Best life insurance for smokers UK

As a smoker, the price that you pay for life insurance may be more than those who don’t smoke.

However, that isn’t to say you can’t secure affordable life cover as a smoker.

Life insurance for smokers’ key points:

  • You’ll be classified as a smoker if you use cigarettes, cigars, vapes, e-cigarettes
  • To be classed as a non-smoker you must be nicotine free (including nicotine replacement products) for at least 12 months (could be longer depending on the insurer)
  • The price you pay for cover is typically cheaper the younger you are (why not seize the day and secure cover sooner rather than later?)

At Reassured we can help you find the best life insurance for smokers from our panel of leading UK insurers.

Our FREE life insurance quote comparison service is FCA-regulated and award-winning, simply get in touch today for your no-obligation quotes.

Can I get life insurance as a smoker?

Yes, the good news is, it’s possible to secure life insurance if you’re a smoker.

Recent data shows that 6.9 million people in the UK are smokers - meaning UK insurers are used to providing cover to those who smoke[1].

Whether you’re a cigarette smoker, cigar smoker, use vapes/e-cigarettes or are an ex-smoker, there’s life insurance options for you.

The price that you pay for cover may be more expensive than those who don’t smoke due to the increased risk.

However, that isn’t to say you can’t secure affordable cover as a smoker.

Comparing quotes can help you to find cost-effective cover for your personal circumstances.

Why not let Reassured help you do this, free of charge?

Do I need to tell insurers that I smoke?

Yes, if you’re a smoker, you’ll need to declare this during the application process.

Your smoking status is required by insurers to allow them to calculate the cost of your monthly life insurance premium.

Typically, this will be posed as a simple yes or no question.

If you answer yes, it’s likely you’ll be required to provide further information about your smoking habits. For example:

  • What do you smoke (cigarettes, cigars, vape etc)?
  • How long have you smoked?
  • How often do you smoke (daily, weekly, only on occasion)?
  • Have you experienced any health complications as a result of smoking?

Always be open and honest about your smoking habits when applying for life insurance. Rest assured it’s unlikely you’ll be declined simply for smoking.

At Reassured we can compare multiple quotes to help you find the best life insurance companies for smokers from our panel of insurers.

How will smoking affect my life insurance?

Smoking can impact the price you pay for life insurance and could affect the terms you’re offered.

Unfortunately, smoking is linked to many medical conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

For this reason, premiums are often inflated for smokers due to the increased risk to the insurer.

How much your premiums will be increased by will depend on your personal circumstances, such as your age and how long you’ve been smoking.

Only in very rare circumstances will you be declined for life insurance due to smoking.

Reassured has helped over 100,000 smokers find the cover they need for an affordable price.

We do this by taking your personal circumstances into consideration, comparing multiple quotes and presenting you with our most favourable deals.

Why do smokers need life insurance?

Life insurance can help to financially protect your loved ones after your passing.

Smoking can bring with it an increased likelihood of certain medical conditions - highlighting the importance of having the right protection in place should the worst happen.

Without adequate life insurance in place, your loved ones may have to:

  • Meet mortgage or rental costs alone
  • Fund day-to-day family living costs on a single income
  • Pay for additional childcare or work reduced hours
  • Miss out on inheritance to clear outstanding debts in your name
  • Cover the cost of your funeral (current UK average £3,953[2])

A life insurance pay out can help your loved ones to continue their current lifestyle without needing to make drastic cutbacks (at what’s already a difficult time).

How much life insurance do smokers need?

Enter your financial commitments below to understand the level of life insurance cover you require.

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£137,934 is the estimated mortgage debt per household in the UK.

The purchase of a home is likely to be the largest financial commitment any of us will make in our lifetime. Your life insurance should cover your remaining mortgage balance to allow your loved ones to stay in the family home should anything happen to you.

Source: Moneynerd.co.uk

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The average monthly household budget in the UK is £2,548 (that’s £30,576 per year), which is spent on transport, food & drink, utilities (gas, electricity, water etc), clothing, council tax and leisure activities.

With energy prices hitting a record high and the cost of living rising sharply in the UK, you may wish to factor in utility bills and family living expenses into your cover.

Source: Nimblefins.co.uk

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The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.

Source: Money.co.uk

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According to SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,953 (with the overall cost of dying at £9,200).

Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

Source: SunLife.co.uk

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When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

This could include childcare (£7,000 per year for part-time care), school expenses (£1,519 per school year for uniforms, lunches, stationary etc), as well as an additional sum for further education (this could be a contribution of up to £5,000 per year).

