Does Consumption of Tobacco Impact Your Health Insurance Premium?

Kizzy D. Blount
Will Quitting Smoking Lower My Life Insurance Premiums? | Insurance Neighbor

Reel life glamourises smoking, but in real life, it is hazardous. The health effects are smoking are often heard of and more commonly leading to fatalities. In addition, these vices of smoking prove to be heavy on your pocket too—first by paying for it and then following up with medical treatment that is needed. 

Hence, health insurance plans become a necessity for smokers. It is imperative to ensure protection against the long-term effects of smoking and that is when a health insurance comes handy. The misconception that smokers cannot avail health insurance isn’t true. Only a severe case of smoking is a valid ground for an insurer to reject the application. These rules have been laid down by the regulatory body, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). You can visit the official website of IRDAI for further details. But smoking habits and health insurance aren’t the best of friends. It results in an increased premium that you need to pay to avail coverage. 

What are the health concerns that is posed by smoking?

Nicotine, when consumed in any form, be it smoking or otherwise has an impact on the respiratory function. This not only leads to breathing problems, but also to more severe issues like cancer of the mouth, lung, coronary heart disease, arthritis (weakening of the bones), increased risk of cataract and even decreased fertility. Moreover, females may experience complications like stillbirth, premature delivery, ectopic pregnancy and even sudden infant death syndrome.

How does smoking impact the insurance premium?

People who smoke are naturally at a higher risk of health ailments mentioned above. Thus, they are at the brink of any health complications related to smoking. The insurance company mitigates the associate with smoking by charging a higher premium for such policyholders. Since there are a higher number of claims made by smokers as compared to non-smokers, such differential pricing helps to offset the additional risk that insurers undertake. 

The amount of additional premium is not levied at a flat rate considering smoking or not but instead, medical tests determine what premium must be levied. In some cases, there might not be any differential pricing, but will levy a higher rate of premium only when above a particular threshold. Here a chronic smoker bears the highest impact of their vice and is required to pay the highest as compared to other smokers. *Standard T&C Apply

Does consuming tobacco impact health insurance premiums?

The consumption of tobacco is widespread among both men and women. A report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare states that half of the total consumers of tobacco die of it. Moreover, an estimate states that over 9,30,000 deaths occurred annually due to consumption of tobacco whereas 3,50,000 of them are a result of smokeless tobacco consumption. Considering such alarming numbers, it is critical to ensure protection against the effects of consuming it. 

Insurance companies require you to declare about your tobacco consumption habits. In addition to it, they may also require you to undergo a medical test based on which any other potential diseases may be discovered and accordingly impact the premium. 

So, if you are buying a family health insurance policy and consume tobacco, whether by way of smoking or otherwise, make sure to inform your insurance company in this regard. In some cases, a critical illness policy might be required to cover for the medical costs that might occur in the future considering the levels of smoking. Please note insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions, please read sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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