Life insurance for smokers

While few people want to think about not being there for loved ones, there are health risks related with smoking. If you’re one of the more than 6 million Britons who smoke*, it can still be possible to take out a life insurance policy.

Life insurance is a way to protect your loved ones’ financial future should you unexpectedly pass away. In this guide, find out more about life insurance for smokers.

*Source:, September 2023

  • Yes, you can still get life cover as a smoker. You might find that your policy costs more than that of a non-smoker. Smoking has many negative health effects, which an insurer may consider more of a risk.

    Life insurance could give financial help to your loved ones if you weren’t there anymore. Some people might take out life insurance to help with funeral costs or mortgage repayments. Or simply to cover the loss of regular income in the event of your death.

    Learn about the different types of life insurance.

  • As part of you applying for life insurance, an insurer will look at all aspects of your health and lifestyle.

    Smoking is related with a range of long-term health issues, including heart disease and some cancers. As a result, your smoking history will affect the costs of your life insurance policy.

    Several factors could affect your life insurance policy, including:

    • Length of time – how many years you have smoked could raise the price of your policy as it could increase the likelihood of smoking-related illnesses.
    • Amount smoked – the amount you smoke may also increase your likelihood of developing smoking-related illnesses.
    • Form of smoking – insurers may apply the same criteria to vapes and e-cigarettes as they do to regular cigarettes.
    • Health history – your personal health history, including whether you’ve suffered from smoking-related illness before, will affect your policy price.
    • Background – your family history of illness or smoking-related diseases can also affect your premium costs.

    Why is smoking a health risk?

    Smoking is a health risk due to the harmful health effects related with it. Smoking is among the biggest causes of cancer worldwide*. Harmful chemicals and pollutants in cigarette smoke have been linked to a wide range of respiratory and organ-based diseases.

    Other health conditions that can be caused by smoking include**

    • Strokes.
    • Heart attacks.
    • Damaged arteries.
    • Damaged blood vessels.
    • Coronary heart disease.
    • Pneumonia.
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Insurers might deem life insurance for smokers as higher risk. This is due to the increased chance of developing a smoking-related illness.

    *Source:, June 2023.

    **Source:, September 2022.

  • Most insurers consider any product that involves the inhalation of nicotine or tobacco, or the use of tobacco products, as smoking. This could include vapes and e-cigarettes, as well as regular cigarette and tobacco usage.

    Any of the following could count as smoking:

    • Cigarettes and roll-ups.
    • Cigars.
    • Pipes.
    • Vapes.
    • Nicotine patches and gum.

    Is the cost of life insurance affected by how much I smoke?

    Yes, how regularly you smoke, and how much, could affect the cost of your life insurance. Smoking more often, or with stronger vapes, could result in an increased potential for smoking-related illness. An insurer will consider how regularly you smoke as part of your life insurance application.

    Halifax life insurance policies are provided by Scottish Widows. It’s worth bearing in mind that Scottish Widows protection products have no cash-in value at any time. So, if the policy ends without a claim, you won't get any money back. Similarly, if you don't make payments on time your cover will stop, your policy will end and you'll get no money back.

  • Yes, it’s important that you provide a full breakdown of your health and lifestyle as part of your application. Submitting incorrect information could invalidate your claim. This means your loved ones might not be able to get a payout if you were to pass away unexpectedly.

    Your insurer could also ask for your medical records from your GP. These will likely include information about your smoking history. So, it pays to be upfront.

An image of a couple holding hands.

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, if you quit smoking years ago and are taking out life insurance as an ex-smoker, you should still tell your insurer as part of your health history. You might find that some insurers will consider you a non-smoker if you quit more than 12 months ago. In this case, your smoking history might not affect the price of your policy.

    Or, if you took out existing life cover as a smoker and have since quit, you might want to update your policy. You could also take out new cover as the premiums may cost less as a non-smoker.

  • There’s no set cost for life insurance. The policy price will be based on your personal health history and requirements. If you smoke, you can generally expect to pay more for a policy than a non-smoker.

  • Yes, you can still take out a life insurance policy as a smoker. You might find that the policy is more expensive than that of a non-smoker.

  • No, your life insurance premiums are based on your health and lifestyle at the time you took out your policy. If you quit smoking it may be cheaper to cancel a policy you took out when you were a smoker and take out a new one as a non-smoker. Bear in mind that most insurers require that you haven’t smoked for 12 months before considering you a non-smoker.

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