Ask the Life Insurance Expert

I quit smoking last year. I applied for life insurance and the company still wants to charge me smoker rates. Why is that?

Congratulations on quitting. Unfortunately, some life insurance companies will consider you a nicotine user for a while longer. The so-called "look-back" period varies among insurers; typically it's 12 months, although it can be a few years for some companies.

Your best bet is to shop around for life insurance quotes and to look for a company with a short look-back period when it comes to nicotine use. Meanwhile, keep in mind that using any type of nicotine, not just cigarettes, qualifies you as a nicotine user, including nicotine gum or patches, chewing tobacco and cigars.

By the way, don't try to fudge the details of when you quit to get better rates on your next insurance application. Data from your previous application will be available to other insurers through a database operated by MIB Group, and the discrepancy will be apparent. Instead, focus on keeping up your good health habits and continue shopping for a life insurance policy that fits your needs and budget.

For more, see Can you hide smoking from life insurance companies?


Last updated: Apr. 18, 2011
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