Life insurers that offer the lowest rates are able to do so because they completely underwrite their applicants using a medical exam and drug test. Simply put, the more information an insurer has about you, the better they can determine the risk they are taking and offer you low-cost life insurance.
It should be understandable that when a life insurer promises to pay your beneficiary several hundred thousand dollars, they are entitled to consider all aspects of your life that may or may not be life threatening.
- Health History – There are illnesses and diseases that can be considered life threatening and your insurer is entitled to that information during the underwriting process.
- Family Health History – Certain illnesses and disease are considered hereditary and may not have been experienced yet, but chances are likely they will in the future, so your insurer is entitled to review your family health history.
- Height and Weight – Individuals who are overweight or underweight are susceptible to life-threatening illnesses or diseases and therefore may be a higher than normal risk to an insurer.
- Current or Attained Age – Since life insurance rates are primarily age-based, your insurer is entitled to receive proof of your date of birth.
- Driving Record – To properly underwrite your insurance application, your insurer will likely order a motor vehicle report and look for dangerous activity or traffic offenses such as DUI or DWI that indicate a particular lifestyle that the insurer is reluctant to accept.
- Occupation – Certainly, there are occupations that are more dangerous than others. Police officers, firemen, military personnel, and other first responders who participate in dangerous occupations are likely to be rated higher than applicants who’s occupations are not considered dangerous.
- Medicinal and Recreational Drug Use – The life insurance companies offering the lowest rates will also check for drug use. Prescription drugs typically indicate an underlying health issue that needs to be considered, and recreational drug use might indicate a lifestyle that an insurer believes is a higher risk.
The Proof Is not In the Pudding, but in the Medical Exam
In order to offer the lowest life insurance rates possible, most insurers are going to require a medical exam. Typically, the exam is not as comprehensive as a complete physical exam performed by a physician, but usually consists of an examiner (nurse or EMT) determining your height and weight, blood pressure, urine, and blood sample, and depending on your age and health history, an EKG.
What Drug Type of Drug Test?
If your insurer orders a life insurance medical exam, it will generally include a drug test. The drug test is similar to the tests you may have taken for employment and may or may not include blood and urine testing. If your insurer orders a full drug panel (most of them do), the drugs that will be included in the test are:
- Amphetamine and Methamphetamine
If you intentionally omit using any of these drugs and they are indicated in your drug test, you will likely receive an automatic decline. If you admit to using marijuana or nicotine on your application and are honest about your frequency of usage, the insurer will expect a positive test result and will not decline your application.
Your honesty when answering questions about marijuana use is very important. If, for example, you indicate smoking marijuana only once per week, but your specimen indicates a much higher dosage, do not expect the insurer to take your word for it and offer the lowest rate for occasional marijuana use.Ready to get started? Fill out our Instant Quote Form!
Some of the top-rated life insurance companies such as MetLife, Prudential, and Pacific, offer non-smoker rates for marijuana users who indicate only occasional usage of once or twice a week. With every insurer offering favorable rates, these are not etched in stone. The applicant will have to undergo a medical exam that includes urine and blood testing to support their usage claim on the application. In other words, you will have a chance to qualify for the rate.
Cigarette smokers will automatically be classified as a smoker, but a cigar smoker (with some companies) may still qualify as a non-smoker since cigar smokers usually do not inhale. Although marijuana use may automatically trigger the smoker rates with many companies, there are “marijuana friendly” companies that offer non-smoker rates if usage is three or fewer times per week. If marijuana is only ingested and not smoked, some insurers will even offer a preferred rate if there are no other health issues listed on the application
Drug Issues that Could Affect You
It’s important to note that although many life insurance companies are taking a more liberal stance on marijuana use, no insurance company is going to welcome an applicant that is a drug abuser. Knowing this, if you think your drug test might reveal some issues to that could lead to your application being declined, you should consider applying with an insurer who does not require medical exams. There are many non-exam companies available, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting insured as long as you are willing to pay a higher rate for your policy.
If for whatever reason, you prefer to purchase insurance without undergoing a medical exam or drug test, there are many insurers who can accommodate you. Here is a list of the top five.
- Principal – The Principal Financial Group not only offers term insurance with no medical exam requirements, they have very attractive rates. They refer to non-medical exam underwriting as “accelerated underwriting” and typically get your policy approved in as little as 48 hours.
- American National Life – American National Life is a highly rated insurer that offers a term product called Freedom Term Life Insurance. This no-exam policy makes it easy to get a policy issued quickly (approval is 15 minutes) and although more expensive than fully underwritten term insurance, the additional premium is not as significant as with other insurers.
- Assurity – Assurity Life Insurance Company is an “A” rated carrier that offers a no medical exam term product with a death benefit of up to $350,000 at very affordable rates.
- Fidelity Life – Fidelity Life offers its Rapid Decision Express no-exam policy with quick approval due to state-of-the-art technology. The product is available for 10, 15, 20, and 30-year terms.
- Mutual of Omaha – Mutual of Omaha offers non-medical exam policies through its United of Omaha Company. They offer policies for individuals between 45 and 85 years old.
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