Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award 2024
Free £100 Gift Card Offer
Our logo

PROTECTION PROMISE - 100% Conditions Covered

Our Insurance Partners

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay in the loop about all the latest news, exclusive offers, and fantastic discounts. We promise it's spam-free!

Best Life Insurance for Smokers 2024

In this guide, our experts explain how life insurance for smokers works and how to get the best cover with lower premiums. It’s a well-known fact that life insurance for smokers will cost more and premiums can be more than double what non-smokers would pay.

There are things that you should know if you’re a smoker and you already have life insurance or if you’re looking for a new policy. The main reason for higher life insurance premiums for smokers are the health and medical risks relating to smoking and vaping.

Life insurance pays out a lump sum (tax-free) to provide financial security to your family if you die during the term of the cover. It is most commonly used for protecting your children, partner or any other financial dependents from financial difficulty from the loss on a household income.

One of the big disadvantages with insurance for smokers is that your life insurance, health insurance, and income protection premiums can all be higher. Our insurance experts will look at how life insurance for smokers works and the best ways to save money on your premiums.

A picture of a stopwatch

60-Second Summary – Life insurance for Smokers Guide 2024

According to the latest statistics for 2022 from the Office for National Statistics, there are approximately 6.4 million smokers in the UK (12.9% of adults). The proportion of smokers in the UK has been dropping consistently for decades and more significantly in recent years since the smoking ban in public places.

Life insurance premiums for smokers have almost always been higher than those for non-smokers, based on the risks to our health (e.g. Cancer, heart disease, and stroke).

  • Life insurance premiums for smokers on average are around 49% higher than what non-smokers pay for life insurance.
  • Health and medical risks for smokers include cancers (including lung, throat, tongue, and mouth), heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and lung damage.
  • All life insurance companies in the UK charge higher premiums for smokers, vapers, and any other forms of nicotine replacement products.
  • If you quit smoking then you will be classed as a non-smoker 12 months from the point where you gave up or last had any form of nicotine.

Based on our extensive research, we found that on average a smoker will pay around 49% higher premiums than a non-smoker. People over 40 years of age that smoke will generally have to pay more than double what a non-smoker would pay.

Below is a table that shows the difference between life insurance premiums for smokers and non-smokers 2024.

Age of applicantSmoker premiumNon-smoker premiumDifference (%)

Life insurance quotes above were created by our independent life insurance experts on 28.03.24 for £200,000 family life cover over 25 years, using our live pricing tools for the top insurance companies in the UK. These are for illustration purposes only and prices may vary based on your health and cover requirements.

Life insurance for smokers pays out if you die from any health or medical problems related to smoking, and any other causes of death. It’s a common myth that life insurance does not pay out and especially for people with medical problems and smokers, or other medical risks.

Based on our extensive research, life insurance for smokers paid out 96.9% of claims in 2022 (Previous year of 2021 was 97%). Life insurance has consistently proven that it has the highest life insurance claims percentage payout rate of any insurance policy in the UK.

Top 5 life insurance companies pay out rates

  1. Vitality life insurance: 99.6% claims paid out
  2. Aviva life insurance: 99.4% claims paid out
  3. Zurich life insurance: 98% claims paid out
  4. AIG life insurance: 98% claims paid out
  5. LV life insurance: 97% claims paid out

Life insurance companies in the UK historically pay out more than 95% of claims and will not exclude smoking related illnesses.

SAVE up to *34% on your insurance when you compare quotes with iam|INSURED

Protect you and your family for less

We're rated 'EXCELLENT'

Five Stars


Feefo Logo

*Over 1,100 independent customer reviews

Life insurance premiums will always be significantly lower for non-smokers than they are for smokers. This is simply because of the increased health risks and medical problems that are connected with smoking and any other nicotine based products.

The biggest advantage to having life insurance if you are a smoker is that your family are financially protected if something happens to you. It is an unfortunate fact that statistically a smoker will have a shorter life expectancy than a non-smoker.

Life insurance is exactly the same policy and offers exactly the same cover for smokers as it does for non-smokers. The reason that it costs more for smokers is because statistically it is more likely that smokers would make a claim, especially if they are older.

