We’ve always seen in the media or heard through the grapevine that smoking is bad for you, and it’s not exactly the cheapest habit either. What you may not realise though is that this life shortening habit may harm your chances of getting affordable life insurance cover. It’s often proven that smokers typically die at a younger age, so insurers have to combat this inevitable risk by implementing higher premiums on people who they class as smokers. But who is classified as a smoker, and just what are the implications on your life insurance policy?
In life insurance terms, if you have smoked or used any nicotine or tobacco products in the last 12 months, you are consider a smoker. This essentially means that everyone from the 20 a day smoker through to the occasional cigar puffer are, in an insurer’s eyes, smokers and therefore a higher risk to insure, with this being reflected in the premiums.
Whilst many smokers move to using nicotine replacement products such as patches, gums, e-cigarettes or pipes, the insurance company will still class you as a smoker until you are completely free of nicotine for at least 12 months.
Being a smoker can mean a significant increase in your insurance premiums, typically around a third more for a 30 year old smoker, and up to double the cost for a 50 year old smoker.
One thing that is NOT advisable is saying that you are a non-smoker when actually you are, particularly when you consider the difference in premium. However, it is highly likely you’ll be caught out, as insurance providers run checks on the medical history of around one in five applicants, which will flag up instantly if you’ve been lying, which could result in a future claim being rejected.
One question people ask a lot is ‘am I better off waiting 12 months to be considered a non-smoker or am I best biting the bullet and paying the extra premiums?’. The only real way to mitigate the additional cost of life insurance for smokers is to stop smoking now. Even if you take out your policy as a smoker, the Association of British Insurers state that your insurer should review your policy and premiums if you subsequently give up. For the majority of insurers, stopping smoking and using any form of nicotine for a period of 12 to 18 months is enough to reclassify you as a non-smoker.
Speak to a consultant today or look at the instant quotations from leading UK insurance companies and help you to secure the best and most affordable policy even if you are a smoker.