Getting Life Insurance if You're a Smoker (or an Ex-Smoker)

Once a smoker, always a smoker. Right? Wrong! Debunking the three most common myths about life insurance if you smoke or used to smoke.

Although smoking is not as common as it once was, the Government of Canada estimates there are approximately 4.6 million Canadians who smoke regularly, and about 7.8 million who quit. In all, that means about one-third of Canada's population were smokers at one time or another.

Smokers and ex-smokers may have concerns about getting a life insurance policy, thinking the cost will outweigh the benefit. However, the truth is stranger than fiction. Don’t make the mistake of avoiding looking into a life insurance policy based on myths.

Whether you smoke or not and regardless of your age – in your 20s, footloose, and fancy-free or in your 50s, married, and paying a mortgage – there are three certainties you face: life is unpredictable, you will die one day, and there are people in your life whom you love. A life insurance policy is a smart financial decision that protects those you love from paying the debts you leave behind if you die suddenly.

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Myth 1: Life Insurance for Smokers Is Expensive

As a smoker, you may think getting life insurance is too expensive. It’s true that life insurers provide coverage to smokers at a higher premium than non-smokers, but it may be far more affordable than you think. Depending on how much you smoke, your premiums may be less than what you spend on cigarettes each year.

Quotes for a $250,000 Term 10 Life Insurance Policy

Age Gender Smoker Premium (Annual) Non-Smoker Premium (Annual)
30 Female $193 $125
30 Male $295 $160
35 Female $243 $138
35 Male $325 $172
40 Female $350 $175
40 Male $460 $212

Lowest quote offered online at in January 2020. Premiums are rounded to the nearest dollar.

Myth 2: Once a Smoker, Always a Smoker to Life Insurers

If you're one of the millions of Canadians who quit smoking (congratulations!), you may think a life insurance premium will take into account your former habit. Not so. The truth is many life insurance companies consider you a non-smoker once you've been smoke-free for a full year. If the last time you lit up was more than a year ago, it looks favourable, and you may be able to get some of the best life insurance rates available.

Myth 3: It's Best to Wait Until You've Been Smoke-Free for a Year Before Getting Life Insurance

Waiting until you've been smoke-free for a year to get non-smoker rates for a life insurance policy is a risk no one needs to take. A smoker's premium only costs a few dollars a day. It's better to have life insurance versus having no coverage at all. What's more, you can always revisit your policy with your life insurer once you are entirely smoke-free.

Compare Term Life Insurance Quotes

If you've been putting off getting life insurance because you smoke or once did, don't let the fear of high life insurance rates deter you from exploring your options.

Whether you smoke or not, you can quickly compare life insurance quotes for free, and speak with a licensed life insurance advisor who can help you get the coverage you need at an affordable price.

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