Anyone trying to get life insurance should be ready to answer a loaded question: Do you smoke pot?
April 13, 2019 by Tanza Loudenback
- Life insurance isn’t terribly expensive, on average, but rates vary depending in part on your health.
- Most people need to undergo a medical exam to take out a life insurance policy. Smoking cigarettes or marijuana — even if it’s legal in your state — can negatively affect a health assessment.
- Smokers can pay two to three times more for life insurance than non-smokers, says Logan Sachon, insurance editor atPolicygenius, but it may still be worth it to have protection and peace of mind.
- Ask yourself a simple question to decide whether you need life insurance: Does anyone rely on your income for their financial well-being?
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How much life insurance costs depends, in part, on the status of your health.
Most people need to undergo a medical exam during the underwriting stage of buying life insurance. The good news is it’s usually free. This helps the insurance company determine a person’s risk level, and thus, their premium. A bad health assessment will lead to higher rates, and vice versa.
There’s one habit shared by more than 34 million Americans that has a profoundly negative impact when it comes to paying for life insurance, according to Logan Sachon, insurance editor at Policygenius.
“Being a nicotine user is one of the quickest ways to raise your life insurance rates. Smokers can pay two to three times more than nonsmokers,” Sachon told Business Insider.
Life insurance isn’t terribly expensive to begin with; it’s typically worth the protection and peace of mind it provides. The average person can expect to pay between $300 to $400 a year— or just $25 to $33 a month — for life insurance, according to Policygenius.
But it’s not only cigarettes that increase rates. Vaping, smoking-cessation products, like nicotine gum, and even marijuana are considered, too.
“As for marijuana use: Carriers view it the same whether you live in a state where it’s legal or not, and your rates can go up even if you’re using it legally,” Sachon wrote in an email to Business Insider. “That said, marijuana and smoking rules vary greatly between carriers, so it’s important to work with a broker who can shop your application around to find the best rates for your health profile.”