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Should I tell my life insurance company that I smoke?

Yes. A policy will cost you more as a smoker, but if you don't declare it, you risk voiding your cover and the insurer can refuse to pay out when you or your beneficiaries make a claim.

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Your duty of disclosure when applying for life insurance

Regardless of the type of insurance being applied for, each applicant is required to answer each question in their application as truthfully as possible. Under the Insurance Contracts Act of 1984, before entering into the insurance contract, applicants have a duty to disclose every matter that is known to be relevant to the decision of whether the company will accept the potential risk that they carry.

What questions will the insurer ask? Questions relating to your health, including your history of smoking. It's crucial that you answer these questions accurately so that the policy you're offered is valid.

So, you must admit to smoking, even if you do so only from time to time. In this context, smoking is defined as anything that contains nicotine such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, vapes, e-cigarettes and patches.

How will an insurance company know if I actually smoke?

In the event of a claim on a life policy, the insurer will assess the policyholder's claim eligibility and verify the accuracy of the details provided in the application.

There are a few different ways an insurer can find out if you smoke:

  • It can undertake medical tests to verify if you're a smoker in the event of a claim.
  • It can run a verification process that can involve reviewing your Medicare and PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) records.
  • It can contact the GP you had at the time of your application for more details.

If a policyholder has hidden the fact that they smoke, the insurance provider is entitled to refuse, or at best pay a smaller amount on, any claim made. This could come about, for example, if a coroner's report states that your death was linked to a smoking-related illness.

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Did you know?
More than 3.8 million Australians have told a lie in order to get a discount on their life insurance policy, meaning a very significant number of people could be sitting on worthless policies. Recent Finder research found men (29%) are more likely than women (11%) to be less than truthful on a life insurance application.

Can I get an adjustment of my life insurance premium if I quit smoking?

Most life insurance providers will treat applicants as non-smokers if they have quit smoking 12 months before the application has been submitted. You could be asked to take a medical exam. This may involve a blood test for nicotine.

If you initially took out life insurance as a smoker and became a non-smoker further into your policy, it might be possible to have your premium adjusted to reflect a non-smoker status. An underwriter may investigate reasons for you stopping. For example, you may have been told to quit on medical advice after developing a smoking-related condition. If so, you may be required to provide medical evidence to the insurer.

Check your superfund for cover – another option for smokers

If your super fund offers life insurance, there's a good chance you're covered as a group (not as an individual). This means you may already have cover without smoking status being a factor. But keep in mind that holding insurance within your super does generally offer less generous benefits overall.

You may want to speak with a representative from your super fund to see what the rules are around life insurance when starting a new job or increasing the amount you are covered for.

How do life insurance rates compare for smokers and non-smokers?

Life insurance applicants that smoke can expect to pay about twice as much in life insurance premiums compared to those that don't smoke.

Non-smoker vs smoker

StatusNon-smokerSmoker
Age3535
StateNSWNSW
OccupationAccountant (Qualified)Accountant (Qualified)
Cover$800,000$800,000
Premium per month$40.13$91.49

Quotes taken as of April 2021. Prices are an estimate and are subject to change at any time.

So, how can I get competitively priced life cover?

Whether someone smokes is by no means a reason to be deterred from taking out life insurance. If anything, it gives more reason to do so.

While all life insurance companies will charge a premium loading for people that smoke, there are a couple of ways to get affordable cover. Either compare providers easily with our simple comparison tool, or speak to an insurance specialist today.

Compare direct life insurance brands and get quotes today

Name Product Maximum Cover Maximum Entry Age Terminal Illness Benefit Average Claims Acceptance Rate Average Claim Time Sum Insured
NobleOak Life Insurance
$15,000,000
69
$15,000,000
98.1%
1.1 months
$20,230 million
Get 2 months free when you apply for one or more life insurance types with NobleOak's Premium Life Direct policy before 30 June 2022. T&Cs apply.
TAL Life Insurance
$2,000,000
74
$2,000,000
87.10%
2.9 months
$36,630 million
Finder verifies that TAL has more Australian lives insured than any other provider - for 3 years in a row. Plus, get up to 15% off with TAL’s Health Sense program.
Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$1,000,000
90.20%
1.8 months
$53,462 million
Get a refund of 10% of the premiums you've paid (in the first 12 months) with The Real Reward™.
Medibank Life Insurance
$2,500,000
70
$2,500,000
87.30%
3.8 months
$31,745 million
With Medibank Life Insurance, you’ll also get access to the 24/7 Medibank Nurse phone service. Medibank health members will save 10% on premiums every year. T&Cs apply.
Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance
$1,500,000
69
$1,500,000
Data not available
Data not available
$12,444 million
Get your first month free and a 10% discount by taking out a second life insurance policy (discount applies to the second policy). T&C’s apply.
ahm Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$1,500,000
87.20%
3.8 months
$31,745 million
Get ahm life insurance by 30 June and keep your cover for 6 months to receive $100 cashback. T&Cs apply^.
RAC Life Insurance (Only available in Western Australia)
$25,000,000
69
$25,000,000
98.10%
1.1 months
$20,230 million
When you purchase RAC Life Insurance, WA residents receive complimentary RAC membership which includes access to discounts on fuel, savings on shopping, entertainment and more. T&Cs at rac.com.au.
RACQ Life Insurance
$1,000,000
65
$1,000,000
97%
Data not available
Data not available
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