Life Insurance  

Smokers pay 50% more on life insurance

Smokers pay 50% more on life insurance

Life insurance premiums are affected more by smoking than jobs with high fatality rates, according to MoneySuperMarket research. 

A study based on HSE workplace injuries data for 2013/14 – 2017/18 and MoneySuperMarket data, found smokers across all occupations pay an average of 54 per cent more for their life insurance, including decreasing term and renewable term, when compared with non-smokers. 

This means smokers pay, on average, £13.82 more a month for their life insurance policy than non-smokers, equating to £152.76 per year, based on the median premium within each industry.

The study, which analysed 15 industries, found agriculture, forestry and fishing had only the eleventh highest average life insurance premium at £27.58 per month, but had 123 per cent more accidents per 100,000 workers than the average. 

Those working in real estate had the most expensive monthly premiums at £51.78, despite having an accident rate that is 77 per cent lower than agriculture, forestry and fishing. 

Farmers and builders, a profession that has seen the highest number of fatalities since 2017, typically pay £18,277 and £17,559, respectively on life insurance over the course of a lifetime.

Meanwhile, TV and theatre producers and IT consultants pay an average of £24,149 and £19,066, respectively over a lifetime in spite of being perceived as ‘safer’ jobs. 

When considering the average monthly life insurance costs for the occupation with the most enquiries within each industry, the research found dangerous jobs with monthly premiums below the average of £29.39 to include HGV drivers (£28), prison officers (£27.70) and carpenters (£25.09).

By splitting each industry into smokers and non-smokers in order to assess their respective premiums, the data showed that 15 of the 16 most costly were for people who smoke. 

Furthermore, a smoker in a relatively ‘safe’ industry such as finance and insurance will still be paying significantly more each month at £40.84 than a non-smoker in a more dangerous industry such as construction, at £25.35.

Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: "Those who are acutely aware that their job is more dangerous on a daily basis than average can feel reassured that having a riskier role doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay more for your life insurance.

"Of course, each quote is entirely unique, with a variety of factors coming into play. It’s best to double-check that the details you provide are accurate to ensure a suitable quote and avoid higher premiums."

Patrick Connolly, chartered financial planner at Chase de Vere, added: "Life assurance premiums are determined based on a number of factors including personal details, lifestyle, occupation and health.

"Smoking has a bigger impact on premiums than most occupations because most ‘high risk’ occupations are still very unlikely to result in death, whereas smoking has a proven detrimental effect on people’s health.

"When looking for life cover, individuals and their advisers should thoroughly review the market looking for the most competitive terms and existing cover should be reviewed regularly, as it can often be re-broked to reduce premiums or increase the sum assured."