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Cheaper insurance if you don’t smoke.
iStock-REd Are you covered Blog 2

If you have ever sought a quote for insurance from an Insurance Company, online, or from a Broker you will notice that very little information is needed to give you an initial quote. They just need your date of birth, and if you are a smoker or a non-smoker.  So that would suggest that Insurance Companies treat smokers differently to non-smokers??  Yes – They absolutely do.

Firstly, why do they treat smokers differently than non-smokers?

It is known that there are numerous health risks associated with smoking. According to the HSE 1 in 2 smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease.


Every week over 100 people in Ireland die and over 1,000 people are hospitalised from smoking related illnesses. The Health Research Board cites that if you are a long-term smoker on average your life expectancy is about 10 years less than a non-smoker.



Smoking is the biggest single risk factor for lung cancer. It is also known to increase your risk of getting other cancers including head, neck and mouth, stomach, pancreatic, colon, bladder, kidney, and certain types of leukaemia.


Smoking damages your heart in several ways. It Hardens and narrows the arteries reducing blood-flow to the heart. Smoking increases the risk of blood clots. It introduces carbon monoxide into the blood, that may contribute to the development of coronary heart disease and possible heart attacks. Smoking increases your heart rate and therefore increases your requirement for oxygen in the blood.


Smoking increases the likelihood of a stroke (blockage of blood to the brain, or a bleed to the brain). Strokes are a major cause of death and prolonged disability.


COPD are a group of lung conditions that causes breathing difficulties. Smoking can cause and worsen these conditions like bronchitis and emphysema leading to breathlessness and susceptibility to infections.


Smoking can reduce fertility, and smoking during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and illness in early infancy.

What does an Insurance Company consider as smoking? 

If you use tobacco or nicotine-containing products such as cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes, cannabis, chewing tobacco, and nicotine products (e.g. chewing gums, patches, etc.) then Insurance Companies would charge you smoker rates.  The Irish Census in 2022 included for the first time a question on smoking tobacco products.   The findings showed that 13% of the Irish population smoked daily or occasionally. That’s nearly 676,500 people that would be classified as smokers by Insurance Companies.

So how does it affect my insurance cover if I am a smoker?


Jameson Financial analysed the cost of some common insurance products and compared non-smoker rates to smoker rates.

Example 1. Life cover for a 45-year-old, over a 20-year term.

Example 2. Life and €20,000 serious illness cover for a 40-year-old over a 20-year term.


Above quotes were from Royal London Insurance Ireland, Zurich Insurance Group, and Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland – January 2024 with no discounts applied.

So, can I get insurance if am a smoker?

Yes, you can. As a smoker it remains crucial to take out insurance to ensure you protect your loved ones and their financial well-being in the face of increased health risks. Here are just some of the reasons why Life Insurance is really important for smokers.

Financial Protection

Life Insurance provides financial protection for those closest to you in the event of your death. As a smoker you face an increased risk of premature death due to smoking related illnesses. So, it is prudent and a great comfort for you, to know that you family are secure financially in the event of your death.

Covering Outstanding Debts

You can use life insurance to help cover any outstanding debts you may have e.g. mortgages, loans, and credit card balances, again preventing your family having to bear the burden of such debts.

Income Protection

If you are the main earner in the house, it is really important to protect your income in the event of you getting ill and not being able to work.

Let Jameson Financial find the best quote for you. GET A QUOTE HERE

What if I take out insurance now as a smoker but then give them up??

You will be charged smoker rates at the date of policy issue however if you give cigarettes up then you should be able to avail of non-smoker rates and cut your premium costs significantly.  Before changing premiums to non-smoker rates Insurance Companies carry out a review process which usually involves;

A waiting period – Insurance Companies require you to be off cigarettes for a waiting period typically 12 months, before they will consider you as a non-smoker.

Test & documentation

Insurance Companies seek your commitment to remain tobacco free, and will generally require you to take a cotinine test which is a test that can detect nicotine or tobacco usage.

There will also be some documentation to be completed.

Premium adjustment

Once you meet the Insurance Company’s criteria for non-smoker status then your premiums can be adjusted and you can make very significant savings as a result.

If you do give up cigarettes after you have taken out an insurance policy, and remain off them for more than 12 months we highly recommend you contact us at Jameson Financial. We will review your specific situation and explore the most efficient, and cost-effective approach to ensure you can avail of the significantly lower non-smokers rates.

Smoking is very damaging to health, it has a significant affect on life expectancy rates, and apart from the expense of smoking itself, it also means that premium rates for life insurance, serious illness, and income protection products can be doubled !  This should provide real motivation to Quit!

For further support to help give up smoking check-out the HSE at   HSE SUPPORT

Do you have any questions?

Contact us