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Image of a vintage smoking pipe for Quotacy blog Does Pipe Smoking Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Does Pipe Smoking Affect Life Insurance Rates?

October 05, 2022
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Smoking a tobacco pipe may raise your life insurance rates. However, it depends on what insurance company you apply to. In some cases, you may qualify for great non-smoker rates.

Pipe smoking is different from smoking a cigarette and the life insurance industry takes this into consideration. Many people smoke a pipe as a leisure activity and oftentimes do not inhale, which makes it “safer” than cigarette smoking and some insurance companies rate accordingly.

As a pipe smoker, the best way to ensure you get the best rates is to work with an independent life insurance broker. Brokers have contracts with many different companies. Some are willing to give non-smoker rates to pipe smokers, but many aren’t.

Being able to qualify for non-smoker rates will save you hundreds of dollars each year. Consider the table of sample quotes below. These quotes are for a 35-year-old male applying for a 20-year $500,000 term life insurance policy. You can see very quickly how being classified as a tobacco user increases your rates.

Risk ClassMonthly Quote
Preferred Plus$20.38
Standard Plus$34.00
Preferred Tobacco$82.78
Standard Tobacco$113.05

Applying for Life Insurance as a Tobacco Pipe User

Apply through a broker. When you apply for life insurance, be completely honest about any tobacco use. Whether you’re an everyday cigarette smoker or just smoke a pipe for 30 minutes at the end of a work week.

Your agent needs to know the facts so they can go to bat for you and set appropriate expectations.

If you lie about your tobacco use, your agent won’t know how to properly shop your case to ensure you get the best rate. And your beneficiaries may ultimately pay the price.

If the insurance company discovers you’re a tobacco user, but stated you weren’t on your application, the death benefit will be reduced.


You lied on your application saying you never used any tobacco product and were offered a 20-year $1,000,000 term policy for $53 a month. During the two-year contestability period, the insurance company discovered you’re actually a daily pipe cigar smoker. Your policy drops down to a $175,000 death benefit instead of $1,000,000 because that’s what the $53/month smoker-rate would cover.

If it’s discovered after you die that you misrepresented yourself, the life insurance company can deny paying the death benefit and only give a refund of premiums paid.

It does not pay to try and fool the insurance company.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

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

Depending on the life insurance company, there are typically three different possible outcomes if you use a tobacco pipe:

  • You can qualify for non-smoker rates whether or not nicotine is detected in your urine sample
  • You can qualify for non-smoker rates only if nicotine is not detected in your sample
  • You will only qualify for smoker rates no matter how often you smoke a pipe

Quotacy works with many insurance companies and our agents know the ins and outs of these companies. Your agent will make sure to shop your case to companies that are more lenient with pipe smokers.

No matter what tobacco product you use, plan ahead for your loved ones. No one ever anticipates needing to use life insurance, but the unexpected happens. Be prepared and get a free and anonymous term life insurance quote today.

Note: Life insurance quotes used in this article are accurate as of October 5. 2022. These are only estimates and your life insurance costs may be higher or lower.


  1. Jeremy Y

    Hi, Do you have access or links to the research that Prudential and Lincoln Financial used to decide to classify pipe smokers as non-smokers? I would love a copy of that to read because my doctor told me that my occasional pipe smoking was lowering my stress levels and thereby improving my health.

    Thank you!

    • Jeremy Hallett

      Hi Jeremy,

      Smoking rates are quite high compared with non-smoker rates for life insurance. There are a few insurance companies, Prudential and Lincoln Financial included, that are willing to consider pipe smoking, cigar smoking or nicotine gum or tobacco chewing individuals as non-smokers. I haven’t seen anything that describes the reasoning behind this and there are actuaries at many other insurance companies that disagree with this assessment wholeheartedly.

      I am happy that your doctor believes the pipe is lowering your stress levels and improving your health. I am sure there are other doctors who will disagree with your doc. Ultimately it is our own decision how we live our lives and there is a difference between quality and quantity. There are some carriers that consider marijuana users as smokers and some who consider them non-smokers as well. Life insurance is not priced the same by the insurance companies. Make sure when you buy it to work with a broker who represents multiple carriers.

  2. Richard Camasto

    Looking for 100,000 policy

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Richard,

      I assume you are a pipe smoker since you commented here?

      If so, the go-to carriers for a $100K life insurance policy for a pipe smoker are going to be Prudential and Lincoln Financial. They both currently consider pipe smokers to be “non-smokers”. For pricing, please go run a quote and be sure to say you are a pipe smoker under the “Tobacco Usage” section. The quoting tool will then factor that into your pricing estimates. Some carriers will give you a smoker rate, though the carriers I mentioned prior will not and will have much better rates than any other carrier in the market.

      Feel free to contact us if you have any more questions.


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