10 min Read
27 Sep 2019

Written by Andy

Which is the cheapest life insurance provider if I smoke?

cheapest life insurance if you smokeThe cost of life insurance has steadily decreased over the past few years thanks to increased competition amongst insurance companies and advances in medical science (which have helped to improve life expectancy). One thing that continues to keep life insurance quotes high however is admitting that you smoke.

Life insurance providers will automatically apply an increase to your life insurance premium if you smoke, but until now it has been incredibly hard to understand which insurer provides the most cost-effective life insurance for smokers.

In this article, we have compared over 500 life insurance quotes and provided heatmaps to help understand which insurers offer the most cost-effective cover if you smoke. Check the heatmaps carefully, as the results change depending on how old you are and how much cover you require.

Why does life insurance cost more if I smoke?

There are four key factors that can affect the cost of life insurance at quote stage (assuming there are no other health complications) and they are:

  1. Amount of cover required
  2. Length of cover required (often referred to as the 'term')
  3. Age
  4. Smoker status

Out of the four key cost factors mentioned above, smoker status has the biggest impact on the overall cost of life insurance and in fact, is often the only factor that you have any control over. Try as you might, it is impossible to make yourself younger and it is likely that the amount of cover and length of time it is needed for is dictated by a mortgage or loan and so cannot be adjusted.

Will my life insurance cost less if I have given up smoking?

Most insurance companies will class you as a non-smoker if you have not used any tobacco or nicotine replacement products for 12 months or more, so if you have given up or are thinking of giving up then you can make significant savings on your life insurance. Check out our article 'How to get the best deal on life insurance if you smoke or vape'.

How much extra will I pay for my life insurance if I smoke?

Depending on your age and the amount of cover you are applying for, the increase applied to life insurance premiums if you smoke can range anywhere from 30% to 200%. A 35-year-old applying for life insurance cover of £200,000 would expect to see premium increases of between 80% and 120%, depending on which insurer they choose. We have provided an example below.

Royal London Non Smoker Smoker Increase %
£200,000 life insurance for a 35 year old £12.50 £26.60 112.80%

Which life insurance provider is best for smokers?

We already know that smoking has a big impact on the cost of life insurance quotes and so we have provided some heatmaps below to demonstrate which insurers offer the most cost-effective premiums (compared to their competitors) for a variety of scenarios. Remember that the heatmaps below are for guidance only and the cost will be based on your own unique circumstances. When applying for life insurance you are required to answer questions about your health, family history, occupation and lifestyle, all of which can have an impact on the overall cost of the cover.

How to use our life insurance heatmaps

We would recommend that you use the heatmaps below for guidance only. If you are considering a life insurance policy you should speak to an independent life insurance specialist as there are other factors that affect the cost of life cover such as your health and lifestyle. An independent specialist can recommend the best policy for your own unique circumstances and even help you complete the application forms and chase the insurance company on your behalf, something an online comparison site can't do. We have personally vetted an independent specialist that has received over 8,500 reviews on Trustpilot with an average score of 4.8 out of 5.0. I used them recently to insure my family and not only was it the cheapest price I was quoted, the cover was in place within two hours of calling them. Get in touch with them by filling in this form to get a tailored quote based on your current circumstances.

25-year-old smoker (25-year term)

Our research suggests that L&G and Aviva are a good choice for smokers (aged around 25) who require a lower amount of cover. Zurich and Vitality are better options if you require a larger amount of cover.

35-year-old smoker (25-year term)

L&G and Vitality are the cheaper providers for smokers around 35 years old and who require a lower amount of cover. Zurich, Aegon are good options if you require a larger amount of cover.

45-year-old smoker (20-year term)

Vitality, LV= and L&G are the better options is you are a smoker around 45 years old, assuming a lower amount of cover is required. Those wanting a larger amount of cover should look at Vitality, Aegon and L&G.

55-year-old smoker (10-year term)

Our research suggests that Vitality, LV=, Aegon and L&G are the better options for smokers aged around 55 and that they remain competitive no matter the level of cover required.

The top 10 life insurance providers

We have analysed over 500 life insurance quotes comparing prices for both smokers and non-smokers for 10 of the biggest life insurance providers. We looked at life insurance quotes for 25, 35, 45 and 55-year-olds and analysed the quotes based on £100k, £200k, £300k, £400k and £500k of cover.

We ranked each provider based on cost, ranking them from 1 to 10 for each age range and level of cover. We totalled the numbers and came up with our top 10 displayed below. Remember that the top 10 is based on our own research and uses averaging and so you shouldn't use it to inform your buying decision as your circumstances may be different. Always seek advice from an independent specialist.

We have also provided a top 10 based on the average increase applied by each insurer for smokers.

Top 10 life insurance providers if you are a smoker

  1. Vitality
  2. L&G
  3. Aegon
  4. Aviva
  5. AIG
  6. Zurich
  7. LV=
  8. Scottish Widows
  9. Old Mutual
  10. Royal London

Top 10 life insurance providers if you are a non-smoker

  1. L&G
  2. Vitality
  3. AIG
  4. Aegon
  5. Royal London
  6. Aviva
  7. Scottish Widows
  8. LV=
  9. Zurich
  10. Old Mutual

Average increase applied by insurers if you smoke

  1. Old Mutual (83.87%)
  2. Vitality (90.51%)
  3. Aviva (99.36%)
  4. Zurich (99.38)
  5. Aegon (101.15%)
  6. L&G (105.44%)
  7. LV= (106.20%)
  8. Scottish Widows (114.67%)
  9. AIG (115.02%)
  10. Royal London (139.87%)

Interestingly, if you look at our heatmaps, Old Mutual is not a particularly cheap option for someone who smokes and yet our research suggests that they treat smokers fairer than any other insurer. This is because their starting premium for non-smokers is so much higher (They come bottom of our top 10 for non-smokers). This highlights the importance of speaking to a specialist and not just making a decision based on the numbers.


The key message is that smoking dramatically increases life insurance premiums and so the simplest way to cut the cost of life cover is to give up smoking (most insurers will class you as a non-smoker if you go 12 months without using any tobacco or nicotine replacement products). If you do smoke or vape, you should do your research and work out which insurer is the most cost-effective. The best way to guarantee the best life insurance quote is to speak to an independent specialist who can search the whole market on your behalf and do all of the hard work for you.

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