Sources: Daynurseries.co.uk, Primarytimes.co.uk & Savethestudent.org

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2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.

Source: Moneyage.co.uk

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If you’re lucky enough to have your own savings or are part of the 30% of UK residents who already have a life insurance policy in place, this can provide financial protection for loved ones.

By entering your current cover, savings or death in service amount you can reduce the sum assured you require.

Source: Scottishbusinessnews.net

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Your total cover estimate

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Let us find your best available quotes.

How do insurers classify a smoker?

Most commonly, insurers will classify you as a smoker if you’ve regularly used any nicotine, tobacco or substitutes in the last 12 months. This includes:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Smoking cigars
  • Smoking from a pipe
  • Using e-cigarettes
  • Using a vape (both nicotine and non-nicotine-based liquids)
  • Using nicotine patches, gum or lozenges

However, the time period can vary between insurers and could be as long as five years.

Comparing quotes can help you find the insurer who offers the most favourable terms for smokers.

At Reassured we can compare quotes from leading UK insurers and smaller specialists to help you find the best deal we can offer. Simply get in touch for your free quotes.

What’s the best life insurance policy for smokers?

The best life insurance policy for smokers will be the policy which meets your needs and is at an affordable price with a minimal premium increase.

As a smoker, you’ll have the same policy options available to you as those who don’t smoke. These include:

  • Level term life insurance
  • Decreasing term life insurance
  • Whole of life insurance
  • Over 50 life insurance (also known as an over 50s plan)

There are four main life insurance policies available:

Smokers level term life insurance
  • Provides cover for a specified period
  • Term length up to 40 years
  • Pay out remains level throughout the policy term
  • Pay out will be made if you pass away during the term
  • You’ll be required to provide information about your smoking status
  • Maximum sum assured up to £1,000,000
  • Terminal illness cover included at no extra cost (allows an early claim to be made if you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness)
  • Can help to cover an interest-only mortgage, other large debts and/or family living costs
  • Affordable rates for smokers through Reassured
Smokers decreasing term life insurance
  • Provides cover for a specified period
  • Term length up to 40 years
  • Pay out will decrease throughout the policy term
  • Pay out will be made if you pass away during the term
  • You’ll be required to provide information about your smoking status
  • Maximum sum assured up to £1,000,000
  • Terminal illness cover included at no extra cost (allows an early claim to be made if you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness)
  • Can help to cover a repayment mortgage as the sum assured can reduce at the same rate
  • Affordable rates for smokers through Reassured
Smokers whole of life insurance
  • Provides lifelong cover
  • Pay out remains fixed over the policy lifetime
  • Pay out is guaranteed when you pass away
  • You’ll be required to provide information about your smoking status
  • Could become costly if paying inflated premiums for the rest of your life
  • Maximum sum assured up to £1,000,000
  • Can help to guarantee loved ones an inheritance and providing funds to cover your funeral
  • Affordable rates for smokers through Reassured
Smokers over 50s life insurance
  • Provides lifelong cover
  • Acceptance to guaranteed to UK residents aged 50 - 85
  • Pay out is guaranteed when you pass away
  • No medical information is required
  • Some insurers will require your smoking status (but not all)
  • Maximum sum assured up to £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances and budget)
  • Can help loved ones to cover your funeral costs and/or provide a small inheritance
  • Affordable rates for smokers through Reassured

There are also additional policies which can be taken out to provide a greater level of cover, including critical illness cover and income protection:

Critical illness cover for smokers

  • Can be added to a term life insurance policy for an additional cost
  • Will pay out a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness (that’s listed within your policy)
  • Pay out could help to fund private medical care, carer fees and/or replace lost income while you’re unable to work
  • Typically up to 30 conditions are covered but this could be more or less depending on the provider
  • Affordable rates for smokers through Reassured

Income protection for smokers

  • Can be taken out alongside a life insurance policy
  • Will pay out a percentage of your income if you become too ill or injured to work
  • Typically, between 50% - 70% of your usual earnings will be paid out
  • Helps to replace lost income to keep up with financial commitments
  • Affordable rates for smokers through Reassured
  • Why not read our dedicated smokers income protection article for more information?

Comparing multiple life insurance policies for smokers can help you find a suitable policy for your personal circumstances.

Why not use the fee-free life insurance comparison service offered by Reassured?

How much is life insurance for smoker?

The cost of life insurance for smokers will vary depending on your personal circumstances.

