Everyone Can Find Affordable Life Insurance Rates: Even Smokers
Smokers are often under the impression that they can't find affordable life insurance coverage. With 21% of the US population smoking, or about 45 million adult smokers in 2005, there is a need for life insurance companies to provide affordable rates to smokers.
Although smokers indeed pay more for term life insurance, there is generally a unique policy for almost every budget, every lifestyle, and every stage of life. The need for comparison shopping for the best policy is critical; as underwriting criteria and rates for smokers can differ drastically from company to company.
Who is Considered A Smoker?
Insurance companies classify smokers differently based on their tobacco consumption. Some companies differentiate between moderate and heavy usage, and charge moderate users less.
Other companies use the classification of "standard" or "preferred" tobacco users, where smokers will generally fall into the preferred category if they smoke but are otherwise healthy with regard to their weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Your Life Insurance Rates if You Quit Smoking
Those who recently quit smoking may qualify for non-smoker rates, depending on the insurer's guidelines for how long a consumer must be tobacco-free. There are policies that offer graduated scales, with rates that drop the longer a person remains tobacco-free -- sometimes reaching non-smoking rates in the course of a year.
Applying for Term Life Insurance
The process of applying for a term life insurance policy generally requires a medical examination that verifies the information provided by the applicant (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.). In order to identify tobacco users, most insurance companies administer a test that measures their body's level of cotidine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their urine or saliva.
Nearly everyone can find affordable term life insurance rates when paired up with the right company -- even smokers. Nearly a quarter of the US adult population smokes, creating a significant market for life insurance companies to offer competitive term life insurance products.
5 Ways to Save on Life Insurance
1. Buy When You're Young
Secure as much protection at a young age. Buying life insurance coverage while you're young and your health is still good could help you save money on life insurance.
2. Select The Right Length Of Coverage
Everyone has different needs, and not one size fits all when it comes to term life insurance. While it may make sense for people in their 30s and 40s to secure a 20-year term length, a 10-year term might be more appropriate for someone nearing retirement.
3. Check For Price Breaks
Companies often offer "price breaks" at certain coverage amounts, e.g., $250,000 vs. $225,000. The truth is that many people can actually pay less money for more coverage. Check how little your prices increase when you increase coverage to $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000.
4. Buy The Right Amount Of Coverage
Many agents may try to sell you more coverage than you need. Independent financial planners recommend purchasing an amount of coverage equal to 6-10 times your annual gross income.
5. Review Your Policy Often
Conduct a review of your life insurance policy at least every three years, if not more often. Rates may be lower, and your circumstances may have changed, necessitating more or less protection.