What does life insurance cost for a smoker?

Co-author: Ellie McLachlan

What does life insurance cost? It’s a question similar to asking “what length is a piece of string?”

The amount you will be charged for life insurance will depend on a number of factors, including the type and how much cover you take out, your age, your sex, your medical condition and your lifestyle. That’s a lot to consider!

Life insurance for smokers

Are you in the market for a life insurance provider that will cover smokers? You might want to consider some of the products rated by Canstar.

The table below displays a snapshot of life insurance policies on Canstar’s database, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest). These results are based on a female smoker aged 30-39 years old.

The table below displays a snapshot of life insurance policies on Canstar’s databse, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest). These results are based on a male smoker aged 30-39 years old.

Compare Life Insurance with Canstar

Life insurance premiums: smokers vs. non-smokers

Dangerous occupations, risky hobbies – these are red flags to insurers. But even if you don’t want to give up working in an underground mine or using freestyle rock climbing to relax, there are other, relatively more mundane, things you can do that might help reduce your monthly direct life insurance premium. The most obvious of these is to quit smoking.

The tables below show the average monthly premiums for smoking and non-smoking males and females in age groups ranging from the twenties to the late fifties.

Males, in particular, are hit with a high loading for lighting up. Premiums for male smokers in their early-fifties are more than twice as high as those for their male buddies of the same age who don’t smoke. Bucking the trend for direct life insurance premiums to automatically increase with age are young men in their twenties who smoke. Their premiums, on average, actually decrease as they move into their thirties. This could be because late teens and twenties are more dangerous times for young men who record a higher incidence of car accidents in particular and subsequent insurance claims during this period.

Life Insurance Average Monthly Premiums for Males by Age Group & Smoking Status (in $)
Twenties Thirties Forties Early-Fifties Late-Fifties
Non-Smoker 50.14 48.89 83.19 167.19 303.68
Smoker 81.53 89.49 171.22 340.58 586.50
Difference 62.6% 83.1% 105.8% 103.7% 93.1%
Source: www.canstar.com.au – March 2017. Based on term life cover type of $500,000 sum insured.

With female smokers versus non-smokers, the difference peaks at 82.2%% and 81.5% more for those ladies in their forties and early fifties.

Life Insurance Average Monthly Premiums for Females by Age Group & Smoking Status (in $)
Twenties Thirties Forties Early-Fifties Late-Fifties
Non-Smoker 34.61 38.25 68.94 128.51 209.50
Smoker 54.53 62.58 125.58 233.30 367.24
Difference 57.6% 63.6% 82.2% 81.5% 75.3%
Source: www.canstar.com.au – March 2017. Based on term life cover type of $500,000 sum insured.

Want to find out how much life insurance might cost you? It might be a good idea to try our life insurance calculator.

Try Canstar's Life Insurance Calculator

Quit smoking? Quit paying higher premiums

If you were a smoker when you signed up for life insurance and have since quit, don’t continue to see your premium money go up in smoke. Phone your direct life insurance company and ask them how to go about changing your premium category to that of a non-smoker. By the way, an insurance company’s definition of a non-smoker is a person who hasn’t smoked for the last 12 months!

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