The marijuana user’s guide to life insurance

By working with the right insurer, marijuana users can get the best possible life insurance premiums. People who work in the marijuana industry may have a tougher time getting coverage.

Amanda Shih author photoNupur Gambhir

By

Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an insurance editor and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

&

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is an insurance editor at Policygenius and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent in New York.

Updated September 1, 2021|5 min read

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Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States, with 48.2 million consumers a year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Eighteen states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use and 36 states have legalized medical marijuana use. Despite this, marijuana isn’t legal on a federal level — both recreational and medicinal — and some insurers are still cautious about marijuana use regardless of state legalization. But, if you’re a marijuana user, you can still get competitive life insurance coverage by shopping around for the right insurer.

Key Takeaways

  • Marijuana use doesn’t disqualify you from life insurance coverage

  • How often you use marijuana influences how much you’ll pay

  • If you’re a medical marijuana user, you may pay more due to your health condition

Applying for life insurance as a marijuana user

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll be assigned a health classification based on your health status, hobbies, family medical history, and a few other factors. The lower the classification you receive, the more you will pay for coverage. Regardless of any of these factors, if you smoke tobacco, you’ll receive a lower rating and will end up paying two to three times more than nonsmokers. 

Some insurers view marijuana users as tobacco smokers, which means they’re only eligible for smoker rates. Other life insurance companies will offer nonsmoker rates and even their best rates to marijuana users, depending on the frequency of use.

"The main factor with marijuana is that recreational use is actually often looked at fairly favorably for a lot of carriers and most can offer non-tobacco rates,” Patrick Hanzel, Policygenius’ Advanced Planning Specialist and Certified Financial Planner explains, “but the underlying health conditions, if it’s prescribed to treat those, are the big differentiators.”

Vaping and edible marijuana

Not all life insurers differentiate between the different ways to consume marijuana, but some will. The providers that set them apart will often give you smoker/tobacco rates if you vape, while others might be more flexible about ingesting marijuana, depending on the frequency of and reasons for use.

Testing for THC

When you apply for life insurance, most insurers will require a medical exam, which includes a blood and urine test that will a test for THC.

THC shows up in a blood test anywhere between three and 14 days after marijuana use and is detectable in urine for up to a month, depending on the frequency of use. You might get better premiums if you admit to marijuana use but don’t test positive for THC during screening, so you may want to abstain for a month or so before the application process to ensure your urine is clean.

Some providers, like AIG, offer low rates to people who consume CBD, while some companies don’t differentiate between CBD and THC during the application process.

Lying about drug use on your life insurance application

Even if there is currently no THC in your blood or urine, it’s important to be honest with the life insurance company about your marijuana use. For starters, you can still get cost-effective coverage if you smoke marijuana — there is no reason to lie. Additionally, it’s very likely the life insurance company will find out about your marijuana use anyway when they look at your previous medical records. 

Lying on a life insurance application is considered insurance fraud. If an insurance company finds evidence that you are a marijuana user and you haven’t disclosed your drug use, they can reject your application. If the insurer accepts your application and finds out you lied after you die, they can refuse to pay your beneficiaries. 

Life insurance companies report any instances of fraud to the Medical Information Bureau, or MIB, which means that every life insurance company will know you lied on a life insurance application and could decline to cover you.

Getting coverage if you work in the marijuana industry

Over 300,000 people legally work in the cannabis industry in the U.S. But because marijuana is still illegal in the U.S. on a federal level, financial institutions and insurance companies face a lot of regulatory hurdles to insure anyone who works in the marijuana industry. Many insurers decline marijuana industry professionals, and unfortunately, thousands of industry employees are unable to get adequate financial protection.

However, there are options for marijuana industry workers to get some coverage. A few smaller insurers are beginning to offer coverage to marijuana industry businesses and employees, even though most midsize and large insurers are still declining candidates that work in the industry. If you work in the marijuana industry, try working with a local insurer.

For employees having a hard time finding private coverage, Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director at the National Cannabis Industry Association, suggests that the best immediate option is to encourage your employer to look hard for someone who will provide group coverage to the business.

Fox also cites legislation like the Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, which would “protect financial services providers from federal interference or punishment if they decide to work with people in the industry,” which could encourage risk-averse insurers to begin changing their attitudes.

quote

Carriers often view recreational marijuana fairly favorably, but if there are underlying health conditions it's a different story.

- Patrick Hanzel, Advanced Planning Specialist and Certified Financial Planner at Policygenius

The best life insurance policies for marijuana users

You can get affordable coverage with several companies if you use marijuana. As long as you don’t work in the marijuana industry, you can get almost immediate coverage at a competitive rate with a Lincoln TermAccel policy or Brighthouse SimplySelect. Marijuana smokers see lower prices for more coverage with these policies than they would with other insurers. 

The best life insurance companies for marijuana users

Based on Policygenius data in 2021, we recommend the following insurers for the most affordable rates depending on how often you use marijuana.

The best life insurance companies if you use marijuana daily

The best life insurance companies if you use marijuana 2-3x per week

Medical marijuana

Many life insurance companies view medical marijuana differently than recreational marijuana. If you use medical marijuana, the health condition for which it’s been prescribed will impact your rates. However, some companies tend to offer better rates to medicinal marijuana users across the board.

The best life insurance companies for medical marijuana users

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Is life insurance for marijuana users worth it?

Yes! Whether you use marijuana for recreational or medical purposes, your marijuana use shouldn’t be a deterrent in getting a life insurance policy. Marijuana smokers can still get coverage that is comparable to their nonsmoking counterparts — some insurers even offer the best possible rates to applicants who use marijuana.

Because each life insurance company treats marijuana use differently, it’s important to shop around for the best policy for your profile. Using an insurance broker to find the best rates for your marijuana use can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Frequently asked questions

Do life insurance companies test for marijuana?

Yes, the life insurance medical exam tests your blood and urine for several items, including THC levels. If you opt for no-medical exam life insurance, you’ll still be asked questions about marijuana use and underwriters use past medical records to determine insurability.

Does CBD use affect life insurance rates?

If you use CBD oil (without THC) then it is unlikely to affect your life insurance premiums. However, if you use CBD to treat a specific medical condition, your rates may be higher due to your health.

How long does marijuana (THC) stay in your system?

A blood test can detect THC between three and 14 days after marijuana use and a urine test can detect THC up to a month after use.

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