There was a time in the not too distant past that marijuana smokers should have been worried about taking a drug test as part of the life insurance application process.
After all, testing positive for marijuana use could have made it very difficult to find an affordable plan and secure the coverage needed to protect their loved ones. Over the last twenty years things have changed, in fact marijuana use is no longer considered the taboo habit it once was by the life insurance industry. However, this doesn’t mean that all insurance companies will offer marijuana users equal levels of leniency.
Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth
One of the most common questions people ask when it comes to marijuana use and life insurance is whether they need to declare recreational or medical marijuana usage to potential insurance companies. The answer to this question is yes. If for recreational use the frequency of use is a key consideration. While, the medical issue that the prescriptive use of marijuana is treating will be the risk that the insurance underwriters will evaluate.
Another common question we hear at IntelliQuote is does life insurance test for marijuana?
Life insurance application processes for medically underwritten plans are very thorough and commonly include medical record checks and a medical exam that can include a drug test. If you receive either a urine test or a blood test, which is likely, it will show up evidence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in your body for several weeks after you last used marijuana.
Never lie on your insurance application, when the insurance company finds out that you weren’t completely honest the policy will be declined or cancelled, depending where you are in the application process. Well what about if they don’t ask? They’ll still find out.
One alternative may be to choose a non-medically underwritten plan, which is a type of life insurance plan that does not require you to take a medical exam. However, these plans may be more expensive than medically underwritten plans and you may be required to answer questions about drug use as part of the application process!
Understanding How Insurers Calculate Rates
To really understand how marijuana use affects life insurance rates it’s important to have basic knowledge about how life insurance companies calculate premiums. When it comes to life insurance, in fact any type of insurance, insurers care about one primary thing—the risk of issuing the policy. To determine the risk level of each application a life insurance company will conduct a risk assessment as part of the underwriting process. To do this they will look at your application as a whole and pay close attention to a number of key areas such as your current health, your family health history, your driving record, your age, the length of the policy, your hobbies, and your occupation. As you can see your health is just one part of the application, but it plays an important role in determining your premiums. Each life insurer has a number of health ratings that an applicant can be placed into, these ratings are split into two main sections: tobacco users and non-tobacco users. Tobacco users are considered to pose a much higher risk level than non-tobacco users, which means that their life insurance premiums will be much higher. Why does this matter for marijuana users? Because some insurance companies consider marijuana use as a similar level of risk as tobacco use.
Medical Marijuana and Life Insurance - How Will Marijuana Use Affect Your Life Insurance Options?
As we mentioned earlier there is no cohesive rule across the industry for how an insurance company will treat applicants who use recreational or medicinal marijuana. However, there are several outcomes for how marijuana users can expect insurers to handle their application:
-Your quote could be based on tobacco user rates—you’ll pay higher premiums
Although this may seem a little strange, especially if you don’t use tobacco at all, lumping marijuana users in with tobacco users is a simple way for insurers to assign applicants with a risk rating. This rating allows them to conservatively calculate the risk of issuing marijuana users with a life insurance policy, as like tobacco, marijuana contains carcinoids that can cause health issues.
-Your rates may be based on non-tobacco user rates—you’ll have access to the lowest premiums
If you only occasionally use marijuana you might still be able to qualify for non-tobacco rates. However, this is an exception rather than a rule.
Or your rates may just be based on the underlying medical issue that you are addressing with your prescription.
Work with experienced agents to find the most marijuana friendly life insurance companies.
Recreational/Medical Marijuana and Life Insurance—Finding the Best Rates
With the life insurance industry yet to establish a clear and cohesive way of assessing risk for marijuana users, whether use is for recreational or medical reasons, it’s imperative that marijuana users looking for life insurance work with an experienced insurance broker. Quotes will vary greatly between insurers, so to ensure that you get the most affordable plan it’s important to gather quotes from multiple insurance companies. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming! IntelliQuote is an online life insurance marketplace that can help you compare quotes in minutes. We also have a team of licensed and experienced agents who are here to help guide you to the best plan for your needs. Use our online quote form to get started or call (800) 963-6405 to speak to an agent today!