So what’s the buzz on cannabis use and life insurance anyways? The good news is that many companies have become more lenient with providing coverage for marijuana users because many states have now legalized cannabis—both medically and recreationally. Depending on if you are a recreational or medicinal user, there are certain policies that can give you a monthly rate that doesn’t break the bank. Here are five fast facts you need to know about how marijuana use affects your ability to obtain life insurance. 

Life insurance companies test for cannabis use

First and foremost, it is important to understand that when you apply for life insurance, you are going to be required to take a medical exam. This medical exam tells the underwriters how much of a “risk” you are to insure based on various health conditions such as family medical history, smoker versus non-smoker status, and underlying health conditions. Lying on a life insurance application is considered fraud, and remember that you will either take a urine or blood test to determine the level of THC in your system.  This test will then tell the medical examiner and underwriters the level of your marijuana usage.

Insurance companies will also take into consideration the larger-scale effects marijuana use has on your overall health profile. For example, if you have a lung condition but still smoke on a regular basis, companies will view you as a higher risk to insure. Not only are life insurance companies looking to see if marijuana use has had an impact on your physical condition, but they also consider things like whether or not your driving record has been affected by marijuana use. For instance, if you have a DUI from marijuana then your rates are also more likely to increase as well.

You can shop around to find the best policy

Depending on how you use marijuana and the frequency of which you do so, there are certain companies that are more accommodating than others and will give you a better rate based on your potential risk to the insurer. Because the rates vary so drastically company to company, using an online service to help you sort through the various life insurance options available could prove to be very beneficial for cannabis users. 

A few factors that different insurance companies will consider during the underwriting process are whether or not marijuana has been legalized in your state, how often you use it, and if your smoking is for medicinal or recreational purposes. Some companies consider marijuana use the same as tobacco use and you will be put in a “smoker” category, which is important to understand as it can significantly raise your rates. On the other hand, other companies do not consider marijuana users the same risk as smokers, meaning that if you are otherwise in good health, you are more likely to get a preferred rate. 

It is important to be honest

As previously mentioned, remember that honesty is always the best policy when it comes to applying for life insurance. It is important that your medical exam and past history matches everything that you stated in your initial application. If the company finds out that you have lied about something on your application, you risk higher premiums or even being declined from your policy altogether. Additionally, all underwriters and employees who will see your application are bound by HIPAA, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, to ensure that your information remains completely confidential.

Medicinal use is looked at separately

When underwriters look through an application for a medicinal user, the company will want to know the underlying medical reason for the use of marijuana as a treatment or medicine. Underwriters will need to know if you are using cannabis as a medicine for a life threatening condition, such as cancer, or if you are using it to treat a condition such as intermittent back pain. 

Something else to consider when shopping for a life insurance policy is how the company categorizes marijuana use based on how it is administered. For example, some policies consider all cannabis use to fall under the smoker status, regardless of if the cannabis is ingested rather than inhaled. This is why it is essential to shop around to find the best policy and companies for your specific circumstances to ensure you are getting the best premium possible, especially if you have a medical marijuana prescription.

The landscape is constantly evolving

Remember, as the laws and regulations surrounding cannabis are constantly changing and evolving, businesses and services must also adjust accordingly. Many life insurance companies have a completely different stance on insuring marijuana users than they did five years ago and another five years from now, they could potentially be even more lenient and understanding. As different states change their laws, it could be helpful to check-in with your specific provider to see if any regulations have changed that may have affected your policy.

At the end of the day, life insurance companies base their evaluations and decisions off of your potential risk. While it may be frustrating that some companies do not view cannabis use as favorably as others, it is important to remember that there are still others who are a bit more progressive in that aspect. Investing time to do some additional research can help you obtain one of the most important purchases of your life and allow you peace of mind about how your family and assets will eventually be protected.