Best Life Insurance for Smokers

Find the best life insurance policy for your needs

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Life insurance premiums are largely dependent on your health, habits, and your lifestyle choices, so it makes sense that smokers pay much higher rates for life insurance than non-smokers do. Despite the high price tag, life insurance for smokers can be beneficial. If you were to pass away unexpectedly, life insurance would financially support your family members left without your income. 

The best life insurance companies for smokers offer affordable rates, riders for customization, great financial strength, and more. To find the top companies, we evaluated 15 providers, looking for standout features and selecting those we recommend in specific categories. Keep reading to see which six companies made the cut.

The Best Life Insurance for Smokers for 2021

Best Overall : Mutual of Omaha


Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers reliable and comprehensive life insurance coverage through a variety of different policies, regardless of whether you smoke or have other underlying health issues. 

Pros
  • Term, whole, and universal life insurance policies available

  • Tobacco use isn’t factored into whole life policy premiums

  • Easy to get a quote online or over the phone

Cons
  • High number of company complaints

  • Low death benefits for whole life policies

Mutual of Omaha is the best overall life insurance provider for smokers because the company offers affordable and robust coverage. Specifically, we recommend whole life insurance from Mutual of Omaha, which doesn’t require a medical exam and doesn’t consider tobacco use when your premium is calculated. However, it’s important to note that Mutual of Omaha’s whole life policies are designed to cover final expenses, like funeral costs and outstanding debt. It’s not the best option for people who want to replace their income during retirement or leave money to heirs.

Mutual of Omaha’s whole life policies have level premiums, build cash value over time, and provide a guaranteed death benefit. According to the website, 85% of life insurance claims are paid within one business day. You can purchase whole life insurance between the ages of 45 to 85 (or 50 to 75 in New York) and get a quote online or through an agent.

In most states, you can choose a death benefit between $2,000 to $25,000 if you buy a policy online. If you work with an agent to purchase a policy, you can get more coverage, with limits ranging from $2,000 to $40,000.

The company also sells term life insurance and universal life insurance policies, which smokers can qualify for, assuming you’re in good health otherwise. However, keep in mind that term life and universal life insurance policies usually have a required medical exam, which means your premium will be much higher if you use tobacco. 

If you’re not sure which type of life insurance is right for you, check out Mutual of Omaha’s online comparison tool, and then use the coverage calculator to determine an appropriate amount of coverage for your family’s financial situation. 

Although Mutual of Omaha is a strong life insurance company overall, one of the downsides is that the company has a higher-than-expected number of company complaints. Mutual of Omaha’s National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Complaint Index is 1.20, which is higher than the industry average of 1.00.

Best for Healthy Smokers : John Hancock


John Hancock

 John Hancock

John Hancock’s signature Vitality program rewards policyholders for making healthy lifestyle choices, which can help you get a lower premium if you smoke.

Pros
  • High coverage limits for most policies

  • Vitality program rewards healthy individuals with a lower rate

  • Guaranteed issue policies are available

  • Low number of company complaints

Cons
  • Doesn’t offer whole life insurance

  • Can’t get an instant quote online

John Hancock is our top recommendation for life insurance for healthy smokers. Whether you purchase a term life or universal life insurance policy, you’ll have the option to enroll in John Hancock’s signature Vitality program, which rewards policyholders for making healthy lifestyle choices. Smoking won’t disqualify you from this program. 

Through the Vitality program, individuals can save up to 15% on their annual premium by purchasing a wearable fitness device through the company and using special discounts on healthy foods at the grocery store. Enrolling in the Vitality program also comes with other perks, like retail discounts at REI and Starbucks, plus a free subscription to the Headspace meditation app.

John Hancock’s term life insurance policies are available in term lengths of 10, 15, 20, or 30 year periods, with coverage ranging from $750,000 to $65 million. The company’s permanent coverage options are universal, indexed universal, and variable universal life insurance, which builds cash value based on stock market performance.

