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News & Views

Tuesday, Mar 5, 2013

How smoking impacts your term insurance policy

   [Source :]
[Source: The Economic Times]

The cost of smoking in reality is much more than what you shell out of your pocket for a pack of cigarettes! It adds to your life in other forms, i.e. by way of medical expenses and even your insurance premiums! The premium a smoker has to pay is higher than that of a non-smoker. The primary reason is the death rate of smokers. Since the odds of dying from smoking-related grounds are so much more, life insurance companies likewise charge higher premiums!

Smoking and its relation to Term Insurance

Term insurance policies are ‘safety tilting policies’ which offer a threat cover on the life of the insured at a definite amount of premium for a restricted period of time. Many customers are attracted to term insurance these days due to increasing awareness and lower life insurance premium. Most insurance companies cut down mediator and operational cost so as to decrease the premium further.

If the insured has developed any addiction such as smoking & drinking after taking the policy, they need to reveal this information to the company as now the risk pool is different. The insurance companies have categorized smokers into 3 different types. They are:

Typical Smoker (a smoker with supplementary small health matter)

Preferred Smoker (an otherwise fit smoker)

Table Rated Smoker (a smoker with a noteworthy physical condition)

For example, if you are in “Preferred” and non-tobacco category subsequently you will not need to give out as much premium as compared to a person who falls in “typical” tobacco category. Consequently, the premium is higher in case of a smoker because of high health risks.

Impact of Smoking on Term Insurance Policy

When you are applying for a life insurance policy you will be inquired about your usage of tobacco products in the last 12 months. This includes all products such as cigars, cigarettes as well as chewing tobacco. The frequency of usage also needs to be mentioned.

It is the prerogative of the insurance company to determine whether an individual is a regular smoker or an occasional one. The company may charge loading (increase in premiums) on the accessible premium or even terminate the policy. This is essential as breach of this term can result in abatement of the claim in acute cases.

If the insured or a new customer provides incorrect information to the insurance company for fear of high premium it may prove to be risky and ineffective. While Insurance companies ask potential customers whether they smoke, they can even ask for a physical exam. They may even request for a recent medical history. It may be easy to lie on paper; however, it is very difficult to cover up the traces of nicotine in the test. The customer needs to be honest about their smoking habit because life insurance companies take smoking as a serious condition and are extremely thorough about it.

What if the insured quits smoking after taking a term insurance policy?

Although life insurance premiums can be considerably higher for smokers, they are available at reasonable prices. If the client is in the process of quitting smoking, they can ask the insurance company to reconsider the position of the policy every year. The company may be able to decrease the premium rate depending upon the amount of time elapsed since the individual last smoked.

By being alert of the diverse allocation used, an individual may be able to decrease the premium amount. Modified Term Life Insurance coverage is obtainable to fit an individual’s accurate needs, because the coverage can be modified with respect to the correct amount of coverage that one needs and can afford.

How to find an affordable term insurance for smokers?

There are many ways to find an affordable term insurance for a smoker. Some of them are:

Take help of someone experienced and knowledgeable about the field.

Take quotes from companies who give quotes to those who use smokeless tobacco or an occasional cigar but not cigarettes.

If a potential client doesn’t smoke anymore, they can avail non-smoker term insurance quotes from many insurance companies. Here insurance companies assume that the prospect will not return to using tobacco.

Some companies charge less premium if the individual is trying to quit smoking, while others ask to wait for 2-3 years.

Consequences of withholding information

If an insured holds back information and is revealed to the insurance company later, the individual would face the following charges:

1. The individual can be charged with an insurance scam.

2. The insurance company can consider the policy as null and void i.e. invalid.

The insured is also denied of the policy benefits.

Having your policy condition updated every year can help you mark off to a "chosen plus" category. However, a term insurance is beneficial for both you and your family and one must not let their smoking habit abstain you from buying one.

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