When you apply to get life insurance coverage, the insurance company is going to look at a dozen different factors to calculate how much of a risk you are to accept. The higher the risk, the more they are going to charge you for insurance, if you are even deemed an acceptable risk. If you’re too high of a risk, they will decline your application, leaving you uninsurable by any insurance company in which you may submit an application.
One of the biggest factors is if you’re a cigarette smoker or you use chewing tobacco. Just about every applicant knows that tobacco users pay more for their life insurance than someone who doesn’t use tobacco. The statistics involving tobacco use and cancer, let alone early death rates, are astounding. Tobacco users with other health issues, such as high blood pressure or other medical conditions, may fall into the uninsurable category.
Marijuana usage is uncharted territory. Due to the newly implemented laws making marijuana legal in some states, the issue is becoming more and more of a question that life insurance companies are required to answer. Due to the fact that this is new territory, and there is little research on long term marijuana usage, life insurance companies will likely consider marijuana users as smokers in order to mitigate any health risks it may pose to users.
Marijuana use has drastically risen in the past several years, particularly since more and more states started legalizing its use. This leaves many applicants wondering if it’s going to cause their rates to go through the roof or cause them to lose the opportunity to be insured. Many users claim that the ailments suffered prior to the use of marijuana are no longer an issue, making them able to live life to the fullest potential. However, this does not mean that insurance companies will see the benefits as a positive impact.
It’s important that you get the best life insurance coverage at an affordable price. If you are looking for the perfect life insurance plan for a marijuana smoker, you’ve come to the right place.
How Do Life Insurance Companies Test for Marijuana?
Life insurance companies are in the business of helping families maintain a financial well-being in the event of a person’s death. However, they do this at a profit. Therefore, they must mitigate risk and insure those they feel are a good risk, as opposed to those who present a detrimental risk.
They will want to get an overall picture of your health. In order to do this, the insurance company will send a nurse to run a series of tests. During this test, they are going to get a blood sample and a urine sample, which will show them a variety of different things. With the blood and urine sample, they will see traces of your marijuana usage, as well as many other issues that may affect your overall health.
How Does Marijuana Usage Affect Rates?
Each insurance company is going to view marijuana users differently. Every company has different medical underwriting, especially when it comes to marijuana usage, but in general, most companies are going to have a conservative view of it. This means that if they find any traces of marijuana, you’re going to get higher monthly premiums if you get approved for coverage at all. Marijuana alone doesn’t mean that you’ll get declined for coverage, but if this is your only health issues, you are going to pay more for your life insurance plan simply because you tested positive for marijuana, especially in a state in which it is still illegal.
The good news is, each insurance company is different. They rate health issues differently. Some may be more favorable towards marijuana users than others. Because each insurance company is different, it’s is a good idea that you get several of quotes before you pick the one that’s going to work best for you. Finding the best company for you could be the difference in getting an affordable plan and paying hundreds of extra dollars every year for life insurance coverage, simply because you are a user of marijuana.
Another question that may affect your rate as a marijuana user is whether you are using marijuana for recreational purposes or medical purposes with a prescription. In most cases, recreational marijuana users may actually obtain a cheaper premium as there is not a health issue associated with their marijuana use. Those using medical marijuana must also address the health issues causing the need for the prescription.
For people with issues such as glaucoma or pain issues, this may be less of a concern than for those using it to help with dealing with cancer treatments, appetite issues, or other types of medical issues for which marijuana is prescribed. Keep in mind, the use of marijuana, itself, will not make you uninsurable, it would be the pre-existing conditions that could leave you uninsurable.
To put it in perspective, here is some information about typical pricing for marijuana smokers life insurance policies. The following compares non-smokers in excellent health with marijuana smokers. Both are 30 years of age, and seeking a $500,000 policy.
Note that smokers were people who smoked an average of 10 cigarettes a day, about the equivalent of one joint per day in terms of tar content. These numbers were also taken from companies that offered some of the best life insurance for smokers in terms of price and coverage.
As you can see, life insurance rates for smokers are about 2-4 times higher than for non-smokers. This is about what can be expected on average throughout the industry.
Can I Be Declined Coverage Because of My Marijuana Usage?
To keep the answer short; no. If you smoke marijuana, you are not going to be declined for insurance coverage automatically. You are not going to be arrested, but it can cause your rates to go up. Unfortunately, nothing in the insurance industry involves short or simple answers.
More and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, and some states are beginning to legalize it for recreational use as well (Colorado, Washington and Oregon to name a few). While there is no way to predict the future, we can guess that more states are going to continue to follow suit. That means that more insurance companies are going to have to review how they view marijuana smoking and what that is going to mean for applicants.