It’s very easy to focus on the negatives with life insurance for smokers because it does cost more. Ultimately, if you die then your family are financially protected and this is the main thing that parents should be thinking about when considering life insurance.

The simple rule is that you will be classed as a non-smoker for life insurance ’12 months after you quit smoking’.

To benefit from lower non-smoker life insurance premiums you would need to be nicotine free for 12 months. This means that you must not have used any tobacco or nicotine replacement products (including patches, gum, vaping etc.) for 1 year.

Almost all life insurance companies in the UK has the same rule for being classed as a non-smoker. This is based on the statistical evidence from medical professionals of the time that it takes for the nicotine addiction to reduce enough to stop smoking long-term.

The video from the NHS explains Donna’s story of how her health improved after quitting smoking.

Donna’s story – the benefits of quitting smoking

The average cost of life insurance for smokers in the UK is approximately £16 per month for £100,000 of life cover. You should think about how much cover you need and what the cover is for, but the general rule is up to 10 times your annual salary or at least your mortgage balance.

Life insurance premiums for smokers increase more significantly as you get older and so you should think about this sooner than later.

Below is a table that shows how much life insurance costs for smokers on average. This is based on the minimum amount of cover (average mortgage balance UK) and the maximum amount (10 Times the Average Salary UK).

Age of applicant (smoker)Premium for average mortgage over 25 years Amount: £189,000Premium for 10 Times average income (25 years) Amount: £350,000

The quotes provided in the table above are for illustration purposes only and premiums may vary depending on your needs and circumstances. Our experts have produced these illustrations using our live pricing systems and these are for someone with no other health or medical problems.

As we can clearly see from the table above, the average cost of life insurance for smokers increases significantly for people over 40 years of age. If you can get your life insurance sorted before your 40th birthday then you should be able to save yourself money.

Based on our extensive research, we found that the best life insurance company for smokers in the UK in 2024 is Guardian. We know that Guardian life insurance provides a number of extremely useful free benefits as well as offering lower premiums for smokers in most age groups.

Guardian logo

1) Guardian

Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

We know that Guardian life insurance provides policyholders with free benefits including Waiver of Premium and a Virtual GP service. These benefits can be extremely useful for smokers as they can provide peace of mind that premiums will be paid if you can’t work, and gives you a second opinion from a medical professional.

Guardian also offers the lowest life insurance premiums for smokers on average based on our extensive research and findings. You can also reduce your life insurance premiums after you have stopped smoking with its flexible approach to pricing.

Vitality logo

2) Vitality

Trustpilot score: 4.2 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

Vitality not only offers some of the lowest life insurance premiums for smokers, it also offers the best benefits including free access to Allen Carr’s Easyway To Stop Smoking (Worth £349). As a smoker you can also get access to a wide range of health guidance and the healthy rewards programme with top high street discounts.

Our experts found that Vitality offers very competitive life insurance premiums for smokers across most age groups.

Legal & General logo

3) Legal & General

Trustpilot score: 3.9 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

We already know that Legal & General is widely regarded as one of the top low cost life insurance options in the UK. Our research also showed that Legal & General offers competitive premiums for smokers life insurance.

Even though this is not the cheapest life insurance for smokers, Legal & General has a good reputation and offers consistently good customer service.

There are a few simple ways to help you to save money and find the cheapest life insurance for smokers. Every life insurance company in the UK offers cover for smokers, but that’s not always going to be the cheapest premiums.

Some life insurance providers are clearly more expensive than others for smokers and there can be a number of reasons for this. Some simple steps that you can follow to help you to save money and get the best cover:

  1. Speak to a life insurance broker – a good broker will not only have access to most or all of the top insurers, they should be able to compare prices for you to get the cheapest life insurance for smokers as well.
  2. Avoid getting life insurance from your bank – most banks charge more for smokers life insurance and the cover isn’t theirs, apart from Lloyds which is Scottish Widows. Effectively you’re paying a higher premium for the same life insurance you can get from a broker.
  3. Quit smoking or reduce your smoking – sounds easy and sounds incredibly obvious, but if you’re thinking about giving up then you can reduce your life insurance premiums by as much as 50%. Some life insurance companies also charge more for heavy smokers (e.g. over 20 cigarettes per day).
  4. Good health equals better prices – life insurance for smokers premiums are also based on your health and lifestyle, so you can save money by improving your health (e.g. losing weight, exercise, diet etc.).
  5. Don’t depend on work benefits. Some jobs offer ‘death benefits’ (death in service), but this won’t always offer enough cover. Though you will need to pay more, it can be worth also having a standard life insurance policy.

