Are you a smoker? Have you ever tried to give up the habit? The chances are that you have, but like any addiction, it can be (and usually is) extremely difficult to stop, and even attempts to cut down rarely last very long. Part of the problem is that smoking can be very enjoyable, but only too often something can turn up which will instantly remove the enjoyment. Unfortunately that ‘something’ will very often be loss of health.
The insurance industry is well aware of this fact, so not surprisingly they try to ensure that they do not lose money by covering high risk customers at low risk rates. At the same time non-smoking customers for life insurance have been piling on the pressure in their search for lower premiums. This is where the internet comes into the picture.
It used to be the case that at best, anyone looking for competitive quotations for life insurance had to be prepared to spend a lot of time searching adverts and telephone directories for likely companies. They also had to be prepared to spend a lot of time on the telephone collecting information, and then to settle down to long and careful comparisons, covering bits of paper in confusing and often indecipherable notes.
But all that has changed. Now all they have to do is go online and check out as many companies as they wish. They will find information which is very carefully presented for maximum clarity, because a confused enquirer is highly unlikely to become a customer. It is now so easy to reach a decision that a ‘price war’ has developed and some very competitive quotations are available. This competition has however had an inevitable effect in that insurance companies have had to tighten up their procedures or risk losing money on the narrower margins.
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So they have hit the obvious target – smokers. Whilst the life insurance premiums for non-smokers have been steadily reducing, smoker’s premiums have moved away in the opposite direction. This has resulted in rates for smokers which are 100% or more above standard rates and still climbing. This, on top of the cost of the cigarettes (currently estimated to be approaching