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Health Insurance For Smokers - All You Need to Know

Team AckoSept 20, 2022

Finding affordable health insurance requires time and hard work. It is essential to step up to this challenge. Without health insurance, an illness or injury could lead to thousands of rupees in medical bills. Health insurance premiums are affected by certain factors and smoking is one of them. While comparing health insurance rates, you could pay more if you smoke. It is one of the most important components while calculating the premium. Read on to learn about smoking and health insurance policy and its impact on the premium.

Health Insurance For Smokers

Smoking and Health Insurance:

If you are a smoker, it is sometimes believed that health insurance can be restricted and provide limited coverage. However, that is not the case. One can have access to a comprehensive policy that has a wide coverage and possibly covers critical illnesses as well. Insurance providers understand that smokers are more prone to illnesses than those who do not smoke. Keeping this in mind, the insurance premium is slightly higher. But that should not stop you from having access to a robust health insurance plan for you and your family. Smoking and health insurance policy may seem counter-productive; however, insurers have designed health insurance plans that offer access to excellent health insurance despite paying a slightly higher insurance rate.

How Can a Smoker Get Health Insurance Policy?

A smoker is defined as one who consumes nicotine in any form by insurance companies. They may insist on medical tests to determine the insurance premium for health insurance coverage. While purchasing health insurance, insurers ask about your smoking habits and probably the usage of nicotine over a fixed period of time. They may even ask you about the number of cigarettes you smoke and if there are any medical conditions due to the use of nicotine.

Insurers may ask you for a medical test and then decide on the premium. They also consider your age and sum assured before offering a health insurance plan. As a smoker, you must declare it to your insurance company before you buy the policy so that you can avoid rejection or dispute of claims. The insurance company will decide the premium based on the severity of your health conditions and will consider any pre-existing illnesses or conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. Once the insurance company determines your smoking habits and your health condition, they will offer health insurance plans along with the premiums for the same.

Why Does a Smoker Need Health Insurance?

Several smokers think that insurers may consider any future illnesses or diseases as the result of smoking and do not cover themselves or their family with a comprehensive health insurance policy. That should not be the case. Health insurance companies offer robust and beneficial health insurance coverage. A smoker must consider buying health insurance to financially protect against critical illnesses which may be the cause of smoking. Illnesses such as stroke, hypertension, lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory illness are some of the diseases affecting a smoker. Apart from covering these diseases, health insurance also covers other illnesses and injuries in case of an accident. It is imperative that a smoker should buy health insurance.

Premium for Smokers:

Smoking and health insurance premiums are correlated and the former has an impact on the latter. While insurance companies offer the same type of health insurance plans for smokers and non-smokers, the insurance premium is slightly higher for those who smoke. The insurer may even ask for a medical test report before fixing the premium for the policy. Generally, the premium is higher for those who have crossed a certain age and smoke regularly.

Tobacco Use and Health Insurance Premiums

Tobacco use among both men and women has increased in recent times and so the risk associated with it has increased accordingly. Insurers may request a medical test to understand their risk in covering you with a health insurance policy. The test could also reveal any potential disease which the policyholder may contract and the implication of medical bills for the treatment.

Some insurance companies offer health insurance at a higher premium for smokers, while others might offer at a lower cost. It is beneficial to compare health insurance online to understand which policy offers wide coverage at competitive pricing for a smoker. Also, it is important to include critical illnesses if it is not offered with the base plan. This will protect you in the future in case you may contract the disease due to smoking. While this does increase the premium for smokers, it provides coverage for medical treatment for illnesses be it due to smoking or not.

The Cost of Health Insurance for Smokers Vs. Non-Smokers:

The cost of health insurance for smokers is indeed slightly higher compared to non-smokers. This is because of the risks involved since smokers are more prone to diseases such as lung infections, cancer, stroke, hypertension, etc. The premium for smokers compared to non-smokers is not predefined. Insurers can price their policy as per their terms and conditions for a smoker as well as for a non-smoker. Most insurance companies do not charge a higher premium unless there are health complications. Premiums for smokers differ among insurance providers. It is advisable to review the insurer’s performance as a health insurance provider and the service they provide before you buy a health insurance plan.

