4 Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Life Insurance for Smokers

Life insurance can be an expensive undertaking, but as most know, it’s even more expensive for those with high-risk habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco, as well as the use of nicotine patches—yes, the patch counts!

Different life insurance agencies have different standards for what they will insure and for what price they will insure a smoker at, so the below questions and answers should be viewed only as a general guideline. To obtain the most accurate information, be sure to quiz your potential insurer, or consult with an insurance specialist.

As always, honesty is always the best policy when handling life insurance quotes.

Q: What happens if I lie on my life insurance application about being a smoker?

A: You will be guilty of committing insurance fraud, though you won’t be thrown in jail for such an offense. You will, however, have your application cancelled and if this particular agency was offering the best rates, you’re out of luck.

If you’re not caught until later, say if you die of a smoking-related illness, your policy can be rescinded, with no pay out. This will usually be the case if you’re still within the contestation period; however, in some cases, death benefits will still be paid in the form of a refund on premiums paid, minus the amount that the policy holder should have been paying as a smoker.

Q: What classifies me as a smoker?

A: Usually, this is determined from your use of tobacco products over the previous 12-month period. If you’ve used cigars, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, or have worn a nicotine patch, you’re considered a smoker. For some agencies, this will stand even if you only have the occasional cigar.

Q: I’m trying to quit smoking; can I change over to a non-smoker policy later?

A: Yes! You can be reclassified as a non-smoker down the road, once you’ve been tobacco-free (patches too!) for a consecutive 12-month period (some agencies require longer, so be sure to ask).

Q: If I start smoking again down the road, how is my policy affected?

A: This depends upon the agency you have a policy with and what their regulations dictate. In most cases, if you are tobacco-free for the 12-months prior to applying, during the application process, and for the two-year contestation period after acceptance, you won’t face any consequences, if everything is properly documented. Some agencies, however, do have a contingency for such an instance and will put into the fine print of their policy a clause dictating that you must contact them and switch to a smoker policy.


Why Yard Sales are Sustainable

Have you ever been to a yard sale? They used to be quite popular 15 or so years ago, but since the Internet has stormed our households, suddenly yard sales aren’t as useful. After all, instead of spending 30 minutes making ourselves look presentable enough to go outside and peruse that sale, we could be sitting in front of our computer and finding a great deal with our pajamas on. While you can find some deals online, I still believe in the art of finding deals at your local yard sale.

Let’s think about our online purchases for a moment. I’d say that five years ago or so, it was pretty easy to scroll through Craigslist or Kijiji and find a screaming deal on something we were looking for. It was great! We called up the buyer, made sure they still had the item, and then we hopped into our car with our cash to go pick it up. Simple huh? But what’s it like today? With so many people online, here’s how the scenario typically plays out: You are looking for a new smart phone to replace your old one that recently took a dive in the toilet, and low and behold, there it is! It’s an iPhone 4S (it has Siri even!) and it’s only listed for $50. It was posted just a couple of hours ago, so you might still have a chance to pick up this sweet deal. Quickly, you dial the number on the ad and nobody answers. In fact, not only does no one answer, but their voice mail is full. There has already been so much interest in this phone that the seller has stopped answering her phone and her voice mail is full! You never had a chance.

With all of our interest flowing from the yard sales to the online sales, it is now much more difficult to find a deal with your computer. But, do you know where you can find the deals now? You’ve got it: the yard sales.

Fewer and fewer people stop at those yard sales, but the sellers still want to get rid of all their stuff! As the day goes on, prices start going down and down. The only difficulty is knowing what’s actually for sale in the yard. Well, the only way to truly know is to get down and dirty and take a close look at everything.

Typically, yard sales have exercise equipment, furniture, sports equipment, books, kid’s toys, and gently used kid’s clothing. Since the interest in these items is low, you can really find some sweet deals here. Furniture is often priced at less than 10% compared to store prices, and the same is true for that exercise equipment! If you’re looking to get back in shape, don’t head to the retail store. Take a trip to some yard sales! You’ll find some great stuff, and it will be priced so low that it might still be worth buying, even if you only work out for 2 weeks.

Not only is it fun to pick through these yard sales, but it can also be very profitable. Yes, you might find some great deals, but occasionally, you might also find some very rare antiques. If you have an eye for expensive, rare items, you could very well be one of the next surprised faces at the Antique Roadshow with your $25,000 vase. Who knows! There are surprises at every yard sale. Stop by and score a deal sometime soon.