Will giving up smoking make life insurance cheaper?

9 May2021
Smoking

The simple answer to this question is: yes. If you complete a life insurance application and declare yourself as a smoker, you could pay more than if you do not smoke.

What classes me as a smoker?

Most policies will class you as a smoker if you have consumed any nicotine within the last 12 months. This could include cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine patches and chewing tobacco. Whether you smoke 20 a day, or you occasionally have a social cigarette at parties, you'll still fall under the same classification. Insurers rarely take the actual amount you smoke into account. You are either a smoker or you aren't.

Can I amend my policy if I've stopped smoking?

If you have already declared yourself as a smoker to your insurance company, but you haven't smoked for 12 months, you may be able to amend your policy. This could allow you to enjoy non-smoker rates. If you have stopped smoking and haven't thought to notify your insurer, doing so could save you a lot of money.

You may have heard people say that if you take up smoking after buying life insurance, your premiums will never be affected. This is not strictly true, because the majority of policies require you to inform them of any changes to your circumstances that could affect your cover. If you withhold information from them, and they find out about it, they may deny your family a claim.

Should I lie?

Almost everyone knows that the answer to this question is no, you shouldn't. This doesn't always stop people from being tempted, however, especially if they only enjoy an occasional "social smoke". A big temptation lies in the fact that premiums are often cheaper for non smokers.

Knowingly lying on your application is classed as insurance fraud, which is taken very seriously. If your insurance company ever does find out, they could deny your family's claim. This means you should consider whether lying is worth your family receiving nothing after you die. Battling with an insurance company is the last thing they will want to think about at such a distressing time.

Life insurance shouldn't cost that much more if you're a smoker - and the fact that your family could miss out on a payout means it simply isn't worth lying.

How could they find out?

There are many ways that insurance companies can check whether you smoke or not. There are medical tests using urine, saliva and hair. A chest X-ray can also identify lung damage from heavy smoking. Your insurer can also get access to your medical records, which may mention any health issues caused by smoking.

Click here to find out more about life insurance.

Image iStockPhotos / Nastco

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Tags: insurance, life insurance, smoking, fraud, insurance policy, family, health

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