Cigarette smoking is not only hazardous to health but also affects your pocket when it comes to buying life insurance. Since smoking results into poor quality of life and untimely death, life insurers are cautious before issuing policy to a smoker.
To help you find the right life insurance policy, the below guide has answers of all questions that a smoker might have.
1. How do life insurers define smokers?
A smoker is a person who uses tobacco/ nicotine in any form, be it cigarettes, cigars, gutka, beedi, khaini, flavored pan masala, nicotine patch or chewing gum. Life insurers have different ways in which they ask questions to check the smoking habit of a person. Some of the common questions posed by insurers are:-
- Do you consume tobacco/nicotine products?
- Have you used a tobacco product in past four years?
- Have you ever consumed tobacco product?
If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you will be classified as a smoker. Also, insurance companies do not differentiate between an occasional smoker and a frequent smoker. Insurers only quote low premium to those who have stayed off from cigarettes and nicotine products completely. Even if you smoke occasionally, you will fall into the smoker category.
2. Why do insurers charge high premium from smokers than non-smokers?
Smokers have low expectancy ratio as they are more susceptible to chronic ailments such as lung cancer, bronchitis and heart problems. They may have a shorter life span than non-smokers, making them risky for an insurance company.
3. How much extra premium is charged from a smoker?
The extra premium to be paid varies from one insurer to another. Besides smoking habits, the insurer also considers various factors during the computation of premium such as age and health. Check the following table to know the difference between premium of a smoker and non-smoker.
|Name of the Insurer||
Premium (in Rs.)
|Reliance Life Insurance||
|Max Life Insurance||
|Birla Sun Life Insurance||
*Above calculation is done for a 30-year old man who is staying in Delhi and looking for Rs 50 lakh sum assured coverage.
4. What happens if you hide smoking habits?
Lying at the time of filing policy application is equal to fraud and will lead to the following implications:-
- Individual can be charged with fraud
- Insurer can consider the policy null and void
Remember, term insurance ensures that your loved ones stay financially secured in the event of your death. Lying to the insurance company puts your family’s security at risk. The customer needs to be honest about their smoking habits because life insurers take smoking as a serious condition and are extremely tough if they later find any false declaration.
5. What if you quit smoking after buying term insurance?
If the policyholder quit smoking, they can request the insurer to recalculate premium of the insurance policy at the time of policy renewal. The insurer may cut the premium rates depending upon the amount of time elapsed since the policyholder last smoked. While every insurer has its own rules for someone who quit smoking, usually an insured should stay away from nicotine for at least two years before they would be called non-smoker.