If you smoke and are planning to buy an insurance policy, it is worth knowing what impact this foible of yours has on the amount of premium you will pay on your policy.
Are you a habitual or chain smoker? If yes, then you should know that the puff of smoke is not the only thing thinning as you inhale nicotine wrapped in cigarettes. Your finances also take a blow due to your smoking habit, especially when it comes to insurance.
Health Hazards of smoking
Consumption and smoking of tobacco results in grave ailments like oral cancer, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, weaker bones leading to arthritis; damages blood vessels, increases risk of cataract and lowers fertility. Pregnant women have more complications and risks: chances of stillbirth, early delivery, ectopic pregnancy, sudden infant death syndrome increase if the smoking doesn’t cease.
Apart from detrimental effects on personal well-being, heavy alcohol consumption and frequent smoking of tobacco can have an impact on your medical insurance policy.
Impact on health and life insurance premium
Since smokers pose a greater risk of contacting this wide array of diseases mentioned above, it makes them more prone to health complications. Thus, most insurers will charge a higher premium amount for smokers compared to non-smokers The higher premium charged is actually a way for insurers to offset their overall costs incurred during a claim settlement, which, by the way, increases in probability.
Sometimes the medical coverage excludes ailments resulting from smoking, even though the insurer doesn’t explicitly ask about your status on that particularly. It is imperative you read the fine print of the policy carefully.
The impact is not limited to medical insurance only; it extends to life insurance premiums as well. Smokers are more likely to file for a claim on an insurance policy due to premature death or suffering from a critical illness in later stages of life, making them a cost for the insurer. Again, insurance companies charge higher premiums from smokers.
For long-time smokers:
If you are a long-time smoker, your health conditions are bound to get worse as you age. Smokers with a poor health condition will have a hard time getting into a comprehensive medical insurance plan. Your best bet, in this case, is to start young when you are healthy and active. When you enter a policy at a young age, you may get higher benefits in the form of cumulative bonus and other loyalty rewards.
Lying is not the way out
When you sign up for a policy, your insurer will ask you if you smoke, and gather detail about your smoking habits. If you have smoked for more than four times a week and continued this for six months, you are termed as a smoker. If you’ve stopped using tobacco for at least three to five years, companies typically will charge you the same rate for life and health insurance as they would a non-smoker.
Considering how this habit can push you to a higher premium bracket, you might be tempted to withhold this information or lie about this. However, be informed that such misrepresentation or lie would be insurance fraud. Do not falsify this information since this might become a major roadblock during claim settlement process. If the deterioration of your health is found to be associated with your tobacco consumption or smoking, and you haven’t declared this in the proposal form, or in case the insurer gets suspicious about this when you raise a claim, the company will order an investigation into the medical status. You don’t want to have to deal with an ugly legal battle when you’re already stuck in a medical contingency.
Not only will you have to bear the enormous medical expenses out-of-pocket, you could be sued by the insurance company for providing incorrect information.
Honestly is the best policy – it is advisable that you come clean and disclose your smoking habits.
It goes without saying that smokers are bound to pay higher premiums for health insurance compared to non-smokers. If you are a long-time smoker trying to kick the habit, this gives you an added incentive to get on track. Health emergencies come unannounced and untimely deaths can throw a sharp curveball to your family. So why risk draining out funds for other medical conditions, or leave your family dealing with financial paucity? You should rather stay insured, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and keep your finances healthy. If you keep smoking, your health and finances are both in jeopardy.