Overall, John Hancock is a reliable life insurance company, with great financial strength and few company complaints. The company’s NAIC Complaint Index is 0.64, which is lower than the industry-wide average of 1.0. The biggest downside is that this company is one of the few that doesn’t offer whole life insurance.

Best No-Exam Option : Globe Life


Globe Life

 Globe Life

Smokers who deal with underlying health complications might consider a no-exam policy from Globe Life, which doesn’t require a medical exam and has no waiting period. 

Pros
  • Low monthly premiums starting at $3.49 for adults

  • No waiting period, with the potential for same-day coverage

  • Coverage is available up to $100,000

  • Variety of policy types available

Cons
  • No online quote generator

  • Coverage isn't guaranteed

  • High number of company complaints


Smoking alone usually won’t prevent you from getting life insurance, but if you’re a smoker and you deal with other health problems, your best option is probably a no-exam policy. Based on our research, Globe Life is the best no-exam option for smokers because you can get coverage quickly without taking a medical exam, and the policies are extremely affordable if you qualify.

However, it’s important to note upfront that coverage isn’t guaranteed. Globe Life sells simplified issue policies, which require you to answer some basic health questions on the application, including whether you smoke and if you have other medical conditions, like high blood pressure. With that being said, using nicotine will affect your premium, but because Globe Life’s policies are low cost, you can likely avoid a major rate hike. 

Globe Life is one of the few insurance providers that offer multiple no-exam policies, including term life, children’s life, whole life, senior life, and family life insurance. Policies are available with coverage between $5,000 to $100,000, and premiums start at just $3.49 per month for adults. 

To get a quote from Globe Life, you’ll need to use the online request form or call an agent. When you contact the company, we recommend asking about age eligibility, because Globe Life doesn’t disclose what ages qualify for coverage on its website.

In terms of company complaints, Globe Life scores higher than average. The company has an NAIC Complaint Index of 1.27, which is greater than the industry average of 1.0.

Best for Marijuana Smokers : Fidelity Life


Fidelity Life

 Fidelity Life

Fidelity Life is considered to be a marijuana-friendly life insurance company, and you can get approved for coverage without taking a medical exam depending on your overall level of health.

Pros
  • Guaranteed issue and simplified issue policies available

  • Helpful online tools for first-time life insurance buyers

  • Offers a variety of riders for customizable coverage

  • Online quote generator

Cons
  • Relatively low coverage amounts

  • Poor Better Business Bureau (BBB) reviews

  • High number of company complaints


If you smoke marijuana, a life insurance policy from Fidelity Life is a great option. Fidelity Life offers guaranteed issue life insurance policies with no medical exam, as well as simplified issue policies with a short health questionnaire, that are available to marijuana users. 

Assuming you don’t have any marijuana-related arrests, smoke excessively, or use marijuana to cope with major health issues, you shouldn’t have a problem getting approved for coverage. If you’re not sure how your marijuana habits will affect your life insurance policy, you can read all about it on Fidelity Life’s learning center.

Fidelity Life offers term life and permanent life insurance policies. There are six policies available, which have varying levels of coverage with no exams and no waiting period. Here are the policy offerings, with age eligibility and coverage amounts:

  • RAPIDecision Life (18 to 65 years old): $50,000 to $1 million in coverage
  • RAPIDecision Express (18 to 65 years old): $25,000 to $100,000 in coverage
  • RAPIDecision Senior Life (50 to 70 years old): $10,000 to $150,000 in coverage
  • RAPIDecision Senior Whole Life (50 to 85 years old): $10,000 to $150,000 in coverage
  • RAPIDecision Final Expense (50 to 85 years old): $5,000 to $35,000 in coverage
  • RAPIDecision Guaranteed Issue (50 to 85 years old): up to $25,000 in coverage

We also like that Fidelity Life offers a few endorsements for more protection. You can customize your policy with an accidental death benefit rider, family accidental death benefit rider, inflation rider, return of premium rider, and several others.

