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How does marijuana use affect life insurance eligibility and rates?

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.
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In recent years, the public perception of marijuana use has shifted dramatically. Marijuana use is commonplace and the surge of states legalizing marijuana around the country grows with each election year. This map of marijuana legality by state gives you updated information for the state that you’re living in or hoping, perhaps, to move to someday.

What I have found, however, is that life insurance companies may not be as forward-thinking as the voters going to the polls to vote in marijuana’s legality. Therefore today, I want to really dig further into this topic because both medical and recreational cannabis users are applying for life insurance and the question today is more and more relevant.

How life insurance companies view marijuana use

Let me start off by saying that smoking weed does not lead to an automatic refusal of life insurance coverage. In fact, many companies are willing to work with customers that are regular users.

Like everything else in the world we live in, each life insurance company has slightly different guidelines that come into play. Some companies are willing to offer marijuana users their best rates, others require a higher premium in order to cover you.

What seems to be true is that the rate you pay for life insurance is based on a variety of factors, including your marijuana use. Do you smoke daily? Weekly? A few times a year? Let’s start off by taking a closer look at the marijuana use factors that life insurance companies consider.

Smoker vs non-smoker rates

The key classification for life insurance agencies is whether you get put into the smoker category rate or nonsmoker category rate. Many insurers classify marijuana users as nonsmokers, and of course, that’s gonna be a lower rate for you.

It all depends on how much you smoke.

How often do you smoke weed?

Here’s what they want to know: how much do you smoke and when was the last time you smoked?

So you should expect that life insurance companies will ask you a variety of questions to accurately evaluate your marijuana usage.

Rolling a joint

If you use marijuana very occasionally or just experimentally, then you are a less risky proposition for the company. Less risk to the company translates to more favorable terms for your life insurance policy.

Conversely, if you are a more regular user of marijuana then you can expect to be categorized in a different category with a riskier clarification – and less favorable terms for your life insurance policy.

Unfortunately, since nobody really knows the long term health effects of marijuana use, life insurance companies are trapped in a grey area. This means that each insurance company has a unique opinion about how much marijuana use is too much.

Do not lie on your application

If you’re thinking what everyone else is thinking, you might be tempted to fudge the truth about your marijuana use to get a better rate. But of course, this is not advised because you could face legal consequences or a canceled policy down the line. Or more significantly, if you do lie and die, you could be denying your beneficiaries a payout of the life insurance policy.

Be upfront about your usage.

Do life insurance agencies do drug screenings?

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 usage or in your urine for up to a month depending on your usage. Generally, companies like to see a negative THC result. It might be worth abstaining for a whole month to lower the levels of THC in your blood because some insurance companies will view you more favorably if you admit to using marijuana but don’t have THC in your tests.

Additionally, life insurance companies prefer to see negative results on an expanded drug test. If you are a user of hard drugs, then most life insurance companies will choose to not work with you.

Will medicinal use of marijuana affect my life insurance rates?

No surprise that there is a big difference between recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.

If you are using marijuana for medicinal reasons, that may reflect positively on your application. Life insurance companies can underwrite your usage based on a medical condition.

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.

On the other hand, a person who uses weed medicinally is likely to be subject to further questions in the underwriting process that are connected to higher risk life insurance candidates.

How life insurance rates are affected by marijuana use

Life insurance companies take many factors into consideration before determining your quote. Marijuana use is just one of the many factors at play. Life insurance companies also look at your age and gender, but also tobacco use, personal health history, driving record, credit score, etc.

Let’s look at a few of the big ones:

  • Tobacco use – while marijuana use may increase your premiums, it will likely be comparable to the way that tobacco use increases your premiums.
  • Mental stability – if you have a history or diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder, then your marijuana use may be viewed in a different light. Life insurance companies may view this in combination with marijuana use in a negative light.
  • 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.

How to get the best life insurance rate

Whether or not you use marijuana, hunting down the best life insurance rate is a process. There are definitely companies around who are more ‘relaxed’ about their views of weed and some that won’t insurance you if you use any amount of THC.

You need to find those companies, so here are my top tips for finding the best life insurance rate.

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.

Learn about the best life insurance companies for young adults and request quotes. You’ll learn fairly early in the process whether cannabis use will disqualify you.


It is important to realize that the policies surrounding marijuana use are changing rapidly. As with all things in life, the only constant is change itself. Attitudes towards marijuana use is not an exception to this rule.

As the marijuana landscape continues to change, life insurance companies will likely also adjust their policies. For now, just be honest with your potential life insurance companies and make sure to shop around to find a competitive life insurance quote.

About the author

Sarah Sharkey

Sarah believes with access to good information, everyone has the ability to change their financial future for the better. Her wide range of personal finance topics include credit, investing, debt, student loans and retirement.