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How Does Smoking Impact Life Insurance Premiums in India?

Author: Team Finpage
Thursday, April 25, 2024

Investing in a good life insurance policy has become an absolute necessity now and rightly so as it is the basic yet paramount tool for the financial security of your family. While investing in a life insurance policy, the provider requests detailed information about your lifestyle and health. This helps the insurer to understand your current and future health trajectory and assess risk accordingly.

How Insurers Identify Risk Associated with Smoking 

Among questions that insurers ask, here are a few questions to expect such as “What is your age?”, “What is your weight?”,  “Do you have high blood pressure?” and  “Do you smoke?”. If the answer is yes, then it might be followed by more questions such as “How often do you smoke?”. It is essential for insurers to have clarity as it helps them assess risk. The response to these questions directly impacts the amount you will have to pay as the life insurance premium.

How Insurers Calculate Premiums Based On Inputs Related to Smoking

Smokers can be expected to shell out more in terms of paying a higher life insurance premium than non-smokers. Life insurance premiums are calculated based on the risk in insurance. Smoking is considered a grave health risk factor that increases the chance of terminal illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, etc. Therefore, insurers are mandated to assess the risk thoroughly by taking into account the age of the person, frequency of tobacco use, type of tobacco used and other health conditions (diabetes, blood pressure conditions, etc.). A smoker on average might have to shell out around 50 to 100 percent more life insurance premiums than a non-smoker.

Can a smoker avoid paying high premiums? 

One might wonder that instead of paying a much higher life insurance premium, will it be okay to just withhold the information about the smoking habit? That is not advisable. Full disclosure is recommended and important while taking a life insurance policy. You should be upfront about all health and medical-related information, including smoking habits. It is necessary to be honest because if the insurance company comes to know later that you have given false information about smoking, they can deny the claim or even cancel the policy altogether.

Is there a chance to reduce this life insurance premium?

If you quit smoking and declare the required/considerable smoke-free period, then some life insurance companies allow the calculation of the premium as a non-smoker. Some life insurance companies also allow the person to change their status from a smoker to a non-smoker, but it is not a very prevalent trend in India. The decision completely depends on the regulations and guidelines of the insurance company.

From Smoker to Non-Smoker: How to Change Status with Insurance Company

To get a ‘smoker’ status changed from smoker to non-smoker, it is essential to provide a proper declaration to the insurance company. According to their regulations, the insurance company might require a written declaration of the smoke-free period. They might also ask for a medical certificate or you might have to go through a medical examination to confirm that you have quit smoking.

Undoubtedly, smoking is injurious to health, but the silver lining is that quitting it for a lower life insurance premium might be a good motivation. A better option is to quit it for a healthier life. Simply put, life insurance is essential for every individual, but it’s even more important for smokers.

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Team Finpage

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