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Giving up smoking can halve cost of life insurance in a year


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People who give up smoking can save a fortune on life insurance and mortgage protection cover. Picture by David Bebber/Reuters

People who give up smoking can save a fortune on life insurance and mortgage protection cover. Picture by David Bebber/Reuters


Stock image

PEOPLE who quit smoking this time last year and kept off cigarettes could half the cost of their life insurance premiums.

Experts at insurer Royal London said smokers who quit this January could be in line for massive savings on their cover next year.

New figures from the protection specialist highlight how much of a difference smoking can make to the cost of life cover, and mortgage protection insurance.

Smokers can to pay twice as much for life insurance when compared with non-smokers.

Every January thousands of people aim to give up smoking.

Karen Gallagher of Royal London in Ireland said: “It’s common enough to hear stories of people saving up the money from not buying cigarettes over a year and motivating themselves by allocating it towards a car or holiday.”

But a less commonly-known motivational factor is the thousands of euro in savings that can be made on their life cover, she said.

“The price differential here is quite substantial. Our experience is that, while many people expect smokers to pay more in premiums, many don’t realise how much more it adds up to over the lifetime of the policy.”

She said a smoker turning 45 on their next birthday will pay over €18,000 more in premiums than a non-smoker will pay.

This is based on €300,000 worth of level-term life cover over a 25-year period.

The same smoker can expect to pay over €68,000 more than a non-smoker for a specified serious illness policy worth €300,000 over a 25-year term.

The insurer said Ireland is a recognised global leader when it comes to tobacco control, but smoking is the leading cause of avoidable death in this country.

“This is according to the HSE, which says that one in every two smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease, and nearly 6,000 people die in Ireland each year from smoking-related illnesses,” Ms Gallagher said.

Statistics from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2021 show that the smoking habits of people in Ireland have changed, with fewer people lighting up compared to five years ago.

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Overall, the number of smokers in Ireland has dropped from 23pc in 2016 to 18pc in 2021.

However, statistics show that middle-aged people now smoke more than young adults.

This is shown from the fact that the proportion of smokers is highest among those between the ages of 45 to 54, where 24pc smoke.

Just 20pc of those between the ages of 25 and 34 smoke.

Ms Gallagher said that if you wish to be re-categorised as a non-smoker for life insurance purposes, you must not have used any tobacco products in the last 12 months and have no intention to use any in the future.

This includes e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement products such as patches or chewing gum.

As well as providing some health-related information, it’s possible that your insurance provider may ask you to complete a cotinine test (smoker test).

She said this is a simple test which involves screening a sample of saliva or urine for tobacco use.

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