Life Insurance for Smokers

Insurance providers view smoking as a high-risk activity. Find out how your life insurance premium can double if you're a smoker.

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What you need to know

  • If you have regularly used a nicotine product in the past year, then you will be considered a smoker.
  • Smoking will significantly hike the price of your life insurance premium - expect to pay twice as much for cover.
  • Generally, you may be eligible for a reduction on your premium if you quit smoking for 12 months.

Whether you're a decades-long smoker or you've recently taken up vaping on an e-cigarette, you'll be classed as a smoker. Read on for the key points on life insurance for smokers.

How life insurers view smoking

Smoking icon
Did you know?
One in ten Australian adults are current daily smokers (10.7% or 2.1 million adults). Men are also more likely than women to smoke daily (12.6% compared to 8.8%).

While the overall number of smokers has been declining in recent years, the number of treatments for illnesses linked to smoking remains stubbornly high.

In the eyes of an insurer, smokers are seen as a higher risk due to the many health risks linked to smoking. This is reflected in the higher price they offer for life insurance premiums to those who smoke. A life insurance application will have questions that will lead to you being labelled a smoker or non-smoker.

Generally, insurers won't distinguish between any of the following:

  • Cigarettes
  • Vapes and e-cigarettes
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Cigars
  • Nicotine replacements, like patches

So, insurance providers will typically put e-cigarette use and vaping into the same category of 'smoker'.

Life insurance for smokers: Premium increases shown as a percentage

PolicyMonthly premium (Non-smoker)Monthly premium (Smoker)Percentage increase
MLC Life Insurance$40.13$91.49227.98%
ClearView LifeSolutions$37.66$78.92209.56%
AIA Priority Protection$36.86$75.74205.48%
TAL Accelerated Protection$35.41$70.90200.23%
Zurich Wealth Protection$36.22$64.94179.29%
OnePath OneCare$38.63$75.37195.11%
BT Protection Plans$39.02$70.48180.63%

These prices were taken from Finder's life insurance quote engine on April 2021. Prices are an estimate and are subject to change at any time.

How long do I have to stop smoking to be classified as a non-smoker?

Typically, to be classed as a 'non-smoker' you'll need to be free of any smoking products for 12 months. Insurers usually don't differentiate between an occasional smoker (for example, a 'social smoker') or a pack-a-day smoker.

Unfortunately, kicking the habit won't necessarily mean you can amend your policy terms - this will vary from policy to policy. 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.

Even if your insurer won't budge, the upside is you'll still enjoy the health benefits of non-smoking.

Do I have to tell my insurer I smoke?

Yes. If you've used any nicotine products over the past 12 months, you'll need to declare it. The Insurance Contracts Act 1984 specifies that you must disclose anything you know, or would be expected to know, that's relevant to an insurer's decision to offer you cover. Failing to do so could lead to a future claim - either by you or your beneficiaries - being turned down.

Read more on this subject in our guide to life insurance and smoking disclosure.

3 factors an insurer will take into account for smokers

As previously mentioned, Smokers, along with other high risk cases, are charged a far higher premium than non-smokers. The following information may be taken into account by an insurer:

  • The type of smoker you are. Are you a heavy smoker? Insurers will want to know how many individual or packs of cigarettes you smoke every day to determine the health risks you are exposed to. This also includes your preferred method: tobacco chewing, cigarettes, cigars or nicotine patch.
  • The length of time you've smoked for. An insurer will also ask when you started smoking to determine how high your health risk exposure is. The longer you have been smoking, the higher the risks for critical illnesses are.
  • The date you quit. You will only be determined a non-smoker if 12 months or more have passed since you had your last nicotine product.
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How can I get more affordable life insurance if I smoke?

There are some steps you can take to reduce your premium:

  • Quit smoking. The first and most logical step is to improve your current lifestyle. Quitting smoking will be a key factor a big impact in you having the opportunity to reduce your premium rates. You could try the government's free My QuitBuddy app or call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848).
  • Ask an expert. If you don’t know where to begin, ask for help from an insurance adviser. An insurance adviser can explain the features and benefits of different life insurance plans, answer any question you might have and tailor a life insurance plan suitable to your needs. You can speak to one of our partner brokers by completing the form below.
  • Shop around and compare. Just as with anyone taking out life cover, it is important to consider the different types of policy options available to smokers. Find out what benefits and features are relevant to your needs. Once you've decided on the type of policy you want, shop around for similar policies from different insurance providers and compare their rates, exclusions and inclusions.

Compare Life insurance quotes from these direct brands

Name Product Maximum cover Maximum Entry Age Fully Underwritten? Terminal Illness Benefit Optional Extras
NobleOak Life Insurance
$15,000,000
69
$3,000,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
Cover up to $15,000,000 with NobleOak Life Insurance.
Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$1,000,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
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
TPD cover, Trauma cover
Medibank health members save 10% on premiums every year. T&Cs apply.
Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance
$1,500,000
69
$1,500,000
No optional
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
TPD cover, Trauma cover
ahm Health members can save 10% off premiums.
RAC Life Insurance (Only available in Western Australia)
$25,000,000
69
$25,000,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
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.
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