Can Pot Smokers get Life Insurance?
Even though casual marijuana use is illegal in the United states, and medical marijuana use is only legal in a few states, many Americans see nothing wrong with occasional recreational use of the drug. These folk see no problem with indulging once in a while, only to realize too late that marijuana smoking can cause problems when they apply for term life insurance. Although they won’t be denied insurance, they will pay more for their life insurance coverage.
Generally Classified as Tobacco Smokers
The majority of life insurance companies categorize pot smokers the same way the categorize people who smoke cigarettes or other forms of tobacco. Since smoking anything can increase your chances of developing a life-threatening illness, your life insurance rates will be higher. The rules change depending on the insurance company, though.
Some companies refuse to cover marijuana users simply because the drug is illegal. They reason that anyone who breaks the law is likely to engage in other risky behaviors. Other companies will offer a non-tobacco rating to customers who admit to using marijuana only once or twice a year. You will need to do some research to find an insurance company that will offer you the best deal.
Earn a Better Rate by Quitting
One way to help cut down on your life insurance costs as a marijuana smoker is to buy the standard tobacco smoker’s policy and then stop using marijuana during the first year of coverage. After you have gone a year without any marijuana use, you can apply for a new policy or change your existing policy to reflect that you have stopped using the drug. Cutting out your marijuana use can cut your term life insurance policy rates by as much as half.
Prescription Marijuana Use is Treated Differently
Many life insurance companies offer non-smoking policies to people who use marijuana legally in states that allow medical marijuana use. The problem with medical marijuana and life insurance is that the medical condition that caused the patient to need marijuana as a treatment could be reason for high rates or denial. Your insurance rates might be higher simply because you have a serious health condition and not because you use marijuana. As long as your condition doesn’t disqualify you from coverage, you should not face any penalties from the life insurance company regarding your legal medical marijuana use. Since many of the conditions that call for marijuana prescriptions are life-threatening, you might have a tough time finding an insurance policy in the first place.
Same Forms Used Throughout the Country
Even if you are using medical marijuana in a state where it is legal, you will still need to check the box on your life insurance application that says you have used an illegal substance within the past five years. This is because you need to disclose the fact that you do use marijuana. It is included as an illegal substance on the application forms because the drug is illegal in the majority of the country and the same forms are used in every state. You will be able to discuss your marijuana use with your agent so that they will be aware that your use is legal.
Illegal Use Cannot Be Reported
Some people may be hesitant to disclose marijuana use on a life insurance form because they are afraid that the life insurance company will contact the authorities about illegal drug use. Federal health privacy laws actually prohibit the insurance company from sharing that information with the authorities. You don’t need to worry that your marijuana use will ever be used against you legally by the insurance company. In fact, you face worse legal consequences if you don’t reveal that you have used the drug in the past year.
Marijuana Findings May be Reported to MIB
There is one organization your life insurance company may share your application information with. The MIB, or Medical Information Bureau, uses information from life insurance policy applications to build statistical data throughout the United States. The MIB is not connected in any way to the federal government, and they will not share your information with any law enforcement agencies. Since the insurance company has to ask for your permission to share the information, you can simply decline the option if you are uncomfortable with it.
Life Insurance without a Physical Exam
You might think that applying for a life insurance policy that doesn’t require any preliminary physical exams would be an easy way to avoid admitting marijuana use. There are term life insurance policies available that don’t require exams. These policies are usually more expensive than traditional policies, and they will still ask you about drug use on their written application. The consequences for lying about marijuana on the written application are just as dire as the consequences of being caught with marijuana in your system during a traditional physical exam without disclosing your use. The best thing to do is admit your drug use up front without trying to hide it in any way.
Since marijuana use is treated so differently by different insurance companies you might be able to save some time and save money on a life insurance policy.