How can smoking affect my life insurance premiums?

2017 -

TAL product manager David Wilkinson reveals the extra hurdles smokers may encounter when applying for life insurance or income protection insurance. 

In terms of life insurance and income protection insurance policies, what are smokers covered for, compared to non-smokers?
“Generally, the same cover is available for smokers and non-smokers.  The difference is usually in the price, with non-smokers tending to pay less” David explains.

What sort of health checks will a smoker be expected to have?
Health checks are generally not mandatory for smokers. Life insurers generally have requirements for medical examinations for high levels of cover such as $1 million or more life insurance – but health checks are otherwise usually only required if indicated by your existing medical conditions or health history, as disclosed in your application for cover. Health checks can be carried out by your GP or if you are a TAL customer this can be done by one of TAL’s mobile physicians. It’s worth noting Australia has one of the highest thresholds of cover in the world below which mandatory medicals are not required. That is largely a function of the types of insurance available in Australia – low-cost, term life and income protection insurance, especially at younger ages, with no savings component, and premiums that increase with age. Level premiums, which are based on your age when you take out the policy and don’t change throughout its lifespan, are also available.

What sort of conditions would likely necessitate a medical check?
Other things your life insurer is likely to consider when assessing an application for cover are your age, the length of time you’ve been smoking, how much you smoke and the type of cigarettes (filtered or unfiltered), whether you have a history of asthma, breathing difficulties or chest and other medical conditions, your occupation (for example, are you exposed to air-borne particles, dust, chemicals or irritants in your work) and your sporting activities and recreational pastimes. Other red flags might include smokers who are overweight, have a high blood pressure, high cholesterol or who are diabetic.

At what point are people considered non-smokers?
If you apply for a TAL Product, past-smokers need to have not smoked at all in the 12 months prior to applying for life insurance or income protection insurance to qualify for non-smokers’ premiums. Of course, your overall state of health and medical history will also be taken into account.

Do you have any further advice for smokers?
Be honest when applying for cover, including what and how much you generally smoke a day. If you’re only an occasional, social smoker you need tell your insurer that too.


Quitting smoking can be a challenge, but support is out there. The Australian government has helpful websites – Quit now  or Quit here.

How may smoking affect my premiums?

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The information provided is general advice only and does not take into account your particular objectives financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) before making a decision to purchase or continue to hold a product. . To read details of TAL Lifetime Protection products see the TAL Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG). Applications subject to acceptance.  Benefit periods, waiting periods, terms and conditions, exclusions and limitations apply. Life insurance issued by TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450 AFSL 237848.  Promoted and distributed by TAL Direct Pty Limited ABN 39 084 666 017 AFSL 243260.

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