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How to get life insurance if you use marijuana
Insurers will assess your risk depending on why and how often you use the drug.
This article was reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and certified insurance counselor and licensed insurance agent in five states.
Can I get life insurance if I use marijuana?
Yes. Many top life insurance companies insure cannabis users, but they tend to be cautious about coverage. Insurers care about how frequently you smoke and whether you use cannabis for an underlying health problem, which may indicate a more serious risk than casual cannabis use.
As the legal framework for the drug evolves, so will marijuana life insurance underwriting.
How do life insurers classify marijuana use?
Marijuana use falls into two main categories, and insurers will assess how often you use the drug and what you use it for when deciding whether to cover you. Like tobacco, the more you use it, the riskier you’ll be in the eyes of the insurer.
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 your conditions, rather than the use of cannabis to treat them. Those who use it medically are less likely to be classified as smokers.
Recreational cannabis use could classify you as a smoker if you use it often. Underwriters consider the frequency — the more you smoke cannabis, the more likely an insurer will consider you a smoker.
How do I get approved for life insurance if I use marijuana?
You can improve your chances of approval and potentially cut your premiums by doing the following:
- Find a company that considers you a nonsmoker. Some insurance companies will raise the premiums of smokers to over two times that of nonsmokers. Others won’t consider you a smoker if you occasionally and recreationally use marijuana. During your research, look at more lenient providers like Lincoln National.
- Don’t lie on your application. Lying on your application can deny your beneficiaries a payout. Plus, if you take a medical exam, the blood and urine tests will pick up on any THC in your system. To avoid being denied coverage, be upfront about your marijuana use from the start.
- Consider no-exam policies. You might find slightly higher rates for life insurance policies without a medical exam, but you won’t have to worry as much about being rejected.
- Compare insurers. Think about using a broker to help you find an insurer that will accept your marijuana use. Since brokers aren’t tied to a particular provider, they may be able to offer more options.
Does my state affect my chances of getting approved?
The life insurance industry has eased up on marijuana use in recent years as states across the country have legalized or decriminalized it.
States with legal recreational marijuana use with restrictions
- District of Columbia
States with legal medical marijuana use
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
How will marijuana use affect my life insurance premiums?
Marijuana use is one factor insurers will look at when assessing your premiums. How much weight it carries comes down to the insurer, as well as your overall risk profile. One insurer may classify the use of more than once a week with smoker rates, while another may approve up to two times a week as a nonsmoker.
Here are a few ways using cannabis may affect your premiums:
- How often you use marijuana. Frequency can be a huge determining factor, especially for recreational use. Heavy use will likely increase your premiums more than occasional or experimental use.
- Why you use it. 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 is likely going to be evaluated more harshly than just the medicinal cannabis.
- Any conditions you’re treating with cannabis. Cancer or multiple sclerosis will be weighed more seriously than appetite loss on the scale of conditions cannabis is used to treat.
- How you consume cannabis. Smoking will likely be evaluated more harshly than edibles or vaporizers by some providers.
- Other risk profile factors. DUI and DWI offenses on your record along with frequent alcohol use, substance abuse and psychiatric conditions affect how your cannabis use is seen by some insurers.
Do edibles count?
Yes, most life insurers will require you to note any use of products containing THC on your application, even if you don’t smoke it. Life insurers still consider any marijuana consumption a slight risk, but you might see lower rates than smokers.
Compare life insurance companies for marijuana users
The best marijuana life insurance companies
While applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, these insurers are known to have more relaxed underwriting standards for marijuana users:
- Lincoln Financial
- Mutual of Omaha
- Pacific Life
Use of cannabis won’t get your application dismissed out of hand with several providers. Make the effort to compare insurers carefully to get the best premiums and reduce the chance of being considered a smoker. You may not be able to get a nonsmoker rate, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be denied altogether.
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