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Life Insurance - Smokers and Overweights pay over 50% more!

By Michael Challiner

The life insurance industry is becoming tougher on smokers and those of us who are overweight.

When an insurance company calculates its premiums, it has to work out the risk of you dying whilst the policy is in force. (Or with Critical Illness Insurance, the risk that you will become critically or seriously ill during the policy's term.) In this context, smoking and obesity have become increasingly important issues.

The life insurance industry pointedly ignores the views of some Pro Smoking Pressure Groups which argue that smokers under the age of 40 have around the same probability of dieing as non smokers. David Pickett, Life Insurance Manager at Sainsbury's spoke for the insurance industry when he confirmed "Health risks associated with smoking can have a big effect on life cover costs. It is vital for those who have kicked the habit to review their policies".

Just how big an effect smoking has on life insurance costs was highlighted in a recent snapshot study; this found that the average smoker paid 56% more than a non-smoker. The study was based on nine of the UK's top insurance companies and examined the premiums quoted for two men aged 30 asking for "100,000 cover over 25 years. The only difference between the application details was that one was a smoker and the other wasn't.

The life insurance industry has also recently tightened its belt on the overweight members of society. Previously, only people with a Body Mass Index of 33 or more were considered as overweight. This level has now been reduced by 16%. Now anyone with a BMI of 28 or more is likely to face premiums loaded by 50%. If you're anxious to know whether that includes you, you'll need a calculator! BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by your height in meters and the result squared.

So if you're intending to apply for life insurance is may be as well to loose a few pounds first - oops kilos - and they're much harder to lose than pounds!

It's not quite so straightforward for smokers. To qualify as a non-smoker, most insurance companies insist that you must not have "smoked or otherwise consumed any form of nicotine products during the previous 12 months." Indeed, some companies go further and extend the qualifying period to 5 years!

Because premiums for smokers and chubbies are so high, it becomes even more important to seek out the cheapest possible prices. As you're an internet surfer, the odds are you'll land a good discount. Just search for cheap life insurance and let your fingers do the walking!! You'll still pay more but the discount will soften the impact on the wallet. Expect online savings of 10% - 15%.

About The Author
Michael Challiner is an exclusive financial writer who writes articles primarily about UK family finance.



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