Since over fifty percent of states have legalized the use of marijuana in some fashion, marijuana use is making the news now more than ever in America. Many consumers remain unsure, however, how the usage of marijuana, either recreational or for medical reasons, might affect the ability to purchase life insurance. Based on this, let’s discuss how insurance companies are responding to underwriting for marijuana use.
We’ve learned over time that legalization of marijuana typically begins with legalization for medical use. Pulling at the heartstrings of American voters appears to be the most successful method of introducing it into the conversation. The marijuana lobby (it is substantial) often pretends that marijuana use is about treating symptoms resulting from debilitating illnesses when if fact, the final goal is always to get recreational use legalized as well.
Up to now, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of marijuana use and three others will be joining the group after recently passing legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana. Out of this group, seven states and D.C. have legalized recreational use. Marijuana usage will certainly become a significant issue in the future, especially in terms of how it relates to life insurance underwriting and pricing.
How Life Insurers have Responded
Due to marijuana’s legalization being a new concept, and research still ongoing, many life insurers are taking a wait-and-see attitude, while others have liberalized underwriting guidelines for getting approved.
Most insurers do not view the usage of marijuana in the same context as more powerful drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. And according to current underwriting guidelines, its usage will not result in an automatic rejection.
What currently concerns insurance underwriters more than anything else, is the degree of usage, and most companies have differing views about it. Insurers will not consider marijuana use in a vacuum, rather they will consider usage and the degree thereof with other risk factors such as cardiovascular conditions and any other health issues that are presented. It makes sense that if an applicant is in good health overall, the impact of marijuana usage will have less impact.
The Likely Impact
Although, as stated earlier, life insurers are unlikely to consider marijuana use as being similar to the harder form of narcotics, they will typically classify marijuana users as smokers for getting approved. But in many cases, this consideration varies from one insurer to another.
Today, underwriters focus on the frequency of use and how it’s used, to determine the classification of the applicant. If you smoke just a few times a month, you’ll likely receive a standard rating and then charged accordingly. If, however, your usage is purely for medical purposes and the underlying condition is not severe, you may receive a non-smoker rating.
Non-Disclosure is A Deal Breaker
No matter what your circumstances may be, you must disclose your marijuana usage in the life insurance application, since the use of marijuana can be easily determined through blood or urine tests that are typically a part of the medical exam.
If you fail to disclose your usage, and it is indicated on your blood or urine test, your insurer is very likely to decline your application for misrepresentation. It’s also important to note that even if you omit your usage on the application and your urine and blood tests are normal if you should die within the two-year contestability period, your insurance company has the right to investigate every answer on your application.
How Companies will Differ
As previously stated earlier, each life insurance company may have different views when it comes to marijuana use. If you are a marijuana user, whether medical or recreational, it’s important to know which life insurers have the most liberal views on the matter, in order to get the most favorable rate.
Metlife appears to be the most liberal insurer for marijuana users. They are willing to offer non-smoker rates for applicants that report using marijuana up to four times a week. The company is one of the few that distinguishes between edible and smoking use. Depending on the frequency and amount of edible use, the company has offered preferred elite rates to applicants who use edibles infrequently. Metlife is considered the frontrunner by agents who are familiar with life insurance underwriting and have done research on the matter.
Prudential is another company that has opened up their underwriting guidelines for marijuana users. The company is okay with applicants who use marijuana up to three times per week and is willing to offer standard non-smoker rates. They also appear to be more liberal when it comes to medical use and the typical underlying illness. The company considers itself a progressive trailblazer when it comes to underwriting marijuana usage.
United of Omaha
For regular weekly marijuana users, United of Omaha should be considered because of their offer of standard non-smoker rates. Although they will not offer preferred rates to marijuana users, they may be the go-to company for regular users.
Your Next Move
Hopefully, you’ve found the answer to your questions about marijuana and life insurance. Even though the life insurance marketplace continues to evolve on this matter, your search should start now by contacting an independent agent that represents all the major carriers and can shop your insurance needs completely.
Insurance companies make underwriting changes frequently, and your best move is to contact the insurance professionals at MarijuanaLifeInsurance360 to get updated and current advice on which companies are offering the most favorable rates.
Our insurance professionals will offer expert advice no matter what your personal situation may be, and are willing to do the work necessary to get you the most favorable rate in the marketplace. The good news is that the insurance companies pay us so you don’t have to. You’ll get expert and confidential advice from experienced and reputable insurance professionals.