While estimates vary, the guessing is that some 35 million Americans are "regular" users of marijuana, regular meaning they smoke at least once or twice a month.
With this many people smoking marijuana, clearly some of them will be adults who are interested in buying life insurance policies.
So if you smoke marijuana, does this affect your ability to buy life insurance? Does it affect how much you will pay for life insurance? (Also read: Insurance for Marijuana Dispensaries.)
This article addresses these questions.
Can I Buy Life Insurance If I Smoke Marijuana?
The answer to this is most certainly yes.
There are some insurers that will decline coverage if you are a relatively heavy user, usually meaning four or more times per week, but other than this coverage is available from almost all insurers.
Should I Disclose Marijuana Use to My Insurer?
You most certainly should disclose your use of marijuana when applying for a life insurance policy and you should give an accurate estimate as to how often you use it.
As part of the application process, many insurers will want you to undergo a medical evaluation; this evaluation will include blood and urine tests. Whether or not you have to do a medical will depend on the insurance company, the coverage and amount you are applying for, and your age.
It is possible to get life insurance without a medical exam, but your premium rates could be higher. There are some life insurance companies that work well for Marijuana users.
What If I Don't Disclose Marijuana Use to My Insurer?
The main active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), can be detected for several weeks.
If you fail to disclose and then THC is detected, the insurer will decline to issue a policy, and it will report that you lied on your application to the MIB (Medical Information Bureau), which is used by all insurers; this will make it extremely difficult for you to obtain a life insurance policy from any insurer.
Also, if you die within the first two years of a policy, known as the contestable period, the insurer has the right to investigate whether there was fraud in the application process. This investigation could conceivably include, for example, a review of your medical records.
If you ever disclosed to a doctor or other health care practitioner that you smoked, and the insurer discovered this, they could deny the claim that your survivors would make on the policy, even if smoking marijuana had nothing to do with your death.
So a full disclosure is in order. Note that your application is confidential and the insurer will not make it available to law enforcement or anyone else.
Will Marijuana Use Affect My Rates?
How much you will pay in premiums for a policy varies widely. If you are a tobacco smoker you will pay smoker rates, which are higher, regardless of your marijuana use, whether not at all, light, or heavy.
If you do not smoke tobacco, it depends on the company and on how often you smoke marijuana. Some companies offer standard (non-smoker) rates, or in a few cases preferred rates, to people who are not heavy users.
What this means in terms of usage typically means two or three times per month or less, though a few companies allow more frequent use than this.
If you are a heavy user (four or more times per week) you might want to discuss getting life insurance without a medical exam with your broker. These policies cost more, but in some cases might make sense.
Medicinal Vs. Recreational Use
The information above applies primarily to the recreational use of marijuana.
If you have a medical marijuana card and are using marijuana for medicinal purposes, your rating for premium purposes will be based mostly on the condition or disease that gives rise to the medicinal use, not on the fact that you smoke marijuana.
I Smoke Marijuana — How Do I Buy Life Insurance?
If you smoke marijuana, using an independent insurance broker to buy life insurance is highly recommended.
As is set out above, rates vary considerably from company to company and depending on your usage.
A broker who is familiar with how different insurers rate marijuana smokers will be able to find the best deals for you.