Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Up in flames: Smoking habit costing Australians their life insurance

Vaping habit_GettyImages_1800x1000

There are some bad habits Australians would rather leave behind in 2022, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,114 respondents revealed almost three quarters of Aussies (71%) – equivalent to 14 million people – are harbouring a secret shame when it comes to lifestyle choices.

The research found more than 2 in 5 Aussies (44%) admit they don't exercise enough, while 1 in 3 (29%) are self-professed overeaters.

Almost 1 in 5 (17%) are ashamed of their smoking or vaping habit, and 9% want to stop abusing drugs or alcohol.

Gary Ross Hunter, insurance expert at Finder, said there's no time like the present to start thinking about how to improve your health.

"For many of us, the start of the year is a time for reflection, and some want to start making healthier choices.

"If you're committed to getting healthier in 2023, it's not too late to make a start."

Hunter said there are some bad habits that Australians should be aware of if they have life insurance.

"If you're a smoker, including vaping, you're classified as a high-risk applicant by all life insurers and your premiums will typically be much more than a non-smoker."

In 2021–2022, 1 in 10 (10.1%) of adults were currently daily smokers, according to research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A half-a-pack-a-day habit costs $146.30 a week – based on a 20-pack of Winfield Blues, currently retailing for $41.80.

That's 1.9 million people spending $7,608 each on average a year on ciggies.

Young people were less likely to be current daily smokers (7.1%) than in 2011–2012 (16.5%).

Hunter said insurers typically require members to have given up smoking for 12 months before they classify them as a non-smoker.

"If you add the average monthly cost of a half-a-pack-a-day habit at $634 per month and an additional $31 per month in life insurance premiums, this works out to just almost $8,000 per year you could be saving if you gave up cigarettes.

"Ask your provider if they'll be able to change your terms and offer you a saving. You might have to take a medical exam, which may include a blood test, before you can change your terms," Hunter said.

What habits do you have that you are ashamed of or want to change?
Don't exercise enough44%
Don't get enough sleep30%
Over eat29%
None of the above29%
Abuse drugs/alcohol9%
Source: Finder survey of 1,114 respondents, November 2022

How much life insurance can cost for smokers

ProviderMonthly premium (non-smoker)Monthly premium (smoker)% Change
TAL Lifetime Protection$19.52$37.5993%
NobleOak Premium Life Direct$23.11$40.7576%
RAC My Protection Plan$28.65$50.5176%
Allianz Life Plan$31.65$56.3878%
ANZ Ezicover Life Insurance$38.51$62.6362.63%
Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance$38.51$62.6362.63%
AHM Life Insurance$40.82$66.9063.89%
Medibank Life Insurance$42.96$70.4263.92%
AAMI Life Insurance$44.64$86.0392.72%
Insuranceline Life Insurance$44.64$86.0392.72%
Suncorp Life Insurance$44.64$86.0392.72%
Bendigo Bank MaxLife Life Protect$62.82$113.5380.72%
AVERAGE PRICE$39.70$70.9078.42%
Source: comparison of $500,000 life insurance cover for a 30-year-old living in NSW. The prices were taken from Finder's life insurance quote engine in April 2022.

Visit Finder's Life Insurance hub to compare life insurance brands in Australia.

Go to site