Life insurance for smokers can cost much more than it does for non-smokers.
The reasoning is simple. When you take out life insurance, you’re essentially betting against a life insurance company that you will die before they have made their money.
Smoking increases the risk of you dying young, so you need to bet more to get the same payout.
Vaping, according to organisations like the Royal Society, Public Health England and Cancer Research, is at least 95% safer than smoking. So it stands to reason that vapers will get better rates, right?
Not necessarily. Some insurance companies treat all nicotine products the same as smoking. The good news is that progress is being made, with some companies starting to offer better rates.
To learn more about the best options for vapers, we spoke to insurance broker.
Smoking and Life Insurance
How much does smoking affect life insurance?
There is no doubt that smoking has a significant impact on the cost of your life insurance premiums. What’s more, this loading of premiums for smokers accelerates as we age.
This is because premiums are calculated based on the level of perceived risk you pose to the insurer, (or put another way, the likelihood of a payout) and as you get older statistically the health risks increase.
The table below shows how much more a smoker will pay compared to a non-smoker and how the cost escalates as we age. Quotes are based on a level term policy with £100,000 cover, over a 20-year term.
Vaping and Life Insurance
Is vaping classed as smoking for life insurance?
In the world of life insurance, generally speaking, if you have smoked or used any replacement products in the past year, you will be classed as a smoker on the application. This includes the use of vapes or e-cigarettes, as well as nicotine patches, mints and gum.
Therefore, someone who smoked cigarettes would be charged the same as someone who vaped. This is thought to be because insurers do not fully understand the long-term impact of using such products on your health, (although government research suggests vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking).
However, in recent times as underwriters develop a greater understanding of the impact of vaping and the health benefits over smoking, things appear to be changing.
For example, Moneyworth Life Insurance state that they can quote vapers up to 50% off premiums vs a smoker.
As the life insurance industry advances and insurers do more to attract the 2.7m (and growing) UK vapers their underwriting criteria is evolving too. As a result, there is less of a black and white classification and therefore it is more important than ever to compare quotes from multiple insurers.
Yes, you will be asked if you vape during the application process for life insurance and it is important that you are open and transparent with your answers.
If you were to pass away, an insurer could evoke what’s called the contestability clause to establish if the cause of death was related to your smoking habits. They also have the right to request your medical records to acquire a greater understanding of your medical history, if required.
The worst-case scenario is that not being upfront about your vaping could invalidate your policy. In insurance, this is referred to as non-disclosure.
Although things appear to be changing, historically, insurers have viewed nicotine as nicotine, regardless of how you consume it. However, if you use nicotine-free e-liquids you will be able to secure lower premiums from certain insurers.
Absolutely, it is always worthwhile informing your insurer if you switch from smoking to vaping as it is possible that they could reduce your premium. Even if they do not amend your monthly premium, it may be the trigger you need to cancel that policy and take out more favourable cover elsewhere.
New providers such as Reviti recently announced that they were the first to offer vapers sizeable discounts on their life insurance premiums – up to 15% off.
To be completely honest the entire industry has been slow to adapt to the growth of vaping and other smoking alternatives, rather lazily grouping applicants together with normal smokers.
2.Always be open and honest on your application.
3.Consider using a broker to compare quotes, help with the application process and to write your policy in trust.
4.Ask your insurer how they classify nicotine free e-liquids.
5.If your smoking status changes contact your insurer, or consider a new policy.
Aside from the cost of your life cover, the health benefits of switching to vaping cannot be underestimated. And whilst insurers have been slow to catch up with our changing habits, it appears that things are changing.