Last Updated: April 2021
The first thing you should understand is that many (but not all) life insurance companies will give you a “smoker” health classification if you admit to cigar use. Life insurance rates for smokers are more than double that of a standard rating/classification.
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 searching. Based on each company’s underwriting guidelines, your rates are going to vary.
In this article, we’ll show you how some of the top life insurance companies in the U.S. view cigar smoking. We will give you our recommendations based on occasional use, moderate use, and regular cigar use.
- How Cigar Smoking Affects Term Life Insurance Rates
- The Best Life Insurance Companies for Cigar Smokers
- How Burial Insurance Companies View Cigar Smokers
- How to Apply for Life Insurance as a Cigar Smoker
How Cigar Smoking Affects Term Life Insurance Rates
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. This 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 is 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 (you don’t need to stop using for the exam) as long as it’s admitted.
- Securian: 12 cigars or less per year to get preferred plus. 12-24 cigars per year 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 2020 and underwriting guidelines can change.
As you can see, each life insurance company looks at cigar-smoking differently. Smoking of any kind is considered high-risk, and high-risk life insurance is always more expensive because the person being insured poses more of a risk to the life insurance company.
The Best Life Insurance Companies for Cigar Smokers
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 you are 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
- John Hancock
- Lincoln Benefit Life
- Lincoln Financial
- Mutual of Omaha
- North American
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 a “preferred” rate, 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, i.e. 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 is only one carrier that will offer “Standard Plus” non-smoker rates, and that is Prudential Life Insurance.
Prudential will offer you a “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 is for those ages between 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 are no medical exams and it’s just yes/no questions that you will need to answer.
With that said, these life insurance companies combine their smoker questions 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:
- American Amicable
- Lafayette Life
How to Apply for Life Insurance as a Cigar Smoker
As a cigar smoker, non-smoker rates are available no matter what. From there, you just need to determine which company will look at your risk most favorably and that’s where we come in. Choosing the right company is critical in securing the lowest rates.
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.
Also, be sure to check out our other guides below to learn more about how different types of tobacco use can affect life insurance approval and rates: