Can I get life insurance as a smoker?

Yes, it’s possible to secure affordable life insurance as a smoker.

However, when taking out life insurance as a smoker, it’s important to be aware that:

  • You may pay more for your premiums due to increased health risks
  • Vaping can also lead to higher premiums
  • Occasional smokers may not be heavily penalised
  • Quitting smoking can lead to cheaper premiums
  • Securing cover at a younger age will help smokers secure a lower premium

Want to learn more? Watch our short animated video to learn all about life insurance for smokers.


By using an FCA-regulated broker, such as Reassured, smokers can compare quotes (fee-free) to help secure cheap life insurance.

Read on to establish how to secure the right policy at the best available price today...

How will smoking affect my life insurance?

Unfortunately, smoking brings with it an increased risk of many medical conditions.

These can include cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and respiratory failure.

Due to this, as a smoker, you’ll be deemed as more high risk than non-smokers and your premiums will be inflated accordingly.

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

If you’ve developed any illnesses or conditions as a result of smoking, it’s likely an exclusion for these will be written into your policy.

This means a claim can’t be made based on a cause of death due to this condition or illness.

On very rare occasions, those who’ve smoked for the majority of their life, smoke an excessive amount or have detrimental health as a result of smoking may be declined life cover.

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

How much life insurance do you need?

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

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£121,687 is the estimated average outstanding mortgage per household in the UK.

Our property is generally the largest financial commitment any of us will make.

Your life insurance should cover this significant debt should you no longer be around.

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According to Money Advice Service, full-time childcare in the UK now costs £242 a week.

The loss of a parent could result in the need for additional childcare whilst the surviving parent increases their hours to account for lost income.

Your life insurance cover should factor in this additional required outgoing.

£
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The average level of debt (minus a mortgage) in the UK is £15,385.

Factoring in any outstanding debts in your name when arranging life insurance ensures this burden is not passed to loved ones.

£
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You may wish to leave your loved ones an inheritance or lump sum gift upon your passing.

Factoring in the gift amount when arranging your cover will ensure the pay out amount will be sufficient to provide your loved ones with this selfless gesture.

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According to SunLife, the average cost of a UK funeral is now £4,417, whilst the total cost of dying is £9,493.

This is a 130% increase over the past 16 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

A significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

£
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If you are one of the 65% of the UK who are lucky enough to have savings, this could be used as protection if you were to pass away.

Any pay outs from existing life insurance policies and investments can also be used as financial protection for your loved ones if you were no longer around.

Factor this into your required cover amount.

£ -

Your total cover estimate

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Let us find your best available quotes.

How do insurers classify a smoker?

In terms of life insurance, if you’ve smoked or used replacement products in the past 12 months, you’re classed as a smoker.

This includes the use of vapes or e-cigarettes, as well as nicotine patches and mints/gum.

With around 3.5 million people in the UK now vaping instead of smoking[1], this brings the number of smokers to an all-time high with regards to life insurance classification.

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

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

In most instances, being an occasional smoker won’t impact the cost of your monthly premium.

For example, if you have the odd cigarette at a celebration or on a night out it’s likely you won’t be classed as a smoker.

Comparing quotes can be essential in discovering the insurer with the most favourable threshold to match your personal circumstances.

Why not let Reassured save you time and money by comparing quotes?

How much is life insurance for a smoker?

Smoking could significantly increase the cost of your life insurance premiums, however, there are ways to minimise the expense.

Quitting smoking, securing cover at a young age while in good health and leading a healthy lifestyle are all ways you could experience cheaper premiums.

As well as your smoking status, insurers will also take into consideration other factors, such as:

The above information, along with details about your policy (such as the term length and level of cover, as well as your chosen policy type) will help to determine how much you’ll pay for your monthly premium.


Below you will find the average prices for the most common types of life insurance.

These quotes are based on a 30-year-old smoker for £100,000 of cover, over a 20-year policy term.

AgeLevel term life insuranceDecreasing term life insuranceWhole of life insurance
20£5.01£4.99£80.30
25£6.04£5.06£95.22
30£7.38£5.88£97.23
35£10.28£7.54£107.57
40£15.89£10.27£127.85
45£25.47£15.95£153.59
50£40.99£25.76£185.77


Keep reading to find out how these life insurance policies work…

How much does smoking affect the cost of life insurance?

How much smoking will affect the cost of your life insurance can vary depending on your personal circumstances.

This is because, as well as your smoking status, other factors are taken into account to calculate the cost of your life insurance.

A young smoker is likely to pay less than an older smoker, particularly those over 50.

This highlights the importance of taking out cover sooner rather than later to benefit from a more favourable premium.

But how much does the price of life insurance differ between smokers and non-smokers?


