Within the UK approximately 60% of adults drink alcohol regularly and in excess of 16% smoke cigarettes. Many others who may have smoked, have now moved onto replacement products including vapes, gum and patches. Because of the unknown future in relation to vaping, it is treated the same as smoking. Many adults are happy with their life choices when it comes to smoking or drinking. However, because Life Insurance companies have a financial interest in the life and well-being of their customers. Many Life Insurance Providers will penalise people who smoke and drink alcohol with increased monthly premiums. There are also a handful of Insurers who will offer incentives to customers to make changes to their lifestyles and become healthier
Long Term Risks
As you read this post, you might be on a break at work in the rain having a cigarette. Or finished work and relaxing with a glass of wine, beer or maybe something a little stronger. Because of the extensive amounts of data collected over many years about smoking and drinking. All adults are aware of the potential risks to health. Like cancer, strokes and heart problems caused by smoking and drinking. Because of the increased risk to your long term health and potential reduced life expectancy. The chances of a claim against a Life Insurance policy are dramatically increased if you continue the lifestyle choice as a smoker or drinking alcohol. A life insurer will increase a potential monthly premium. If you smoke heavily or a enjoy a glass or two of wine in the evening.
In today’s guide, we look at how much will smoking can increase your Life Insurance Premiums. Also, what about the occasional cheeky glass of wine? As well as, do I need to tell a Life Insurer how much alcohol I drink? We also take a further look into how choosing a better lifestyle can improve your overall health and well-being. Will quitting smoking or drinking make my Life Insurance cheaper?
In This Guide:
Does Drinking Impact Life Insurance Costs?
Over the many years we have been told about the benefits of an occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage. Only for another report to say that it is not beneficial at all and can be quite damaging. One thing that is very clearly stated by both medical experts and the general public is that excessive drinking can cause a significant risk to health.
It has been studied and confirmed that drinking too much alcohol both in the short and long term has lasting effects on the body. This is why your GP may ask how many units you consume on an average week. As a Life Insurer has a financial interest in your health and well-being and is legally entitled to ask the same question.
Non Disclosure Could Be Costly
If you choose not to disclose an issue with drinking when applying for Life Insurance. Could mean that your policy may be cancelled leaving you unprotected. Or potentially worst case scenario being a cancelled claim because of non-disclosure.
But you don’t have to worry about hiding away the cask aged whisky for special occasions from a Life Insurance company. Having the odd drink here or there on birthdays or Christmas will not impact your premiums. Another key point to note is that by going completely teetotal will not automatically give you a better monthly premium.
However, if you have noticed that your drinking has increased or that you consume more than recommended amount. The advised amount by the UK government has been revised down to 14 units per week. As detailed within their 2016 report. If your drinking exceeds this amount spread over three or more days. You should expect to pay a higher monthly premium.
Be Accurate: Tell the Life Insurer About How Many Units You Consume
It is a common misconception that one alcoholic drink is equal to one unit. However, this is not correct as each different alcoholic drink has a different value. Detailed below is a few popular drinks with their unit value:
As you can see the unit by drink value is quite different to each other. If you were to honestly calculate how many units you consume by drinking, some people may find their number a little higher than expected. By being accurate in reporting to your GP and a Life Insurer will ensure that you are correctly protected.
Part of the application process for Life Insurance can involve an Insurer contacting your GP who will disclose your medical history. This will also include if you have either deliberately or inadvertently misrepresented how much you are drinking. Claim payments can be reduced or potentially rejected after you pass away. If a Life Insurance company believes that you may have misled them about the amount you had been drinking. An example of misrepresentation would be if you claim to have an occasional drink whilst applying for Life Insurance and then subsequently pass away due to cirrhosis. You must expect your Life Insurer to fully investigate a claim against your policy and potentially deprive your family of the support you’ve been paying for years.
History Of Struggling With Alcohol
If you have previously identified and received treatment for alcoholism or alcohol-related problems, you might struggle to find Life Insurance. However, at Life Insurance Cover we search all of the market including specialist providers who may offer protection to you. Some Life Insurers may also ask about any alcohol-related driving offences. Failing to disclose them can may also lead to the cancellation of your policy.
Another key point to remember and confirm when taking out Life Insurance is to be aware that some insurance policies will not pay out if you die as a result of alcohol misuse.
Does Smoking Affect Life Insurance Premiums?
The simple answer is yes, the Life Insurance premiums for a smoker can be drastically higher when compared with a non-smoker of the same age. Statistically this is confirmed by Life Insurers because the amount of smokers are more likely to make claims on their policies.
Unlike the other subject in this guide relating to drinking. Where the occasional glass of wine or pint of lager will not significantly impact your premiums. Just having an occasional cigarette or being a social smoker or if choose to celebrate with the odd cigar will result you being classified as a smoker.
If you choose to withhold your smoker status when applying for a Life Insurance may lead to the cancellation of your policy. Or the rejection of a claim. During the term of your Life Insurance policy an Insurer can ask you complete saliva or urine test to confirm if you have been smoking. They can also perform a spot check or write to your GP and request your medical records. After you pass away, your Life Insurer can investigate any claim made against the policy. They will be more likely to investigate a claim if you die of a smoking-related illness, such as lung cancer. If it is subsequently discovered that you were smoking while paying the lower premiums of a non-smoker. An Insurer may reduce a claim payment to your family receives or even decline a claim completely.
Will Vaping Make Life Insurance Cost More?
Currently vaping and e-cigarettes are viewed the same as smoking. It is very important to note that although e-cigarettes or vaping are being recommended as healthier alternatives to smoking cigarettes. There is not enough data to confirm that vapes and e-cigarettes do not have a long term risk to people’s health and well-being. If you’re one of the 3 million British adults who currently use e-cigarettes. You will be classified as a smoker by Life Insurance companies. Because you would be defined as a smoker you should expect to pay higher monthly premiums. If you choose to use any tobacco and nicotine products, including chewing tobacco or cigars, will also qualify you as a smoker.
The positive news is that you can radically reduce your health risks. And subsequently reduce your insurance premiums, by stopping smoking. With help from the NHS and other sources, the government backed schemes can help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Life Insurers will usually classify you as a non-smoker if you have successfully stopped smoking for 12 or 18 months. Another point to remember is that you don’t have to wait to take out a Life Insurance policy. If you are currently smoking or using e-cigarettes and trying to quit. Once you have stopped smoking an Insurer can update your policy and potentially adjust your monthly premiums.