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Marijuana and Life Insurance

Various surveys have shown that partaking of Marijuana is quite popular in Canada, not only with the stereotypical student and young users, but with the well to do middle class as well. Some statistics show that over 50% of Canadians believe that the drug should be legalised and taxed like normal cigarettes.

So how does using Marijuana affect your prospects of getting life insurance?

First of all life Insurance companies are going to treat you like a smoker, someone who has a greater chance of contracting some sort of life threatening condition because they inhale smoke on a voluntary basis. Even although medical data has shown that Marijuana is actually safer than cigarettes; which contain dangerous carcinogens, the life insurance company will tar you with the same brush – forgive the pun.

Next, you have to consider your usage of the drug. Is it rare, occasional, or frequent?

If you have smoked Marijuana within the last year, you should still declare it on your life insurance policy application form, and you will probably be given a standard smokers policy.

(A person is considered by insurance companies to be a non-smoker if they haven’t smoked for over a year).

If your use is occasional, then there is no getting away from it – you will be given the more expensive smoker’s policy.

If your use is frequent, your life insurance company are probably going to ask you questions; specifically, “Why”. Most frequent users of Marijuana are using it for medical benefits, which implies that there is an underlying medical condition that your insurance company will want to know about.

This brings us to a thorny subject, telling your life insurance company about your usage. Marijuana is still illegal with the exception of a few places that allow it to be prescribed for medical use. So you are going to have to confirm on a form that you partake in an illegal activity.

This may put a lot of people off, admitting to their usage of an illegal substance.

(If you are asked to complete a life insurance form for a company funded insurance scheme, you should consult with your personnel department and ascertain what level of confidentiality is maintained with regards to the contents of your form).

If you use Marijuana, you must put it on your life insurance application, not because it is illegal not to do so. But because if you die and the medical examination shows that you were a marijuana user your life insurance company is well within its rights to refuse to pay out on your policy. (Similarly if you are a smoker and don’t tell the insurance company, they will refuse to pay if they find out after your death that you were) 

For frequent users you have to be a little more careful, you should use or consult with an life insurance agent before approaching a company with a view to asking for a life insurance policy. An insurance agent will be able to tell you which companies are likely to accept you and which will probably turn you down. You need this information before you apply for a policy because if you are turned down for an insurance policy, you are legally obliged to tell any other insurance company you apply to that you have been turned down for a life insurance policy in the past.

“Have you ever been turned down for Life Insurance ?” is part of a standard life insurance application, and will affect how a life company treats, and charges you.

Some life companies will allow you to ask them if they are likely to turn you down based on the contents of your application, without actually processing the form and generating an official insurance refusal.

So, in conclusion, getting life insurance if you are Marijuana user is not that difficult. You will be expected to pay a standard smokers premium if you are a rare or occasional user. If you use the drug  regularly or for medical reasons then not only will you be placed in the smoker bracket, you will also have to undergo the same procedure as anyone else who has a notable medical condition. You will need to divulge the condition and face the prospect that some life insurance companies may deem you too great a risk to issue you with a life policy.

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