Life insurance companies are classifying marijuana users as non-smokers


Adam Cecil

Adam Cecil

Former Staff Writer

Adam Cecil is a former staff writer for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He is a podcast producer, writer, and video maker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Published June 4, 2015|2 min read

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Marijuana is quickly losing its social stigma, and many life insurance companies are following the trend by classifying marijuana users as non-smokers. According to a survey by Munich American Reassurance Company, 29% of life insurance companies with an underwriting policy in place for marijuana users classify them as non-smokers.

What does it mean to have an underwriting policy in place for marijuana users? Underwriting is the process that life insurance companies use to assess a customer’s risk. At companies where there is an underwriting policy in place for them, marijuana users know exactly how it will affect their monthly or annual rates. Previously, trying to figure out if a life insurance company would penalize you for smoking marijuana was a bit of a crapshoot.

At life insurance companies with no underwriting policy in place for marijuana users (currently about 20% of life insurance companies), there is the risk that marijuana users would be put on the same level as meth and heroin users. This is because the federal government still classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug, despite the fact that 51% of Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization.But it’s even bigger news that some life insurance companies that do have an underwriting policy for marijuana users are treating them as non-smokers. That means that not only are they saying marijuana users are less risky than meth users, but that they’re less risky than tobacco smokers. This reflects scientific studies that have found cannabis to be the least risky recreational drug by a wide margin.Hopefully, the 20% of companies who don’t have an underwriting policy in place will move quickly to instate one. Remember, if you’re a marijuana user looking to buy life insurance, make sure you speak to a broker so they can help you find the best life insurance company for your needs.

Image: Brett Levin