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Other Ways Smoking Impacts Your Wallet - Not Just Health Insurance

Everyone knows about the potential health hazards of smoking. It’s not likely that anyone cracking open an $8 pack of cigarettes is surprised—or even put off—by the Surgeon General warnings that adorn their packages. But did you know that being a smoker could also have a significant impact on your home and auto insurance premiums?

Homeowners insurance policy makers rationale is simple and straightforward: a home occupied by a smoker stands an inherently greater chance of burning to the ground than a home occupied by a non-smoker. It’s a fairly accurate assumption to make, given the laws of probability, which is one of the reasons non-smoking customers pay, on average, 10 percent less on premium rates than those who light up.

As for auto insurance, the typical smoker pays an average of 5 percent more than a non-smoker. Less than the increase in homeowners insurance costs but still significant—especially when you consider that full time smokers already spend an average $150-$200 a month on their vice of choice. The reason smokers are seen as higher risks behind the wheel are two-fold.
 

  • Smokers are perceived as more prone to engage in higher risk activities than non-smokers. Some auto insurance carriers could see this as a translation for taking unnecessary risks on the road—which may result in a higher instance of accidents.
  • Distraction behind the wheel is one of the leading causes of car accidents, and people who smoke when they drive have to sacrifice a percentage of their full attention from the road around them.

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