Does smoking affect my life insurance quote?
Yes, smokers tend to pay more for online life insurance quotes compared to their non-smoking counterparts. This means that in the UK, there are approximately 10 million individuals (ASH, 2014), who are paying more for their life insurance premiums simply because of their choice to smoke.
Why do smokers have to pay more?
As expected, heath is a major factor that is taken into consideration when taking out a life insurance policy. It is a sobering reality but smoking is associated with many health-related problems. Recent statistics by ASH (April, 2014) show that every year, over 100,000 smokers in the UK die from smoking related causes, accounting for over one-third of respiratory deaths, over one-quarter of cancer deaths, and about one-seventh of cardiovascular disease deaths. For this reason, insurance companies view smokers as high-risk customers who are more likely to claim on their life insurance or critical illness policy and this risk equates to higher premiums for these smokers.
How much will smoking raise your premium?
Smokers’ premiums will vary depending on the insurance company, lifestyle variables, age and health but on average the cost is often double compared to non-smokers.
Case study: A 39 year old, administration male worker who smokes. Life Insurance term 25 years up to £100,000 cover = £14.86 per month.
Case study: A 39 year old, administration male worker who does not smoke. Life Insurance term 25 years up to £100,000 cover = £7.77 per month.
Therefore you could save £2,127 over the life of the policy.
How do life insurance companies define smokers?
Most insurance companies define a smoker as someone who has used a tobacco product in the past 12 months. Usually they do not differentiate between different types of products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes or chewing tobacco. The same applies to user-habit. Irrespective of whether you are an occasional smoker or a pack-a-day smoker, the insurance companies view the health risks as significant for all smokers. Individuals are urged to respond to the insurer’s questions honestly and accurately because, if one is discovered to have been deliberately deceptive, (validated through medical records and medical examinations) the life insurance claim may be denied.
Are you classed as a smoker if you use e-Cigarettes?
In recent years, electronic cigarettes have experienced a surge of popularity with approximately 2.1 million adults in Great Britain currently using them (ASH, 2014). Although e-Cigarettes do not contain any tobacco, they do contain Nicotine. According to the Association of British Insurers said there is “a lack of medical evidence as to any long-term health benefits” regarding e-Cigarettes and added that “an insurer is increasingly likely to ask if the proposer is using nicotine products, as opposed to what is the weekly tobacco consumption”. Therefore to qualify as a non-smoker, individuals should be tobacco and nicotine free for over 12 months, including e-Cigarettes, nicotine patches and gum.
Quit smoking to save money
The benefits of quitting smoking are plentiful. Not only does it increase health and fitness, it can also improve one’s bank balance. Combined with the decrease in premium prices and from no longer paying for expensive cigarette packs, ex-smokers may find they have more disposable income to spend on other, more rewarding things.
Quit smoking? What should you do next?
If you have been smoke and nicotine free for a minimum of 12 months contact your insurer and you are likely to qualify for lower insurance premiums. However it may be advisable to compare life insurance premiums with other companies to see if there are any cheaper alternatives available on the market.