, particularly in older individuals. It does not matter if you pass a physical examination or you have never been sick before. Life insurance companies will still identify you as a greater risk than non-smokers, and this distinction is reflected in your premium payments.


According to various research studies on the topic, the gap in insurance premiums between smokers and non-smokers only turns into a chasm after hitting your 30s. In Canada, the average monthly premium for a 35-year-old non-smoker is $12.81, while a smoker of the same age has a premium of more than $21. The older you are, the wider the gap becomes.


Understandably, the difference can be frustrating for a smoker who just wants life insurance to protect his or her family in the event of their passing. It is suggested that you read through the conditions carefully when evaluating your life insurance quotes and options. While smoking may cost you more in insurance premiums, it is worth the extra amount to provide this coverage for your family.


How do life insurance companies know if you smoke?


As the old saying goes, honesty is the best policy, especially for getting life insurance if you smoke. In any life insurance application, you must be honest about disclosing your status as a smoker. Any intention to conceal your smoking habit may be considered as a form of insurance fraud, which comes with hefty consequences.


Life insurance companies may require medical testing to find out if you smoke. You would be requested to provide your blood or urine for testing. With this data, the insurance provider can determine if there is any tobacco in your body. Should you test positive, your insurance premiums will be affected.


An extra layer of complexity is introduced when you start to smoke after being approved for a non-smoker insurance policy. Insurers will investigate carefully to determine if the smoking habits affected your medical condition at the time of death or illness.


Life insurance for marijuana & vaping


The legalization of cannabis use in Canada has caused ripples across the insurance industry. Many insurers have a separate set of regulations that differ from your standard smoker’s life insurance policy. Some insurance providers may offer cannabis users a higher premium that isn’t as steep as a cigarette smoker.


Likewise, the insurance terms and conditions for vaping could differ among providers. Some insurers might classify smoking and vaping under the same category, so a smoker’s rate is applied onto your file. Other insurers might highlight the nuanced differences, offering different premiums if you only vape with nicotine-free products.


Are you interested in getting life insurance? It is recommended that you consult with a professional insurance broker to explore your options. At Keller & Associates Insurance Brokers, we offer diverse insurance policies that fit your lifestyle seamlessly. Contact us and we’ll help you discover the best life insurance products for your needs.