Smoking can increase cost of life insurance premiums by 65%, analysis reveals

New analysis by MoneySuperMarket today reveals that smoking, including e-cigarettes, can increase the cost of life insurance premiums by as much as 65 percent, which equates to over £312 every year.

Interestingly, insurers do not distinguish between daily, occasional or social smokers – if you’ve smoked in the past 12 months, you could end up paying more for your life insurance premium, an essential purchase if you have dependents. With their long-term effects on health yet to be agreed by experts, e-cigarettes are also viewed in the same way as normal cigarettes for life insurance purposes.

MoneySuperMarket analysis of quoted premiums for life insurance policies between January and April 2018 reveals that, on average:

  • Smokers pay £26.07 more for decreasing term insurance with critical illness cover (CIC) included
  • Smokers pay £16.59 more for level term cover with critical illness cover included – 48 percent more than non-smokers

With decreasing term insurance, the amount of cover reduces over the term of the policy, usually to reflect the reduction in the amount owed on a capital and interest mortgage. With level term insurance, the amount of cover remains the same for the duration of the policy.

According to MoneySuperMarket data, the highest proportion of people who have smoked within the last 12 months are between 36-45 years of age (30 percent), closely followed by 46-65 year olds at 28 percent. This is in stark contrast to under 25s, with only one in 20 (5 percent) having smoked in that time period.

Regionally speaking, the North West and South East of the country tied for the highest percentage of smokers. Just over one in 10 (12.6 percent) in both regions smoke, closely followed by Scotland with 11.7 percent, while Yorkshire and Humberside had the lowest proportion of smokers with just 8.8 percent.

Aside from existing health conditions and whether the applicant smokes, age is also a clear factor that affects the cost of life insurance. Analysis shows that monthly premiums skyrocket when taking out a policy over the age of 45 – as much as double the average price.

Variations in insurance premiums, broken down by age and group

< 25

25-29

30-35

36-45

46-65

Decreasing term

£15.89 CIC

£4.44 no CIC

£22.67 CIC

£5.18 no CIC

£31.29 CIC

£6.63 no CIC

£57.48 CIC

£11.32 no CIC

£124.49 CIC

£25.77 no CIC

Level term

£12.60 CIC

£6.23 no CIC

£15.67 CIC

£7.05 no CIC

£21.66 CIC

£9.19 no CIC

£36.67 CIC

£15.10 no CIC

£83.09 CIC

£35.01 no CIC

CIC stands for critical insurance cover, an optional extra that pays out a tax-free lump sum in the event of being diagnosed with a specified illness or medical condition during the term of your policy.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented:

No one likes to think about death, but anyone with dependants needs to plan for the worst. Life insurance is there to provide financial support by clearing outstanding debts and, with some policies, providing funds to meet living expenses. The impact on families where no cover is in place can be devastating.

If you give up smoking and do not ingest nicotine for 12 months, you’ll be regarded as a non-smoker by life insurers. If you already have life cover and successfully give up smoking, it’s worth telling your insurer to see if they will adjust your premiums accordingly. Alternatively, you could run a fresh quote as a non-smoker to see what prices are available.

Remember, using nicotine in any form, including patches and gum, means you’ll be regarded as a smoker - you have to be nicotine-free for 12 months to get the lower premiums.”

To find out which life insurance policy is best for you, visit MoneySuperMarket’s range of guides on how to save money when searching for a policy.

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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