Life insurance for smokers

How much does smoking affect the cost of life insurance?

By Peter Carr Thursday 17 May 2018
 

Did you know that being a smoker means your life insurance premium could be more than 50% more expensive?

If you’re a smoker, it is an undeniable fact that you will pay more for your life insurance cover, because there are a number of health risks that come with smoking.

It’s well documented that smoking can lead to a variety of serious medical conditions such as cancer, angina and heart disease, as well as chronic conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema. Your inflated risk of developing these types of conditions means you present a higher risk for insurers, and your premiums will be more expensive as a result.

Smokers who take out a life insurance policy should expect to pay significantly more than those who don’t smoke, according to MoneySuperMarket data. In fact, the average non-smoker will pay £13.83 per month for level term life insurance – but a smoker would pay £22.70, which is a 64% increase.

When you factor in the cost of adding critical illness cover to your policy, the price of smoking becomes even more expensive. Non-smokers pay an average of £34.66 for level term life insurance with critical illness cover, but smokers will pay £51.25 – that’s 48% more expensive.

As ever, life insurance policies are based on personal circumstance, like medical history and occupation, so yours may be very different to the average.

 

See how smoking impacts the price of level term life insurance

MoneySuperMarket data from January to April 2018, showing the average cost of life insurance for people who smoked within the last 12 months. Correct as of April 2018.

Average quoted premiums for level life insurance, according to MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of April 2018.

Disclosing smoking

An insurer will normally ask a series of questions regarding your health. Some of these will be about smoking, such as whether you have smoked in the previous 12 months and perhaps how often. Sometimes they will ask if you have smoked in the past, and for how long.

You should answer any insurance form honestly, and admit if you are a smoker – even if you only smoke occasionally or socially. Plus, you should remember that insurers do not generally make any distinction between the following tobacco products:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Pipes
  • Nicotine replacement products such as patches
  • E-cigarettes.

Be aware, E-cigarettes are categorised as cigarettes because they contain nicotine, and any long-term health benefits haven’t yet been established, independent from the market.

Best life insurance for smokers

Honesty is the best policy when trying to get the best life insurance for smokers. Insurers will assume that your application is truthful, but if they suspect anything is amiss, they can ask for a urine or saliva test to find out whether or not you are a smoker. They might even contact your GP for information on your medical history, which will reveal whether you have smoked in your lifetime.

The insurer may also investigate if you make a claim on the policy. For instance, the coroner’s report might attribute death to a smoking-related illness. If you have concealed your habit from the insurer, the policy is then unlikely to pay out, which could place those who may benefit from the policy in financial difficulty.

 

 See what age range has the highest proportion of smokers

Rate of people who said they smoked within the last 12 months, according to MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of April 2018

 

According to MoneySuperMarket data, the highest rate of smokers are aged between 36 and 65. Just under one in three people (28.99%) in this age range said they had smoked within the last 12 months. This is in stark contrast to the under 25s, when only one in 20 had smoked in the last year.

The rate of smoking also varies greatly by region. The highest proportion of smokers are in the North West and South East, at 12.6% each, according to MoneySuperMarket data. This is closely followed by Scotland, where just over one in 10 people smoke. The lowest rates are in Wales (5.5%), the North East (4.6%) and Northern Ireland (2.5%).

Occasional smokers

You might think you qualify as a non-smoker because you indulge in the habit infrequently – but insurers don’t usually distinguish between occasional, social and heavy smokers. You could have smoked one cigarette on a night out or be a pack-a-day smoker and it wouldn’t make a difference to your premiums.

That said, some companies are coming round to the fact that some people only smoke socially, and are beginning to react to this consumer-led demand. So it’s definitely worth shopping around to seek an insurer who may be more lenient if you rarely smoke.  

 

See which region has the highest proportion of smokers

Rate of people who reported smoking in the last year, according to MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of April 2018

Quitting smoking

You can often cut the cost of insurance by quitting smoking. But you will have to banish all nicotine products and replacements from your life for at least 12 months to qualify for lower premiums.

The good news is that if you are nicotine-free for more than 12 months and tell your life insurance provider to update your policy, you may get a reduced rate on your premium. And if not, you should still feel healthier.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there is plenty of support out there for smokers who want to kick the habit. The NHS provides support if you need help quitting, you can discuss with your local GP or check out the NHS website to find out more.

Compare cheap life insurance for smokers

It’s easy to compare the cost of life insurance using MoneySuperMarket. We carry the details of all the major life insurers so you can find a policy that’s right for you and your family.

The best way to find the cheapest life insurance for smokers is to compare quotes from a range of insurers – but don’t buy on price alone, make sure you factor in other things such as their customer reviews. You can also choose whether to add-on critical illness cover to see how much this affects the cost of your premium.

But the most important thing to remember is to be honest and declare if you smoke to avoid invalidating your policy.

 

Buying Life Insurance at MoneySuperMarket infographic

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