Pay Per Puff - Smoking & Life Insurance

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Oct 07, 2014 by Smart Blog

Smoking is a deadly habit, with around half of all smokers dying from related diseases such as cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

 

It is estimated that 100,000 people in the UK die each year from tobacco and nicotine intake. But it’s not just your body that can be affected.

 

If you’re sensible enough to have a life insurance policy then you’ll find smoking has an impact on your wallet as well.

 

Please see our most common questions answered below: 

 

 

Why does smoking affect life insurance policies

Smoking makes you a high risk to insurance companies, considering the many negative impacts that the habit has on your health. Not only does smoking increase your chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer, but it can also cause problems for your circulation, heart, lungs, stomach, skin, bones, throat, mouth and even fertility.

Insurance companies will therefore account for the increased risk of health issues and shorter lifespan by adjusting the costs of your policy.

 

How much will smoking cost me?

You will undoubtedly pay more for your life insurance policy as a smoker, but just how much depends on your health history. Premiums for smokers can range anywhere from 40 per cent to 100 per cent compared to non-smokers.

 

What is the definition of a smoker?

Regardless of whether you only smoke occasionally, if you have used a nicotine or tobacco product in the last 12 months, you will constitute as a smoker in terms of your life insurance policy.

Experts claim that those who only smoke occasionally are likely to become regular smokers and consistently consumer nicotine or tobacco products. The definition of smoking products is not solely limited to cigarettes, with the use of cigars, shisha, marijuana and even patches and nicotine gum defining you as smoker to your insurance company.

 

Does smoking electronic cigarettes make me a smoker?

Little is known about the long-term effects of electronic cigarettes, with the British Medical Association claiming there is currently not enough evidence to show they are safe. As a result, different insurance companies have different policies on their use.

Most, if not all companies will see nicotine e-cigarette users as smokers, while there is a wider variation when it comes to nicotine free e-cigarettes. It is always advised that you check your insurance provider’s policy before committing to anything. 

 

What if I lie about being a smoker on my application

Some companies will require you to undergo a medical exam prior to your cover starting. During this, regardless of whether you have declared yourself as a smoker or not, your urine will be tested for traces of nicotine.

More and more insurance companies are foregoing these medical exams though and offering insurance based on your application alone. In these instances, your insurer will likely believe what you have told them regarding your lifestyle and health. They rarely investigate their customers unless a genuine doubt arises over your policy.

However, this does not mean it is a good idea to lie on your application regarding your smoking status in the hope of cheaper payments. If you die from a smoking related complication such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, or if an autopsy, post-mortem or doctor’s report suggests you were smoking when you have claimed you do not, your claim could become void.

If you do pass away and you have been dishonest about your smoking habit in your insurance application then any claims could be refused. This means you will have wasted thousands on a worthless policy and your loved ones could be put at financial risk when they need that support the most.

 

What happens if I quit smoking?

Quitting smoking is not only beneficial to your health and wellbeing, but it could also save you money on your life insurance too. Generally, your insurance company won’t view you as a non-smoker unless you have abstained from all tobacco and nicotine products for at least 12 months. If you have managed to completely quit for a year, then you should contact your insurer to find out if you can reduce your premiums.