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The lowdown on life insurance for smokers

We all know smoking is bad for our health and our pockets. The Government puts a high tax on every packet to make us think twice before lighting up. But tax isn’t the only way smokers get stung financially. Life cover for smokers is more expensive too.

Smoking and life insurance simply explained

There’s good reason for this. Statistics show that smokers are more likely to claim on their life insurance or critical illness policy because they are more at risk of death or disease. As a result, smokers will have to pay a higher premium than a non-smoker for the same cash payout. Heavy smokers will also often end up having to pay more than those who smoke smaller amounts.

If you’re thinking about giving up for good? You’ll find some great self-help tips to stop smoking.

I’m not really a smoker… am I?

You might think that a cheeky cigarette on a Saturday night, or a cigar on a special occasion doesn’t make you a ‘proper’ smoker, so the higher smokers’ premiums wouldn’t apply to you. But the fact is, insurers don’t distinguish between occasional and regular smokers.

3 men smoking cigars posing for a photo

 

What about E-cigarettes and life insurance?

E-cigarettes have grown massively in recent years. According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH, 2.8 million adults in Great Britain are currently use e-cigarettes).

E-cigarettes are thought to have less health risks than standard cigarettes and many smokers are making the transition. However it’s still early days and at this point in time, insurers still consider you a smoker if you use e-cigarettes.

As the long-term effects of vaping and e-cigarettes aren’t yet known, it’s difficult for insurers to make a call on the level of risk, so they’re erring on the side of caution. But as more research is done, this could change, potentially for the worse.

close of a woman drawing on an e-cigarette

 

What if I say I don’t smoke?

With premiums being so much higher for a smokers’ life insurance, it might be tempting to bend the truth when you apply for cover. As enticing as this may be, it really does pay to be honest in the long run.

At any time, insurers could ask for a saliva or urine test to check if you smoke. They could do a spot check or ask your GP for details of your medical history where there may be tell tale signs you smoke or have recently smoked, even if it’s not clearly stated.

Dishonesty could also have a devastating effect on the people left behind if you die. If a claim is made on your policy, the insurer could choose to investigate further. And if they discovered you’d lied about being a smoker, they could reduce the cash payout significantly or even completely refuse to pay out.

woman in-front of a computer with a pinocchio nose

 

What if I quit?

Kicking the habit can only be good for you and your pocket. Life insurance providers consider you a non-smoker once you’ve not used tobacco products for 12 months or more, so it makes sense to quit sooner rather than later.

Once you’ve not smoked for 12 months, it’s worth contacting your life insurance provider to see if they are able to reduce your life insurance premiums.

a womans hand crushing cigarettes

Alternatively, if you’re committed to quitting but haven’t taken out life insurance yet, you might consider getting cover for a short term now and then taking out a new policy for a longer term as a non-smoker, and enjoy lower premiums.

Whatever you do, giving up smoking will certainly make a big difference to your finances. You’ll save money and your body will thank you too.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, car insurance, home insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.