Best Life Insurance for Smokers (Ultimate Guide for Canadians)

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In This Article

Looking for a life insurance policy as a smoker? It can be a daunting task, since life insurance rates for smokers are higher than the average Canadian's premiums. But the good news is that most people in Canada who smoke can still get approved for a life insurance policy. 

How much does life insurance for smokers cost?

Smokers can expect to pay: 

  • $79.91 per month for a man.
  • $57.72 per month for a woman.

These rates are based on industry averages for a 20 year term life insurance Canada policy with $250,000 coverage, pulled from WinQuote.

how much does life insurance for smokers cost

Because being a smoker increases your risk of developing a serious health condition such as lung cancer, it also makes you a higher risk to insure. After all, if you’re more likely to get a serious illness like cancer or die thus having a shorter life expectancy, therefore, your life insurance company is more likely to have to pay out your death benefit. And that’s expensive for them. 

After all, how do life insurance companies compensate for this greater risk (and higher potential cost of life insurance down the road)? By charging you higher premiums that they would charge a non-smoker. 

The difference in your life insurance rates is typically less the younger you are – even as a smoker, you tend to be healthier at a younger age, and chances are you haven’t smoked as long at that point. But the gap increases substantially the older you get. Across the board, rates for smokers can be two to three times higher than rates for non-smokers. 

How do life insurance companies classify you as a smoker? 

Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to get classified as a smoker in the eyes of an insurance company. Even if you've quit smoking and haven't smoked for some time, most insurance companies will consider you a smoker even if you’ve smoked just one cigarette in the last 12 months.

And it’s not just cigarette smoking that will make you a smoker for insurance purposes. Using tobacco in any form, including chewing tobacco, vaping, and smoking cigars, is considered “smoking” by life insurance companies.

Want to get the inside scoop? Our advisors can help walk you through the application process and help you get the best life insurance quotes, even if you're a smoker! 

How to find the best life insurance for smokers in Canada

If you smoke, you won’t be able to get the same life insurance rates as a non-smoker with the same health and lifestyle characteristics because of the increased potential for developing a critical illness such as lung cancer. But you can get a better deal on your coverage by choosing a life insurance company that’s more lenient toward smokers. 

Here’s what to look for: 

  • Better rates for smokers: Some life insurance company offer more competitive rates for smokers than others. And they might offer better rates if your tobacco use is occasional or doesn’t involve smoking cigarettes specifically. If you smoke, it’s especially important to get numerous life insurance quotes from Canadian life insurance companies to see who can offer you the best rate.
  • The chance to lower your premium if you quit smoking: Some insurers will consider lowering your premiums if you quit smoking for at least 12 months straight. Quitting smoking isn’t just good for your health and in leading a healthier lifestyle. It can also be great for your bank account!

Our top life insurance pick for smokers

From the perspective of the average Canadian family's wants, we're looking at life insurance providers based on this criteria: 

  • Who has the affordable premiums?
  • Who has the simplest application process?
  • What coverage options do they have for the whole family (joint life insurance, child riders, etc.)?

As a smoker, you're already in a higher price range for life insurance premiums (up to 200% higher than the average price). That means finding the most affordable option is the key to getting a manageable rate.

PolicyMe: some of the most affordable rates in Canada

PolicyMe offers some of the most affordable rates in Canada. By cutting out unnecessary admin and distribution costs, we're able to pass those savings down to policyholders. Even if smokers pay more for their premiums than a non-smoking applicant, our policies are still the most affordable.

We reduce the cost barriers of life insurance through technology, delivering high-quality policies at a better price.

Read millennial money expert, Jessica Moorhouse's, review of PolicyMe. On why she changed life insurance providers:

How to apply for life insurance as a smoker

Since smoking even occasionally can make your life insurance premiums skyrocket, you might be tempted to lie about your smoking when you apply for a life insurance policy. Maybe it was once a few months ago. What's the harm right?

But remember this – when you apply for a life insurance policy as a smoker, the most important thing is to be honest. There’s a good chance that your life insurance company will find out the truth. And if they do, you could face some hefty consequences. 

Though no medical life insurance and funeral insurance are options, for most policies, your insurer will assess your health and review your medical history before approving you for coverage. They have a good chance of discovering that you smoke if you have to provide a urine sample, take a blood test, or share medical records. Seniors life insurance Canada may be ideal for elderly that smoke. We also recommend using the life insurance calculator Canada to find rates that help you afford life insurance regardless of your habits.

Even if your life insurance company doesn’t find out that you smoke during the underwriting process, you won’t necessarily be in the clear. Insurance policies have a contestability period that usually lasts two years after coverage begins. During this time, your insurer has the right to deny a claim and refund the premiums you’ve paid if they find out that you lied about anything on your application. 

So if you make it past the contestability period, then you’re good to go, right? Not quite.

If your insurer finds out that you lied on your application after the contestability period, they can still adjust your policy based on what they would have approved you for if you had honestly disclosed your smoking history on your application. This might mean decreasing your coverage amount or increasing your premiums. 

A quick note about cannabis/marijuana usage:

Cannabis use is treated differently than tobacco use by life insurance providers. And further to that, there's also a difference in how they process medical and recreational marijuana consumption.

Marijuana users can expect their premiums to be rated higher than non-users/light-users, but the rated premiums will not be as high as they are for tobacco users.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder
About the Author

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