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Can Smokers Avail Term Insurance?

Updated On Jan 28, 2022

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. According to the World Health Organization, India is home to 12% of the world's smokers, killing nearly 10 million people annually. 

While the long-term effects that smoking causes are known to many of us, however, there are other downsides to being a smoker as well. One of them is that term insurance will certainly cost you more if you’re a smoker. Since the odds of dying from smoking-related grounds are so much more and have been well documented, term insurance companies protect themselves from the higher risk by increasing rates for tobacco users. It likely won’t prevent you from getting a policy, but you’ll feel it in your wallet. It adds to your life in other forms, i.e. by way of medical expenses and even your insurance premiums. 

Can Smokers Avail Term Insurance?
How Smoking Can Affect Your Term Insurance ?

You buy a policy to provide financial protection and security after you die. A lot of the cost of term insurance depends on your current state of health and your family history. But what’s one of the biggest factors insurance companies look at when assessing your health risk is whether or not you’re a smoker.

Many insurers consider the higher risks associated with smoking when adding a premium charge for tobacco users. This is because the health hazards of smoking and the risks it puts on your life are well known. Smoking restricts your blood vessels causing heart diseases and high blood pressure. It irritates your lungs and causes lungs to produce more infections. We all get that as we age but smokers get it faster and to a greater degree.

When an insurance company reviews your health risks after you’ve applied for term insurance, this process lets an insurer calculate the coverage you’re eligible for. It also ensures your premium reflects the level of risk. When you are applying for a term insurance policy, you will be inquired about your usage of tobacco products in the last 12 months. While it may be easy to lie verbally, it is practically impossible to cover up the traces of nicotine in the medical test even if you are an occasional smoker. To stay adequately covered, the customers need to be honest with the insurer about their smoking habits as term insurance companies take smoking as a serious clause and are extremely strict about it. 

Being a smoker puts people at a higher risk of smoking-related illnesses which translates to higher premiums.

Take Away

For individuals that smoke, the best way to improve your term insurance coverage rates is by quitting or reducing smoking. But you will have to ban all nicotine products for at least 12 or 18 months before buying term insurance to qualify for lower premiums. If you've tried to quit in the past and haven't succeeded, keep trying. It has been estimated that it can take 8 to 30 tries to really kick this habit for good. 

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Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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