Life Insurance for Marijuana Users: What to Know Before Applying in 2024

Life insurance companies are often willing to cover marijuana users — provided it isn’t a daily habit.
Robin Hartill, CFP®
By Robin Hartill, CFP® 
Updated
Edited by Lisa Green Reviewed by Tony Steuer

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Nerdy takeaways
  • You can get life insurance if you use marijuana, but you may pay higher premiums.

  • If you use medical marijuana, insurers may be more concerned about the underlying health issue than your marijuana use.

  • Life insurance companies often consider whether you smoke or ingest cannabis and how frequently you use it.

If you’re among the roughly 35 million Americans who use marijuana each month, you may worry that you won’t qualify for life insurance. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, but state laws are rapidly changing. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis use as of early 2024. Another 14 states have legalized marijuana for medical use only

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It’s possible for marijuana users to get life insurance. But each insurer has its own guidelines for how cannabis use affects whether you’re approved for coverage and what you’ll pay in premiums.

Can I get life insurance as a marijuana user?

Yes, you can get life insurance if you’re a marijuana user. People who use weed can qualify for both term life and permanent life policies.

Each carrier has its own life insurance underwriting standards. But when you apply for coverage, you may be required to take a medical exam and complete a health questionnaire. The medical exam often includes blood testing to assess your health, as well as urine testing for both prescription and recreational drugs. The health questionnaire may ask you whether you use marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.

Insurers can also consider things like your criminal history and driving record. So if you had a marijuana-related DUI or arrest, it could be a factor in your coverage.

Marijuana users who want to avoid the traditional underwriting process have the option of life insurance with no medical exam. The tradeoff, though, is that you’ll usually pay a higher price for less coverage.

Does marijuana impact life insurance rates?

Carriers use multiple life insurance ratings classes to assess how risky an applicant is to insure. Your classification determines what you pay in premiums. Marijuana use is just one factor that many insurers use to determine your classification. They also consider a host of factors, like your age, gender, height and weight, medical history, prescription drug records and lifestyle habits.

Occasional use may have minimal impact on your premium, particularly if you test negative for THC, a component of marijuana, during a drug screening. But if you test positive for THC, which suggests heavier use, or if you have a history of using other illegal drugs or high alcohol consumption, insurers may see you as a riskier (and more expensive to insure) applicant.

Life insurance companies may consider several factors about your marijuana use, including:

  • Recreational vs. medical use. Some insurers view medical marijuana more favorably than recreational use. If you use medical marijuana, insurers may be more concerned about the underlying health issue than they are by the fact that you use marijuana. For example, insurers may not be worried if you use cannabis to treat headaches and insomnia. But if you use marijuana to relieve cancer symptoms, they’ll be more concerned with the cancer than they are with the fact that you use marijuana. 

  • Whether you smoke or ingest it. Generally, insurers consider ingesting marijuana through edibles, oils and vaporizers less risky than smoking cannabis.

  • Frequency and quantity. Insurers consider frequent heavy marijuana use more risky than occasional light consumption.

How much does life insurance cost for marijuana users?

People who rarely use marijuana may pay life insurance premiums that are identical or similar to the rates someone who never uses marijuana will pay. Some companies even allow occasional pot users to qualify for preferred nontobacco user rates. But premiums generally increase with the frequency of cannabis use.

Chris Abrams, founder of online brokerage Marcan Insurance, which helps people who use marijuana obtain life insurance, provided the following sample rates for someone who uses marijuana. Rates are based on a 30-year-old man in excellent health applying for a $500,000, 30-year term policy:

  • Never uses marijuana: $29 a month

  • Twice a year: $29

  • One to two times a week: $38

  • Two to three times a week: $39

  • Four times a week: $61

  • Six times a week: $88

Abrams said in an email that “most companies will still decline for daily use.” Companies that do insure daily marijuana users may classify them in the same category as tobacco smokers — which can be expensive, given that smoker premiums are often three to five times higher than nonsmoker premiums. Having a medical marijuana card could also help you get better rates.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Life insurers can have significantly different underwriting standards for marijuana users, so aim to compare life insurance quotes to get the best possible price.

Applying for life insurance as a marijuana user

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll often be asked whether you use marijuana, as well as other prescription and recreational drugs. They may ask you detailed questions about your marijuana use, such as:

  • How often do you use marijuana?

  • Do you use synthetic or botanical cannabis?

  • Have you ever been treated for substance misuse disorder?

  • Do you use marijuana to treat a medical condition?

If you’re applying for a policy that requires a life insurance medical exam, you may undergo a urinalysis. A urine test will detect cannabis for anywhere from three to 30 days after your last use, depending on how frequently you partake

Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Marijuana Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Accessed May 6, 2024.
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It’s essential to be honest about your marijuana use. Lying on a life insurance application can result in denial or cancellation of your coverage. Or if you die and the insurer discovers you were dishonest during the application, the company could deny your loved ones’ claim.

Marijuana use isn’t a dealbreaker for life insurance applicants. But if you’re concerned that weed will make your premium unaffordable or you’re a frequent user, consider working with an independent insurance agent who’s familiar with different carriers’ guidelines on pot.

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