How Do Insurance Companies Know If You Smoke?

When you initiate the process of buying health insurance, the insurer will ask you if you smoke and may even ask if you have been consuming tobacco in the last six months. While the penalty for not disclosing that you are a smoker is not serious, the insurance company will still consider it as insurance fraud. But the most important aspect of not disclosing that you are a smoker could lead to a rejection of claims, especially if the treatment is related to illnesses due to smoking or due to the consumption of nicotine substances. It is important you declare everything about your health, including that you are a smoker to get the right policy to protect you in case of hospitalisation.

What If You Are a Smoker with Existing Health Problems?

You cannot ignore your health, especially if you have existing health issues. It is important to take care of your health to avoid unnecessary trouble and medical bills. The cost of healthcare is increasing every day and it is important to have access to an excellent health insurance policy. Even if you are a smoker with existing health problems, you need to cover yourself and your family with health insurance. While you may have to pay a higher premium, you can be assured that the insurance will protect you financially if you are hospitalised. It will certainly save you a lot of money since the insurance will take care of the medical expenses. Additionally, you can opt for the critical illness add-on to increase the coverage in your insurance policy even further.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Health Insurance Premium:

The health insurance premium for a smoker is certainly higher compared to a non-smoker. A smoker is more susceptible to the following illnesses or diseases, which prompts insurance providers to increase the premium for smokers:

  • Respiratory illnesses/diseases.

  • Stroke

  • Lung or oral cancer

  • Hypertension

  • Heart-related diseases

  • Emphysema

  • Osteoporosis (primarily in women)

  • Complications in pregnancy.

While the magnitude of the above-mentioned is large and could even result in the death of the policyholder, the severity of the risks prompts insurance companies to increase the premium for smokers.

Also, read: Health Insurance for COVID-19

Benefits of Buying Health Insurance Online:

Online health insurance has made the entire experience of insurance a lot easier and faster. The internet has enabled buyers to compare and select the best health insurance policy, which offers wide coverage at a lower premium. New-age digital insurance companies are at the forefront in providing simple health insurance with hassle-free experience using technology. Following are a few important benefits of buying a health insurance policy online:

  • Compare multiple insurance plans online before purchasing a suitable plan.

  • Several choices of policies as well as various insurance companies to choose from.

  • Ease of shopping.

  • Direct purchase from an insurance company without the influence of insurance agents/middlemen.

  • Access your account anytime and from anywhere.

  • Raise claims online.

  • Instant coverage.

  • Discounts.

  • Faster payment options.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below are some of the common queries about smoking and health insurance:

What happens if I lie about smoking while applying for a health insurance policy?


In case the insurance company asks you to go through a medical test and the insurer gets to know that you have lied about your smoking habit, then your application may be rejected. Also, if you have purchased a policy, any claims on medical bills for the treatment of illnesses due to the use of tobacco or nicotine may be rejected by the insurance company. It is advisable to disclose your smoking habit to the insurer to avoid any hassles later on.

Does the health insurance premium go up if I smoke?


Yes, the premium is slightly higher compared to a premium offered to a non-smoker. The insurance company will consider all risks before offering a health insurance policy to smokers. Risks include medical costs for treatment of illnesses due to consumption of tobacco or nicotine.

I do not smoke a lot, do I still need to disclose that I am a smoker while buying health insurance?


Yes, you need to disclose that you do smoke. It is better to inform your insurer about your smoking habits so that the insurer can offer the right insurance policy.

I started smoking after I purchased health insurance. Should I inform my insurance company?


It is important to keep your insurance company informed about your smoking habits to avoid any rejection of claims. Even if you have started smoking after you bought the insurance policy, you need to disclose all details to the insurance company. You may call them or write to them and disclose your smoking habit.

Is smoking one cigarette considered a smoking habit while buying health insurance?


Whether you smoke one or more cigarettes, smoking is injurious to health and it is important to disclose your smoking habits to the insurance company.

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Disclaimer: *Except for exclusions like maternity benefits, undisclosed diseases, etc. Please check policy wordings for more details.
**The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet; and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content and before making any insurance-related decisions.


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