It is also important to remember that there are different types of life insurance for smokers. You can choose between level term life insurance, decreasing life insurance, whole life insurance etc. Certain policies will cost less than others, so it is worth thinking which policy will work best for your budget.

Five Stars

Rated "Excellent" 5 out of 5

"This company went above & beyond to get me cover even though I have MS, I am very happy I managed to get cover, Amazing staff, Dean went above & beyond, I highly rate this company."

by Elizabeth Turner-Long - 9th August 2023

Vaping is classified as smoking currently and therefore means that you will pay smokers life insurance premiums. Smoking and vaping (regardless of whether it is nicotine based or not) life insurance premiums are higher because they have the same health risks.

Life insurance for vapers might also change in the future as we get more medical evidence and information about health dangers of vaping. As it stands, there is still relatively little known about vaping and the risks to your health which means that it is treated the same as smoking.

For more information about life insurance for vapers, you can read the full guide in our latest update HERE.

Common myths about claims with life insurance for smokers:

  • Life insurance will exclude smoking related illnesses or health problems
  • This is completely false and life insurance will not exclude any smoking related medical or health problems as cause of death. The only exclusion with life insurance in the UK is suicide in the first 12 months of a new policy being activated.

  • Life insurance for smokers won’t pay out for cancer
  • Again, if you take out a life insurance policy as a smoker then it will always include all cancers regardless of whether they are caused by smoking.

  • Nicotine free vaping is not classed as smoking
  • Unfortunately, all types of vaping are classed as smoking with almost all life insurance companies in the UK. It is suggested that the main risk is the habit of smoking and that there are still unknown health risks with this as well.

  • Life expectancy for smokers isn’t lower so why should we pay more
  • Studies show that the half of deaths for smokers are directly caused by smoking related medical or health problems. According to recent statistics, life expectancy for smokers is around 10 years lower than non-smokers.

    The quickest and easiest way to buy cheaper life insurance for smokers is to speak to a life insurance specialist. You won’t have to pay for the advice that you get from a life insurance broker and you’ll usually pay less as well.

    By getting proper advice from an expert you will be able to compare top life insurance for smoker rates to help save you time and money. To speak to our friendly team of life insurance specialists you can call 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE.

    Sign up for our newsletter

    Stay in the loop about all the latest news, exclusive offers, and fantastic discounts. We promise it's spam-free!

    Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

    Yes, you will be able to get life insurance with almost any pre-existing medical condition, as long as it is not terminal. If traditional life insurance is not available due to the severity of your symptoms, then there are other guaranteed and specialist life insurance options, such as:

    • Accidental death
    • Over 50s life insurance
    • Guaranteed life insurance

    Some of the most common examples of life insurance with pre-existing conditions are:

    • Overweight or High BMI life insurance
    • Diabetes life insurance (e.g. Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes)
    • Cancer life insurance
    • Heart attack or heart disease life insurance
    • Mental health life insurance
    • Multiple Sclerosis life insurance
    • Autoimmune disorders life insurance
    • HIV life insurance

    There are literally thousands of types and variations of pre-exisiting medical conditions and so your situation is likely to be different to someone else. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions will take a number of elements in to account:

    • Severity and type of symptoms
    • Dates of diagnosis, episodes or attacks, and treatments
    • Any ongoing treatment and medications

    Your life insurance premiums will be based on your own individual circumstances and how much cover you need. You should be able to adjust the levels of cover to suit your budget and it’s just as important to make sure that you at least have some cover in place.

    What does Martin Lewis say about life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

    MoneySavingExpert.com suggests that life insurance will ‘cost a lot more’ with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not true and it really does depend on your own individual circumstances so don’t be put off by this as they are not experts in this area.