As well as your smoking status, insurers will take the following information into consideration:

  • Your age
  • Your general health and wellbeing
  • Your medical history
  • Your BMI
  • Your lifestyle (such as alcohol consumption and hobbies)
  • Term length
  • Sum assured (cover amount)

This information will allow insurers to assess the level of risk you pose, and your life insurance premium will be calculated accordingly.


The table below shows life insurance rates for smokers. Quotes are based on an applicant in good health for £100,000 of cover:

AgeLevel term (20 year term)Decreasing term (20 year term)
20£4.02£3.50
25£5.19£4.25
30£6.97£4.96
35£10.02£6.31
40£15.28£9.60
45£24.86£14.79
50£41.71£24.62

As you can see from the table, although it’s likely you’ll pay more than a non-smoker, the price of life insurance for smokers can still be affordable.

The price you pay for life insurance as a smoker increases significantly as you get older.

To lock in the cheapest premium, over the lifetime of your policy, consider taking out cover sooner rather than later.

By comparing quotes through Reassured, we help you find great life insurance rates for smokers from our panel of insurers.

How much does smoking affect the cost of life insurance?

As with the price you pay for life insurance, the amount your premium will be affected by your smoking habits will depend on your personal circumstances.

This is because factors like how often you smoke and how long you’ve been smoking will be taken in consideration.


The table below shows the cost of life insurance for smokers vs non-smokers.

Quotes are based on an applicant in good health for a level term life insurance policy, with a 20 year term, for £100,000 of cover:

AgePrice per month for a smokerPrice per month for a non-smoker% Difference
20£4.02£3.5013%
25£5.19£3.5033%
30£6.97£4.2938%
35£10.02£5.6344%
40£15.28£7.8149%
45£24.86£11.1255%
50£41.71£16.8160%


A smoker could pay up to 60% more than a non-smoker, if cover is secured later in life.

This further highlights the importance of taking out cover while you’re young and in good health.

Comparing quotes is essential in finding an affordable deal, you could do this yourself or you could enlist the help of an expert (such as Reassured).

Do cigar smokers pay more life for life insurance?

Yes, life insurance for cigar smokers will be treated the same as cigarette smokers.

Using any product that contains tobacco or nicotine will class you as a smoker in the eyes of insurers.

Why not compare life insurance for cigar smokers through Reassured?

Is vaping classed as smoking for life insurance?

Yes, if you’re currently using a vape or have regularly done so within the last 12 months, you’ll be classed as a smoker.

In recent years, the popularity of vaping has reached record levels. It’s now estimated that 4.3 million people in the UK regularly use a vape[3].

Regardless of whether you use nicotine or non-nicotine-based liquids, you’re still likely to be classed as a smoker.

Therefore, you must declare your vaping habits at the point of application.

You may also be asked additional questions, such as how long you’ve been using a vape and how frequently you use it.

To secure affordable life insurance for vapers, compare quotes for free with Reassured.

What happens if I lie about smoking?

Lying about smoking on your life insurance application could invalidate your policy.

Withholding or providing false information on a life insurance application is known as ‘non-disclosure’ (which is a form of insurance fraud).

Lying about smoking could result in one of the following outcomes (depending on the provider)

  1. Your policy becomes invalid and no pay out will be made upon your passing
  2. A reduced amount is paid out (meaning your loved ones miss out on crucial funds)

When it comes to life insurance, honesty is always the best policy.

It can still be possible to secure affordable cover as a smoker, so always provide accurate information during the application.

How long do you have to quit smoking to be considered a non-smoker?

Most commonly you’ll need to have quit smoking (including all replacement products) for at least 12 months.

However, this time frame can vary between different insurers, with some requiring you to be nicotine free for up to 5 years.

By comparing quotes you can find affordable life cover for smokers who’ve quit - why not let Reassured help?

FAQs about life insurance and smoking

How will life insurance companies know if I smoke?

You’ll need to declare your smoking status during the application process.

Regardless of whether you declare yourself as a smoker or not, insurers have the right to test your smoking status.

This could be through a medical exam or a cotinine test (either blood, urine or saliva).

It can also be possible for insurers to request your medical records from your GP (however, your records can only be released with your permission).

Any of the above can confirm your smoking status. If it’s found that you’ve lied you could be declined for life insurance and could risk being charged for insurance fraud.

Does quitting smoking make life insurance cheaper?

Yes, it’s likely that you can secure a more favourable premium if you quit smoking.

However, you’ll need to have stopped smoking (as well as all substitutes) and be nicotine/tobacco free for a specified period of time before being treated as a non-smoker.

