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Image of tobacco plants growing in a field for Quotacy blog How Does Chewing Tobacco Affect Life Insurance Rates?

How Chewing Tobacco Could Impact Your Life Insurance Premiums

November 15, 2023
Our goal is to educate and advise on life insurance options, so you can feel confident in making the right choice, whether that’s through Quotacy or somewhere else. To ensure we provide accurate and trustworthy information, our writers follow strict editorial standards.

If you smoke cigarettes, you’ll pay more for life insurance. But what about chewing tobacco?

In this article, we’ll explore this question and guide you through how to secure the most affordable rates. We’ll cover risk classifications, the difference between smoking and chewing tobacco, and why honesty is crucial when applying.

How Life Insurance Rates Are Determined

When you apply for life insurance, an underwriter categorizes you into a risk class based on various factors, such as your health and lifestyle. Risk classes are divided into two different categories: non-tobacco and tobacco. All other things equal, being in the tobacco category means you’ll face higher premium rates.

Risk ClassesTobacco Risk Classes
Preferred PlusPreferred Tobacco
PreferredStandard Tobacco
Standard Plusn/a

However, it’s important to note that life insurance companies don’t all assess risk in the same way. Some companies will categorize chewing tobacco users as tobacco users, even if they don’t smoke cigarettes. Others are more lenient. Choosing the right insurer can significantly affect how much you’ll pay for your policy.

The Difference Between Smoking and Chewing Tobacco

While both smoking and chewing tobacco have health implications, insurers often differentiate between the two due to the distinct risks involved. Smoking affects the lungs and is linked to conditions like COPD and lung cancer. Chewing tobacco is mostly associated with oral cancers and gum disease but carries less respiratory risk. As a result, some insurers offer more favorable rates to chewers compared to smokers.

So, even if you use chewing tobacco, you can still get life insurance and may even be able to get great non-smoker rates. 

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

Finding Affordable Rates: The Ins and Outs of Applying as a Chewer

While some insurance companies will issue smoker rates for chewing tobacco use, there are some that are more lenient. The qualifications for non-smoker rates for those who chew tobacco can vary by carrier. 

Examples of qualifications from various carriers to qualify for non-tobacco rates:

  • Non-Tobacco Rates: No tobacco use of any kind in the past five years.
  • Non-Tobacco Rates: No tobacco use of any kind in the past 12 months.
  • Non-Tobacco Rates: Chewing tobacco is acceptable if disclosed on the application and the medical exam shows no nicotine presence.

Qualifying for non-tobacco rates can save you hundreds of dollars every year. Below is a table comparing monthly rates for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy based on age and gender. 

Age and GenderStandard Plus Rate
Standard Rate
Male, Age 30$29.35$81.87
Female, Age 30$25.30$64.61
Male, Age 40$46.00$161.84
Female, Age 40$37.55$119.25
Male, Age 50$116.29$332.41
Female, Age 50$83.11$268.64

Non-Tobacco Preferred Plus is the best rate possible, but we used Non-Tobacco Standard Plus example rates above because they are more realistic for chewing tobacco users. Your actual rate may be higher or lower.

Honesty = Your Best Policy

At Quotacy, we act as your life insurance matchmaker, connecting you with the insurer best suited to your individual situation. However, for an accurate match, you need to be upfront about your tobacco use.

Before forwarding your application to an insurance provider, our agents review your information to make sure you’re aligned with the company most likely to offer favorable terms.

To ensure your agent matches you with the right insurer, you need to be honest when filling out your application. For chewing tobacco specifically, be sure to disclose your use, but make it clear that you do not smoke tobacco

If it turns out that you lied about tobacco use on an application, the life insurance company can penalize you by reducing your death benefit to what your premiums would be paying for on a smoker-rated policy.

For example, let’s say you claim to be tobacco-free and secure a 20-year, $1,000,000 policy at $53 per month. If later it’s discovered you chew tobacco, your coverage could plummet to $175,000—what your premiums would cover at smoker rates.

In extreme cases, lying on your application can lead to your beneficiaries being denied the death benefit altogether. There’s no upside to deceiving the insurance company, so always be upfront when filling out your application.

Apply Through Quotacy Today to Get the Best Rates

Life insurance is purchased by tobacco users every day. The process doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming.

At Quotacy, we’re dedicated to matching you with the right life insurance product and company for your situation so you can protect your loved ones. By understanding your specific needs, we aim to secure the best price possible.

Don’t leave it to guesswork; explore your options and get free, anonymous term life insurance quotes today. Take control of your future by making an informed decision that suits your lifestyle.

Note: Life insurance quotes used in this article are accurate as of November 15, 2023. These are only estimates and your life insurance costs may be higher or lower.


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