What Constitutes A ‘Non-Smoker’ In The Eyes Of Insurance Companies?

In Individual, Insurance by Paul Connolly

For many smokers, one New Year’s resolution will have been to kick their cigarette habit once and for all. And what better time than now to give up! That’s because success rates for quitting smoking are higher than they have been for a decade.

When you consider the damage that smoking does to the human body, it is obvious why quitting smoking should be a priority for those who smoke.

According to the NHS, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England. It accounts for around 80,000 deaths every year and it is estimated that one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.

As well as damaging the lining of the heart, which can increase a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack, smoking also negatively impacts the lungs, brain, stomach, skin, bones, circulation, mouth and throat.

In addition to better health, giving up smoking also affords a number of financial benefits too. The most obvious of these is the money saved by not buying cigarettes. When you consider that a packet of 20 cigarettes in the UK now costs £9.91 on average, a 20-a-day habit will cost a smoker nearly £70 per week.

Insurers View Smoking As A High-Risk Habit

Furthermore, non-smokers also benefit when it comes to purchasing private health insurance products such as income protection and life insurance. That’s because insurance providers view smoking as a high-risk pastime, which is why premiums for smokers are usually significantly higher than their non-smoking counterparts.

But when does a smoker become a non-smoker in the eyes of insurance companies?

Sorry to say but quitting smoking temporarily isn’t going to be enough to drive your private health insurance premiums down. In fact, insurance providers only deem someone to be a ‘non-smoker’ if they have not smoked (not even the odd cigarette) for one year and can supply medical evidence to prove it.

However, smokers should not delay in getting private health insurance until after they’ve quit smoking. A better approach is to purchase appropriate insurance and then reassess your options when (if) you have successfully given up smoking for at least a year.

Waiting until after you have given up smoking to purchase insurance could leave you vulnerable. For example, what would you do if you were unable to work due to ill health while you are in the process of giving up?

By speaking with a financial adviser now, you can not only get a better idea of what your options are when it comes to private health insurance, but also purchase a policy that’s right for you. Then, once you have given up smoking, your financial adviser will be able to review the market and tell you what your options are as a non-smoker.

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of private health insurance further, contact us today and get a free, no obligation quote.

I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.