Life insurance for smokers vs. non-smokers

The key difference between life insurance for smokers and non-smokers is the likelihood of being accepted and the cost.

Due to the increased risk, those who smoke can pay more for their monthly premium.

The table below shows the price comparison of a smoker vs a non-smoker.

Quotes are based on a level term life insurance policy for £100,000 of cover over a 20-year policy term.

AgeSmokerNon-smoker
20£5.01£3.89
25£6.04£4.99
30£7.38£5.04
35£10.28£5.95
40£15.89£8.16
45£25.47£11.34
50£40.99£17.41


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

Smokers price comparison desktop

What’s the best life insurance for smokers?

Last year there were around 74,600 smoking-related deaths, highlighting the importance of life insurance - especially for those with dependants[2].

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
  • Find the funds to clear outstanding debts
  • Cover the full cost of your funeral (£9,263 total cost of dying[3])

However, rest assured, there are a number of affordable policy options to ensure your loved ones won’t suffer financial stress. Including:

For smokers who’re younger, term life insurance could offer a more cost-effective solution than other options on the market, such as whole of life insurance.

For older smokers, particularly those over 50, an over 50s plan may be the most suitable option.

Ultimately, the best option for those who smoke will be a policy that meets all of your needs, at an affordable price within your budget.

Let’s look into these policy types in more detail…

Term life insurance for smokers

  • Level and decreasing term options
  • Cover protection for a specified period of time
  • Affordable rates for smokers
  • Cover amount up to £1,000,000
  • Term length up to 40 years
  • Terminal illness cover at no extra cost

Term life insurance provides financial protection for a specified period of time.

If you pass away during this period, a lump sum pay out is made to your loved ones.

Terminal illness cover also comes as standard with all term policies taken out through Reassured, allowing you to make an early claim if you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and predicted to pass away within 12 months.

Term life insurance is likely to be more expensive for smokers due to the increased risk to the insurer.

You have the option to take out term life insurance on level or decreasing terms.


Level term life insurance

Level term life insurance provides a fixed sum assured (pay out amount).

Loved ones can use the pay out to cover large expenses after your passing, such as an interest-only mortgage or other debts, funeral costs and family living costs.

Below shows a price comparison between a smoker and a non-smoker for a level term policy for a 20-year policy term and £100,000 of cover.

AgeSmokerNon-smoker
20£5.01£3.89
25£6.04£4.99
30£7.38£5.04
35£10.28£5.95
40£15.89£8.16
45£25.47£11.34
50£40.99£17.41


Decreasing term life insurance

With decreasing term life insurance, your sum assured reduces over time.

For this reason, it’s ideal for covering a repayment mortgage as your sum assured can reduce in line with your remaining mortgage balance.

Below shows the price comparison between a smoker and a non-smoker for a decreasing term policy over a 20-year policy term and £100,000 of cover.

AgeSmokerNon-smoker
20£4.99£4.45
25£5.06£4.93
30£5.88£4.99
35£7.54£5.03
40£10.27£6.05
45£15.95£8.14
50£25.76£11.51


Use our award-winning broker service to find the most cost-effective term life insurance solution.

Whole of life insurance for smokers

  • Financial protection for the rest of your life
  • Loved ones guaranteed a pay out
  • Cover amount up to £1,000,000
  • Tax-free lump sum pay out
  • Could pay in more than sum assured

Whole of life insurance could be a costly option for a smoker.

This is because cover lasts for the rest of your life, meaning you’ll need to continue paying premiums until you pass away.

This could lead you to paying more into to policy than it will pay out to your loved ones.

Your loved ones are guaranteed a pay out which could be used to pay off outstanding debts, cover funeral costs or be left as an inheritance to be enjoyed as they wish.

Below shows the price comparison between a smoker and a non-smoker for a whole of life policy with £100,000 of cover.

AgeSmokerNon-smoker
20£80.30£61.21
25£95.22£66.15
30£97.23£71.01
35£107.57£82.93
40£127.85£100.90
45£153.59£124.34
50£185.77£147.37


At Reassured we can compare whole of life insurance quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers.

Over 50 life insurance for smokers

  • Those aged 50 - 85 guaranteed acceptance
  • Cover for the rest of your life
  • No medical information required
  • A waiting period required (12 - 24 months)
  • Sum assured up to £25,000

An over 50s plan guarantees those aged 50 - 85 acceptance without the need to provide medical information.

No medical exam is required so if you’ve been declined cover before due to poor health (perhaps as a result of smoking), it won’t be taken into account with this cover type.

Some providers may still need to know about your smoking status, but others may not ask.

This means that, as a smoker within this age bracket, it can be possible to arrange cover without being penalised for your smoking habits.

Below shows the price comparison between a smoker and a non-smoker for an over 50s plan with £10,000 of cover.

