“Statutory Warning: Cigarette Smoking is Injurious to Health.” In this article, we, in no way are encouraging this habit.

Unlike the warning on the packs of cigarettes, our statutory warning needs to be paid special heed to. Because honestly, while we will be giving out solutions for term insurance for smokers, we would like nothing better than for you to quit the habit. The health complications alone are a major red flag for anyone.

On the other hand, as preachy as we may sound, we also acknowledge the fact that going cold turkey or quitting a habit like that might not really be feasible in a short span of time. But that doesn’t mean that their families and loved ones be on the receiving end of a bad financial fall-through in the case of one’s unfortunate demise. And hence, our discussion of term insurance for smokers becomes crucial.

Are Smokers Eligible for a Term Insurance Policy?

In the case of whether smokers can get term insurance plans or not, the verdict goes - YES, smokers can avail of term insurance plans. However, there are a few compromises that policyholders need to accept for the plan to work. Take a look at some important pointers -

  1. Smokers pay a spiked premium for their term plan

Smokers are susceptible to multiple fatal ailments like lug and oral cancer(among others). This increases the chances of a policyholder’s death and thereby, spikes the risks of a payout for the term insurance provider. Thus, even the best term insurers charge smokers a 30% - 50% higher premium than non-smokers. This is a financial risk management step taken by insurers to safeguard their standing.

Here is a look at how premiums on term insurance plans differ for smokers and non-smokers -


Maturity age: 65 years

Age of the policyholder: 40 years

Annual income: INR 10 lakhs 

Monthly expense: INR 25,000

No pre-existing conditions 






ICICI iProtect Smart




Max Life Smart Secure Plus Plan




HDFC Life Click 2 Protect Life





ICICI iProtect Smart




Max Life Smart Secure Plus Plan




HDFC Life Click 2 Protect Life




(There is a significant change in premium based on the gender of the policyholder.)

2.  Who is a smoker for term insurers?

When it comes to acknowledging who are smokers as per term insurers, there are 2 aspects -

  • The term “smokers” doesn’t just apply to individuals who smoke cigarettes. Anyone who uses tobacco products is considered a smoker.
  • Any policyholder who had used tobacco products in the last 12 months before availing of a term insurance policy, is taken as a smoker.

3.  Repercussions in case of non-disclosure of smoking habits

When it comes to disclosure of smoking habits, it is best if you be transparent to your term insurer. Because, if you hide your smoking habit from your term insurers, you may end up being accused of an insurance scam, face a rejection of your insurance claim, or have to deal with a nullified term insurance plan all together. This would mean that one’s family will have to bear the brunt of no insurance overage in case of his/her unfortunate demise.

So, even if you are paying toward a surge in your premium, the sum assured is a substantial amount that will be ensuring the financial safety of your loved ones in case of your absence.

(P.S.:  The best term insurance plans are usually quite affordable and rarely put a dent in one’s yearly savings. And the smoking habit of policyholders spikes the premium substantially. However, if you really want to reduce the premium, it’s best you quit smoking at least a year before you avail of a term insurance policy.)

But, what happens if say you start smoking after availing of the term plan? Well, even in that case, you will need to declare this recent habit that you have picked during your term insurance renewal. Because, in the case in the future, during your policy tenure, if you raise a claim and this smoking aspect is revealed, your loved ones are looking at a hassle-filled term claim process with delayed or reduced payment disbursal.

4.  Types of smokers according to term insurers

Term insurance providers categorise smokers into -

Preferred Smokers

Typical Smokers

Table-rated Smokers


Smokers with no health complications 

Smokers with lingering minor health issues 

Smokers with major health complications 

Risk and premiums

Comparatively low risk and hence low premiums. 

Risk and premium are both comparatively higher than PReferred smokers 

High risk and hence, higher premiums, owing to spiked loading charges put in place by insurers. 

Best Term Insurance Policies for Smokers


The Best Term Insurance Policies for Smokers

ICICI iProtect Smart

Max Life Smart Secure Plus Plan

HDFC Life Click 2 Protect Life

Entry Age

18 Years

18 Years

18 Years

Premiums for smokers

Approx 25% increase in the premiums

Approx 60% increase in the premiums

Approx 60% increase in the premiums

Policy Tenure 

No specific limit

No specific limit

No specific limit

Riders available 

Waiver of Premium (WOP), Critical Illness (CI), Accidental death benefit (ADB), Life stage benefit (LS)

WOP, Critical Illness (CI), Accidental death benefit (ADB), Voluntary top-up

WOP, Critical Illness (CI), Accidental death benefit (ADB), Income benefit rider (IB)

(*Test to be conducted before purchasing the plans: Urine cotinine (COT))

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don't declare my smoking habits?

Any misdeclaration or concealing of facts can become grounds for policy cancellation in future. In addition, Insurance companies can also decline the payout if they discover this and there is an unfortunate situation of claim within the first 3 years of policy commencement. That’s an unnecessary risk to take and we do not recommend such a step. 

What happens if one starts smoking after getting a term plan?

Since in the majority of cases, Insurance companies conduct a health checkup, they are aware about your broader health profile. Therefore, any steps taken after the issuance of the policy will not have any material impact on your contract with the insurance companies. 

What if I was chain smoker a few years back but have recovered and do not consume it anymore?

Be sure to specify the current habits and come clean during the tele medicals as well. Most situations, if the smoking habit has had no impact on your health currently then you will get to pay a premium for a non-smoker only.

Should I declare my smoking habit even if I don't smoke regularly?

Yes. In case you have smoked any time in the 12 months before availing of a term insurance plan, it is imperative that you disclose the same to your term insurance provider. This will help them offer you a more customised plan and it will prevent you from committing insurance fraud.

How much higher are the premiums for smokers?

Smokers are looking at a premium hike of 30% - 50% as compared to that of non-smokers. The higher vulnerability to fatal ailments leads to higher risks of payouts, and hence, term insurers put a loading charge in place as a means to hedge their risks.

What can I do to get lower premiums as a smoker?

Well, QUIT SMOKING - great step for the health aspect and even better for your finances. You can also compare different term insurance providers to see which one of them offers you a lower premium for the same coverage amount that you seek. (P.S. Stay on the lookout for smoking cessation programs. They help you quit smoking without you having to face the brunt of going cold turkey all alone.)