If I Stop Smoking Today, Can I Get a Non-Smoker Life Insurance Rate?

In Canada, smoking remains a prevalent habit, with recent statistics from 2021 revealing that 12% of the population aged 15 and above are cigarette smokers. This figure breaks down into 14% of males and 11% of females in the same age group, with 9% of males and 8% of females smoking daily. These numbers are particularly relevant in the context of life insurance, where smoking status can considerably influence premium rates.

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

It’s important to note that life insurance companies often adopt a broad definition of “smoker,” extending beyond just cigarette smokers. This classification includes individuals who use smokeless tobacco, nicotine patches, or vape. This wider definition means that more people might be categorized as smokers, affecting their life insurance rates and available coverage options.

Given the heightened health risks associated with tobacco and nicotine use, life insurance companies typically charge higher premiums for those identified as smokers. Individuals who use tobacco or nicotine products in any form should be aware of the potential financial benefits of quitting, especially when it comes to life insurance premiums.

Lower Premiums with a Smoke-Free Lifestyle

Embracing a smoke-free life not only benefits your health but also brings financial perks in terms of life insurance. After quitting smoking, typically for a year, many are surprised to find a substantial dip in their premiums. This is a lesser-known incentive for giving up cigarettes, with insurers often rewarding the positive health trajectory of former smokers.

Strategies to Reduce Life Insurance Premiums After Quitting Smoking

If you quit smoking today, don’t expect an instant drop in your life insurance premiums. Insurance companies usually need to see that you’ve stayed away from smoking for about a year before they think about cutting your rates. This waiting time lets them check if you’ve really quit and how it’s helping your health. After you’ve been smoke-free for the required period and shown them proof or passed a health check, that’s when you might start seeing your premiums go down.

Document Your Quit Date

Keep a record of your quit date. This is crucial, as insurers typically require proof that you’ve been smoke-free for a certain period before they consider lowering your premiums. Use digital tools like quit-smoking apps that track your progress. These apps often provide detailed statistics on your health improvements and money saved, which can be compelling evidence when negotiating with insurers.

Stay Committed to a Smoke-Free Life

Consistency is key. Insurers will consider you a non-smoker only after you’ve abstained from all forms of tobacco and nicotine products for a specified duration. This includes cigarettes, cigars, vaping, and even nicotine replacement therapies like patches or gums. One of the most impactful ways to maintain a smoke-free life is to cultivate a supportive environment. This involves not just avoiding triggers that may tempt you to smoke but also surrounding yourself with people who encourage and support your decision to quit.

Undergo a Medical Examination

After your smoke-free period, undergo a medical exam to provide evidence of your improved health. Insurers often look for lower nicotine and cotinine levels in your system, which indicate that you’ve truly quit smoking. When scheduling your medical examination to prove you’ve quit smoking, timing is crucial. Plan the exam when detoxification from nicotine is optimal. For instance, cotinine, a nicotine metabolite, can stay in your body for up to three weeks. Timing your test when these levels are lowest can work in your favour.

Update Your Life Insurance Provider

Inform your insurance company once you’ve reached the smoke-free milestone. Provide them with any documentation or medical test results to support your claim beyond the basic medical exam required by insurers. Screenings like lung function tests can provide tangible evidence of your health improvements, strengthening your case for lower premiums.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Apart from quitting smoking, improving your overall health can also help lower premiums. This includes maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. Managing any chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, through regular medical checkups, taking your medications, and lifestyle adjustments can also be seen favourably by insurance providers. These proactive health measures can lead to better insurance premium rates, as they show you’re less of a risk.

There are insurance policies that offer lower premiums to smokers who decide to quit, such as those provided by Foresters Financial™. When you take out one of these policies, you’ll already start with lower rates for the first two years. If you manage to quit smoking during this time, you’ll keep enjoying the savings. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but knowing that your efforts can save you money can be a real motivator. It’s a way for insurance companies to nudge you toward a healthier lifestyle. They recognize your hard work and commitment to better health, making your journey to quit smoking a bit more rewarding.

 

 

 

About Joel Levy 2601 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography