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As per a new survey, nearly one-third of the respondents said that they avoid buying a health insurance policy as they are apprehensive of facing rejection for their application by insurance firms due to their unhealthy habits. More than half of those participating in the survey also said that they had not revealed their smoking habit while purchasing health insurance policies. Smokers fear that insurers will consider ailments that may arise in future, a result of their habits and reject the application or claims. However, such concerns are unnecessary.
Smoking or pre-existing ailments don't automatically restrain you from getting a health cover. It’s just that companies get a little more cautious while examining such applications. It is a misconception that if the proposer is a smoker, the application for policy purchase will be rejected without any second thoughts. In India, smoking, by itself, does not lead to premium loading or rejection of policy applications. However, if smoking has resulted in health complications at the time of making the proposal, it can affect the insurer's decision to issue you a policy.
Most insurers do not charge higher premiums from smokers, but some do take it into account while issuing policies. However, that decision depends on the individual's disclosure, medical reports and the company's stance. The health insurance providers usually ask additional questions to seasonal smokers while underwriting their policy request. The decision depends on the frequency of smoking. For regular smokers, the company loads or excludes certain health conditions depending on the health status of the proposer. The proposals are rejected if the seeker smokes more than 40 cigarettes a day.
As for pre-existing lifestyle illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, the seriousness of the condition would determine the fate of your application. Policyholders under the age of 45 are typically issued policies on the basis of the declaration of good health. However, if you happen to be a smoker or suffer from lifestyle diseases, you will have to go through medical tests. Premiums will be decided on the basis of your state of health. For instance, if you suffer from Type-II diabetes, most insurers will refuse to issue policies. Even if they do, they could issue specialized policies and the premium could be four to five times higher.
Many companies refuse to extend policies when you disclose pre-existing lifestyle diseases. Even if some companies agree to issue policies, they will come with premium loading.
However, this does not mean that one should hide a health condition or personal habits to obtain a cover. The cover would become worthless if you develop complications later. The insurance firm will be entitled to reject such claims.