A new study shows that quitting smoking could save you up to £16,000

Quit smoking

March 15, 2021

With the cheapest packet of cigarettes costing around £9, most people in the UK are fully aware that giving up smoking could easily save you a few hundred pounds every year (around £500 if you bought a £9 pack every week), but a recent study by insurance company Royal London has revealed that giving up smoking could save you even more money - up to a staggering £16,000! - by substantially reducing your life insurance premiums.

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To qualify for cheaper life insurance and be recognised as a non-smoker by insurers, you need to refrain from smoking tobacco or e-cigarettes and not use any nicotine replacement products (like nicotine patches, gum or lozenges) for a whole year.

Smoking continues to be a primary lifestyle choice concern for insurance companies above alcohol consumption and obesity, despite small pockets of research claiming obesity is a more primary cause for serious health conditions.

However, it’s little wonder insurers are wary of insuring smokers when extensive evidence shows smoking increases your risk of suffering from in excess of 50 life-shortening illnesses including lung cancer, heart and circulation problems, to name but a few.

And it isn’t just your physical health that smoking damages according to Liz McDonald, a smoking advisor at Cumberland Infirmary, who states that quitting smoking can also help your mental health and general wellbeing. Liz claims that stopping smoking is as “effective as antidepressants” and lowers “anxiety, depression and stress levels.”

It’s clear that the many negative effects of smoking - health issues, financial costs and strict restrictions on where and when you can smoke - are all having a negative and profound effect on adult smokers.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 2019 revealed that 62.5% of Brits aged 16 years or older had quit smoking. ONS data also revealed that the average price of a packet of 20 cigarettes is now £11.45. This means the average smoker who typically smokes 20 cigarettes a day is spending approximately £80.15 a week - that’s £348.27 a month or a king’s ransom of £4,167.80 a year!

So, if you quit smoking or vaping, refrain from using nicotine products and as a result, get low rate life insurance, altogether you’re looking at saving over £20,000 a year - just imagine all the ways you could spend that amount of money!

How much more is life insurance if you smoke?

The insurance provider’s study examined the average cost of life insurance premiums for smokers vs non-smokers and data revealed that a smoker aged 30 pays around £13.13 per month for their life insurance, whereas a non-smoker of the same age only pays £7.17. This is a difference of £1,788 over a period of 25 years.

Life insurance premiums increase with your age and typical premiums for a 50-year-old smoker are £82.48 per month for whole of life cover. However, premiums for a non-smoker of the same age are a much more palatable £29.13 and, after 25 years, a non-smoker will have saved a staggering £16,005!

Can you get life insurance if you are a smoker?

Good question! Yes, you can get life insurance for smokers, but if you’re an older or long-term heavy smoker, it is likely to be more difficult to secure a cheap life insurance quote due to the fact that you pose a significant risk to the insurance company.

Heavy smokers will usually be quoted what is, for many, unaffordable premiums; data clearly shows low-cost life insurance is only offered to much healthier, less risky, younger non-smokers.

However, occasional vapers or ‘social smokers’ will usually be offered much more favourable insurance deals than that of a heavy smoker.

Besides being a healthy non-smoker, there are many other ways to reduce the cost of life insurance. Check out our guide How to keep the cost of life insurance down for more tips and advice.

What happens if you start smoking after you get life insurance?

If you have taken out life insurance and start smoking after the policy inception date, whilst it is difficult for an insurer to find out while you are alive, they can certainly find out through a medical examination (autopsy) after your death.

Many term life insurance policies include what is known as a ‘contestability clause’ and if you die of a health condition closely associated with smoking, your insurer could very well request a full in-depth analysis of your body (autopsy) before accepting any claim. If a post mortem or analysis tests indicate that you have been smoking then a claim is very likely going to be contested by the insurer.

Consequently, the sum paid out on your life insurance could be significantly less or worse still, your claim could be voided, meaning your loved ones won't receive a penny. So if you do start smoking after taking out a life insurance policy, it’s best to be completely honest with your insurer to make sure your policy pays out to your loved ones if a claim ever needs to be made (as per the policy's terms).

If you're thinking about getting life cover to protect your family, you can get a quote with Bobatoo today by tapping the button below. Alternatively, take a look at our related articles for further information and advice.

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