Smokers paying twice as much for life assurance

Smokers in Ireland are now paying almost twice as much for life assurance as non-smokers following legal changes that have equalised the premiums paid by men and women.

But while a study shows that huge savings in premiums can be make by shopping around, the level of cover taken out by most people is not enough, according to industry experts.

The average claim for life insurance last year was just over €71,500, but a number of “super-claims” were paid out last year by Irish Life, according to a study conducted by the National Consumer Agency.

They made payments of over €1m each to the estates of six customers who died last year. The payments included one of €5m — the highest claim paid on a life policy in over seven years.

Irish Life head of claims Martin Duffy says the pay-outs reflect policies from the boom years, but he warned the level of life assurance taken out by most Irish people is still insufficient.

“There is certainly some evidence customers are looking to reduce or stop their premiums, but I would be very nervous about somebody stopping a premium or a plan without seeking financial advice. It’s very important that they talk to their insurer, seek about reducing their premium and thereby level of cover but at least it’s still cover.”

Age, health, occupation, and lifestyle are now bigger factors in the cost of insurance, with smokers paying, on average, 90% more.

The NCA yesterday published its latest life assurance cost comparison survey which reveals potential savings of up to €7,509 on term life assurance and €6,841 on mortgage protection insurance.

Fergal O’Leary, director of research and policy, commented: “Our survey found significant differences across all profiles, so even if you make relatively small savings per month on your policy, these could really add up over 10 to 35 years. For example, a difference in monthly premium of €3.16 for a 27-year-old non-smoker seeking term life insurance cover over 35 years, results in a saving of €1,327 over the policy term.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

More in this Section

Limerick mother's misunderstanding leads to space-age drone breakthrough

Mum and daughter drowned in flooded field after crash

Graham Norton’s tweet goes global but West Cork neighbour sells home to Irish buyer

‘I lost my only son. I see everything as being over’


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Juvenile arrested follow €420k heroin seizure

Gardaí to dig up Dublin garden in search of remains of two babies after historical abuse claims

Fianna Fáil emerges with most elected seats in the Seanad

Fianna Fáil TD questions legality of refunding water bills

Lifestyle

Can this humble syrup ward off Alzheimer’s Disease?

Help is out there for families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

Auschwitz drama shows humanity amidst the savagery

Album review: 'Lemonade is Beyonce’s finest album yet'

More From The Irish Examiner