AgeSmokerNon-smoker
50£32.66£25
55£37.48£31

60

£42.38£39
65£51.14£49
70£67.76£67.76


Why not use our award-winning broker service to compare multiple over 50s plans to find one with the most favourable terms?

Income protection for smokers

  • Protects your income if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury
  • Pays out up to 70% of your gross annual salary
  • Monthly tax-free payments
  • Short term and long term options available
  • Cover from 50p-a-day

Rather than paying out to your loved ones after your passing, income protection works by paying out to you if you’re unable to work due to an accident or sickness.

Typically, up to 70% of your gross annual salary can be paid out to you in monthly (tax-free) installments to help cover any financial commitments.

Income protection offers a range of premium payment options, including:

  • Reviewable
  • Age banded
  • Guaranteed

Those taking out a policy with reviewable or guaranteed premiums may experience an increased price due to their smoking habits.

While those taking out age banded premiums often won’t face an increase in premiums due to smoking. However, your premium will increase each year as you get older.

At Reassured we can compare income protection quotes to find you the most cost-effective option.

Critical illness cover for smokers

  • Financial protection if diagnosed with a serious illness
  • Tax-free lump sum
  • Covers a wide range of illnesses
  • Can be added to a life insurance policy for an additional cost
  • Available up to age 70

Critical illness cover is an additional safety net that can be added to a life insurance policy for an additional fee.

Should you be diagnosed with a serious illness (listed within your policy) you’ll be able to make a claim on your life insurance policy and receive an early pay out.

This pay out can be used to help fund medical treatment, make necessary adaptions to your home or pay for carers.

It’s possible to secure critical illness cover as a smoker, however, your policy is likely to have a number of smoking-related exclusions (for example, cancers caused by smoking).

Below is the price comparison for a life insurance policy with and without critical illness cover for a smoker.

These quotes are based on a level term policy with a 20-year policy term and £100,000 cover as well as £100,000 critical illness cover.

AgeLife insurance with critical illness cover for a smokerLife insurance without critical illness cover for a smoker
20£18.09£5.01
25£23.20£6.04
30£34.60£7.38
35£55.04£10.28
40£84.45£15.89
45£125.68£25.47
50£197.61£40.99

Do I need to tell the insurer that I smoke?

Yes, if you’re a smoker, you’ll need to declare this at the point of application.

When arranging life insurance, you’ll be asked about your smoking habits.

Unless you declare smoking, this will be posed as a yes or no question.

If you declare that you smoke, you may have to answer some further questions about your smoking.

Life insurance smoking questions can include:

  • How long you’ve smoked for
  • How many cigarettes you smoke a day
  • Whether or not you've experienced any health complications as a result of smoking

It’s unlikely you’ll be declined for smoking so always be honest on your application, or it may lead to your selfless investment becoming wasted.

At Reassured, we have the knowledge required to connect you with the insurer most likely to provide cover at the most affordable price.

How will life insurance companies know if I smoke?

Whether you declare yourself as a smoker or non-smoker, insurers have the right to test your smoking status.

During the application process, insurers can request a medical test or a cotinine test (either blood, urine or saliva).

Both a medical exam and cotinine test will be able to inform insurers of your smoking status.

Insurers can also request your medical records from your GP, which are likely to display your smoking status.

If you’re found to have lied, not only could you be declined for life insurance but also be at risk of being charged for insurance fraud.

Always be honest on your life insurance application, it’s still possible to secure an affordable price even if you declare your smoking.

If you’re worried about being declined, we have a special impaired risk team who’ve secured cover for 45% of applicants declined elsewhere.

What happens if I lie about smoking?

It can be tempting to claim you’re a non-smoker at the point of application in order to avoid increased premiums.

However, lying about smoking can lead to your selfless investment becoming wasted.

Within the life insurance industry, this is known as non-disclosure and it can prevent a pay out being made to your loved ones.

Insurance providers have the right to request your medical records and/or a cotinine test during the application process.

If either of these determines you’ve lied about your smoking status, your policy could be deemed invalid.

This could result in two outcomes:

  1. Your pay out won’t be made and your premiums will have been wasted
  2. Only a portion of your pay out will be honoured, in line with how much less you paid than you would have if you had declared yourself a smoker

When it comes to life insurance, honesty is always the best policy, if you’re worried about finding affordable cover why not contact Reassured? We’ve helped to find affordable cover for over 100,000 smokers.

Does smoking void a life insurance policy?

Smoking will only void your policy if you were untruthful about your habit at the point of application.

If it’s found that you passed away as a result of smoking and insurers have no record of when you started smoking, it could be assumed that you weren’t truthful during the application process.

Does quitting smoking make life insurance cheaper?

It’s likely that you can secure a more favourable premium as a non-smoker.

