Life insurance if you are a smoker

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Smoking is almost as popular as it is dangerous. Normally, the serious health risks associated with a smoking habit translate into higher life insurance costs.

We’ll explain why this is and show you how, by quitting, you have a chance of reducing the cost of your policy. 

In This Guide:

Dangers of smoking

The links between smoking and lung cancer are well documented and well known, but there are a whole host of other medical issues that smoking can cause.

Others cancers that can be related to smoking include mouth and stomach cancer, and then there are chronic diseases like emphysema as well as a heightened risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Health risks and premium costs

All of these health risks caused or exacerbated by smoking may cause the cost of your life insurance policy to be higher.

Premiums associated with life insurance policies are calculated to a large extent according to any health issues you may have, past or present.

This will include whether or not you’ve had a heart attack in the past for example, or whether you suffer from diabetes.

The fact that you smoke is obviously relevant to the insurer and will have a negative effect on your premium. 

Full disclosure

You must tell your life insurance provider if you are a smoker, even if you’re a casual smoker. As a general rule, if you smoke at all, you are, in the eyes of the insurance company, a smoker.

You will count as a smoker even if you only smoke e-cigarettes. This is because the long term medical effects of e-cigarettes are still not very well known.

Generally, in order to class yourself as a non-smoker, insurers will require you to be totally free of all nicotine products for at least twelve months.

When comparing life insurance quotes, even if you’ve quit for a few months, you need no make sure you’re being absolutely transparent if you don’t want your policy to be invalidated.

Urine tests

In order to verify the claims made by the policy holder, life insurance companies will sometimes require saliva or urine tests in order for you to prove that you are nicotine free.

They can even look at your medical history or ask you to undergo a medical exam to double check.

If you die of an illness that is linked to the ill-effects of smoking, and you are found out to have lied to your insurer, your policy will likely not pay out at all.

Cut costs by cutting out cigarettes

If you quit smoking, and have quit for the amount of time specified by the insurer in order for you to count as nicotine free (usually 12 months), then you’ll find that you may have access to lower monthly premiums. 

Just make sure that you let your insurer know this, and they’ll take the necessary steps to review the cost of your policy. 

Related guides

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Last reviewed: 1 June 2023

Next review: 1 July 2023