Overall, Fidelity Life’s policies are affordable, which is a big selling point for marijuana smokers who may find themselves in the Preferred Smoker or Standard Smoker category when it comes to underwriting. You can use the online quote generator to get a rate estimate or call an agent. 

Before choosing a policy from Fidelity Life, it’s important to consider the company’s third-party ratings, which are not stellar. It has an average BBB rating of just 1 out of 5 stars, and an NAIC Complaint Index of 2.79, which is significantly higher than the industry average of 1.0.

Best for Term Life : Haven Life


Haven Life

 Haven Life

Haven Life is the best choice for term life insurance because the company offers no-exam options for smokers, a seamless online application process, and high coverage limits.

Pros
  • Easy online quote and application process

  • Offers term life and simplified issue policies

  • Policies are underwritten by MassMutual, a reputable life insurance provider

  • Few company complaints

Cons
  • Doesn’t offer whole life insurance

  • Few riders available


We chose Haven Life as the best term life insurance provider for smokers because the coverage is affordable and reliable, and the user experience is second-to-none. You can get a quote and submit the application online, without ever contacting an agent. You might need to take a medical exam depending on your age and coverage needs, but not everyone does.

Haven Term policies are available for people between the ages of 18 to 65, with term lengths of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years, and coverage limits from $100,000 to $3 million. The policies are underwritten by MassMutual, which is one of the top-rated life insurance companies on the market. As an added bonus, all term life policies include an accelerated death benefit rider and a no-obligation free look period.

If you’re concerned about taking a medical exam, you can also consider a simplified issue policy. Haven Simple policies are available for people between the ages of 20 and 55, they never require a medical exam, and you can get coverage from $25,000 to $500,000 over 5, 10, or 15 years. However, keep in mind that simplified issue policies don’t guarantee coverage. If you smoke and suffer from other health complications, your application could get denied.

One of the biggest downsides of Haven Life is that you can’t get whole life insurance, which means there are no permanent coverage options available through this company. Additionally, due to its lack of riders, we wouldn't recommend Haven Life to individuals who want to customize their policies.

On the plus side, we like that Haven Life’s parent company, MassMutual, has fewer than average company complaints, which is impressive for a company of its size. MassMutual’s NAIC Complaint Index is 0.07, which is below the industry average of 1.0.

Best for Whole Life : New York Life


New York Life

New York Life

Smokers who are looking for permanent life insurance should consider a whole life policy from New York Life, which offers customizable coverage, a variety of endorsements, and the potential to receive dividends.

Pros
  • Policies include level premiums for the lifetime of the policy

  • Policyholders are eligible for dividends which can grow cash value

  • Several riders available for additional protection

  • Custom whole life policies allow you to choose your own payment schedule

  • Few company complaints

Cons
  • Must work with an agent to get a quote

  • Company doesn’t have great BBB reviews


If you’re a smoker and you’re in the market for whole life insurance, look no further than New York Life. The company sells comprehensive whole life insurance policies that do require a medical exam, but are available to people who smoke. New York Life’s whole life insurance policies come with a guaranteed death benefit, cash value, and level premiums, plus the opportunity to get dividends. The company doesn’t include any information about age eligibility on its website, so you’ll need to contact an agent to find out who qualifies, and for what types of coverage. 

In addition to standard whole life insurance policies, New York Life also offers a custom whole life option. If you choose this policy, you only have to pay your premiums for a specific period of time, which you determine. In a way, this option provides permanent coverage with the flexibility of a term life policy payment period, which can help to maximize your policy’s cash value.

If you want to customize your policy with riders, New York Life has you covered. The company offers a handful of endorsements, including a disability waiver of premium rider, chronic care rider, living benefits rider, and accidental death benefit rider. You can also add the Spouse’s Paid-Up option, which allows your spouse to use your policy’s death benefit to purchase their own life insurance policy after your death, without needing a medical exam. 

