The first thing you should understand is that MANY (not all) life insurance companies will give you a “smoker” health classification if you admit to cigar use. This will result in life insurance rates more than DOUBLE than what you should be paying.
The number one goal for cigar smokers searching for the best life insurance rates should be to obtain non-smoker rates.
When you’re looking for life insurance and you smoke cigars, you should do A LOT of looking. Based on their underwriting guidelines, your rates are going to vary wildly.
In this article we’ll show you how some of the top life insurance companies in the US view cigar smoking. After that section, we’ll give you our recommendations based off of occasional use, moderate use and regular use.
First, lets see how various companies view cigar smoking.
How Term Life Insurance Companies view Cigar Smoking
The list below will show you how to get NON-SMOKER rates with each life insurance company.
This is mainly for occasional and moderate cigar smokers. If you’re a regular user, scroll down to the bottom of this article for our recommendation on how to get non-smoker rates (yes, it’s possible!)
Please keep in mind this assumes negative nicotine on your medical exam unless stated otherwise. Which means you shouldn’t smoke a cigar within 2 weeks of taking a medical exam for life insurance if one is required.
The best way to use this information is to fill out the instant quote form on the right, then go down the list of rates (best rates are displayed on top) and see how each views your cigar smoking risk by referencing the information below.
AIG: 1 cigar/week or less can qualify for preferred non smoker rates
Banner (Legal & General): 12 cigars of less per year can qualify you for preferred non smoker rates
Foresters: 12 cigars or less per year can qualify you for non-smoker rates
Global Atlantic: 12 cigars or less per year may qualify you for preferred non-smoker rates
John Hancock: 12 cigars or less per year can get you super preferred non-smoker rates. 24 will get you Standard Plus. Any amount will get you Standard non-smoker and having positive nicotine on your exam is ok (no need to stop smoking cigars for the exam) as long as it’s admitted on the application.
Lincoln Financial: 12 cigars or less per year can get you preferred plus, under 24 cigars per year will get you preferred. Any amount will get you Standard non-smoker and having positive nicotine on your exam is ok (no need to stop smoking cigars for the exam) as long as it’s admitted on the application.
Mutual of Omaha: 24 cigars or less per year can get you preferred plus rates.
Nationwide: 12 cigars or less per year can get you preferred plus rates.
New York Life: Occasional cigar (no amount given) with negative nicotine screening
Principal Financial: 12 cigars or less per year can qualify you for super preferred. 24 cigars or less per year can qualify you for preferred.
Protective Life: 6 cigars or less per year can get your preferred best. 12 cigars or less per year can get you preferred.
Prudential: 24 cigars or less per year can get you preferred best. Any amount will get you Non-Smoker Plus (Standard Plus) and having positive nicotine is ok (don’t need to stop using for the exam) as long as it’s admitted.
Securian: 12 or less per year to get preferred plus. 12-24 to get preferred.
Symetra: 12 cigars or less per year to get preferred plus.
Transamerica: 12 cigars or less per year to get preferred plus
Zurich: 6 cigars or less per year to get preferred plus. 12 cigars or less per year to get preferred. 24 cigars or less per year to get standard plus.
**These are accurate as of January 2019 and underwriting guidelines can change.
As you can see that each life insurance company looks at cigar smoking differently.
To help you summarize the information above, here are the 3 best options for cigar smokers based on your cigar usage.
1. Occasional Cigar Smoker (less than 12 cigars per year)
We consider occasional cigar smoking as smoking less than twelve per year or one per month. In this case, the carrier will give you their “Preferred Best” or “Preferred” non-smoking rate class, but you have to get negative results for nicotine on your medical exam.
So if you had a recent cigar and your an occasional cigar smoker, we would recommend scheduling a medical exam for at least two weeks out so you can get the nicotine out of your system.
If you can do this, you’ll qualify for “Preferred Best” or “Preferred” non-smoker from many top rated life insurance companies, including:
American General, Banner, Genworth, ING, John Hancock, Lincoln Benefit Life, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, North American, Principal, Protective, SBLI and Transamerica.
2. Moderate Cigar Smoker (12-52 cigars per year)
If you smoke more than 12 cigars per year, but less than 52, you can still get “preferred plus” NON SMOKER rates with Mutual of Omaha or Prudential life insurance. Preferred plus is the best rate class available, so if you’re in great shape without any health complications or lifestyle risks, you’ll want to check out these two companies.
You can get “preferred” rates which is one health classification below the best available rate class with Lincoln Financial and Principal Financial (along with Mutual of Omaha and Prudential). I’d look at these companies if you’re in great health but have some controlled health conditions – ie taking cholesterol or blood pressure medication, but it’s under control.
3. Regular Cigar Smoker (more than 52 per year)
If you’re a regular cigar smoker, the good news is you can STILL qualify for non-smoker rates…and it’s okay if you test positive for nicotine on the medical exam.
Preferred or preferred plus life insurance rates aren’t available. There’s only 1 carrier that will offer “Standard Plus” non smoker rates and that’s Prudential Life Insurance.
Prudential will off you their “non-smoker plus” health classification which translates to “standard plus” with other life insurance carriers. Prudential is usually the best option available if you’re in good health.
However both Lincoln Financial and John Hancock will give you their “standard” health classification. You should consider Lincoln and John Hancock if you’re considered a “standard” risk and can’t qualify for preferred rates.
How Burial Insurance Companies view Cigar Smokers
Burial insurance are for those ages 50-85 who want a small life insurance policy to cover any final expenses such as burial services and any final debts.
With burial insurance, there’s no medical exams and it’s just yes/no questions you need to answer. With that said these life insurance companies combine their smoker question to include cigar smoking or not include cigar smoking.
Our research shows that these companies will give you non-smoker rates if you smoke cigars:
As a cigar smoker, non-smoker rates are available no matter what. From there it’s just determining which company will look at your risk most favorably and that’s where we come in.
As you can see, we have our pulse on the life insurance market for cigar smokers. We know who offers the best rates based on your usage. On top of that, we aren’t partial to any life insurance company – we work for you. We’ll recommend the best option based on your cigar usage, health situation and lifestyle.
Use the quote form here on RootFin.com and put us to work for you.