Certainly, most Americans are aware that marijuana use in some form has been legalized in over 50 percent of U.S. states. Most of these states have approved medical marijuana but many have approved recreational use as well. The times are changing, and with these changes, life insurers are looking at consumer behaviors in a little more liberal fashion.
Whether your state has legalized any form of marijuana use does not even come into play with life insurers because the herb is till banned at the federal level. A marijuana smoker is treated the same as a tobacco smoker by most life insurance companies, however, a small amount of insurers will offer non-smoker rates if the applicant smokes marijuana only a couple of times a week. Some companies are more liberal when it comes to marijuana use while many remain conservative on the issue.
Does Using Marijuana Mean Insurance will Cost More?
Using marijuana does not automatically mean you’ll pay more for life insurance unless you prefer to smoke it. And even then, there are several companies, such as MetLife, Prudential, and Principal who will offer non-smoker rates for applicants who use marijuana sparingly.
Users of medical marijuana will be treated just as any applicant that takes a prescription drug. The underlying illness or disease that the drug has been prescribed for is where the insurer will be more concerned. The issue is not that you take medical marijuana, the issue is why; what symptom is it treating or mitigating. In many cases, the medical marijuana is prescribed for pain or nausea relief caused by an illness that is not life-threatening, or it is prescribed to relieve side-effects caused by other medications.
Which Insurance Companies are Considered Marijuana-Friendly?
Yes, there are life insurance companies who take a liberal view when it comes to marijuana use whether smoked, vaped, or ingested. There are hundreds of life insurers offering coverage in the U.S. and although many consider marijuana use a major issue, there are some who have little to no problem of its usage.
There are typically three outcomes that can be expected.
- The application is declined by the insurer.
- The application is approved with smoker rates.
- The application is approved with non-smoker rates.
It’s important to understand that the classification (smoker or non-smoker) is only a starting point for the underwriter. Your medical history will be reviewed and a medical exam is also likely to be ordered. And of course, if you smoke tobacco, you’ll be rated as a smoker anyway.
And, believe it or not, there are some life insurance companies that do not ask about marijuana use in the application. If the question is not on the application, there is no reason to offer up any information about your marijuana use.
Medical Marijuana versus Recreational Use
Yes, there are far more states that have legalized medical marijuana than having legalized recreational use, but you should remember, the underlying health condition that justifies the prescription will be a concern for the underwriter. There’s no reason to be overly concerned since many medical conditions are not life threatening and therefore are of little concern to the underwriters.
Which Life Insurance Policy Is Most Affordable
Term life insurance will always be the most affordably priced life insurance. This type of insurance is designed to pay a death benefit and has very few living benefits. Although term insurance is not considered to be permanent insurance, you can renew your coverage at the end of the term with most insurance companies up to age 80.
Most insurance companies that offer term insurance will include a conversion privilege in the contract that will allow you to convert your term policy to a permanent policy such as universal or whole life without having to prove you are in good health.
If you are willing to go through the underwriting process of answering medical questions, providing health provider information, and submitting to a medical exam, the insurance company will offer lower rates when they find they are comfortable accepting your risk.
What about No Exam Life Insurance?
Many marijuana smokers are uncomfortable with agreeing to a medical exam. Some people feel it’s invasive and many feel anxious about providing a blood or urine specimen. Whatever your reason might be for not wanting to go through a medical exam, you can apply for insurance with a company that offers no-exam life insurance.
Before applying, however, it’s important to note that you’ll be paying a higher rate since the insurer is unable to adequately underwrite your case, which means they are taking on a higher risk than a fully underwritten risk.
Increasing the risk with any insurer always result in an increased premium. The good news is that there are many life insurance companies who offer life insurance without requiring a medical exam. The questions about marijuana use will still be on the application, but it will not generally affect whether you will be approved. Just be prepared to pay smoker rates for your insurance policy, which is about double the non-smoker rate.