Around 7% of people in Ireland have confessed to being less than truthful about their smoking and drinking habits in order to obtain cheaper life insurance, according to a recent study conducted by Peopl Insurance. The survey, which included 1,000 adults from across the country, revealed that while most applicants are honest when applying for insurance, there is a significant number who choose to withhold or downplay their smoking and drinking habits.
Peopl Insurance’s CEO, Paul Walsh, commented on the findings, stating, “There is definitely a cohort of people who knowingly do not declare, or underestimate, their smoking and/or drink levels to get cheaper cover. While not altogether surprising, it is ill-advised at best.” Walsh added that failing to disclose accurate information about smoking and drinking habits could result in a loss of claim for the policyholder or their family in the future. In some cases, false declarations could lead to the cancellation of a policy and a rejection of claims, leaving families without the valuable lump sums they may be entitled to following the death of a loved one.
Walsh further explained that insurers have the right to investigate any claim made, and if they discover that a policyholder was smoking while paying non-smoker premiums, they can refuse the claim. This emphasizes the importance of being honest and upfront when applying for life insurance.
The study also revealed some interesting trends among different demographics. Men were found to be more likely than women to underestimate their smoking and drinking habits in order to obtain a better insurance quote. Additionally, over four times as many women reported struggling to obtain life insurance compared to men. The age group most likely to be dishonest about their smoking and drinking habits was found to be between 45 and 54, with 10% of this cohort admitting to underdeclaring their habits. In contrast, only 3% of those over 55 and 2% of those aged between 18 and 24 admitted to doing the same.
The survey also highlighted the difficulties faced by some individuals in obtaining life or serious illness coverage due to pre-existing health conditions. More than one in 20 people seeking insurance reported struggling to obtain coverage due to health issues, with women being affected at a higher rate (10%) compared to men.
Furthermore, the study found that working-class individuals were less likely to have considered purchasing life or serious illness insurance compared to middle-class individuals. Approximately one in five people surveyed had never looked into obtaining this type of coverage. Walsh believes that these figures highlight the need for greater education about the benefits of life insurance and the financial protection it provides for individuals and their families.
“In light of these figures, we believe more work needs to be done to educate people about the benefits of life insurance and the financial protection it affords people and their families,” concluded Walsh. With Ireland currently having one of the highest excess mortality rates in the EU, it is crucial that individuals understand the importance of securing adequate life insurance coverage.