Trying To Stop Smoking? When Should You Get Life Insurance?

If you've been a smoker for most (or all) of your adult life, you may have indefinitely postponed the purchase of life insurance due to the higher premium costs than those assessed on nonsmokers with similar health factors. Quitting smoking can help lower your insurance costs (as well as your health risks) forever -- but what if you're still in the process of quitting when you have your insurance policy quoted? If you're quoted or classified as a nonsmoker, will you be penalized or denied coverage if your blood tests positive for nicotine after your death? Read on to learn more about the factors you'll want to consider when taking out a life insurance policy at the same time you're trying to quit smoking.

What effect does quitting smoking have on the availability of life insurance policies?

The effects of long-term cigarette use on lifespan and health has been thoroughly documented over the last several decades. Life insurance companies with multiple well-paid actuaries on staff can calculate with great accuracy the higher likelihood that a smoker's surviving family members will collect funds from his or her life insurance policy. To compensate for this increased risk, many life insurance providers will restrict the number of policies that can be sold to smokers or charge much higher rates for smokers than nonsmokers.

As a result, quitting smoking -- even after years of heavy use -- can immediately and dramatically reduce your potential premium costs and eliminate restrictions on the policies available to you. Because rates for new life insurance policies rise with age, the earlier you quit, the more you'll save.

Should you take out a life insurance policy before you've completely stopped smoking?

Even with the multiple smoking cessation aids now available, quitting smoking for good can be one of the most challenging processes you'll ever experience. Even after you've quit for months -- or years -- you may struggle with the urge to smoke or slip up and have a stray cigarette during a highly stressful time. You may worry that purchasing a "smoke-free" insurance policy and passing away suddenly after smoking a cigarette could void your coverage.

Fortunately, this isn't a one-size-fits-all area -- and even if one insurance provider won't extend nonsmoking coverage to you until you've been completely smoke-free for a year or more, other companies may permit ultra-rare or occasional tobacco use even while classifying you as a nonsmoker. It's best to shop around and compare rates and terms among several companies to ensure you're getting the best product for your wallet and your lifestyle.