I am a smoker, will this increase my private health insurance premiums?

I smoke about 10 cigarettes per day and I know sometimes this can increase insurance premiums, is this the case with medical insurance? I am reducing the number of cigarettes I smoke and aim to be a non-smoker in the next 3-6 months, when would I be considered a non-smoke in insurance terms?

Question asked by Alison Walker
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Answered by Tom Conner

As you are well aware with many insurance products particularly the protection products such as life insurance and income protection being a smoker results in higher premiums due to the higher perceived risk.

Will smoking make a different to my premium?

With health insurance it is not always the case, some insurers choose to rate by smoker status while others do not require you disclose this information. This is one of the key reasons why it is important to request options from a range of insurers as the way in which insurers underwrite their products differ.

Incentives for being healthy

One insurer may provide more preferable rates for a younger individual who smokes while another may be more competitive for a fit and active individual moving towards retirement.

As with any protection product a smoker is often defined as an individual who has used tobacco products in the past 12 months. Thus to be considered a non-smoker you usually have to have been smoke free for 12 consecutive months.

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