Cheap Term Life Insurance Quotes for Smokers

Cheap Term Life Insurance Quotes for Smokers

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For a smoker, the thought of applying for a life insurance plan can be intimidating. Life insurance is based on risk, and the more risk applicants bring, the more their premiums will cost. The good news is, if you are a smoker, you can still qualify for coverage. But you need to prepare for the reality that it will come at a higher cost. Smokers could pay upwards of 300% more for a plan. 

Depending on the insurance company a smoker chooses and how long they’ve been smoking, cheaper rates are possible. Let’s look at what is considered smoking to insurers and the best way to get cheap term life insurance quotes for smokers.

How do insurers determine premiums for smokers?

Like any applicant for a life insurance plan, insurers typically look at certain factors like age and health status. Smoking status is generally one of the first pieces of information insurance providers look at when determining eligibility and cost for a plan.

When it comes to costs for smokers vs. non-smokers, the difference can be quite large. For example, a 30-year-old male applying for a 20-year term plan worth $500,000 can see close to a 200% rise in monthly premiums if they are a smoker. 

Your overall health, age, and smoking status are the most significant fundamental factors determining your life insurance premiums. Insurance companies have various levels of categories potential clients can fall into when trying to qualify for a plan.

The typical rating categories used by insurers

  • Preferred Select - Those who fall into this category are in excellent health, are non-smokers, and have a good family health history.
  • Preferred - Right under preferred select is the preferred category. This is reserved for non-smokers who are still in excellent health. But there could be certain issues that indicate a slight risk. This could be due to minor conditions like elevated blood pressure.
  • Standard - This category is for non-smokers in average health, possibly with a higher body mass index. People who have a family history of medical issues can also fall into this category.
  • Preferred Smoker - A preferred smoker rating is reserved for people who have recently quit smoking or are smokers in good health with no family history of illness.
  • Standard Smoker - Reserved for smokers who are in average health. People in this category may also have medical conditions like high blood pressure but a family health history free from issues or conditions.

These are the typical rating categories that you can find when applying for a life insurance plan. Depending on the company you are looking at, these categories can be slightly different in terms of requirements and prices.

How insurance companies classify smokers

The definition of a smoker can also vary depending on the insurance company. For insurers, a smoker can generally be anyone who smokes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or those who use vapes, e-cigarettes, or chew nicotine gum or use a nicotine patch. 


Cigarettes are one of the most common tobacco products available. If you smoke cigarettes, you may not be able to qualify for preferred rates until a couple of years after you’ve stopped smoking. After quitting smoking, the ability to be eligible for better rate classes will depend on factors like how often you used to smoke and how long it has been since you quit.


If you smoke cigars, you are likely to be considered a smoker if you test positive for nicotine and have more than one cigar a month. If you have a celebratory cigar once or twice a year, you won’t be considered a smoker. Also, for casual cigar smokers, you may be eligible to qualify for cheaper rates. These factors also typically apply to pipe smokers as well.

Different life insurance providers have varying classifications for cigar and pipe smoking. We always recommend talking with your potential insurer to get all the information you need about smoking and rates.

Vaping and e-cigarettes

Although you will be considered a smoker if you use vapes or e-cigarettes, insurance companies may weigh the risks they present differently. If you vape, it is a great idea to check different insurance companies to see what rates you will qualify for when applying for coverage. Some insurers may give you more affordable rates even if you vape or use e-cigarettes. 

Nicotine patches and gum

Like those who smoke cigarettes, you need to ensure that you tell insurance companies about your use of nicotine patches or gum. Using these products will still show nicotine in your blood and urine, so it is best to disclose that you use them when you apply for a plan.

Some insurance companies may give you better rates, primarily if you use these products to stop smoking. Therefore, we recommend shopping the market and getting rates from different companies to discover your best options.

What about marijuana?

When you apply for life insurance, the medical exam you undergo will also check for drug use. With marijuana use now legal in Canada, more Canadians are smoking weed recreationally now. You must disclose your marijuana usage when applying for coverage. 

Now that weed is legal, more insurance companies are adopting a liberal stance on the substance. You may not even be considered a smoker if you are a cannabis user. Although, the cannabis you do use should have no tobacco or nicotine in it for you to be considered a “non-smoker.”

If you are a light cannabis user, you can often safely qualify for non-smoker rates. But the more often you smoke weed, the higher your rates will ultimately be when applying. You could also be fully denied if your usage rate is high and it has connections to health issues. As we mentioned with other forms of smoking above, you need to check with a range of insurers and discover their stance on marijuana. Doing so will allow you to determine your best coverage options and rates.

Factors that life insurance companies look at when qualifying marijuana users

  • Smoking vs. ingesting. Marijuana can typically be smoked or eaten, and depending on the insurer you go with, one or both can label you as a smoker. Some may consider those who use edible marijuana as non-smokers, but other insurers could still categorize edibles as a form of cannabis and label you as a smoker.
  • The frequency of using marijuana. Typically, insurers will check how often you smoke or ingest marijuana. Often they will ask about your weekly usage. Most insurance companies will consider anywhere from two to four times a week as a non-smoker. Anything above this number will often be considered a smoker and have higher rates.
  • The amount you smoke or ingest per usage. Life insurance companies will also typically ask how much you smoke or consume every time you use marijuana. This is not a common factor considered by insurers, but some do ask about it.
  • Your history with marijuana. Most insurers will also ask about your history of marijuana use. A long history of marijuana use may lead to higher premiums with most insurers, as it can relate to your overall health quality.

Medical vs. recreational use

For those who use marijuana for medical reasons and can prove they do so, insurance companies will look into the reason for the medicinal use. Once they know what the marijuana is helping to treat, it will be considered when you apply for coverage. Your medical condition will ultimately lead to your rates increasing or not. 

Recreational users will have their frequency of consumption be the most significant factor in determining their rates. Their health will also play a prominent role in determining eligibility. 

The best life insurance options for smokers

Finding affordable life insurance rates as a smoker can be challenging. You need to compare rates from multiple sources and determine which will work best for you and your desired budget. Those looking to quit smoking will also need to give themselves some time before finding their ideal plan. Most insurers require clients to quit smoking for 12 to 24 months before they can be considered a “non-smoker.” 

No medical exam life insurance for smokers

No medical exam life insurance is often the best choice for smokers looking for quality insurance coverage. These plans offer an easy way to get insured for those who have trouble with medical exams. No medical exam plans typically come in two options:

  • Simplified issue life insurance - These are plans with no medical exams and a short health questionnaire.
  • Guaranteed life insurance - This form of no medical coverage is the most accessible, with no medical exams or health questionnaires required to apply.

Since these plans do not have medical exams as a part of the underwriting process, they have a couple of drawbacks. Usually, no medical plans have lower coverage amounts and can be more expensive because insurers don’t have as much detail about your medical history.

Easy eligibility term life insurance

At Termlite, we offer accessible term life insurance plans that don’t require medical exams to apply. Our coverage provides up to $1,000,000 in tax-free benefit amounts and coverage for 10, 20, or 30-years. A Termlite plan can help ensure your loved ones are taken care of by helping to cover mortgage payments and other temporary debts. Our team simplifies the application process if you are a smoker. Discover your options now and get a free no-obligation quote.


Written by: Adam Bianco

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