Therefore, quitting smoking might not have an immediate effect on your policy. The longer you’ve quit smoking, the more you’re likely to benefit from cheaper premiums.

Some insurers may reduce the premiums of your current policy to reward your new lifestyle, but not all insurers will do this.

It could be beneficial to compare quotes for a new policy to reflect your new circumstances (although your new smoking status won’t be the only factor taken into consideration).

If you’ve given up smoking, why not use our award-winning broker service to compare new life insurance quotes?

What happens if I start smoking after I’ve taken a policy out?

If you start smoking during the term of your life insurance policy, it’s not essential to tell your insurer. However, it could be in your best interest to do so.

If you pass away (regardless of whether it’s a result of smoking or not), insurers have the right to investigate your cause of death to obtain more information.

If it’s not documented when you started smoking, the pay out for your loved ones could be delayed while your insurer tries to establish whether you were a smoker at the point of application.

For this reason, it’s best to inform your insurer of your new smoking habits so that it can be documented.

Will I be classified as a smoker if I smoke occasionally?

Being an occasional smoker (such as having a cigarette once in a while at a celebration or night out) may still mean you’re considered a smoker.

However, the threshold at which you’re considered a ‘regular’ smoker will vary between insurers.

For this reason, it’s important to gather quotes from multiple insurers to see who’ll offer the most favourable terms.

At Reassured we can help you compare quotes from a panel of leading insurers, saving you time and money.

Will I need to take a medical exam?

In most cases, it’s unlikely that you’ll be asked to undergo a medical exam when applying for life insurance as a smoker.

However, insurers do have the right to request you undergo a medical during the application process if it’s required.

For example, they may request a medical exam to see if smoking has had any effects on your health.

Ultimately, it will depend on the insurer and their underwriting process.

If you’re asked to undergo a medical examination, it will be paid for by the insurer and arranged for a time and date that suits you.

How will a joint policy be affected by smoking?

A joint life insurance policy is often a great way to save money on a policy, but smoking may have an adverse effect if one party is a smoker and the other isn’t.

A joint life insurance policy covers two lives simultaneously, meaning there’s only one application form to complete and just one premium to pay.

Due to this, if one party declares themself as a smoker, the other will also be penalised with an inflated premium.

In this scenario, it could be beneficial to compare quotes for a joint policy vs two single polices to see which option could be right for you.

Can smoking e-cigarettes affect life insurance premiums?

Yes, like vaping, most insurers will increase the price of your premium if you’ve regularly used any form of e-cigarette within the last 12 months.

While switching to an e-cigarette or vape shows good intentions of quitting, most still contain nicotine which could have a harmful effect on your health - increasing the risk in the eyes of the insurer.

What about life insurance for marijuana smokers?

If you’re a regular cannabis smoker, you’ll need to disclose this during the application process.

Smoking cannabis can fall under ‘recreational drug use’ when applying for life insurance.

However, as smoking cannabis can have similar health affects to smoking cigarettes, some insurers will offer life insurance for cannabis smokers on the same terms they offer cigarette smokers.

Generally, it will depend on the insurer’s stance on recreational drug use.

You can find out more information about life insurance and drug use by reading our comprehensive guide.

Will my life insurance be affected if I am an ex-smoker?

If you’ve quit smoking and have kept it up, you may not be penalised for your old habits.

If you’ve been free of cigarettes for a long period of time and have no long-lasting health problems as a result of smoking, you may be able to secure cover on standard terms.

However, if you were a smoker for a large portion of your life, insurers may still deem you as high risk as there could be some impact on your health.

Ultimately, it will depend on the circumstances of your old habits. Comparing quotes can help you to find suitable cover.

How to find the best life insurance for smokers

At Reassured we can find you our best life insurance for smokers quotes.

We can help you obtain quotes from some of the UK’s best insurers and provide you with all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

We can also guide you through the application process, answer any questions you may have and decode any industry jargon.

Our service is award-winning, FCA-regulated and we don’t charge a fee for our quotes.

So why not get in touch today? We’ve helped over 100,000 UK smokers secure the cover they need.

Sources:

[1] https://www.smokefreeworld.org/health-science-research-2/health-science-technology-agenda/data-analytics/global-state-of-smoking-landscape/state-smoking-united-kingdom/

[2] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/siteassets/documents/cost-of-dying/sunlife-cost-of-dying-report-2023.pdf/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/aug/29/vaping-reaches-record-levels-great-britain-report

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