Like many life insurance companies, New York Life doesn’t offer online quotes. You’ll need to contact an agent directly in order to calculate your rate and start the application process.

In terms of customer satisfaction, New York Life’s reviews are a mixed bag. The company’s average BBB rating is just 2 out of 5 stars, but its NAIC Complaint Index is 0.16, which is much lower than the industry average rating of 1.0.

Final Verdict

As you can tell, many life insurance companies will sell coverage to smokers, as long as you’re otherwise in good health. However, every life insurance company has its pros and cons for smokers. For example, Haven Life is a great option for affordable term life coverage, but there’s no option to purchase permanent coverage. Globe Life offers no-exam coverage, but the company has a high number of complaints. 

If you’re still not sure which provider is the best option for you, we recommend checking out Mutual of Omaha. The company offers a number of different policies, including whole life insurance that doesn’t require a medical exam and won’t raise your rate for smoking. Mutual of Omaha also has great online tools and resources, like a coverage calculator, to help you find the best type of coverage and amount of coverage for your needs.

Compare Providers

Company AM Best Rating Coverage Capacity Number of Policies Available Types of Policies Offered
Mutual of Omaha
Best Overall
A+ Up to $100,000 3 Term life, whole life, and universal life insurance
John Hancock
Best for Healthy Smokers
A+ Up to $65 million 2 Term life and universal life insurance
Globe Life
Best No-Exam Option
A Up to $100,000 7 Term life, children’s life, whole life, senior life, family life, final expense insurance, and funeral insurance
Fidelity Life
Best for Marijuana Smokers
A- Up to $150,000 3 Term life, whole life, and final expense insurance
Haven Life
Best for Term Life
A++ (MassMutual) Up to $3 million 2 Term life and simplified issue life insurance
New York Life
Best for Whole Life
A++ Contact an agent 3 Term life, whole life, and universal life insurance

FAQs

What Is Life Insurance for Smokers? 

Simply put, life insurance for smokers is a life insurance policy that is available to people who smoke. Not all life insurance companies will sell coverage to smokers, and those that do often raise the premiums significantly to account for potential health risks. Most life insurance providers consider smokers to be individuals who smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, vape nicotine, and use marijuana. 

How Do Life Insurance Companies Know You’re a Smoker?

When you apply for life insurance, you will be asked to disclose information about your lifestyle and habits, including whether you smoke. If your life insurance application requires a medical exam, a physician will know if you smoke by taking a blood and/or urine sample and testing for nicotine or marijuana. 

How Much More Does Life Insurance Cost for Smokers?

Smokers pay significantly higher life insurance premiums than non-smokers. Although the exact price will vary, estimates show that life insurance for smokers costs 100% to 300% more than for non-smokers. However, the cost of your life insurance policy will also depend on your overall level of health, age, pre-existing conditions, and family history. 

Do I Have to Tell a Life Insurance Company That I Am a Smoker?

Yes, you should be as honest as possible when filling out your life insurance application, and that includes disclosing your smoking habits. Life insurance companies use the medical exam to validate the information you put down on your application, so if you lie about being a smoker, the physician could easily learn the truth. If you get approved for coverage and the insurance company later finds out that you smoke, they have the right to withhold the death benefit and they could even cancel your policy altogether.

When Will a Life Insurance Company Consider You a Non-Smoker?

Most life insurance companies will consider you a non-smoker when you have quit smoking for at least one year. In order to be considered a non-smoker, you can’t smoke ever. Smoking one cigarette per month, or using marijuana every few weeks, means you are technically still a smoker, and it will impact your premium. 

How We Chose the Best Life Insurance for Smokers

To find the best life insurance for smokers, we started by evaluating 15 providers based on factors such as policy options for smokers, average premiums, riders, financial strength, claims handling, accessibility, and customer reviews. We paid special attention to companies with low rates and guaranteed issue policies. All of the providers on our list have a minimum financial strength rating of A-, which indicates excellent financial stability, and is important to consider when shopping for life insurance providers.

Article Sources

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