Marijuana use is a grey area for life insurance companies. That's why it's important to choose one that will accommodate you and offer the best rates.
With marijuana legalization efforts sweeping the country, you might presume that science has won out and people have begun to accept the fact that you can smoke marijuana recreationally without ruining your life. But because federal regulations make it difficult to study the medical effects of marijuana, it’s difficult for anyone to say how long-term recreational marijuana use affects your health. That’s why life insurance companies can be so cautious about marijuana use – both recreational and medicinal.
If you were worried about this, you’re not alone: marijuana is the world’s third most popular recreational drug (after alcohol and tobacco) and America’s most popular illegal drug. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 44% of adult Americans have tried marijuana.
Life insurance companies consider marijuana use in a number of different ways; while some classify users in the same class as tobacco smokers, others take frequency of use and medicinal purposes into account. Use the table below to find the best life insurance company for your situation.
In general, life insurance companies are pretty conservative. They have to take a very holistic look at a potential customer’s life and decide if there’s anything that makes an applicant risky to insure. During the underwriting process, you’ll be assigned a health classification based on your health, hobbies, and family history. The worse the rating, the higher the premiums.
Life insurance companies usually require shoppers to undergo a medical exam, which also means a blood and urine test. THC shows up in a blood test for anywhere between three and 14 days after marijuana use, depending on how frequently the user partakes. Marijuana is detectable in urine for up to a month, again depending on frequency of use.
A lot of times, marijuana is lumped in with cigarettes. Federal restrictions on studying marijuana use make it really hard for researchers to judge just how risky marijuana is. Until scientists can show without a doubt that marijuana smoking is healthier than tobacco smoking, expect this policy to stay the same.
Just like tobacco smoking, the less you smoke, the better your health classification will be and the lower your premiums will be. It’s important to remember that companies that offer non-tobacco rates will not extend those rates to people who use tobacco in addition to marijuana; use tobacco, you’ll get tobacco rates.
Most insurers will consider medical marijuana users upon review of their medical records, but there is a chance they will be rated as a smoker.
But be careful: Medical marijuana is intended to help treat severe symptoms, and if a condition isn’t considered serious by the insurer, you’ll be treated like a recreational user and get a worse rating. But if the condition is considered serious, that might present its own problem (if, for example, you have cancer or severe arthritis). The health issue itself would cause your rates to increase, not the marijuana.
|Life insurance carrier||Marijuana policy|
|North American||Non-tobacco rates apply for recreational marijuana users 21 years of age or older.|
|Lincoln National||Preferred Plus (Non-Tobacco) rates if you smoke marijuana once per month or less in social situations. Preferred (Non-Tobacco) rates if you smoke up to two times per week in social situations.|
|Minnesota Life||Preferred (Non-Tobacco) rates if you smoke marijuana 24 times or less per year.|
|Prudential||Plus (Non-Tobacco) ratings available to users who smoke marijuana up to three times weekly. Must admit to using marijuana during application process. Positive THC in urine does not affect this rating.|
|MetLife||Standard (Non-Tobacco) rating for marijuana use up to four times per week. Opportunity to receive Preferred, Elite, and Elite Plus (all Non-Tobacco) ratings depending on signs of alcohol abuse or anxiety issues.|
|United of Omaha||Standard (Non-Smoker) rates available for marijuana users who smoke three times or less per month.|
|AIG||Standard (Non-Tobacco) rates if you use marijuana no more than two times per month. Prescription must be verified if you smoke for medical reasons.|
|Transamerica||Standard (Non-Tobacco) rating if you smoke marijuana up to 12 times per year.|
|Global Atlantic||Determined based on individual consideration for those 26 and older.|
|SBLI||Non-tobacco ratings apply for very rare marijuana use and with full admission.|
|Legal & General America||Standard (Tobacco) rates if you smoke recreationally and you have no criminal history or history of drug abuse.|
|Protective Life||Tobacco rates apply for all recreational marijuana users.|
|John Hancock||Considers marijuana drug use—unlikely to give competitive rates.|
This goes for marijuana users and non-marijuana users alike. If they find out you’ve lied to them and they reject you, you won’t just be rejected from that company - you’ll be rejected from all of them.
If a life insurance company finds out you’ve lied to them, they will report you to the Medical Information Bureau, or MIB. Think of the MIB kind of like your credit report: you can’t just default on a credit card and then go and sign up for another credit card without getting dinged for it. Same goes for insurance: you can’t misrepresent yourself at one insurance company and expect that the other companies won’t find out about it.
If you do sneak by and get accepted, the carrier may find out afterward and can cancel your policy during the contestability period, leaving you and your family unprotected.
There’s no simple guideline for how life insurance companies see marijuana users. Each life insurance company has different standards, with some being more lenient and others rejecting all drug users outright. How a life insurer will rate you also depends on the frequency of use. Smoke weed every day? You have a worse chance of getting a good rate than someone who only smokes once a week or once a month.
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.