Can A Smoker Get Health Insurance In India?

India ranks second in the world in the consumption of tobacco. 29% of India’s population consumes tobacco on a regular basis. At least 2% of India’s population is affected by cancer every year through smoking and other ways of tobacco consumption. Around 1% of deaths in India are caused due to cancers.

The risk of cancer through direct consumption of cigarettes or through passive smoking is expected to increase by around 5% every year because the cigarette market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5%. 

Looking at the increasing health risk due to smoking, health insurance companies in India have made sure to provide health cover to smokers as well. These health insurance plans are offered at comparatively higher premiums with few different terms and conditions which we shall discuss in this article.

  • Among Smokers, Who Can Get Health Insurance In India?

 The health insurance in India is offered to smokers based on their daily tobacco consumption. Usually those who are habitual of smoking 2-4 packets in a day are not offered health insurance plans. However, if a person consumes less than 10 cigarettes in a day can get a health insurance plan by paying slightly higher premiums compared to non-smokers. A few health insurance companies even offer cessation programs under which if a smoker quits smoking for 2 years, then the premiums for health insurance will be reduced.

  • How Can A Smoker Apply For Health Insurance In India?

While applying for a health insurance plan, the General Insurance company may ask to get a medical check up to detect the traces of nicotine in the body and other health conditions.

The application form for a health insurance plan contains a section asking several questions about the smoking habits for example:

  • Did you smoke today? Yes or No
  • How many cigarettes?
  • Were you exposed to the smoke of others? Yes or No
  • Where were you exposed to smoke? Home or Work or Others
  • How would you classify the amount of passive smoking exposure? Minimal, Moderate, Great and Severe.

You are expected to answer the questions correctly to avoid rejection of claims in future.

  • What Are The Different Terms And Conditions For Smokers?

Health insurance in India for smokers and non-smokers are very similar, the only difference is that premiums are charged higher for smokers as compared to non-smokers.

As per health insurance companies in India, anyone who consumes nicotine in any form is determined as a smoker. 

The health insurance companies expect that any changes in lifestyles and any pre-existing diseases like diabetes, hypertension should be disclosed upfront by a smoker. Terms and conditions of your policy can differ on the severity of pre-existing diseases.

  • When Does A Claim Get Rejected?

Health insurance claims are usually rejected only if any false statements are made on the health insurance application and as per the terms and conditions as mentioned in the policy document.

Insurance claims are often rejected on false data, a smoker might provide details of 2-3 cigarettes a day but when they fall ill and a claim is made, if the medical test shows that you have more nicotine content in the body than one who smokes 2-3 cigarettes a day then your claim may get rejected.

Make sure to get your policy documents from an insurance agent or insurance company on purchasing a policy. Most insurance companies state the policy documents can be downloaded on their Portal rather than having it sent to customers on emails. Please contact the insurance agent to get these documents on email or on paper and make sure you read the document properly and keep it safe. If you are not convinced with the policy terms and conditions, then a policy can be returned within 15-30 days without any charges.

  • What Are The Benefits Of Having Health Insurance Plans For Smokers?

Health insurance provides health to smokers against several lifestyle diseases such as cancer, hypertension, heart diseases, lung diseases, etc which may be caused due to smoking. With rising medical inflation, the cost of treatment for these lifestyle diseases are getting expensive too. It’s best to have health insurance for covering any medical expenses caused due to smoking rather than having your savings broken. 

Health insurance plans cover accidents and other diseases too as per the terms and conditions in your policy documents.


We recommend that one should always buy a health insurance plan from an insurance agent or advisor rather than going and buying it directly from the Insurance companies as the advisor can be your one point of contact for most of the customer service requirements and also guide you in choosing the best health insurance in India.

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