Smoking leads to higher mortality rates due to severe lung diseases and cancer. This leads to the insurance premiums for smokers being higher. However, this also means that it is equally, if not more, important for smokers to get a term plan to ensure their loved ones are financially protected in case something happens to them.

How does the term policy work for smokers?

A term insurance applicant is categorized as a smoker if he/she has consumed tobacco in any form in the last 12 months. Compared to a non-smoker, the term insurance premiums for a person who smokes can be almost 30%-40% higher. Smokers might sometimes prefer not telling the insurer about their smoking habit to save on the extra charge. However, if you are a smoker, it is very important to reveal the same to the insurance company.

If the applicant provides incorrect or false information regarding the same, due to fear of the high premium, the insurance company can take the following actions against them:

  1. Charging them with an insurance scam
  2. The policy can be nullified or declared invalid
  3. The policy benefits can be denied to the insurer


It is better to do your own research and select a plan that offers a range of options to choose from, if you are a smoker. This is apart from the option of choosing the mode of payment, premium payment terms, term of policy and sum assured. It is important to answer all questions pertaining to lifestyle and health honestly when applying for the policy.

1. Why is term life insurance more expensive for smokers?

Term life insurance is generally expensive for smokers as they are at a greater risk for diseases. Smoking can damage the lungs, heart and other body parts. This increases the risk component for insurers. As a result, the premium for life insurance plans is higher for smokers.

2. If a person was a smoker long back but not presently, will it affect the premium for a term insurance plan?

The premium for an active term insurance plan will not likely change if you quit smoking during the term. In the case of buying a new plan, the premium can vary from policy to policy. It is essential to share your entire health history, including the fact that you once smoked and let the insurance company decide the premium based on complete information.

3. I quit smoking six months ago. Should I apply for term life insurance as a smoker or a non-smoker?

Term insurance companies categorise applicants as smokers if a person has smoked or consumed tobacco in the last 36 months. However, it is advised to share your health history with the insurer to avoid hassles later.

4. What happens if a non-smoker taking term insurance becomes a smoker after a few years?

To ensure complete transparency, it is recommended to inform the insurance company of your changing lifestyle habits. The insurance company may reject your nominee’s claim if any discrepancies are found later. Therefore, it is better to be honest and avoid any inconvenience for your family in your absence.

5. What if you decide to stop smoking after purchasing term life insurance for smokers?

Quitting smoking will not impact your term insurance plan or premium in most cases. However, it can improve your overall health and lifestyle and is strongly recommended for a well-rounded and healthy life.

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