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How Does Smoking Impact My Life Insurance Premium?

How Does Smoking Impact My Life Insurance Premium?
December 15, 2023


Every responsible adult understands the importance of having a term life insurance plan. These policies provide financial security and stability to your loved ones in your absence. Purchasing life insurance in our digital world has become much easier. You can visit your insurance company’s website to identify the ideal policy for your needs. Once you decide to buy a policy, you have to complete a quick document verification and medical checkup before getting the policy delivered to your inbox. One question your insurance company will ask is whether you are a smoker or not. Let’s understand how smoking impacts your term life insurance premium.

Who Is Considered a Smoker?

Insurance companies identify any individual who consumes nicotine and tobacco as a smoker. The insurance company will consider you a smoker if you smoke cigarettes, cigars, beedis or vapes. Individuals who consume gutka or pan masala and use nicotine patches and chewing gums also fall into the same category. Remember, insurance companies do not differentiate between occasional smokers and daily smokers. 

How Does Smoking Impact My Life Insurance Premium?

Medical research shows that long-term smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing various conditions like cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, and heart conditions. Since individuals who smoke have a higher chance of developing a life-threatening condition, life insurance companies view them as high-risk individuals. To offset the risk factor, insurance companies charge smokers and tobacco users a higher premium for their term life insurance policies. We can understand this better with an example.


Aditya is a 30-year-old man who lives in Mumbai. He lives a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly. Aditya does not consume any nicotine products. He purchases a term plan with a sum assured of Rs. 1 crore for an annual premium of Rs. 8,000.

His friend Rajesh is also 30. However, Rajesh smokes heavily. When he purchased a term life insurance policy, the insurance company charged him an annual premium of Rs. 11,500 for a sum assured of Rs. 1 crore.

What Happens If I Lie on the Insurance Application?

Many people understand that habits like smoking and drinking can increase their insurance premiums. So, they may lie on their insurance application form. However, this is very risky since the insurance company will thoroughly investigate every claim request. The company will likely discover that the policyholder was a smoker. In such situations, they reject the claim request, which leaves the beneficiary without any financial protection during a difficult time.

The Impact of Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking has a positive impact on your overall health. After staying off nicotine and tobacco for a number of years, you have to apply for a new policy as a non-smoker. However, you must remember that your age and other health concerns can work against you. Additionally, the insurance company will complete a new medical and financial evaluation before approving your request. While quitting smoking doesn’t instantly mean lower premiums, it does help boost your overall health.

Smoking has a profound impact on the premiums of your life insurance policy. Insurance companies consider smokers as high-risk individuals. So, they charge them higher premiums.

Quitting smoking can help you save on insurance premiums and enjoy a healthier life!

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ARN - ED/11/23/6236

Francis Rodrigues Francis Rodrigues

Francis Rodrigues has a decade long experience in the insurance sector, and as SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, HDFC Life, manages the online sales channel, as well as digital and performance marketing. He has had hands-on experience in setting up sales channels and functional teams from scratch over a career spanning 2 decades.

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Vishal Subharwal Vishal Subharwal

Vishal Subharwal heads the Strategy, Marketing, E-Commerce, Digital Business & Sustainability initiatives at HDFC Life. He is responsible for crafting and ensuring successful implementation of the overall organisation strategy.

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We at HDFC Life are committed to offer innovative products and services that enable individuals live a ‘Life of Pride’. For over two decades we have been providing life insurance plans - protection, pension, savings, investment, annuity and health.

HDFC Life does not promote alcohol drinking. The content is not intended to provide health advice to individuals about their drinking habits