There is plenty of research available to these insurance firms to help determine the health risks associated with smoking marijuana. However, smoking marijuana is only one way it can be ingested. Unlike tobacco, the other ways of ingesting marijuana may not have the same or even similar health effects as smoking it has. Therefore, the insurance companies may also need to analyze how they evaluate marijuana usage beyond it simply coming back in a person’s blood or urine tests.
This concept of daily recreational marijuana usage is very new for insurance companies. In the past, many people would wait until marijuana was out of their system to schedule their medical exam for life insurance. However, now that marijuana use is legal for either medical or recreational use in many states, people are not hiding their use of marijuana. This creates a lack of experience for insurance companies when dealing with marijuana users. Because of the lack of experience and research surrounding marijuana usage, most insurance companies are going to be very conservative when insuring smokers. Many may still follow guidelines similar to those used for tobacco users.
As more studies come out about the long-term effects of marijuana, there will be more variance in rates. Many insurance companies will begin to see there is a distinct difference between the use of marijuana and tobacco, not to mention the use of marijuana and other recreational drugs. Therefore, just because you’re a marijuana smoker doesn’t mean that you have to pay a fortune for your life insurance policy every month.
In most cases, life insurance companies are going to look at marijuana smokers like they are cigarette smokers. They will lump you in with tobacco users, which is going to equal much higher premiums for your insurance coverage. Rest assured, this is temporary. As mentioned above, insurance companies will eventually see the difference between the two and likely adjust rates accordingly or develop a marijuana rate table all to itself. However, until that occurs, it is a good idea to look for insurance companies that are more open about marijuana usage and have done the research to allow for a more liberal approach.
No Medical Exam Plan
There is always the option to apply for a no medical exam life insurance policy. However, because the risk is so high on the insurers end, the premiums reflect this risk, and are usually very high.
Unless you have pre-existing health problems that are causing you to use marijuana for medical purposes, it is likely that applying for a no-exam policy would not be beneficial for you, and would cost you far more money than a policy where you were rated as a smoker because of your marijuana use.
No medical exam life insurance policies have their place in the insurance world for protecting those that are severely or terminally ill and want to protect their family financially in the event of their death. However, for recreational marijuana smokers who are healthy outside of their smoking habits, it is not an economical option.
Life Insurance for Marijuana Smokers
To review the issues relating to marijuana usage and life insurance, first understand that being a marijuana user, in and of itself, will not preclude you from obtaining a life insurance policy, much in the same way that being a tobacco user, in and of itself, will not preclude you from obtaining life insurance. The ancillary health issues or an underlying health issue may preclude you from obtaining health insurance, especially when combined with the perceived risk of insuring marijuana users. However, the use of marijuana may cause you to pay much higher premiums for a policy.
Many insurance companies are still determining how to view marijuana use in terms of an insurance risk. Currently, many companies are using the guidelines associated with smoking and applying that to marijuana users. However, as more research and information become available, this may change. Companies may need to determine how marijuana is ingested as well as whether it is used to determine the true health risks regarding insurance.
Most life insurance options require a medical exam. These exams include blood and urine tests as well as a myriad of other health-related questions and tests. Some companies may even request a copy of your medical records from your physician. As the use of marijuana increases due to states legalizing its use, this will become a more commonplace issue that insurance companies will likely address on the onset. Due to the legality of marijuana, users are no longer attempting to hide using it, such as waiting until it cannot be detected in one’s system before submitting to medical tests.
Some companies are more liberal when it comes to marijuana, and they have already done much of the research associated with the risk of marijuana use, or lack thereof. These companies offer insurance to all types of individuals. However, they typically have a niche in the insurance industry to help provide coverage to those who may be subject to higher premiums with more conservative insurance companies.
Why to Consider Working With an Insurance Agent
Do you still have questions about marijuana and life insurance? Do not leave your questions to chance. Call the experts who have studied the laws and the risks associated with marijuana use. Give us a call today. We can answer your questions and help connect you with a quality plan. That will fit your needs and provide you peace of mind. It’s our mission to put you in the best place possible to get affordable insurance.
Because you can’t predict the future, you never know what’s going to happen, which means that you shouldn’t wait to get the life insurance protection. No matter how healthy you may be or what types of risks you avoid, life happens, and you cannot stop it from happening. Make sure your family is protected financially if you are no longer available to protect them and provide for them. Our agents have years of experience working with marijuana smokers and can ensure that you’re getting the best plan to meet your needs and protect your family’s financial future.