Giving up smoking, for at least 12 months, is good for your health and wallet because – the health dangers associated with tobacco mean that smokers pay much more for the cost of life insurance and other protection insurances than non-smokers.
Insurance underwriters take the health risks posed by tobacco so seriously that a 30year old smoker’s premiums will be a third higher than those of a 30year old non-smoker and; up to twice as high when comparing 50year old smokers to non-smokers of the same age.
Shown below are insurance firm Royal London life assurance premium costs for smokers and for non-smokers which were published on 11 March 2018.
|Applicant age||Term of life assurance in years||Monthly premium non-smoker||Monthly premium smoker||Non-smoker savings over 25 years|
Source Royal London 11 March 2018
The reason for the increased cost of protection insurance and life insurance premiums is that sadly, smokers are more likely to make a claim because they suffer either a critical illness or an early death, or both.
What is classed as smoking?
Insurers assess whether or not you are a smoker based on simple criteria…
…If you have smoked in the last 12 months you are a smoker.
This is an all-encompassing definition – smoking within the last 12 months includes:
The occasional cigar, vaping, e-cigarettes and other nicotine replacement products, and smoking 20-a-day.
Are there any exceptions to the smoker classification?
Yes, if the applicant has unusual circumstances, wants to insure their life for a large amount, or is elderly the policy and its cost will be tailored to the applicant.
We would advise for any protection insurances including life assurance, sickness and income protection insurances that applicants consult with a protection insurance specialist IFA.
The more information an applicant can provide about their medical history and, in many cases, their family’s medical history the better-able the protection insurance specialist is to advise the applicant. The applicant should also share their lifestyle and financial goals with the IFA, so that advice and planning can be tailored to meet the client’s needs.
See our tips on how to prepare to meet an IFA.
Medical information – how important is it?
When it comes to filling in information to apply for protection or life insurance it is critical that applicants include as much information as possible.
We would strongly advise against being tempted to leave any details out that may affect the cost of premiums. Insurance providers run random checks on around 20% of applicants where their medical history is accessed to see if it matches details on the application form.
As regards dishonesty about tobacco use, if a policy holder where to fall critically ill with an illness associated with smoking eg cancer, insurers would investigate medical records, and could either refuse to pay out, or reduce how much was paid out to policy holders.
Do premiums go down after giving up smoking?
Yes, insurance companies will check the cost of insurance premiums if the policy holder says that they have given up smoking. Insurance companies usually seek a report from the policy-holder’s GP. They may also require the policy-holder to have a chest X-ray. The value of the policy and the age of the policy-holder will also be considered.
Assessing the cost of protection insurance premiums and updating medical history is definitely worth doing. But we would advise you to do this with an Independent Financial Advisor who specialises in protection insurance.
Please call our team of Chichester-based IFAs on 01243 532 635 to arrange a consultation.
To discuss Life, serious illness, equity release (to provide for retirement income) and income protection insurances please ask to speak to Hamish Gairns.
To discuss pensions, retirement and investment plans (including ISA’s) with us please ask to speak to Richard Smith.
To discuss mortgages and insurances please ask to speak to James Mayne.