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How to get life insurance if I smoke pot
Coverage depends on frequency and your reason for using cannabis.
With the nation-wide legalization of marijuana, life insurance companies are looking more closely at the why you’re using cannabis to determine coverage. Insurance companies can be cautious about coverage and may consider your chronic medical conditions when they determine coverage.
Can I get life insurance if I use cannabis?
Life insurance companies will generally insure cannabis users. Insurance providers care about how frequently you smoke and what you use cannabis for, not necessarily if you use it occasionally for recreation. The reason for this is that an underlying health problem may be more serious of a risk than casual cannabis use.
Normally, your insurance rates won’t be impacted if you are classified as a recreational cannabis user.
How does the law come into play?
Because the government of Canada legalized the use of cannabis, insurance companies have had to reevaluate how they assess the insurance risks of cannabis users. In prior years, insurance companies placed marijuana users in the same category as smokers – resulting in much higher premiums. Now, only cannabis users that exceed the weekly limit set by the insurance company could fall under the smoker category.
How do I increase my chances of approval?
You can improve your chances of approval and potentially cut your premiums by doing the following:
- Find a company that considers you a nonsmoker. Underwriters consider the frequency — the more you smoke cannabis, the more likely an insurer will consider you a smoker. Based on how often you use cannabis, you can try to find a company whose recreational use limits align with your habits.
- Don’t lie on your application. Lying on your application can deny your beneficiaries a payout after you die. Plus, if you take a medical exam, the blood and urine tests will pick up on any marijuana in your system. To avoid being denied coverage, be upfront about your marijuana use from the start.
- Take the time to compare providers. Think about using a broker to help you find an insurer that will accept your marijuana use and at the lowest cost. Since brokers aren’t tied to a particular provider, they may be able to offer more options.
- Send a cover letter. Explain why and how often you use marijuana. This will support your case and give the underwriter a clearer idea of how to approach your policy.
Compare insurance providers
Many providers will insure marijuana users. However, since all life insurance policies are dependent on the health and activities of an individual, premiums may be affected by using cannabis.
How do life insurers classify cannabis use?
How insurers classify cannabis use depends on how often you use it and what you use it for. Similar to tobacco use, it’s classified as a higher risk the more often you use it.
Medical cannabis use is likely to be scrutinized for what it’s treating. If it’s used for chronic medical conditions including long-term pain, anxiety and Crohn’s Disease, coverage is determined based on it the conditions, rather than the use of cannabis to treat it. Those who use it medically are less likely to be considered smokers.
Recreational cannabis. The general rule across insurance companies for recreational cannabis is 2-4 joints per week to be considered a casual user. Some insurance companies may include a certain amount of edibles as part of the weekly recreational use limits, while others don’t take edibles into account at all. When shopping around for life insurance policies, it’s important to clarify with each potential insurer what their company’s definition of recreational cannabis use is.
How will cannabis use affect my premiums?
Luckily, cannabis doesn’t always affect your risk profile. Your premiums rise or fall based on your overall insurance rating, determined by your risk profile. Ratings won’t be the same across every insurance provider, because insurers may assess cannabis use differently.
On average, life insurance premiums in Canada cost less than $50 per month. A $100,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for a male non-smoker between around 35 years old would cost around $18-$26 a month (assuming he is in good health). Your actual premium is based on lots of factors like your age, gender, health, occupation, lifestyle and smoking habits.
Here are a few ways using cannabis may affect your premiums:
- How often cannabis is used. Frequency can be a huge determining factor, especially for recreational use. Heavy use will likely increase your premiums more than occasional or experimental use.
- Recreational versus medical use. Medical use is considered to be less of a risky behavior overall by several providers, but calls into question what it’s treating. A mix of prescription cannabis paired with opioids are likely going to be evaluated more harshly than just the medicinal cannabis.
- The medical condition it’s treating. Cancer or multiple sclerosis will be weighed more seriously than appetite loss on the scale of conditions cannabis is used to treat.
- How cannabis is consumed. Smoking could be evaluated more harshly than edibles or vaporizers by some providers.
- Other risk profile factors. DUI offenses on your record along with frequent alcohol use, substance abuse and psychiatric conditions affect how your cannabis use is seen by some insurers.
The recreational use of cannabis, generally, won’t get your application dismissed out of hand with life insurance providers. Make the effort to compare insurers carefully to get the best premiums and reduce the chance of being considered a smoker. If you use it more frequently than recreational limits allow, you may not be able to get a nonsmoker rate, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be denied altogether.
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