Choosing a life or health insurance policy can feel intimidating to some as they fear they will be forking out more than they should. However, the situation gets even trickier for those who suffer from medical conditions, or those who pursue dangerous activities, or use products considered hazardous, such as nicotine. A survey of over 500 vapers conducted in the UK by BoughtByMany.com found that :
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- 43% of vapers not aware their insurance premiums may be affected by vaping
- 85% believe that vapers should not pay the same premium as smokers
- 77% say that vaping actively helped them stop smoking
- 61% believe that vaping over smoking has improved their health
Vapers assume that vaping does not count as smoking
However most health and life insurance providers keep putting vapers and smokers under the same umbrella, by asking only about nicotine consumption rather than differentiating between smoking cigarettes and nicotine consumption via other avenues.
On the other end of the stick, if vapers asked about nicotine consumption assume that the question is only referring to smoking, and they state that they do not consume nicotine, they could potentially invalidate their insurance cover by inadvertently giving inaccurate information.
Insurers contradicting Public Health England
A leading price comparison website states “Whether you smoke or not may affect the cost of your health insurance policy. Smoking includes all tobacco and nicotine products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipes and nicotine replacement products such as e-cigarettes or ‘vapers’. It is important to answer this question accurately as it may affect your cover if you need to make a claim.”
Insurance expert Phil Nash of ActiveQuote said,
“There are 2 main issues to consider when considering vaping in relation to health insurance: From an insurer perspective, there is a risk that customers answer ‘smoking’ questions incorrectly. The likelihood is inadvertent, rather than deliberate non-disclosure although the outcome would very likely be the same in terms of non-payment of claim. Potentially, this problem could result in highlighted scenarios that end up in the financial press casting insurers in a negative light – we have seen previous similar issues in the industry around non-paid claims with little reference to non-disclosure. As such, there needs to be absolute clarity in terms of insurer application journeys wherever possible to mitigate this risk.
From a customer perspective, there is clearly a lack of awareness that vaping increases the cost of premiums. Coupled with the fact that many customers use vaping as a stepping stone toward stopping smoking, there is the likelihood that customers will not only be paying significantly inflated premiums at outset, but that if they do stop smoking (normally for a 12-month period) then they could benefit from much lower non-smoker premiums.”
E-cigarette consumers treated unfairly
Spokesperson for BoughtByMany.com, Sam Gilbert who conducted the survey said, “There is a potential question here for the insurance regulator as to whether Insurers in the face of new findings by Public Health England are treating consumers fairly and we hope to see some progress on this issue soon.”