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    Other Life Events Insurance | 3 min read

    How Quitting Smoking Can Impact Your Life Insurance Premium

    For nearly half a century, the Surgeon General has been warning the public about the dangers of smoking, and for good reason. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.”1

    While these numbers are alarming, there is good news, too! More and more Americans are either stopping smoking or choosing not to pick up the habit in the first place. Since the 1950’s, smoking rates have been cut in half, and millions of lives have been saved since our society started the trend away from tobacco and nicotine products.

    The health benefits of quitting smoking are overwhelmingly positive, but did you know that not using nicotine products could lower your life insurance premium? In this article, we’ll look at how kicking this habit can save you money on healthcare costs and your insurance premium.

    An Expensive Habit

    Smoking isn’t just terrible for your health, it’s an expensive habit! According to a study by NerdWallet, quitting smoking can save consumers over $10,000 a year.2 The American Heart Association reports that cardiovascular disease, which can be caused by smoking, is one of the top reasons families declare medical bankruptcy. The report also found that out-of-pocket expenses for treating heart attacks and strokes, which can also be caused by smoking, often exceed $20,000.3

    Smokers pay more in other ways, too. Taking frequent smoke breaks can lead to a decrease in productivity throughout the day, and 88% of real estate agents surveyed said houses belonging to smokers were more difficult to sell. One-third also estimated that having a regular smoker in the home could reduce resale value by 20% to 29%.3

    Savings on Life Insurance

    In addition to the cost of buying cigarettes and paying for the medical complications they cause, smoking actually has a host of other auxiliary costs associated with it, including higher insurance premiums.

    If you make the decision to stop smoking cigarettes and to quit using nicotine, you can have your rates lowered. “According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, if you stop using nicotine, after 12 to 24 months you can enjoy a substantial savings by getting the money-saving nonsmoker insurance premiums.”4

    It will take at least a year of being tobacco-free for you to be able to realize this discounted rate, but the savings involved are significant. Average life insurance premiums for smokers are about $2,025 for men and $1,505 for women each year for a 20-year $500,000 term life insurance policy. After only a year of not smoking, those rates drop to an average of $797 and $659, respectively, for the same policy.2 After three years, most underwriters will consider you entirely tobacco-free and give you top-tier rates for your age and medical risk classification.

    Related Reading: 5 Things That Could Lead to a Higher Life Insurance Rate

    Vaping

    Many modern nicotine users prefer vaping to smoking cigarettes, and some are surprised that this prevents them from qualifying for the non-smoker rate on their life insurance premium. Vaping may be less detrimental to one’s health than smoking “cowboy killers,” but there is currently no data available on the long-term health risks associated with vaping. Since insurance carriers are in the business of assessing risk, vaping isn’t a behavior they would consider favorable.

    When you go to get your medical exam to qualify for a life insurance policy, you will likely be screened for nicotine through a urine test. If you test positive for nicotine, a life insurance carrier isn’t going to care whether it got there through smoking or vaping, and you won’t qualify for the discounted rates.

    Help Quitting Smoking

    Stopping smoking is hard, but the rewards show up in so many areas of your life—from health and wellness to your pocketbook! If you need help quitting, ask your doctor or call the National Cancer Institute’s free helpline.

    If you need help lowering your life insurance rate, visit our website to get a free quote.

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    1https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm

    2https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/life-insurance-savings-quitting-smoking/

    3 https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/save-10000-year-quit-smoking/

    4 https://www.supermoney.com/quit-smoking/

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    Joan Cleveland

    Joan Cleveland, CLU, ChFC, REBC leads SWBC Life Insurance Company as President and CEO. With more than 30 years of experience in the life insurance industry. She holds her Agent licenses for Life, Accident, Health Insurance, and has multiple FINRA securities Licenses. Joan is a frequent industry speaker and media spokesperson. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankers Insurance Association, and co-chair for their Government Relations Committee. In addition she is chair of LIMRA’s Strategic Marketing Issues Committee.

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