Life Insurance for Marijuana users
According to new research from the NIH, over 22 million people smoke marijuana regularly. Now, more than ever, marijuana is becoming acceptable in everyday life and in government policy. For this reason, life insurance for marijuana users is becoming more prevalent. Marijuana users who refrained from seeking insurance in the past have now come forward to secure their family in the event of their death. If you are shopping for life insurance and are a recreational marijuana user there is a good chance you can find favorable rates, especially if you are not a daily user. Companies vary widely as to the rates they will offer and if they even test for marijuana use.
Medical marijuana use, however, adds an extra layer of complexity because now you have to find a carrier that will treat your level of marijuana use fairly as well as the underlying health issue. In most cases, it is the underlying health issue that is the major concern for the insurers.
DO LIFE INSURERS CARE IF I USE MARIJUANA?
The short answer is that they do care, but not as much as they used to. Since medical and recreational marijuana has been legalized in many states life insurers have been re-evaluating their guidelines. It wasn’t that long ago that many carriers would decline a life insurance application for any known marijuana use. Today companies vary widely how they view marijuana use, but you can usually find at least one life insurer to write any case.
Insurers have differing views. Some insurers view marijuana use like alcohol use, meaning that as long as it is not considered abuse they are okay with it. Other insurers are still a little old school and will rate up for marijuana use. The good news is that it is easy to shop around for favorable rates.
DOES IT MATTER WHY SOMEONE USES MARIJUANA?
Some insurers automatically will consider marijuana users as smokers, meaning the best rare class you can get is a smoking class. Other insurers will treat occasional users as non-smokers. Life insurers evaluate medical and recreational use differently.
Perhaps the least ambiguous of insured marijuana use is the use of medical marijuana. Because if someone is using marijuana for medical reasons the insurer will take into consideration the underlying health issue in addition to their general marijuana guidelines
There is conclusive scientific evidence that marijuana use can help with chronic pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Other ailments that marijuana or its derivative can be prescribed for:
- Painful muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
- Induce appetite in those people who may have trouble eating, such as AIDS patients
- Reduce seizures in some epileptics
- Some studies have shown that marijuana can stabilize the brains of people who suffer from a bipolar disorder. Other studies suggest it may raise the risk of developing mental illness.
- Reduce intraocular pressure (the fluid pressure inside the eye) in people with Glaucoma
- Dependency withdrawal treatment for those people who are dependent on opiates, alcohol, and benzodiazepines
- Inflammation caused by some autoimmune disorders like ulcerative colitis or arthritis.
Many insurers will rate the case based on the frequency of use. Some companies may offer their best rates for occasional users. However, companies vary on what they consider occasional. Currently, there is at least one company that will allow someone using marijuana four times per week to get their best class. For this reason, the key is to let your independent agent know your actual usage so that they can then find the company that has the most favorable class and rate.
DO INSURERS TEST FOR MARIJUANA
Full underwriting with lab tests
Although almost all life insurers will test for cocaine, the same cannot be said about marijuana. Many companies do not test for marijuana. Is it possible that they simply don’t care? Perhaps, however, if you test positive for marijuana use it is best to have admitted it on the application. Your agent should be able to inquire about which companies test for marijuana use.
Simplified underwriting (no lab tests, or exam)
Simplified underwriting means there will be no exam or lab work. Life insurers do have access to prescription drug database, motor vehicle reports, and other database sources to help them evaluate life insurance cases. Simplified underwriting is usually reserved for smaller face amounts (up to $200,000 or $300,000) and limited to the issue age (perhaps age 50 or 60).
In reviewing one company’s simplified application, they don’t specifically refer to marijuana. Rather they ask about ‘illegal drug’ use. So, in this case, an applicants answer would depend on where the marijuana was used. And then consider that marijuana is illegal nationally but can be legal locally. Therefore, the question of legality is quite a grey area.
HOW TO SHOP FOR THE BEST RATES
Despite the numerous online sites that can provide life insurance quotes, they don’t usually drill down enough to really determine the rate class that you can expect. Especially with regard to marijuana use. They tend to provide the best possible rate class regardless of your medical history. One website that provides ‘unbiased’ term life quotes is https://www.term4sale.com/. This site is as good as any have found on the web, but it still doesn’t get enough medical information to provide anything more than a ‘best case’ rate quote.
It is probably worth contacting a local independent life insurance agent as they can better assess what the expected rate class will be based on your medical history. Most independent agents have access multiple companies and can shop your case with any or all of them. It is best to provide the agent with honest information about your medications and health history as they can then shop for the best results for your situation.
It Pays to be Honest With Your Usage
The first thing to keep in mind with an independent agent is that it is usually in their best interest to provide you with the best value so that they may keep you as a customer. With this in mind, I reiterate that It is best to provide the agent with honest information about your medications and health history as they can then shop for the best results for your situation.
Any inaccuracies about your health will most likely be uncovered by the insurance company during the application process. This process is similar to life insurance for tobacco users. Due to the fact that if you indicate you don’t use marijuana and then it subsequently is uncovered, you do it will leave the insurance company with a negative impression about your health and candor. Additionally, the information most likely gets reported to MIB. Once MIB has this information any member company will have access to this information, so if you try to apply elsewhere the new company will be made aware
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is probably no other issue where the life insurers differ so greatly so shop your case to multiple companies. And, with 55 million adults in the United State currently using marijuana, this is a hot topic with life insurers. If companies don’t stay competitive they will lose business. And 55 million potential customers is just too large a market to ignore. Like everybody else, life insurers must adapt or perish.
Additional good news for marijuana users is the trend in life insurance underwriting. Life insurers, in general, are gradually liberalizing their underwriting stance with regard to marijuana. Thus, who knows if the people running these companies are partaking themselves!
I would publish various companies marijuana guidelines, but their rules change too fast. This article could be out of date before it was published.