Well, if the last post didn’t hit on anything else important, everyone should at least know that smoking cigarettes can change your life expectancy, and not in a happy way.

If you do smoke cigarettes and need life insurance, let me be very clear about this. You need to shop with gusto. Usually there are just a couple of companies that will have rates that are as good as it gets for a smoker. From there the rates get ugly and by the time you are down to the 10th best company it’s like those rates got hit by a whole forest full of ugly sticks. There are fair rates out there given the mortality risk that smoking produces and understand that they will be about double what a non smoker will pay, at best, and also consider it a wake up call and a good reason to consider quitting. Once you haven’t used any tobacco or nicotine products for 12 months you can cut those rates in half or buy twice as much insurance or double the term length.

But what about cigar smokers? Or chew or snuff? Depending on the extent of your use, how heavily you smoke or chew, the rate classes you can qualify for can range anywhere from standard plus non smoker to the best rate class, preferred plus non smoker. The determinant of how heavily you use these things is first, your own statement as to use, and second a lab test that can determine if you are in fact an occasional user or an everyday user.

There are plenty of companies out there that will give great non smoking rates for cigar smokers if you truly don’t smoke daily. The most liberal actually says that you can smoke as many as one a week, but you have to test negative for nicotine. A little tricky. Most companies lean more toward the “occasional” use as acceptable, more like 1 a month or 4 a year. If that is your habit and you don’t smoke one shortly before your exam, a negative nicotine reading should be no problem.

Then there are a few companies that will offer non smoking rates, even with positive nicotine levels, as long as your nicotine use does not include cigarettes. Pipes, cigars, and chew are all acceptable at non smoking rates.

Bottom line. Big difference between cigars and cigarettes from both mortality and life insurance price views. Again, if you smoke cigarettes get an independent agent and shop carefully. If your nicotine habit is other than cigarettes, get an independent agent and shop carefully.