Cigar smokers and life insurance

Cigar aficionados beware! Indulging in the occasional stogie could cost you more than the $150 you paid for that box of Cuba Caimans. Most, but not all, life insurers still let you have the occasional large cigar – usually one a month.

In the latest addition to our Life Insurance Medical Tips, we give you all the details on how nine different insurance companies in Canada treat cigar use and non-smoker rates.

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  • Horace
    June 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    how can I change the benef on my policy if its irrevocable my ex-wife won’t sign off

    • LSM Insurance
      June 7, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Thanks Horace. Unfortunately the irrevocable beneficiary and the policy owner must sign to have the beneficiary changed.

  • LSM Insurance
    September 29, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Hi Karnail,

    Equitable Life has a ‘Smoker’s Incentive Program’. Purchase one of their life insurance policies at smoker rates then within the first two years of policy issue you need to quit smoking for 12 consecutive months. Equitable Life will drop you down to the nonsmoker rates you would have qualified for when the policy was issued (so you’re getting nonsmoker rates from a younger age) They will also refund the difference in premiums for one month. This use to be for the last 12 months but was lowered to one month as of Jan 1 2008.

  • karnail
    September 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    if i quit smoking today and insurance company gave me smoker rate for term 20 today after 12 month if i given test again and found no tobaccoo
    in my blood then insurance company will give me non smoker rate onward but my question is that

    is there any insurance company which will return me excess amount which i have paid as smoker rate? .

  • LSM Insurance
    August 2, 2008 at 12:18 pm


    Thanks for the note. Insurance companies base their premiums on risk. Males are priced higher than females and smokers are priced higher than non smokers. As noted in the above article if you are an infrequent cigar smoker you may qualify for non smoker rates.

    But these are only two of the variables analzyzed. There are a variety of health and lifestyle questions which also factor into the equation.

    In fact some insurance companies like Canada Life and AIG have preferred pricing for smokers in excellent health and with very good family health history.

    I hope this helps! Lorne

  • Jay
    August 2, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I think the whole pricing smokers at a higher rate is a big rip off. I’m healthier than almost all the non smokers out there.

  • Rich
    July 30, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks for your quick response. I will defintely pass on the articles to some of my friends. Rich

  • LSM Insurance
    July 30, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks Richard … Great question!

    Your life insurance premiums are based on your health and lifestyle information at the time you were approved. If the insured starts smoking 3 years after their policy was taken out this does not impact their their life insurance policy.

    Life insurance is a unilateral contract. The policy owner can cancel the policy anytime but the life insurance company can not alter contractual provisions in the policy.

    Please let me know if I can help further. Regards … Lorne

  • Rich
    July 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I bit of a convuluted question but what happens if I took out a life insurance policy when I was a non smoker qualified for non smoker rates and start smoking 3 years later. How does this impact my policy?

    Thanks a bunch! Rich

  • LSM Insurance
    July 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Nora,

    Thanks for your question. Empire Life allows one cigar a month and lab results must be negative for cotinine.

    I hope this helps – please let me know if we can help out further with your insurance needs. Regards … Lorne

  • Nora
    July 30, 2008 at 4:09 pm


    How many cigars can you smoke with Empire Life and still qualify for non smoker rates?

  • LSM Insurance
    June 20, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the note and passing along the article to your friends.

    As noted in the article, Canada Life is currently very aggressive with it’s cigar smoking underwriting protocols. Equitable Life has a stop smoking “incentive program” for traditional cigarette smokers.

    Regards … Lorne

  • Adir
    June 19, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Good thing I’m not a smoker!
    I’ll forward this article to a few of my ‘smoker’ friends. 😉

    Good Article

  • LSM Insurance
    June 19, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Thanks for kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the article – if I can help out further please let me know. Regards … Lorne

  • david chellew
    June 19, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Great Stuff!

  • LSM Insurance
    June 18, 2008 at 8:12 pm


    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s true the difference between smoker and non smoker rates can be substantial. But even smoker rates and underwriting guidlines can differ sharply among insurance carriers. Have a nice night! Lorne

  • Richard Parkinson
    June 18, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    It is a shame that people don’t realize the impact of what they do. I had a client age 49, looking for $2,000,000 of coverage. The premium difference was $340 per month, smoker vs. non-smoker. He and his spouse got into a heated argument about the cost of smoking, but they settled the argument by him promising to buy her a new car the very next day. The moral of this story is if you are going to smoke, be able to afford to bribe your spouse as well as pay the higher premium.