There are currently 1.9m smokers in the UK, however, these numbers have been in decline over recent years.
But whilst traditional cigarette smoking is in decline, vaping and e-cigarettes are very much on the rise.
According to the NHS, an astonishing 5% of the UK population now vape.
In this article, we will help explain how being a smoker or vaper impacts on your life insurance.
Answering questions such as:
- How do insurers classify smokers?
- How much more expensive are smokers premiums compared with non-smokers?
- If I vape, will I pay more?
- How can smokers secure the best possible life insurance deal?
How do insurers classify smokers?
If you have smoked within the last 12 months insurers classify you as a smoker. Regardless of whether you smoke 20-a-day or 5-a-week.
But that’s not all…
Vaping has become extremely popular over recent years. For many, vaping forms part of their method for quitting.
But how do insurers treat vaping?
Insurers also classify you as a smoker if you use any nicotine replacement products, such as vaping, gum and patches.
In fact, through the eyes of most insurers, whether you use nicotine or non-nicotine based liquid, you’re still classed as a smoker. Therefore, you must declare your habits on the application.
If you smoked but have given up the habit, you need to have quit for a minimum of 12 months before insurers will re-classify you. This goes for those who vape as well.
Age, (the younger you are the cheaper it is)
Your age is a significant factor when it comes to the cost of life insurance, whether you are a smoker or not.
The older you are, the more expensive your life insurance premium. The reason being, as we age we are statistically more likely to claim on a policy.
However, this increase is amplificated further still if you smoke, because of the associated health risks.
As a guide, a 30-year-old smoker would expect to pay around a third more than a non-smoker, (equal in all other respects). While a 50-year-old could expect to pay double.
A great way to save money on your premiums is to lock in low monthly premiums when you are still young.
Non-disclosure, (be honest on your application)
As a result of premiums being much more expensive for smokers, it may be tempting to not disclose your smoking status on your application.
This is a very bad move.
This is known in the insurance industry as non-disclosure.
If you lie or withhold that you smoke, this could not only invalidate your policy but result in insurance fraud prosecution.
Meaning your loved ones would not receive a payout and your investment would have been a waste of money.
If you start smoking after your policy has started but were truthful at the point of application, this is not regarded as non-disclosure.
Despite this, it is still best practice to inform your insurer.
Can insurers test whether you are a smoker?
Yes, they can – in the form of a cotinine test.
Usually, when you submit a life insurance application it is assumed you are being truthful (and it is always in your best interests to be so).
However, an insurer does reserve the right to request you undergo either a urine or salvia cotinine test.
Quitting during your existing policy
Once you have quit smoking for 12 months, it is always worthwhile notifying your insurer.
Although your premiums are unlikely to come down in cost immediately, the longer you stop the better chance you have of saving money.
However, in these circumstances, it very much depends on the individual insurer.
Some insurers may request regular checks to ensure you are still a non-smoker. Others may not change the cost of premiums at all.
In the latter scenario and depending on your age, it may be beneficial to cancel your existing policy and take out a new one as a non-smoker.
Being declined cover
If you do smoke, perhaps you have smoked for many years, you may be declined cover altogether.
But this is not necessarily the end of the matter…
Different insurers employ different underwriting processes. Just because you were declined by one insurer it does not necessarily mean you can not secure a policy.
The trick to securing the right cover is to compare a number of quotes.
Compare multiple quotes, (secure the right policy at the best price)
In order to secure the right policy at the best price, whether you smoke or not, it is vital to compare quotes.
It is important because the cost of premiums can vary wildly, especially when it comes to smokers.
There are 3 common ways in which you can compare multiple life quotes:
- Undertake the research yourself online. This is a good way of sourcing multiple quotes from the whole market, however, it can be very time-consuming and frustrating
- Use a comparison website. This is a great way of saving time and money, although comparison sites rarely compare quotes from all available insurers
- Get a broker to do the work for you. An FCA registered broker can do the hard work on your behalf, sourcing quotes from all the major insurers. What’s more, most don’t charge a fee, earning their money in the form of commission directly from the insurer.
So there we have it, smokers will likely pay more for their life insurance cover and if you vape insurers will still classify you as a smoker.
Life insurance is vitally important, especially if you have a mortgage and or family. However, it does not have to break the bank.
In fact, if you arrange cover when you are young and remember to compare quotes you could secure protection from as little as 20p-a-day.
So what are you waiting for? Seize the day and protect your family’s future today.