The marijuana user’s guide to life insurance

Recreational and medical marijuana users can get life insurance, but frequent users may pay more for coverage. People who work in the marijuana industry may have a harder time getting a policy.

Amanda Shih author photoHeadshot of Policygenius editor Nupur Gambhir

By

Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius, where she covered life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

&Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Senior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

Updated|4 min read

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Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States, with 49.6 million consumers a year. [1] Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use and 37 states have legalized medical marijuana use. [2]

Because there’s not enough research on marijuana’s long-term health effects and it isn’t legal on a federal level, insurance providers are cautious about marijuana use regardless of local laws. 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.

  • Daily users will pay more for a policy than people who use marijuana less frequently.

  • 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 and lifestyle. The lower your classification, the more you'll pay for coverage. 

Some insurers classify marijuana users as tobacco users, which means they’re only eligible for smoker rates that are two to three times higher than non-smoker rates. Other life insurance companies will offer non-smoker rates and even their best rates to marijuana users, depending on how often you use cannabis. If you vape marijuana, you’re more likely to be charged smoker rates.

"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,” says Patrick Hanzel, certified financial planner and advanced planning team lead at Policygenius. “But, the underlying health conditions, if it’s prescribed to treat those, are the big differentiators.”

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Testing for THC

When you apply for life insurance you usually take a medical exam, which includes a blood and urine test that tests for THC.

THC shows up in a blood test up to 36 hours after marijuana use and in a urine test after between three and 30 days, depending on the frequency of use. [3]

You might get lower rates 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 more before your exam to ensure your tests are clean.

The same rules don’t apply if you only use CBD. Insurance companies don’t treat CBD use like drug use, and you’ll be eligible for the best rates with most providers.

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. There’s no reason to lie since you can still get an affordable policy if you smoke marijuana. Plus, the life insurance company will find out about your marijuana use when they look at your medical records. 

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

quote

Recreational marijuana use is often looked at fairly favorably, but underlying health conditions are the big differentiators.

- Patrick Hanzel, certified financial planner and advanced planning team lead at Policygenius

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Getting coverage if you work in the marijuana industry

Over 300,000 people legally work in the cannabis industry in the U.S. [4] However, many insurers decline marijuana industry professionals because marijuana is still illegal in the U.S. on a federal level. Financial institutions and insurance companies face many regulatory hurdles to insure anyone who works in the industry.

But a few smaller insurers are beginning to offer coverage to marijuana industry businesses and employees. If you work in the marijuana industry, try working with a local insurer.

For people having a hard time finding private coverage, Morgan Fox, political director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 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 says 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,” could encourage risk-averse insurers to begin changing their attitudes.

The best life insurance companies for marijuana users

You can get affordable life insurance from 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 price with a Brighthouse SimplySelect or Lincoln TermAccel policy. Marijuana smokers typically get lower quotes with these policies than they would from other insurers. 

If you don't qualify for a SimplySelect or TermAccel policy, 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 two to three times per week

The best life insurance companies for medical marijuana users

Many life insurance companies view medical marijuana differently than recreational marijuana. Your rates will usually be influenced more by the health condition for which the marijuana has been prescribed than by how often you use it. 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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Whether you use marijuana for recreational or medical purposes, your marijuana use shouldn’t be a deterrent in getting a life insurance policy. Because each life insurance company treats marijuana use differently, shop around for the best policy for your profile. An insurance broker like Policygenius can help you compare providers.

Frequently asked questions

Do life insurance companies test for marijuana?

Yes, the life insurance medical exam includes blood and urine tests, which show THC levels. You’ll still be asked questions about marijuana use and share past medical records to get no-medical-exam life insurance.

What happens if marijuana is found on your life insurance drug test?

You can’t fail a drug test for life insurance but depending on the drug found, you’ll either pay more for coverage or be denied coverage.

How much more do marijuana users pay for life insurance?

Your rates depend on how often you use marijuana, whether you vape, and other factors like your overall health and age.