Skip to content

Life insurance for smokers

The high cost of smoking: How it affects your life insurance premiums

Jake Edmonds
Written by  Jake Edmonds
6 min read
Updated: 17 Jun 2024

Being a smoker can increase your life insurance premiums by more than half. Discover more about life insurance for smokers in this handy guide.

Key points

  • Smoking significantly increases life insurance premiums due to the associated health risks and reduced life expectancy, making smokers high-risk for insurers

  • Life insurance companies define smokers as individuals who have used tobacco in any form within the last 12 months, and premiums vary based on smoking frequency and the type of tobacco product used

  • Smokers can potentially reduce their life insurance costs by quitting smoking, with most insurers requiring a smoke-free period of about 12 months before offering lower rates

woman relaxing on a chair with her feet up

The high cost of lighting up: how smoking burns a hole in life insurance premiums

Smoking not only harms your health but also your finances, particularly in the realm of life insurance. Insurers regard smokers as high-risk due to the myriad health issues they are prone to, which often result in reduced life expectancy compared to non-smokers. Consequently, smokers should brace for higher life insurance premiums, which compensate for the increased risk and potential health complications.

How does a life insurance company define smokers?

Life insurance companies have specific criteria to identify smokers. You are deemed a smoker if you have used tobacco in any form during the previous 12 months, regardless of frequency. The use of nicotine replacement products like patches or gum might also influence this status. It is vital to understand these definitions to effectively secure appropriate life insurance.

Why does smoking affect life insurance?

The link between smoking and numerous health risks results in more frequent insurance claims. Conditions such as heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic bronchitis are more common among smokers, making them a higher risk for insurers. This risk is mirrored in their life expectancy, which is generally shorter than that of non-smokers. In the insurance sector, a higher risk profile means higher premiums, as the likelihood of claims increases.

Do I need to tell an insurer that I smoke?

Honesty is paramount when applying for life insurance. Disclosing your smoking habits is essential, as failure to do so could invalidate your policy, leaving your dependents without financial support. Transparency ensures you receive coverage that reflects your actual needs, providing peace of mind and security.

Does it matter how much you smoke?

The amount and frequency of smoking can significantly influence life insurance premiums. Regular smokers typically face higher rates than occasional smokers, reflecting the greater health risks. Moreover, the type of tobacco product used also affects premium calculations, with different products carrying varying risk levels.

How much more do smokers pay for life insurance?

Life insurance premiums for smokers are considerably higher, sometimes double or more than those for non-smokers. This significant difference highlights the financial impact of smoking, with higher premiums compensating for the increased risk and earlier potential claims.

How can a life insurance company tell whether you smoke?

Life insurance providers may require a medical examination or a nicotine test to ascertain if you smoke. These tests detect nicotine in your system, indicating smoking habits or recent cessation. Additionally, self-disclosure forms during the application process and reviews of medical records help insurers determine your smoking status.

The best life insurance for smokers

Smokers should compare different life insurance policies to find the most accommodating terms. Specialist insurance brokers can offer invaluable assistance, providing tailored advice and identifying the best policies for individual circumstances.

When is the best time to get life insurance for smokers?

Securing life insurance early is advisable for smokers, as premiums are generally lower for younger, healthier individuals. If you plan to quit smoking, factor this into your planning to potentially lower future costs. Demonstrating a tobacco-free lifestyle for a period can lead to more favourable rates from insurers.

Does quitting smoking make life insurance cheaper?

Ceasing to smoke can lead to significantly lower life insurance premiums. Insurers see non-smokers as lower risk, which can translate to reduced costs. However, most insurers require a smoke-free period of about 12 months before reclassifying you as a non-smoker and lowering your rates. Improved health from quitting can also decrease premiums.

If I start smoking only after taking out life insurance, do I need to let my insurer know?

It is essential to inform your insurer if you begin smoking after your policy is in place. This ensures your coverage remains valid and reflects your current situation, potentially adjusting your premiums and benefits.

Compare life insurance for smokers

For smokers, finding the right life insurance policy at a competitive rate is crucial. MoneySuperMarket offers a comparison tool that allows you to get life insurance quotes tailored for smokers. You can also add critical illness cover to see how it affects your premiums. Remember, honesty is paramount to ensure the validity of your policy.

Understanding the impact of smoking on life insurance can be a powerful motivator to quit. Armed with knowledge about how smoking affects life insurance, you can make informed decisions about your coverage and potentially save money in the long run. Whether you're a smoker or a former smoker, it's never too late to explore your options and secure the financial protection you and your loved ones deserve.

Looking for great deals on life insurance?
Get a brand new quote now