Life Insurance for Marijuana Consumers

One of the most asked questions received at NORML over the years has been ‘I smoke cannabis and I want to purchase or increase my life insurance, what companies provide underwriting?’

A very informative news piece from LifeHealthPro provides an excellent overview of life insurance companies and their current policies regarding offering coverage to cannabis consumers–be them recreational consumers or medical patients:

Ratings for the Marijuana User

Marijuana usage is not viewed as other drugs such as cocaine, for example. Testing positive for THC will not lead to a flat rejection of a life insurance policy. However, the use of this substance can result in receiving a cigarette smoker’s rates, which are substantially higher than those of a non-smoker.

Life insurance classifications for a marijuana user are guidelines and are not set in stone; they can change at any time per the company consideration. Also other health conditions could change consideration.

– American General: Smoking marijuana more than twice monthly could result in the rates of a smoker with the possibility of a table rating. Smoking two times per month will set the rating as a standard non-smoker. Applicants who smoke two times a year or less could be rated as a preferred best non-smoker.

– Banner Life:  Applicants could be considered a standard smoker with occasional use. They could be rated as a substandard table B smoker with daily use.

– Columbus Life:  Applicants over 25 years old who smoke pot experimentally to intermittently might get standard smoker rates. Moderate use could be a table 2 rating.  Heavy use will be declined.  Other drug use will also be a factor.

– Fidelity: A standard smoker classification will be given if there is any marijuana use in the past 12 months. However, an applicant be classified as a sub-standard smoker if medical marijuana is prescribed.

– Genworth Financial: Applicants who use marijuana eight times a month or less could be classified as a standard smoker. Users who smoke more than eight times may be considered a sub-standard smoker. Also, this company does not recognize prescription use of marijuana.

– ING Reliastar: If marijuana is prescribed, users could be classified as a Table 4 Smoker. With daily use, they could be classified as a preferred smoker.

– Lincoln Benefit: If a prescription is shown on one’s medical records and usage is stated on the application, applicants could be classified as a non-smoker. Occasional users without a prescription can be classified as a standard smoker.

– Lincoln National: Applicants can use marijuana up to two times per week and be classified as a standard non-smoker.  Usage of 3-4 times a week will result in a sub-standard Table B non-smoker rating. Applicants will be declined if they use marijuana more than four times per week.

– Met Life: Applicants who otherwise would merit a preferred plus rating and uses marijuana occasionally (once a month to once a week) could get a preferred plus non-smoker rating. (More than once a week is equivalent to a smoker’s rate.)  Daily use could be a table 4 rating. Heavy users could be declined.

– Mutual of Omaha: Applicants will rate as a standard nons-moker with up to weekly use.  If lab results indicate more frequent usage, then smoker rates will apply.

– Minnesota Life: Applicants who test positive for THC could be given a smoker table 3 rating. Occasional or recreational users will be given preferred non-smoker rates but will have to test negative for THC.

– North American: Applicants over 25 years old who use marijuana 3-8 times per month could be rated a standard smoker. If they use 8-16 times a month they could be rated as high as a table 2 smoker. More than 16 times a month will be declined.

– Protective Life: Marijuana use could result in a standard smoker rating.

– Prudential Financial: Using marijuana up to two times per month and testing negative for THC will qualify applicants as a standard plus non-smoker. A Table B non-smoker (even with THC positive lab tests) rating will be applied if usage is up to four times per week. Usage over four times weekly will be declined.

– Transamerica – Marijuana smokers could be considered a standard smoker rate class with no other health issues.

Final advice from LifeHealthPro: Applicants who already have a life insurance policy in force may be paying unnecessarily high rates. Each company’s insurance underwriters view the use of marijuana differently. Don’t let your clients pay high life insurance premiums if less expensive alternatives are available.  

Read entire article @ LifeHealthPro

20 thoughts

  1. So how do they verify someone’s frequency of use? does this mean drug testing for applicants?

  2. So they all assume any marijuana user smokes it? What about those of us who use vaporizers, oil concentrates, and edibles instead?

  3. What if the cannbius is not smoked? It could be ingested or vaporized. Do they change the rates since it is not smoked?

  4. “Fidelity: A standard smoker classification will be given if there is any marijuana use in the past 12 months”

    I note that several companies make no distinction between “use” and “smoking”– in the case above, a user might be classified a “smoker” even if their only use was with a vaporizer. Tests were mentioned where anyone with THC would be “a smoker” etc.

    Since the MAPS 2007 research establishing that vaporizers can prevent “smoking”-related disease, what should be done about this?

  5. Why would anyone tell their life insurance company they smoke marijuana?

    [Editor’s note: One need not tell their prospective life insurer that they use cannabis as the insurer employs drug testing to confirm drug and tobacco use prior to issuing a policy quote.]

  6. I’m almost 64. I can still run wind sprints on the track at the local high school. I play touch football with my son and grandson. My brother is a year younger and a tobacco smoker. He can’t do much of anything without getting winded. Besides clogging his lungs, tobacco somehow clogged his veins. He needed major surgery to save his legs.

    He claimed to have quit after that, but I could smell the tobacco on him the last time I saw him.

    Given all the studies demonstrating the utility of marijuana against many diseases, including its anti-tumor properties, you would think the insurance industry would rally to the NORML cause. A science based policy could lower premiums for us all.

  7. re: Galileo Galilei

    – also, not only lower premiums,
    but lessen the probability that these guys need to pay out!

  8. @Ben

    You would think more competent captains of industry would realize this. Not much of a business model if you ask me. In modern parlance: they need to get their business model not to suck!

  9. Is there medical research to support the insurers logic behind treating smokers all the same, regardless of whether it’s tobacco or what have you?

  10. Well, that sounds like another tactic to scrounge off some more money from the people to me. These terms and conditions are really very clear and insurance companies can bend rules at any point in time to turn a situation to their advantage, especially when a claim is filed. They ought to rely on some solid research in order to determine the frequency of use or intensity before they issue directives to those who’re possible receiving marijuana treatment.

  11. Excellent research. I work with a lot of clients who are having to look for alternative companies for their life insurance. It’s good to know what some updated information is on each source.

    Yes, typically, although depending on face amount, it’s required to have an expanded blood draw to test the blood for anything abnormal, which includes tobacco or alternative tobacco substances.

  12. Of course Marijuana users should not be compared with other users of drugs, cocaine, etc. I think not even with chain cigarette smokers.
    Nevertheless, it’s interesting to know in detail about the life insurance of marijuana users.

  13. Confirmed for Canadian insurance companies as well.

    Canada Life will consider you a smoker even if you only use hemp seed oil.

    We need to fight this ridiculous money grab.

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