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Life Insurance and Marijuana: Weeding Between the Lines

life insurance and marijuana

Written By Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA.  Doug has spent close to 30 years in the insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health.  Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

Holly Mitchell  &

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.

Rob Pinner   &

Rob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002.

Louis LaBash

Results-driven and innovative life insurance professional with 30 plus years of life insurance industry sales and marketing experience. Recognized as a pioneer in the field, leveraging phone and internet channels to exceed personal sales of over $100 million during the first decade of the 21st century. Creator of a highly effective intuitive IUL life insurance sales software that facilitated the sale of millions of dollars of indexed universal policies by numerous life insurance agents. Proven track record as a Managing General Agent (MGA), Life Agent, IUL Life Insurance Sales Software developer, and leading-edge creator of insurance marketing tools, educational content, and delivery systems.

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We get a lot of questions about how marijuana is going to affect life insurance plans and how much users will pay for life insurance, or if they will be declined for coverage because of their smoking.

Each insurance carrier has a set guideline they use to determine what risk class your application falls into and those guidelines have many different components.

The more risk that you are to approve for life insurance, the more they are going to charge you in monthly premiums.

One factor that they are going to look at is if you smoke cigarettes or marijuana.

Believe it or not, and as traditionally conservative as the life insurance industry is, there is a vast spectrum of operating philosophies between different providers when it comes to medical or recreational marijuana use and purchasing life insurance.

Marijuana and Life Insurance

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the decidedly different approaches of different insurers, and who best to turn to if you are one of the 2 million Americans using medical marijuana, or recreational marijuana.

According to as of August 2023, marijuana is now:

  • Fully Legalized in 23 states
  • Mixed Legalities in 21 states
  • Fully Illegal in 6 states

Medical marijuana has become both a political football and a source of some controversy in the life insurance business.

While over 2 million Americans use the plant for medicinal purposes, and it has been accepted by many in the medical community as an effective treatment of symptoms of a wide variety of diseases from cancer to multiple sclerosis, there remains a stark divide between the way insurers address its use in their policies.

As you know, insurers employ complex calculations when determining your life insurance rates based on age, weight, general health and any pre-existing conditions you may suffer.

While each insurer will come out with a different result based on their own data, the gap in rates between providers when medical or recreational marijuana is on the table is worlds apart.

While many insurers will treat medical or recreational marijuana as a risk factor that increases rates, one major firm, and the number one provider on our list of top life insurance companies, Prudential is taking a decidedly more liberal approach.

From their perspective, and based on the data they have analyzed, medical and recreational use of marijuana actually decreases risks of a number of ailments, and as such adjusts rates downwards for users.

While most providers put marijuana users in the same category as life insurance for smokers, dramatically increasing the rates they can expect to pay, Prudential is doing the exact opposite.

Only charging cigarette smokers with “Tobacco Rates”, Prudential eliminates vast subsets of smokers from the terribly taxing Tobacco rate including pipe, cigar, and joint smokers and those in the latest craze using electronic cigarettes or so-called Vapers.

And that’s good news for any of these smokers, and a growing population of medical and recreational marijuana smokers. Just to note, the rates charged under the “Tobacco Rate” category are 2-4 times as much as regular non-smoking rates.

But that’s not all. Prudential goes even further for medical marijuana users, offering them the opportunity to qualify for what’s known as “Preferred Best Non-Tobacco” rates.

Of course, their assessments will vary depending on the reasons for your medical marijuana use. This happens under a directive called “Rated for Cause”.

Life Insurance Underwriting and Marijuana Usage

Let’s say you are using marijuana for a mild health issue such as insomnia. This would probably be as good as guarantee you Preferred Best Non Tobacco rates.

If however your medical marijuana prescription is directed at treating such conditions as MS, Cancer or Chronic pain, things change.

If you are using marijuana due to MS, Chronic Pain or to treat symptoms of your cancer or its direct treatment, then Prudential will write your policy in line with anyone suffering those conditions, regardless of how they are being treated.

This is not to suggest that Prudential doesn’t see the treatment benefits of medical marijuana, but remember that it is used in these cases only as a way of treating symptoms, not the diseases themselves.

All told, when compared with other, more conservative insurance providers, the difference between their rates and what Prudential would charge is truly staggering.

Not only do they increase rates for medical marijuana use, but they also put you in the Tobacco rate category. We expect that Prudential is on the right side of history and data and this one, and we’ll soon see other providers following suit.

Medical Marijuana Use For Non-Medical State Residents

While still pretty progressive in their thinking, Prudential plays the legal card when it comes to medical marijuana users who happen to live outside of states that have legalized it.

Again, it isn’t draconian, but they will shift you into the category of a recreational smoker if you are in one of the prohibiting states.

Prudential will still give you non-smoker status rates and even the possibility of qualifying for the category of “Standard Plus Non-Smoker” for recreational marijuana use.

Some additional factors that figure into your final policy will doubtless include where and how you get your marijuana and the frequency of use.

As always with insurance providers, the more information you can give, the better and more accurate your quote will be, and more representative the pricing.

Insurance Rates For Marijuana Smokers

Even though you are a Cannabis user, don’t shy away from looking at your life insurance options. A common misconception among smokers is to immediately dismiss the investment due to higher monthly premiums.

While it’s understandable, we know there are avenues available to lessen the blow of being rated up. Before the insurance company accepts your life insurance they will want you to fulfill the medical exam requirement.

The results from the medical exam are going to play a major role in how much your insurance plan will cost. The better results that you get the less that you’ll have to pay every month for life insurance protection.

Improving your overall health is the easiest way to cut down your monthly premium. The first way to accomplish this is by sticking to a healthy diet.

Making better dietary choices is a great way to lower your cholesterol, help you lose weight, and reduce your risk of being diagnosed with health complications like diabetes.

Another way that you can lower your premiums is by getting regular exercise. Just like with a diet, exercise is a great way to improve your overall health by helping you shed extra pounds, lower your blood pressure, and much more.

Lacing up your running shoes is a great way to secure better results from the insurance medical exam.

Let us, a group of independent agents, search through our list of companies to find the perfect quote that best fits your budget and your financial goals.

As a marijuana user, you’ll find each company will rate you differently. Your premiums will fluctuate all over the chart based on who you talk to. Finding the perfect company could save you thousands of dollars on your life insurance coverage.

There are tons of carriers which means that you could spend days of calling different companies to find the best price. Instead of wasting your time on the phone calling all of those agents, let us work hard for you.

Final Things on Marijuana Usage and Life Insurance

We have years of experience helping clients get the perfect policy to meet their needs.

To sum up, in the evolving area of medical or recreational marijuana it would be difficult to find a better and more progressive company than Prudential.

Same holds if you are a tobacco user who doesn’t smoke cigarettes, but smokes pipes, cigars or chews tobacco.

We know that finding the perfect life insurance policy can be a long and frustrating process, but it doesn’t have to be. Our agents can help connect you with the perfect plan to meet your needs.

If you are ready to get a quote from companies with progressive rates of marijuana users, feel free to fill out the quote form on this page or call us directly toll-free at 1-800-712-8519.

Picture of Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent close to 30 years in the life insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health. Some other notable items about Doug: Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT). (MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance advisors) | Premier Partner with Lincoln Financial and Cabinet Member | Served two years as President of the Auburn/Opelika Association of Financial Advisors | Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award | New York Life, Executive Council Member | Currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance General Agency. | Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

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