However, you’ll still be considered a smoker until you’ve refrained from the consumption of nicotine and/or nicotine replacement products for a minimum of 12 months.

For this reason, it’s unlikely that quitting smoking will have an immediate effect on your premiums but the longer you quit, the more you’ll benefit from lower premiums.

Although some insurers might immediately decrease your premiums, this will likely be subject to ongoing checks.

Occasionally, insurers won’t update premiums to reflect your new non-smoker status at all, when this occurs it can be beneficial to compare quotes for a new policy.

Regardless of whether you benefit now or in the future, it’s always a good idea to let your insurer know you’ve kicked the habit.

Why not use our award-winning broker service to compare new quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers?

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

Typically, you’ll need to have stopped smoking consistently for at least 12 months for insurers to deem you a non-smoker.

However, depending on the provider, smoking can influence your life insurance for up to 5 years.

By comparing quotes you can find the insurer who’ll offer the most favourable terms to those who’ve quit smoking - why not let Reassured help?

What if I start smoking after I’ve taken life insurance out?

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

If you’ve begun smoking and pass away within the first two years of your policy, the insurer has the right to investigate your cause of death.

This is known as the contestability clause.

If the death is shown to be as a result of smoking, your insurer may deem your policy to be invalid.

This is because it’s not documented when you started smoking and, therefore, you could have lied at the point of application.

To prevent your loved ones from being denied a pay out, it’s best to inform your insurer of your new smoking habits.

Is vaping classed as smoking for life insurance?

Yes, as with smoking, if you’re currently vaping or have done so within the last 12 months you’ll be classified as a smoker by insurers.

Regardless of whether you use nicotine or non-nicotine based liquids, you’re still likely to be classed a smoker and therefore you must declare your habits at the point of application.

You may be asked some more detailed questions about your usage during the application process such has how often you vape and how long you have been using a vape for.

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

Life insurance and smoking FAQs

Will I need to take a medical exam?

Insurers have the right to request for you to undergo a medical exam during the application process.

However, this doesn’t mean they will always ask for one.

If you have declared smoking, insurers may ask for a medical exam to be conducted to get a better idea of your health and wellbeing.

Ultimately, whether you need to undergo a medical will depend on the insurer and their underwriting process.


How will a joint life insurance policy be affected by smoking?

A joint 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 fill out about both lives and one premium to pay.

If one party declares their smoking habits, the non-smoking party will also be penalised and will need to pay inflated premiums.

In this scenario, it can be beneficial to secure two separate policies.


Can smoking e-cigarettes affect life insurance premiums?

Yes - similarly to vaping, most insurers will increase the price of your premium if you have used any form of e-cigarette within the last 12 months.

While switching to an e-cigarette or vape shows you have good intentions of quitting, the technology is still fairly new and medical professionals are unsure of the long-lasting health effects.


What about smoking cigars?

Yes - the use of any nicotine product classes you as a smoker in the eyes of insurers, which includes cigars.

However, in the same way occasional smokers may not be penalised, if you only have the odd cigar on special occasions you may be classed as a non-smoker.

Again, this will vary depending on the insurer’s threshold.

As always, it’s best to discuss your cigar smoking truthfully during the application process.


What about cannabis smokers?

Yes - just like with smoking cigarettes, you’ll need to disclose your cannabis usage at the point of application.

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

Smoking cannabis can have similar health affects to smoking cigarettes, so some providers will offer life insurance to cannabis users on the same terms they offer to smokers.

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

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


What if I’m an ex-smoker?

If your smoking habit is now in the past, you may not be penalised for your old habits.

If you’ve been free of cigarettes for years and have no long-lasting health problems as a result, you could take out cover on standard terms.

However, if you smoked for a large proportion of your life, insurers may still deem you as risky as there could already be long-lasting effects on your health.

Insurers will need to take into consideration your personal circumstances to determine the price you’ll pay.

Comparing quotes will help you to find the insurer who will offer the most favourable terms.

Stopping smoking support and resources

If you’re wanting to quit smoking, there are a number of helpful resources available for help and support:

Your GP or local pharmacy can also help provide guidance.

Compare life insurance quotes for smokers

It’s almost inevitable that, as a smoker, you’ll experience higher premiums than a non-smoker.

However, it’s still possible to save money on your life insurance.

The best way to do so is by comparing multiple quotes.

Using an award-winning and FCA-regulated broker, like Reassured, allows us to do this - so the hard work is done for you.

We’ll obtain quotes from some of the UK's best life insurance providers to provide you with all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

We can also help you through the whole application process and decode any jargon you might not understand.

And the best news is our quotes are fee-free and without obligation.

Sources:

The information and quotes used in this article are correct as of 22/04/21

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44295336

[2] https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-smoking/statistics-on-smoking-england-2020

[3] SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021

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