You’re not alone if you use tobacco:
15.1% of all adults (36.5 million people) are current tobacco users. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
It’s no secret that health risks – and consequently, your life insurance premiums – increase with tobacco use.
However – Whether you use cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, marijuana, vape, cigars or pipes, you can qualify for no exam life insurance at often affordable rates.
Let’s evaluate everything you need to know about purchasing no exam life insurance when you smoke.
Table Of Contents
First, let’s define no exam (also known as non-med, no physical) life insurance. Simply put, it’s life insurance issued without the medical examination of the applicant.
That means you skip:
- Liquid samples
A large percentage of us have no interest in being poked with a needle and have even put off purchasing life insurance as a result.
There’s good news – No exam life insurance is becoming increasingly available at affordable rates.
So, what does the process of purchasing life insurance without a medical exam look like?
1. Partner Up
You will want to collaborate with an independent life insurance agent.
Here’s why: Independent agents are not held captive to a particular life insurance company. They have your best interest at heart.
No two life insurance companies are the same. That means your unique needs will determine which company is the best to purchase a policy from.
2. Electronic Application
Almost always, your life insurance application will be submitted electronically. No exam life insurance carriers are interested in streamlining the process for you. An electronic application means you skip tedious paperwork and snail mail.
3. Phone Interview
After your application has been submitted, expect a phone interview.
Your conversation will last about 20 – 30 minutes.
Important – Be prepared and upfront during the interview. Any discrepancies during the phone interview could delay or hinder your ability to secure life insurance quickly.
Expect to be asked about:
- The basics: gender, birthdate, height/weight
- Your tobacco use:
- What type(s) of tobacco product you use
- How often you use a tobacco product(s)
- How many years you have used tobacco products
- Health complications associated with tobacco use:
- Respiratory ailments
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- General health history
- Health history of close blood-related family members
- Military status
4. Database Check
Next, your underwriter (that’s who evaluates your application) will review databases.
Generally, the following are checked:
- Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) – your driving record
- Pharmacy – a history of your prescriptions
- Medical Information Bureau (MIB) – a database of previous insurance applications
5. Application Decision
Based on your application, phone interview and database checks, you will receive a decision on your application – often quickly.
Expect one of three decisions:
- Approved as applied – Think of this as a best-case scenario. You are approved for the life insurance policy you applied for.
- More information needed – Depending on the carrier, sometimes your underwriter will need more information. Let’s say, for example, you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. You could be asked to provide information on when you were diagnosed, what medications you may be taking to treat your high blood pressure, and if you are experiencing health complications as a result of your high blood pressure.
- Declined as applied – Sometimes, you are not approved for the life insurance policy you applied for. Take heart. There are plenty of life insurance options to explore.
Bottom Line – Anticipate an uncomplicated application process.
Let’s review the 5 essential facts you need to know about no exam life insurance for smokers:
1. No Exam
Tobacco users’ options for no exam life insurance have increased. In fact, most no exam life insurance products include a tobacco health class.
More options mean you have the ability to shop around, with the help of an independent agent, for the best policy at the best price (that you qualify for).
Tobacco users will pay more for life insurance than those who are non-tobacco.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t secure affordable life insurance coverage while skipping the needles, nurses and liquid samples.
To put things into perspective, let’s compare some tobacco quotes that are no exam with some that are medically underwritten.
Here, we have the same healthy, tobacco-using applicants for the same policy amount:
For many, paying a little more every month for the convenience of skipping the medical exam is worth it.
Life insurance underwriters will want to know what type of tobacco product you use.
Specifically, they will ask you about:
- Smokeless tobacco
- Nicotine patch
- Nicotine gum
Tobacco products are not viewed equally by life insurance companies.
*For example: Cigar smokers, smokeless tobacco users, and marijuana users can earn non-tobacco status by some medically-underwritten carriers. In other words, you could be classified as non-tobacco (and save significantly on your premiums) if you’re willing to go through a medical exam – under a few specific situations (your tobacco use must be limited).
Expect to be asked about when you last smoked a cigarette.
For some carriers, if you have smoked cigarettes within the last 2 years, you will be classified as tobacco. For many carriers, if you have smoked cigarettes within the last 12 months, you will be classified as tobacco. So, it will have to be at least one year since your last cigarette to be classified as non-tobacco.
Important – Honesty is crucial. If you are not truthful about your tobacco use, and you pass away from a tobacco-related illness, it can put your policy’s death benefit in jeopardy.
Also important – Do not wait until you’ve quit smoking to purchase life insurance coverage. Not to sound dark, but no one is guaranteed tomorrow. If down the road, you successfully quit smoking, you can apply for new non-tobacco rates.
Your health is a major factor in determining the life insurance rate you qualify for.
Smoking increases your risk for health complications. If you experience adverse health effects as a result of smoking (or for any reason, for that matter) life insurance carriers may charge you more for life insurance.
Common health conditions related to smoking include:
- coronary heart disease
- respiratory disease
- type 2 diabetes
- rheumatoid arthritis
Important – People with health complications are able to secure life insurance without a physical all the time.
Keep in mind – quotes are samples only. They reflect limited input and are for healthy individuals. Your personal quote may vary.
If you have loved ones who depend on you financially, it’s almost certain you need life insurance.
Just how much life insurance coverage you need is dependent on:
- The financial needs of you and your beneficiaries:
- Living expenses – food, utilities, bills
- Mortgage or rent
- Loans or debt (student loans, credit card)
- Charitable giving
No exam life insurance may be an excellent fit for you, even with tobacco use:
- Skip the needles, nurses and liquid samples
- Purchase life insurance quickly (no exam life insurance can shave weeks off of the application turnaround time)
You will want to do two things when you apply for no exam life insurance for smokers:
- Partner with an independent agent.
- An independent agent will be able to access tobacco-friendly life insurance carriers to find the best policy to fit your needs.
- They have your best interest in mind because they’re not held captive to a particular carrier.
- Avoid applying directly with a life insurance company. Let’s say a medical condition shows up on your application. That information could then be available to other life insurance companies, via the Medical Information Bureau, and potentially affect future applications.
- Be ready for the application
- Have your medical, lifestyle (including tobacco use), and occupation information readily available.
- Your application is processed fastest when you can answer all interview questions upfront.