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May 10, 2019updated 15 May 2019 2:30pm

Smoking increases life insurance premiums more than high fatality rates

By Patrick Brusnahan

New research states that unhealthy habits, such as smokers, have a larger impact on life insurance premiums than a higher risk of fatality.

According to MoneySuperMarket, smoking adds £152.76 a year on average to life insurance premiums. In addition, smokers across all occupations pay 54% more for life insurance. On average, this totals to £13.82 per month for all types of life insurance policy.

In contrast, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, which have the highest accident and fatality rates, only have the 11th highest average premium. They pay an average of £27.58 per month, despite there being 123% more accidents per 100,000 workers than average.

A smoker in a relatively safe industry, such as finance and insurance, will still be paying significantly more (£40.84) a month than a non-smoker in a more dangerous industry, such as construction (£25.35).

MoneySuperMarket data states that farmers and builders are paying £18,277 and £17,559 respectively on life insurance over the course of a lifetime, lower than perceived ‘safer’ jobs such as TV and theatre producers and IT consultants (£24,149 and £19,066 respectively). This is despite farmers and builders seeing the highest number of fatalities since 2017 (29 and 38 respectively).

Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Those who are acutely aware that their job is more dangerous on a daily basis than average can feel reassured that having a riskier role doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay more for your life insurance.

“Of course, each quote is entirely unique, with a variety of factors coming into play. It’s best to double-check that the details you provide are accurate to ensure a suitable quote and avoid higher premiums.”

Comparison websites to be trusted?

Consumer patience and trust in price comparison websites may be under threat following a recent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into aggregator-insurer relationships that revealed different prices are being offered for the same policies across the sites, according to GlobalData Financial Services.

GlobalData shoparound exercises, conducted across the four leading aggregators (Comparethemarket.com, Confused.com, Moneysupermarket.com, and Gocompare.com) in each personal line (motor, home, travel, and pet) highlighted pricing disparities in each product.

The differentiation means consumers are justified in searching through multiple aggregators to find the best deal – an activity which itself limits customer ‘ownership’ by any one site – but consequently drives consumer confusion and limits the convenience afforded by the comparison services.

A YouGov survey, released in January 2018, indicated that consumers are becoming wary of this. Results found that while 62% of consumers conduct research at renewal, only 9% said they were happy with the process.

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