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Are male smokers penalised when it comes to buying life insurance?


Hi there, I want to buy life insurance for both my husband and I. As a 31yr old female non smoker, the initial quote for me comes up at just under $21 a month. My husband is a 29 yr old male who smokes only a few cigarettes a week but for insurance purposes must be declared as a ’smoker’ and his initial quote comes in at $53 a month. It seems amazing how much extra that is, so I checked how much I’d be charged if I was a smoker and my quote went up to $31 a month. Can I ask why he would be charged $22 a month more than me, even though he is younger? Is it really that risky being male? A few dollars difference I could understand but 70% more than a female smoker? Please can you explain this? Many thanks, (Name withheld)


No. Male smokers are not penalised.

Life insurance rates are designed to reflect your actual risk of dying earlier than the average of your population. Premium rates are calculated using ‘actuarial’ tables based on actual mortality experience across tens, even hundreds of thousands of lives.

Sometimes these rates can reflect things that are quite scary.

Take the rates for a 25year old male versus a 25 year old female. The risk of an early death for the male is 175% greater than that of the female. And younger isn't better either! The risk for a 20 year-old male is around 60% greater than that of a 30 year-old male. And smoking is a killer... it increases your risk by anything from 25%~50% depending on your age.

Email received from [name withheld]...Hi Ed, thank you for taking the time to reply. I really didn't know how much expense this husband was going to cost me. I should have married a 30 year old non smoking woman!! Never mind too late now.

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