    It is true that some circumstances where the pre-existing medical condition is serious or severe, premiums can be higher to reflect the additional mortality risks. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums are unfortunately based on how likely you are to claim or if you have a higher chance of death within the policy term.

    Martin Lewis doesn’t provide any real substance to his comment about pre-existing conditions life insurance and that’s not good enough. You should speak to a medical life insurance specialist to get a fully underwritten quote before you make any final decisions about whether or not you can afford to protect your family.

    How much is life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

    Most traditional life insurance providers will accept applications for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Often, you will have a number of potential options from several different insurance providers so you can usually save money as well by shopping around.

    Historically you might have had less offers when you apply for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, but fortunately that is changing. Most of the more well-known high street life insurance brands are now offering more competitive rates and more flexible underwriting.

    Top tips to save money on life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

    • Speak to pre-existing medical conditions specialist (these companies will understand the market better and should know which insurers will be cheapest for you)
    • Shop around and get different quotes (same as everything else, by shopping around you’ll get a better idea of what a good price is and what different companies offer)
    • Apply at the best time (timing can be important when applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, usually when symptoms are stable and not before or after treatment)

    There are also other things to take into consideration, such as if you’re a smoker or if your weight is higher than normal. Can you do anything to improve your situation that might help to reduce your life insurance premiums.

    Best life insurance for pre-existing conditions?

    The best life insurance for pre-existing conditions will be different for each individual, based on their circumstances and the details of their health or medical history. There are certainly some insurance providers who are better for people with pre-existing medical conditions than others, such as:

    • The Exeter (better for people with more severe symptoms and serious health problems)
    • Legal & General (can sometimes be good for certain pre-existing medical conditions, especially mild to moderate symptoms)
    • Royal London (offers a number of specialist products and policies for certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and mental health)
    • Scottish Widows (sometimes good for moderate medical conditions and offers flexible underwriting for certain conditions)
    • The Guardian (also offers flexible underwriting towards some pre-existing medical conditions)
    Average Cost of Life Insurance

    Average Cost of Life Insurance

    The average cost of life insurance is based on your age and your health which are the two main elements to pricing for life...

    Martin Lewis Life Insurance

    Martin Lewis Life Insurance

    Martin Lewis has been quite strong in his views around why some people should seriously consider life insurance and what...

    Average Cost of Critical Illness Cover

    Average Cost of Critical Illness Cover

    Critical illness cover is a good and affordable way to provide extra financial protection for you and your loved ones. Critical illness cover...

    Martin Lewis Income Protection

    Martin Lewis Income Protection

    MoneySavingExpert.com launched in 2003 for just £100. The website has since become the biggest source of free financial guidance to millions...

    View All ❯

    Our Mission

    At iaminsured.co.uk, we believe in much more than just insurance policies; we believe that everyone is unique and should be treated with the fairness that they deserve. We also believe in providing the very best financial protection, and giving you peace of mind to continue with your busy life without the stress or worry of what might happen.

    We are dedicated to providing the best outcomes that we can and access to the best insurance solutions in the way that our customers want or need. We understand that everyone is totally unique in how they want things done and their own individual circumstances, which is where our totally unique approach to financial protection is driven from.

    • 100% online protection solutions
    • Top rated advice from the UK’s leading experts
    • Unique specialist protection services for all medical conditions, occupations and activities
    • Lowest prices and affordable cover options guaranteed
    • Dedicated to providing the best protection products for all your needs

    With nearly three decades of expertise and established with a commitment to excellence in everything that we do. We have been a trusted partner for thousands of families, individuals and businesses, all with one common goal of looking for the best protection solutions.

    Our Mission: To provide easy access to fair pricing, affordable protection and the very best financial security to families and individuals. We are dedicated to offering comprehensive insurance solutions that safeguard the well-being of our policyholders. Guided by integrity, transparency, and a commitment to excellence, we strive to empower consumers and families to face the future with confidence. Our mission is not just about policies; it's about protecting dreams, ensuring legacies, and being a trusted partner on life's journey.

    Open chat
    How can we help?
    Scan the code
    Welcome to iam|INSURED 👋

    Please feel free to connect with us on WhatsApp so we can help you and answer your questions.

    Click “Open Chat” to start.