April 23, 2024

Marijuana use will not automatically exclude you from buying life insurance, but policies vary widely by company. Here’s what to know about how recreational or medical cannabis use affects your ability to get life insurance.

A young couple holding their baby outside.Smoking weed or consuming products containing THC, even occasionally, will affect the life insurance rates you pay and may affect your ability to obtain life insurance coverage from certain companies.

As of March 2024, cannabis is now legal, in one form or another, in 38 out of 50 states. And Americans are taking advantage. The percentage of adults who report smoking marijuana in 2023 was 17% compared to just 7% in 2013, according to a Gallup survey. Use among young adults is even higher; more than a quarter (26%) of adults ages 18-34 reported smoking.

Unfortunately, despite growing marijuana legalization, life insurance companies are not as forward-thinking as American voters. If you’re getting ready to complete a life insurance application, we’ll explain how you can expect insurance companies to treat both recreational and medical marijuana use.

Can I be denied life insurance for smoking weed?

Yes, some life insurance providers will not insure cannabis users at all — even if you report only occasional use.

Life insurers are risk averse. Insurance carriers each have their own proprietary underwriting criteria that decides who they are going to insurance and whom they will require to pay higher life insurance rates. Tobacco users, for example, have always had to pay higher premiums than non-smokers.

Participating in a risky hobby — like riding a motorcycle or piloting small aircraft — is another factor on. your life insurance application that may lead to denied coverage or higher life insurance rates.

When it comes to marijuana use, some insurers just don’t want to cover marijuana users at all. Others may insure medical marijuana users, but not recreational users. That said, you will be able to find life insurance providers that will insure cannabis users. You just may need to spend a bit more time shopping for life insurance quotes.

How does marijuana use affect life insurance rates?

Life insurance premiums are based on a number of factors, most importantly your age and overall health. All else being equal, the younger and healthier you are, the more affordable coverage will be.

When you buy term life insurance coverage, the life insurance company is making a bet that you will outlive the term of the policy (often 20 or 30 years). That’s why age is such an important factor and why life insurance policies require your medical history and, often, medical exams which can require a blood test.

If a life insurance company does not deny coverage for marijuana users altogether, the provider will factor marijuana usage in with other factors just as they do any other underlying health condition. How much it will impact your premium may depend on:

  • How often you use cannabis
  • How long you have used cannabis
  • Whether you smoke weed, consume edibles, or both
  • Whether you’re using cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes

The less marijuana you use, the less of an impact it should have on your policy cost.

Other factors that will impact your life insurance rates include:

Smoker vs non-smoker rates: If you use cannabis but do not smoke it, you will likely qualify for more favorable rates. Some life insurance providers treat smoking weed the same as smoking tobacco. That can more than double the cost of term life insurance compared to non smoking rates.

Mental health: Unfortunately, having a mental health diagnosis can create problems getting approved for life insurance or impact life insurance rates. Even generalized anxiety or mild depression can lead to a negative health classification or denied coverage. Mental health may be especially problematic in conjunction with marijuana use, as in rare cases smoking weed has been tied to psychosis.

Driving record: Another factor that life insurance companies look at is your driving record. If you have a clean driving record, that will work in your favor. If you have a poor driving record, that could be cause for concern. Especially if your driving record has been affected by marijuana use in any way.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions — like high blood pressure or diabetes — will increase how much you pay for life insurance. Other conditions may get you denied life insurance altogether.

Do life insurance companies test for THC?

When you apply for life insurance, you might be required to take a medical exam. Within the medical exam, many life insurance companies will request a drug screening that includes marijuana and other drugs.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can show up in blood tests for up to 14 days after a single use or in your urine for a month or longer, depending on how much you consume.

Life insurance companies regularly test for nicotine use, so it would not be surprising that most would also test for THC. Another reason not to lie about cannabis use on your life insurance application.

Will medicinal use of marijuana affect my life insurance rates?

Once again, every life insurance provider treats medical marijuana users differently.

Some companies will deny applicants for any cannabis use at all — medical or recreational. Others will insure applicants using cannabis for approved medical reasons, but not recreational users.

A few of the medical conditions that might qualify you for medicinal marijuana include cancer, glaucoma, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and more. If you have been prescribed medical marijuana for any condition, then your life insurance company will take that into consideration.

Should I lie about smoking weed on my life insurance application?

No. Do not life on you a life insurance application about anything — including using marijuana. If you are caught lying on a life insurance application the insurer can void your policy and refuse to pay your death benefit. Lying on a life insurance application is also fraud, which could, theoretically, lead to criminal charges.

How to get life insurance for marijuana users

Getting life insurance is rarely as easy as point-click-buy.

Shop around

While it’s always critical to shop around when choosing a life insurance policy, this is even more important for cannabis users (whether recreational or medical). Some insurance companies will not insure marijuana users at all, where as other may offer insurance but, at much higher rates. You’ll need to not only find a life insurance company that will insure you as a cannabis user, but offer you the best policy rate.

If you’re otherwise young and healthy, there are a number of great online life insurance companies that will give you an online quote after just a brief questionnaire. There’s no harm in getting one or two of these quotes and seeing if any offer affordable coverage that meets your needs.

» MORE: The best life insurance companies for young adults

If you struggle to find a policy online — or you have underlying health condition that may make it difficult to find coverage, working with an independent insurance agent is your best bet. Independent is the key word. You want to avoid agents who work directly for insurance companies (State Farm, Allstate, MetLife, Northwest Mutual, etc.) Independent agents have relationships with multiple insurance companies and can help you shop around to get the best deal.

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