According to recent life assurance research by Sainsbury’s Bank, many ex-smokers may be paying too much for their life insurance. They assert that during the past 5 years approximately 6.78 million people have given up smoking, however only a quarter of these people have informed their life insurance company.

Time requirements differ between insurers; however, many companies consider a person to no longer be classed as a smoker after one year following quitting. By contacting their insurance provider former-smokers can get themselves re-classed as a ‘non-smoker’ and potentially saving thousands of pounds over the term of their policy.

According to their estimates, this means that there are up to 2.2 million ex-smokers who could be wasting at least £126.72 million simply by not reviewing their life insurance requirements to show their healthier status and reflect that they are no longer a smoker.

David Picket, the life insurance manager of Sainsbury’s Bank said, “The health benefits of giving up are well known, and with a packet of cigarettes now costing over £5, the financial savings can also be substantial. However, once you’ve successfully quit, you could also make a saving in your annual life insurance premiums if you review your requirements.”

Most policies require ex-smokers to have given up permanently and it is possible that even a couple of cigarettes in the pub on a Saturday night can consequently invalidate cover; however there can be big savings available (over 30%) for those who have completely quit. But despite the potential savings that are available, most people do not think to update their life insurance policies and so lose out.

Over the last few years, increases in the level of competition, has lead to large reductions for potential policy holders, with basic term life insurance policies now costing as little as £5 per month for a young and healthy non-smoker.

Life insurance comparison site Moneynet has good news for existing policy holders too, “If you have existing Life Insurance Policies which were taken out some time ago it could be worth considering a change. Most Life Companies have considerably reduced their premiums over the last few years to take account of longer life expectancy and the advances in medicine.”

The costs of life insurance can vary significantly depending upon age, lifestyle and occupation, as well as between different life insurance providers, as not all providers evaluate the levels of risk to be insured in the same way. The ease with which it is possible to check the difference in insurance premiums between providers through the financial information site The Motley Fool, Moneynet, or countless others which have sprung up in recent years, has also lead to increases in public knowledge and competition within the industry further driving down the costs.

While the news seems to be good all round for consumers it must be noted that as with all financial decisions, changing insurance cover can be complex as the number of providers and different products increases and the costs of making the wrong decision could prove serious. It should be noted that levels of cover can vary widely and therefore a professional independent financial advisor should be sought if in any doubt regarding a products suitability.


All information contained in this article, is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as advice under the Financial Services Act 1986.

You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.

Useful resources:

Life insurance comparisons – Moneynet ( )
Financial information – The Motley Fool ( )

About the author

Richard lives in Edinburgh, occasionally writing for the personal finance blog Cashzilla ( ), and irrationally likes the word nuance.