Vape Friendly Life Insurance

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Posted 24th June 2021 by

2.7 Million UK adults use a vape or e-cigarette according to gov.uk. That’s around 6% of the population. While smoking tobacco based products (including cigarettes) is still more common at 13.8% and 16% dependent on what survey you look at. With more adults turning to vapes it’s important to understand the effects on your insurance costs.

Many people see vaping as a safer alternative to smoking. Yet it’s still early days and there’s a lack of research to show the long-term health impact of vaping.

Public Health England explains that the most popular reason for vaping among young people both overall, and among never, former and current smokers was “just to give it a try”.

The second and third most popular reasons for vaping were “I liked the flavours” and “other people use them, so I join in”. 21.1% of current smokers used vaping products in place of, or to quit smoking. Under 1 in 10 (9.7%) of current smokers said they vaped because they enjoyed the experience, and 1.8% reported being addicted to vaping. Under 1% of all young people said they used vaping products because they “look cool”.

With a lack of consensus on vaping from the scientific community, the insurance industry is taking a conservative approach. Yet it seems many people have simply “tried” vaping and may be penalised for years to come on their insurance premiums.

Today we’re exploring all the common questions around vaping and it’s likely effect on your life insurance cover.

Can I get life insurance if I vape?

The majority of vape and e-cigarette users can get life insurance or critical illness. However, most insurers in the UK consider vape and e-cigarette “smokers” meaning you’ll pay a higher premium than a non-smoker.

What do insurance companies classify as a non-smoker?

Most insurers ask a question like this:

“During the last 12 months have you smoked any nicotine or nicotine replacement products (these include but are not limited to cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, nicotine gum, nicotine patches and vaping etc.)

To avoid doubt, if you have used any of these products (even once) in the last 12 months, you’ll be classified as a smoker.

Some insurers now go as far as asking the same question but extending the timeframe to 5 years.

To be classified as a non-smoker, you’ll need to be nicotine free for at least 12 months.

Be completely honest with your broker as they’ll be able to assist you in understanding what insurers application wording may be most tolerant to your individual circumstances.

Does vaping affect your life insurance premiums?

Yes. Non-smoker rates are roughly half those of a vape with similar health. The price can rise even further is you vape and have a health condition that the insurer “rates” (increases in price). It’s important to be honest with your life insurance agent or financial adviser to ensure your policy pays out.

Do I need to say I “smoke” if I vape?

Yes. Life insurance applications typically ask if you have “smoked” in the last 12 months or 5 years. However, many expand this question with guidance in brackets to ensure the question also covers electronic cigarettes, vaping, and any other nicotine or nicotine replacement products. If you choose to use a whole of market life insurance broker, they will help you find the most tolerant insure for your health and lifestyle.

young business woman sittinga t a desk working on amicrosoft surface while smoking an e-cigarette

What is the cheapest insurance for people who smokers and vapers?

Our understanding around the effects of vaping is changing all the time. Therefore, insurers are constantly reviewing their underwriting guidelines. In addition, some insurers will now also offer to reduce your premiums once you’ve stopped vaping for 12 continuous months. Some may ask you to prove this by taking a cotinine test but your price could as much as half once this has been completed.

The best way to ensure you’re finding the cheapest company is to speak to a whole of market life insurance broker. They’ll be able to help you understand all the latest underwriting criteria and ultimately find the cheapest price.

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Why am I considered as “smoker” if I vape?

At the moment insurers have bundled smokers and vapers into the same category. It’s no secret that cigarette smoking or any form of combustible tobacco smoking is bad for your health. However, these still not enough scientific evidence to convince insurers that vaping is any better.

This may well change in the future but it’s likely to be some time before we really understand the long-term affects of vaping.

Should I tell my life insurance company that I vape?

Life insurance is underwritten at the point of application. Usually this means if your health and circumstances change during the policy term then you do not need to tell your insurer. It’s important, however, to double check your policy documents to ensure you do not have a “reviewable” policy, in which case you may have to disclose your new smoking habits.

If you’re taking out a new policy, it’s always imperative that you’re completely honest with your broker or insurance company.

If you already have a policy from before you started vaping and you need more cover it may be worth considering taking a new policy.

Am I considered a smoker if my vape is nicotine-free?

Possibly. Each insurer offers brokers guidance on what they consider being a “smoker”. At the time of writing there is one UK insurer that will consider you to be a non-smoker if your vape liquid is 100% nicotine free. Speaking to a whole of market broker will give you the best chance of ensuring you’re paired with the most tolerant life insurance provider.

Again it’s important to be honest here as the last thing anyone wants is for you to pay into a policy that then later may not pay out. UK Life insurance companies are renowned for their high claim payout rate (98.3% in 2019). Please ensure you’re not one of the minority that do not end up with a valid claim.

Sign saying "stop" made out of cigarettes

Where can I find help to stop smoking?

Companies such as Vape UK offer advice on vaping and many similar companies also claim to offer advice on quitting smoking. Remember, these are businesses and their aim will always be to help you understand the “benefits of vaping”. This creates a conflict and they’re advice may not help you to stop smoking.

The NHS offers a wide range of advice and support to help you stop smoking. Before making any health-related decisions, it usually pays to speak to a medical professional first. Access to the NHS Stop Smoking services can be found on the NHS website.

Get a free life insurance quote today

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Chris Reed

Senior Financial Service & Marketing Leader | Experienced in Sales Leadership, Business Development and Digital Marketing Lead Generation | Passion for progressing business using technology.

I have worked for Protect Line since 2011 in many different positions. I have a passion for protection and I love helping ensure as a business we talk in plain English.

In my opinion, financial protection should be a part of our schools curriculum. Currently it's down to the private sector to help provide unbiased factual information.

My aim is to help share the benefits of using a non-advised brokerage to secure financial protection for your family.