Even though people are aware of the deadly health hazards of smoking and that it can also empty their wallets, smoking is widely prevalent all around us. Diseases such as cancer and heart disease can kill any time but nicotine is so addictive that people can hardly resist tobacco, which contains nicotine. People who are addicted to it must have it for their existence and to feel normal.
About a third of the population among us practices tobacco smoking at great Risk to their health and life. If the practice is so prevalent throughout the world that a third of the adult population is into it, it is only natural that insurance companies must factor this into their insurance pricing.
How Insurance Companies Define a Smoker
Life insurance companies have their own methods for labeling a person as a smoker or a non-smoker. Life insurance companies
differ in their Underwriting
standards, so the actual definition could vary from company to company. You will definitely come under the category of a smoker if you are using any form of nicotine i.e. chewing tobacco, using a nicotine patch, smoking cigarettes or cigar. In case of some companies, if you have not smoked in the last one year, you could be labeled as a non-smoker. In case of some other companies, if you have consumed tobacco in any form in the last five years, you could be labeled as a smoker.
Some of the common questions that insurance companies typically ask to determine if you are a smoker or not are:
- Do you consume tobacco products?
- Do you smoke cigars, cigarettes etc?
- Do you smoke occasionally in social gatherings?
- Have you smoked or consumed any tobacco product in the last one year?
- Have you consumed any tobacco product in the last five years?
Insurance Premium for a Smoker
If you are a smoker, you are obviously in a high-risk group and your insurance premium will naturally be more than that of a non-smoker. Also, other factors like your age, health, Pre-existing diseases, sum Insured etc. will also be considered in deciding your premium.
The extra premium you will be charged will vary from one company to another. You must ask for quotes from multiple insurers before you decide on the Policy from any one of them. There will be large variations in the premiums charged by each of them for the same Coverage amount. Hence, you must be very careful in taking the policy from the right insurer.
What about Occasional Smoking?
Some companies will offer non-smoker rates for occasional smokers. However, many companies don’t differentiate between a regular smoker and an occasional smoker as the risks are the same. Even a passive smoker has great health risks.
Insurers are generally stringent in their classification of a smoker. Most companies will quote the inexpensive non-smoker life insurance rates only if you have stayed off cigarettes and nicotine products completely for a specific period of time, typically for a year.
Last but not the least, you must take care that you are honest in declaring your status as a smoker or as a non-smoker because the penalty for lying is very severe. You are putting your loved ones at the risk of the policy Claim being rejected in case you are dishonest. You must accept the fact that if you are a smoker you will end up paying higher premiums compared to a non-smoker.