All About A Marijuana User’s Insurance Guide

Marijuana has gained approval for medical use in 38 states and is now legally enjoyed recreationally in 23 states, with its growth trajectory showing no signs of slowing down. Yet, as the acceptance and legalization of marijuana, both for medical and recreational purposes, continue to expand, a pertinent question arises for cannabis users: how will their life insurance be affected?

While obtaining life insurance as a marijuana user is indeed possible, there is an unwelcome side effect: elevated life insurance rates.

**Marijuana Use and Health**

Immediately following marijuana use, judgment and short-term memory become impaired, and perception is altered, making activities like driving perilous. While there isn’t definitive evidence proving that marijuana use directly reduces life expectancy, studies do indicate an association between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders. Long-term cannabis use, especially from the late teens into one’s 20s and beyond, is also linked to health issues at age 50.

**The Impact on Life Insurance Rates**

The extent to which marijuana use affects life insurance rates varies based on age, gender, and the amount of coverage sought, making it challenging to pinpoint an average increase. Below is a glimpse of how average quotes can rise for men and women aged 30 and 40 who are seeking a 20-year term life insurance policy worth $500,000.

**How Often Do You Use Marijuana?**

When applying for life insurance, you’ll likely encounter a question regarding your marijuana use frequency and habits. Your response will determine your placement in a health class, such as super-preferred, preferred, or standard, which in turn influences your life insurance premium. Your answers to other health and lifestyle inquiries also play a role.

Many individuals may hesitate to admit to recreational marijuana use. Robert Bland, CEO of LifeQuotes, an online life insurance agency, notes that this reluctance is common. Occasional marijuana users may occasionally qualify for non-smoking rates, depending on the insurance company. Occasional use is sometimes defined as just one or two times a month. Each insurer sets its own criteria for what constitutes “occasional.”

“The general rule is, if you smoke marijuana, you’re considered a smoker,” says Bland. “So, when people hear that, they tend to deny it or attribute it to a vacation in their youth in a place like Boulder, Colorado.”

**What About Medical Marijuana?**

Whether you use marijuana recreationally or for medicinal purposes may not significantly affect your resulting life insurance rates. For medical marijuana users, the focus will shift to the underlying medical condition that led to the marijuana use, which can also influence the insurance quotes.

Bland advises being specific about the medical condition necessitating marijuana use. For instance, common issues like back pain typically won’t lead to higher rates, while using marijuana during chemotherapy would prompt the insurer to delve into the medical condition.

**The Importance of Honesty About Marijuana Use**

For marijuana users seeking life insurance, the goal is often to secure a non-smoking rate, especially for occasional users. Those who consume marijuana, such as edibles, may also qualify for non-smoking rates.

Regardless of how frequently you use marijuana or the purpose behind it, honesty is paramount when completing a life insurance application. Remember that you’ll be signing the application and asserting the truthfulness of the information provided.

Misrepresentations can be deemed fraud and, in the worst-case scenario, result in the insurer voiding the policy later. Bland emphasizes that making false statements on an insurance application is a crime in all 50 states. Insurers are authorized to verify all external records, including medical history.

**Medical Exams and Verification**

A life insurance medical exam is typically required, which involves providing blood and urine samples. This process applies to many life insurance applicants, not just marijuana users. The insurer may also review your medical records, past and present prescriptions, and motor vehicle records, along with previous responses to individual life and health insurance applications.

“It’s essential for the public to understand that all their information can be verified,” cautions Bland.

Failure to be truthful about marijuana use can lead to an application decline if evidence emerges in medical records or during the life insurance exam. Insurers may view such discrepancies as a moral hazard, raising questions about other possible misrepresentations.

**Additional Factors and Rateable Issues**

If other factors exist that could elevate your life insurance quotes or potentially lead to a denial, such as underlying health conditions, a history of substance abuse, a criminal record, or a driving record tarnished by speeding tickets or DUIs, expect higher rates. These are referred to as “rateable” issues.

Bland recommends working with an agent who can provide preliminary quotes based on your information, allowing you to assess your standing before formal application submission. This proactive approach can prevent you from submitting multiple applications to different companies.

In conclusion, marijuana users seeking life insurance must navigate the intricacies of disclosure and transparency. Honesty on your application is not only an ethical imperative but also a legal one. Being forthright about your marijuana use, along with other pertinent factors, will help you secure the coverage you need while avoiding potential pitfalls.

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