Why cover?
  • affects 1 in 4 women / 1 in 5 men before retirement
  • 94.1% of the critical illness claims are paid
  • protect yourself and your family if you get seriously ill
Why us?
  • get the cover that will pay when you need it
  • save up to 35%, cover from £5 a month
  • free, fast and without obligation quotes
Insurers: Aviva, Legal & General, Liverpool Victoria, Scottish Widows, Vitality, Zurich

How can smoking affect critical illness insurance premiums?

Smoking Statistics*

  • About 102,000 deaths in 2009 are linked to smoking-related disease.
  • Around 86% of lung cancer deaths in the UK are attributed to smoking.
  • Overall, more than 25% of UK cancer deaths in 2009 are caused by tobacco smoking.

*Based on CancerResearchUK.org

As we all know, smoking is dangerous to your health.

With smoking come additional health risks – the possibility of getting lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems. Regardless of whether you are smoking your 5 sticks or 3 packs a day, you can be sure that this habit will affect your health somehow.

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Smokers have an increased risk of getting:

  • Heart problems (angina, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease)
  • Stomach and digestive problems (Crohn’s disease, Colon polyps, Stomach ulcer)
  • Oral disease (gum disease, discolouration or loss of teeth)
  • Problems with eyes (macular degeneration, optic neuropathy, loss of vision, cataract)
  • Problems with bones, muscles and ligaments (neck pain, back pain, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Skin problems (wrinkling, psoriasis)
  • Cancer (throat, oesophagus, mouth, stomach, larynx, kidney and other types of cancers)
  • Other illnesses (Chronic bronchitis, Type 2 diabetes, hearing loss, depression)

Smoking can also aggravate other existing diseases such as:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chron’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

That is why your smoking habit can cost you in terms of insurance premiums. Because of the increased health risks that result from smoking, you can expect higher premiums for your critical illness insurance policy.

Smoking and Underwriting

Smoking is considered a risk factor that will exacerbate any existing medical condition. A smoker can expect to pay higher premiums because of his habit.

Here are some examples of how premiums can increase because of a smoking habit*:

Risk factors Change in premiums

Asthma (where the applicant is using an inhaler for relief and prevention, have a history of oral steroid use twice in the last 3 years but is a smoker – 15 sticks a day)

Up to 75% additional premiums

For some providers, the application may be automatically declined.

Presence of high cholesterol and blood pressure along with smoking and alcohol consumption

50% to 75% additional premiums

Previous cancer, where one has already recovered but now has a smoking habit

  • May delay application for the first few years
  • A specific cancer may be excluded
  • The policy may be declined altogether

History of heart attack, where applicant is also a smoker

The application will be declined

Family history of cancer where applicant is also a smoker

  • One relative diagnosed of cancer at age 50 or over: standard rating
  • 1 relative diagnosed of cancer between the ages of 40 and 50: 50% to 75% additional premiums
  • 2 relatives diagnosed at age 40 or over – 100% to 200% additional premium or the cancer cover is excluded

Family history of heart disease, where the applicant is also a smoker

50% to 100% additional premium

*Based on critical illness underwriting guides from various providers

Hope for Those Who Have Stopped Smoking

Kick the smoking habit and save on premiums

Based on a Moneysupermarket research, ex-smokers saved an average of £9,000 on lowered critical illness premiums, as well as savings due to not buying cigarettes.

Those who have kicked the habit need to be worried that they will be perpetually charged with high premiums. Usually, insurance companies will look at whether you have stopped smoking for the past year. If you have stopped a year before your application, you have a higher chance of getting a standard rating with standard premiums. This is, of course, barring other factors that may cause your premiums to increase.

If you already have bought a critical illness policy under a smoker’s premium rating and you have decided to stop smoking, you can also request the insurance company to lower your premiums. However, there may be conditions to this – you need to have quit smoking for at least 12 months and you also need to stop using tobacco replacement devices and products. This includes nicotine gum or nicotine patches.

For more information about smoking read: If I start smoking, can I still make a claim?

Last updated on: 18.1.2013

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