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Revision by Kathryn Knowles on 11th March 2015

As of 2014 users of nicotine based e-cigarettes, gums and patches will no longer be able to apply for Life Insurance at non-smoker rates. Prior to 2014 one provider did allow the use of these products on non-smoker rates however this is no longer the case.

If somebody uses purely no-nicotine e-cigarettes, non smoker rates may still be available.

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Life Insurance for smokers is often as simple to arrange for those who are non-smokers. Provided that you have no health conditions that could be complicated by smoking then you should find that your application can be underwritten without any problems.

Whilst being a smoker will not generally affect you being accepted for Life Insurance, you should be aware that you will be placed on smoker rates. This means that the Insurer will charge a higher monthly premium due to the perceived added risk of you passing at a younger age due to smoking.

For example: A 20 year old looking for Level Term Life Assurance of £250,000 over 30 years who is a non-smoker may be able to secure a policy for a monthly premium of £8.87*, whereas if they are a smoker this monthly premium would be £13.50*.

Monthly premiums are also higher on Critical Illness Cover for Smokers. With the same client as above, a Level Term Life and Critical Illness policy of £100,000 over 30 years would have a monthly premium of £14.90* as a non-smoker, or £20.30* as a smoker.

At present you normally will be placed on smoker rates if you have used any form of nicotine products within the last 12 months, including:

  • Pipe tobacco
  • Cigarettes
  • E-Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Nicotine gum and patches
  • Tobacco use for cannabis smoking
  • Snuff or chewing tobacco

Please note that at the time of writing there is one insurance provider who will class people who have solely used nicotine products (e-cigarettes, gum and patches) as non-smokers.

Insurance Providers are strict and do not give allowance if you are a regular or social smoker, or have given up smoking 11 months 21 days ago. Their applications are very specific and state that you must disclose any use of nicotine related products within the last 12 months.

If you are able to stop smoking and do this for a period of at least 12 months, then you can review your cover and replace it with a policy on non-smoker rates (or sometimes apply to your current provider to reduce the cost). This will significantly reduce the monthly premiums for your policy but you must also consider that if your general health has changed within the 12 month period, your original policy may remain the best option for you.

Insurance policies are written and upheld based upon a client being fully truthful on their application; failure to answer questions truthfully is classed as non-disclosure and can invalidate your policy. At the point of claim the Insurer will want to speak with your GP to establish that you have in fact passed, the circumstances surrounding your death and your health at the time of your original application (including your smoker status). It is therefore very important that you fully disclose your smoker status at the point of application so that should a claim be made, your policy remains valid and the benefit can be paid to your loved ones.

*Prices shown are based upon an industry analysis conducted on 29th October 2013.

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