Need Another Reason to Quit Smoking? It May Lower Home Insurance Costs

Young adult does their home finances at a laptop in the kitchen.

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Homeowners generally need insurance coverage in order to protect their dwelling and to protect the property they own within their home.

Premiums for home insurance policies can cost thousands, though. As a result, it is a good idea for property owners to explore all of their coverage options with the goal of finding comprehensive home insurance protection at an affordable price.

There are many factors that go into determining how expensive home insurance premiums end-up being. Perhaps surprisingly, smoking cigarettes is one of those factors. Any property owner who currently smokes may wish to quit if they can, so they can help reduce their insurance rates — as well as take advantage of the other benefits that go along with giving up cigarettes for good.

How much does smoking increase home insurance costs?

Smokers generally pay more for coverage with any homeowners insurance company. But the exact amount of additional costs imposed on them due to their habit will vary depending on many factors, including which insurers they choose as not all insurers impose the same penalty for smoking.

Typically, though, most experts suggest the premiums for home insurance coverage for smokers are about 20% higher than the amount a non-smoker would pay for the same policy on the same type of house.

Why does smoking affect insurance premiums?

Smokers who are wondering why their insurance costs would be affected by their habits just need to understand one simple fact. Homeowners insurance companies try to assess the risk of a claim being made on the policy, and they set higher premiums when there’s a greater risk and lower premiums when the risk falls.

And smoking increases the risk of a costly claim being made on a home insurance policy. That’s because smoking cigarettes is one of the leading causes of house fires. Accidents can happen with cigarettes, including falling asleep with a lit one or failing to extinguish a cigarette completely. When and if this occurs and a fire happens, the home insurer could be on the hook for paying to rebuild or replace the property — and to replace its contents.

Home insurers are well aware of the higher chances of a fire damage claim coming from people who smoke. And since fire can be so destructive and the entire home often needs to be rebuilt — either because of the fire itself or because of smoke damage — insurers not only anticipate more claims from smokers but also have grounds to suspect those claims will likely be more expensive.

Since home insurers believe there is a greater likelihood they will have to pay out a costly claim when someone smokes, the insurer is going to charge a lot more for similar coverage obtained by smokers versus non-smokers. And this is just one of many ways smoking can affect people’s finances adversely. But unlike things like buying a pack of cigarettes, the costs of added insurance premiums is not immediately obvious.

For anyone who still smokes, stopping is a good idea if it is possible to do so. Otherwise, continuing the habit could lead to more expensive insurance costs as well as other issues as well.

The Ascent’s picks for best homeowners insurance companies

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