Insurance News – UK Ex-Smokers Reportedly Paying Too Much For Life Insurance.


 Insurance News – UK Ex-Smokers Reportedly Paying Too Much For Life Insurance.

The vast majority of us in today’s society are ex-smokers. But it seems we may be paying the price for that decision, with UK men reportedly paying up to 60% more on life insurance than women who have never smoked.

A recent study, conducted by MLC and reported by the Telegraph, found that British male smokers are facing steeply price hikes on their life insurance premiums.
The study looked at rates offered by MLC for various types of cover for both men and women, taking into account the smoker's age and health status.

The results showed that anyone who has smoked for more than 10 years is likely to be facing a huge premium hike. Looking at the average annual cost of life cover for healthy 25-year-old women, it was found that those with a non-smoking history will pay £1,752, compared with £1,926 for those living a nicotine and tar soaked lifestyle.

If they are both healthy then why such an expensive difference? Well MLC’s research suggests that men who smoke are taking out much more expensive policies than those who have never touched a cigarette.

The cost of a £100,000 cover for a 25 year old male smoker is 33 per cent higher than that of a non-smoker. In fact, women have to pay £34 extra on top of their premiums between the ages of 18 and 39, while men aged 50-70 will see an extra cost of over £1,000.

So what’s behind these staggering numbers? MLC said that the study found that smokers die at much younger ages than non-smokers. They also tend to live longer with less illness and so are paying for their lifestyle choices in later life.

The study found that people who have smoked for over 20 years are paying 330 per cent more on their premiums than those who have never smoked. Male smokers are hit harder than women, with an increase of 40 per cent, and male smokers over the age of 60 see a whopping 66 per cent increase in their premiums.

In contrast the average woman is not paying such a high rate, although rates for women aged between 18 and 39 are still around £400 more expensive than those of men. This could be due to insurers taking into account things like the risk of pregnancy, whether a smoker has health problems or if they've had hysterectomies.

The study also found that women aged over 50 could be paying up to £2,000 more in premiums than a non-smoker, while men aged 50 and over thought to be paying an average of £90 more for the same cover.

The results show that smokers are facing higher rates for life insurance renters as well. MLC said that this reflects the fact that smokers typically live longer than non-smokers. There was no difference between men and women when it came to the cost of life insurance for renters on a whole, although there was some disparity between the amount paid by male and female smokers who were aged 50+.

The study also looked at cancer claims and found that in the past few decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of ex-smokers who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Adrian Chou, director of research for MLC, said: “Smoking does shorten your lifespan and smoking is linked to cancer, so it’s not surprising to see more smoke-free women being diagnosed with cancer than ever before.”

He added that the reason why smokers see such big price hikes could be down to insurance companies trying to address the growing risk of premature death from diseases which are caused by long-term smoking.

This may make you feel like giving up smoking is a good idea, but how much are you really saving? While it’s clear that some ex-smokers are allocating hefty sums to their insurance premiums, the amount could soon seem insignificant when compared to the cost of giving up.

In fact, research from Money Supermarket found that on average it costs £1,132.13 a year to smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

So in order to save yourself an extra £400 or more each year on your life insurance premiums, you would have to spend around £5,000 on cigarettes each year.

Say you have a healthy lifestyle though, and never smoke. You may still be paying more on life insurance than your smoker counterpart – because insurers may charge you for being a woman.

In some cases, the study found that men who had smoked all their lives were paying less for non-smoker cover than women who had never smoked. This could be because they are more likely to be employed and considered financially stable.

It seems from all of these stats that women are at risk of paying more for their life insurance regardless of whether or not they have ever touched a cigarette in their lives! Unfortunately this gender inequality is something which several women's groups have been campaigning against, with some success. For example, just last year a court ruled that two insurance companies must pay redress to women for unequal payment of premiums.

In a decision which was hailed as a "significant victory", the Court of Appeal ordered the insurance companies to pay redress after assessing the case on the grounds of sex discrimination.

Deborah and Susan Collins, who did not smoke at all until several years into their marriage, said they had been paying more than £4,000 a year in life insurance premiums even though they were both healthy non-smokers. The couple sued their insurers RSA Life Holdings Ltd and First Direct Life Assurance Co after claiming they "cannot maintain autonomy in their lives" because of the high cost of life cover.

The Court of Appeal judges found that both women had been charged more than others on the basis of their sex, ordering that

Deborah Collins should receive a £10,000 (about $16,000) discount, and Susan Collins should receive some of the £4,000 her insurer had withheld.

However other women are still struggling to pay higher premiums which could be explained by them living more unhealthy lifestyles. For example a study showed that it costs twice as much for women to insure themselves against risks like heart attacks and strokes which affect men.

After taking into account age, sex and smoking habits researchers concluded that women in their 30s are paying roughly double what men are charging for life insurance.

As a result, women aged 30-39 would likely have to pay £2,500 more in premiums each year than men, on average.

Women in their 60s should expect to pay only £1,300 more in premiums each year than men of the same age. The study was commissioned by The Association of British Insurers and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

One London life- assurance manager recently told us that he believed the results reflected how women's health is viewed. "We tend to view women as being more vulnerable to the effects of smoking on their health," he explained. "These affect our profitability and we need to factor this into our pricing.


While this may seem like a good reason to cut down on your smoking, many people who smoke believe that you shouldn't avoid paying more for your cover because of it. In fact, some argue that smoking would actually lower your insurance premiums!

It's true that those who smoke have an increased risk of developing a number of health problems, including emphysema and heart disease. These conditions are likely to reduce both the length and quality of smokers' lives, ultimately leading to higher premiums.

However, it comes as no surprise to regular smokers that they're being charged more for their cover than non-smokers.

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