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Image of lit cigar in ashtray for Quotacy blog Do Cigars Affect Life Insurance Rates?

How Smoking Cigars Can Impact Your Life Insurance Rates

October 18, 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.

Does smoking a cigar during a celebration or golf outing affect your life insurance rates like cigarettes do? 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 cigarettes and cigars, 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.

Typical Life Insurance Risk Classes
Preferred Plus (healthiest applicants)
Standard Plus
Standard (average health applicants)
Preferred Tobacco
Standard Tobacco

However, cigar smoking is often treated more leniently than other forms of tobacco use. If you only smoke cigars occasionally, you may still qualify for the more affordable non-tobacco rates.

The Difference Between Smoking Cigarettes and Cigars

Cigar smoking is often viewed differently than other forms of tobacco use, like cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco, when it comes to life insurance rates. Several factors contribute to this perception:

Occasional vs. Regular Use

Many people smoke cigars only occasionally, such as during celebrations or social events. This infrequent use is considered to be less risky than daily cigarette smoking.

Inhalation Factor

Cigar smokers often don’t inhale the smoke as deeply as cigarette smokers, statistically leading to a lower risk for respiratory issues.


There is a common perception that cigar smoking is more of a “leisure” activity, as opposed to habitual cigarette smoking.

However, it’s important to note that different insurance companies have different criteria for categorizing tobacco users and setting their rates. Some might be more lenient with cigar smokers because they have different underwriting guidelines or because they are targeting a specific market niche. Choosing the right insurer can significantly affect how much you’ll pay for your policy.

Quotacy works with over 25 of the nation’s top insurance companies and will compare options to help you find the best policy for your unique needs.

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 Cigar Smoker

If you enjoy a cigar once in a while, there’s good news! Most life insurance companies will offer non-tobacco rates to cigar users.

The rate class you’re assigned largely depends on the insurance company you choose and how often you smoke cigars. For instance, smoking just one cigar a month could land you in different risk classes, ranging from the best available, Preferred Plus, to a Standard rate.

This is why it’s beneficial to work with an independent broker when searching for life insurance. Brokers can compare multiple insurance companies’ rates and terms. Here at Quotacy, we’ll review your application and match you with the insurer that will treat you most favorably.

Choosing the right insurance company can save you hundreds of dollars every year. To give you an idea, below is a table showing the monthly rates for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for a male applicant at various ages.

Life Insurance Rates for $500,000 20-Year Term Policy (Male Applicant)
Risk ClassAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
Preferred Plus$18.81$28.41$69.46$199.55
Standard Plus$29.35$46.00$116.24$309.87
Preferred Tobacco$65.90$121.34$277.61$716.43
Standard Tobacco$81.87$161.84$332.41$907.38

For example, a 40-year-old male who smokes one cigar per month might be classified as Preferred Plus by one company but only get a Preferred Tobacco rate from another, making a difference of nearly $93 per month.

Note: These rates assume the applicant has no other risk factors aside from cigar smoking. If you have other health or lifestyle risks, such as high blood pressure or heavy drinking habits, these could affect your rate. The figures are illustrative and your actual rate may be higher or lower.

Learn about the different risk factors life insurance companies evaluate and how they can impact the cost of your coverage.

Be Honest and Specific

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 cigar use specifically, be sure to disclose how much you smoke.

Don’t misrepresent yourself on your application. If it turns out that you lied about your tobacco use, the life insurance company can penalize you by reducing your death benefit or, in extreme cases, denying your beneficiary’s claim altogether.

Avoid Cigar Use Before Your Exam

After applying for life insurance, many applicants will need to partake in a brief medical exam, which usually includes collecting samples of blood and urine.

Generally speaking, these tests can detect nicotine in your blood for up to 1 to 3 days and in your urine for up to 3 to 4 days after smoking. So, avoid cigar use at least a week prior to your scheduled medical exam.

Many life insurance companies are willing to offer non-tobacco rates to cigar users as long as they admit to it on the application and their medical exam results come back negative for nicotine.

Learn more about the life insurance medical exam and tips on getting the best results.

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 October 18, 2023. These are only estimates and your life insurance costs may be higher or lower.



    Do you know any good life insurance company allow to consider having cigars 1-2 times a month as a non smoker?

    Thanks, Andriano

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Andriano, there are quite a few life insurance companies that will approve non-smoker rates for an individual who only smoke a cigar once or twice per month. When you apply, a Quotacy agent will review your overall risk factors and match you with the company that will be most favorable to not only the cigar smoking, but any other risk factors you may have.


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