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Life insurance for smokers: what do you need to consider?

Life insurance is a crucial aspect of financial planning that provides security and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.  

However, for individuals who smoke, obtaining life insurance can be a bit more complex than for non-smokers.  

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of life insurance for smokers in the UK and offer valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about protecting your family's financial future. 


  • Life insurance for smokers typically comes with higher premiums compared to non-smokers

  • There are two primary types of life insurance for smokers

  • As you get older, the cost of life insurance is considerably more compared to non-smokers

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Why does smoking affect life insurance?

It's no secret that smoking poses significant health risks, and insurance providers take these risks into account when assessing applicants. 

Smoking is associated with various health issues, such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and certain types of cancer. 

As a result, life insurance for smokers typically comes with higher premiums compared to non-smokers. 

Despite the increased premiums, securing life insurance coverage is vital, especially if you are a smoker. 

Having adequate coverage ensures that your loved ones are financially protected in the event of your death, helping them cope with the potential loss of income and cover outstanding debts. 

Types of life Insurance for smokers

Different types of life insurance policies are available in the UK, each catering to specific needs. 

For smokers, the two primary types are term life insurance and whole life insurance

1. Term life insurance 

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified period. This can range from five to 30 years, depending on your circumstances and needs. 

If you pass away during the insurance term, your beneficiaries will get a lump sum payout. Term life insurance is generally more affordable than whole life insurance, making it an attractive option for many smokers. 

It's important to note that if you continue to smoke after buying term life insurance, your premiums may remain the same throughout the term. 

However, if you quit smoking, you can benefit from lower premiums if you can demonstrate a smoke-free lifestyle for a specified period, usually one or two years. 

2. Whole life insurance 

Whole life insurance offers coverage for your entire lifetime if you continue to pay the premiums. 

It also includes a cash value component that grows over time, allowing you to access funds through policy loans or withdrawals. 

Whole life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance but offers lifelong protection and potential cash accumulation. 

For smokers, securing whole life insurance may be more challenging due to higher associated risks, but it's not impossible, and many providers offer options for smokers seeking this type of coverage. 

Learn more: how much life insurance cover do I need?

How much more expensive is life insurance for smokers?

Smoking affects more than just your health—it can impact your life insurance premiums too 

But how much might you pay for life insurance as a smoker compared to a non-smoker? 

According to Legal & General, based on £150,000 of life insurance cover over a period of 25 years, the costs are: 

At 30 years old 

  • £9.31 per month for non-smokers 

  • £14.68 per month for smokers 

At 50 years old 

  • £42.02 per month for non-smokers 

  • £107.38 per month for smokers 

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Tips for getting the best life insurance as a smoker

While smokers generally face higher premiums, there are many strategies to help you secure more affordable life insurance cover: 

1. Quit smoking 

The most effective way to lower your life insurance premiums is to quit smoking. 

Many insurance providers offer non-smoker rates to individuals who have been smoke-free for a certain period, typically one or two years. 

Quitting smoking not only improves your health but also demonstrates to insurers that you are actively reducing your risk of smoking-related illnesses. 

2. Shop around for the best deal 

Different insurance providers have various underwriting criteria and pricing structures. 

It's crucial to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the most competitive rates for smokers. 

Working with an independent insurance broker can be beneficial, as they can help you navigate the market and find the best policy to meet your needs. 

3. Disclose accurate information 

Honesty is key when applying for life insurance as a smoker. 

Providing accurate information about your smoking habits and health history ensures that your policy remains valid and your beneficiaries receive the intended benefits. 

Failing to disclose smoking habits can lead to any claim being rejected and financial complications for your loved ones. 

4. Consider group insurance 

Some employers offer group life insurance policies as part of their benefits package. 

While group insurance may not be tailored to your specific needs, it can provide a more affordable option for smokers, as the risk is spread across a larger pool of individuals. 

5. Opt for a smoker's policy 

Certain insurers specialise in providing coverage exclusively to smokers. 

While premiums may still be higher than those for non-smokers, these policies are designed to accommodate the unique circumstances and risks associated with smoking. 

Exploring options from insurers specialising in smoker's policies can be worthwhile to get coverage. 

Learn more: can you have more than one life insurance policy?

Final thoughts

Securing life insurance as a smoker in the UK may require some extra effort, but it's a crucial step in protecting your family's financial future. 

By understanding the challenges, exploring different types of policies, and implementing strategies to secure lower premiums, you can find a suitable life insurance solution that meets your needs. 

Remember, quitting smoking not only improves your health but also has a positive impact on your life insurance premiums. 

Whether you opt for term life insurance or whole life insurance, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones are financially protected is well worth the investment. 

Take the time to research and compare insurance providers, disclose accurate information, and consider the various options available to you. 

With the right approach, you can navigate the complexities of life insurance for smokers and make informed decisions that benefit you and your family. 

If you’re looking for the best life insurance policy, why not get help from an insurance broker? They can look at your circumstances and find the most competitive cover for you. 

Unbiased can quickly connect you to an insurance broker today.

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About the author
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.