Making a virtue out of your policy
If you can withstand such vices as smoking, drinking and meat-eating, you can cash in on your well-earned virtues with cheaper insurance cover
Saturday 01 September 2001
Virtue is said to be its own reward, but it can also bring financial benefits when buying insurance. Those who abstain from such temptations as drinking alcohol, eating meat or smoking cigarettes are targeted with cut-price insurance by companies that share their values.
In July, vegetarians were offered their own life insurance policy by niche brokers Animal Friends Insurance (AFI). It offers a 25 per cent discount on premiums in the first year to vegetarians buying life insurance or critical illness cover.
"Around four million people are vegetarians. Research suggests their lifestyle is healthier, which should mean they live longer and suffer fewer serious illnesses," says AFI director Christopher Fairfax.
AFI is a non profit-making organisation, which means it can offer savings to policyholders by rebating its commission. After business expenses are deducted, all profits are divided among various animal-related causes.
Teetotallers can buy insurance-based investment products from Rechabite Friendly Society, set up in 1835 to provide financial support for working people who had signed the pledge of abstinence. It offers two policies, a single-premium investment bond and a with-profits endowment policy.
Endowment returns may have fallen lately, but this little-known society has maintained impressive performance, paying annual bonuses on its endowment policy of between 7 and 8 per cent this year.
"We have 22,000 members across the country and there are around 600,000 active teetotallers in the UK," says chief executive Bill Turnbull.
He says Rechabite can reduce premiums on its endowment policy because it can negotiate a higher sum assured, as non-drinkers are considered to be a safer life insurance risk.
Insurance company Ansvar, originally set up by the Swedish temperance movement, offers discounts on household insurance to teetotallers, non-smokers, active church members and those involved in charity or voluntary work.
"Many accidents in the home are caused by drinking, while fires can be accidentally started by smokers, so there is an underwriting justification for these discounts," says Mark Ingram, head of insurance operations.
Customers who clock up all three virtues, will see the saving stack up on Ansvar policies, which are sold through insurance brokers.
To a lesser degree, most mainstream insurance companies consider lifestyle factors when setting premiums for life, critical illness, household and motor insurance.
Non-smokers benefit most, because their life expectancy and propensity to illness is much lower than smokers.
A non-smoking man aged 40 buying £100,000 life cover over a 25-year term would pay £28.20 a month with Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS), but £44.60 if he smoked.
A non-smoking female aged 30 buying £100,000 critical illness cover over 25 years would pay £23.80 with CIS, but £41.40 if she decided to take up the dreaded weed.
Alexandra Lovesey of insurance brokers Hill House Hammond says insurers increasingly examine customers' lifestyles when they are setting their premiums.
"If you are married or living with a permanent partner, some insurers will consider you a lower risk for motor insurance, and cut premiums. This is particularly the case for young men, as insurers think they will drive less recklessly if their partner is in the car."
Women, seen as safer drivers, should get cheaper motor insurance. Specialist insurer Diamond only covers female drivers, while Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a motor policy called Careful Lady Driver, for those aged between 25 and 69.
One virtue that is rarely rewarded by insurance companies is loyalty. If you want the cheapest premiums it pays to check out the competition at renewal, as insurers often slash their rates in order to attract new business.
Contacts: AFI 0870 444 3438 or www.animalfriends.org.uk; Ansvar 01323 737 541 for details of a broker selling its policies; Diamond 0800 36 24 36 or www.diamond.uk.com; Ecclesiastical Insurance 01452 528 533 or www.ecclesiastical-in surance.co.uk; Rechabite Friendly Society 0161 832 4821
- 4 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 5 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...
£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...
Day In a Page
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business