If you haven’t read the first parts of this series, please start there:
- Legalizing Marijuana And Life Insurance: Breaking New Ground
- Legalizing Marijuana And Life Insurance: The Medical Marijuana Insurance Side
- The Marijuana Life Insurance Cocktail: Does It Mix Well?
If you’ve read our previous articles, you know you can purchase life insurance as a marijuana user. But the life insurance and marijuana smoking underwriting process differs quite a bit different than a standard issue policy.
The majority of the process remains the same, but the insurance company wants specific details about your marijuana use.
Continue reading below to see what you’ll need to know, and what the issuer wants from you.
Life Insurance: Marijuana Smoking And Underwriting
First, remember you’ll need to be able to qualify for life insurance just like everyone else, marijuana set aside, using your age and health. This means you’ll need to be healthy enough, have a clean medical history, and a clean driving record.
Your current health is going to comprise of the basics: normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, a healthy weight, and nothing major medically wrong with you. You can be on a few prescriptions, diet regimens, or even vitamins without getting a ding on your insurance profile. The insurance company is looking for major ailments in this category, such as cancer or someone looking for life insurance with lupus.
Your medical history is similar to your current health, but it’s a bit more involved. Your medical history record might have information on it such as surgery you may have had, and out patient procedures, or specialists you’ve visited in the past. If you’re a female, things like pregnancy can also be looked at for a history of something like gestational diabetes.
Your driving record is also considered, and most people who apply don’t think about it. But just because you’ve had a ticket or two, don’t be alarmed. Things to watch for are DUI’s, counts of reckless driving, a high volume of tickets (I’ve seen a driving record with 27 tickets speeding tickets!), or other major and hazardous driving offenses. If you rolled through a stop sign once, you’ll be just fine!
Now, the marijuana. Life insurance is going to require a blood profile and a urinalysis for most standard issue policies. Obviously, there is a disease and drug check going on, and marijuana (more specifically THC) is one of those drugs.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as THC, is one of the specific things underwriters are looking for when you apply for life insurance. This is because THC alters your normal body functions in multiple areas. It affects the nervous system first by modifying the receptors in your brain and releasing abnormal amounts of different compounds throughout your body.
The THC can have long term effects medically, and this is what the insurance company is most worried about. There have been more studies done with marijuana than ever before, but the final decisions on whether it’s truly harmful or not is still vastly polarized. Some argue the studies are too inconclusive, and to an insurance company, this means an undefined risk.
Marijuana As A Drug
On the books, marijuana is still classified as a schedule I drug. This is causing quite a big discussion among the different carriers because, technically, you could be using an illicit and illegal drug.
Even though marijuana has not been concluded as a deadly drug, if someone is using marijuana recreationally and isn’t prescribed as medicinal marijuana, it begs the question: What else is this person using? It’s an association issue. It’s not uncommon for someone to start with marijuana and move to something else.
Why is someone using? How much are they using it? These are two questions about marijuana and life insurance the insurance company is going to want to know.
Why is someone using marijuana? If it’s for recreation, you may be held to a certain number of restrictions versus if you use it for medicinal purposes. While one company might allow just two uses per month recreationally, it may allow more if it’s prescribed.
But the obvious concern here if it’s prescribed is why it’s being prescribed. Is it for something like anxiety and depression, or is it a much more complex disease? If it’s the latter, you’ll be looking at having a much more difficult time getting a good rating. Remember, your normal health concerns are a huge part of your underwriting decision.
Marijuana Urine Test
It’s actually possible your bloodstream can test negative for marijuana, but your urine can test positive at the same time. This is because THC (and other strands of it) can actually linger longer in your body through different pathways, and it can be visible through your urine the longest.
If you are a regular user, it’s not impossible for strands of THC to be visible in your urine several weeks, or even months in some cases. If you are an occasional user, it’s a lot less likely as the build up of THC in your system is not going to occur very quickly.
Marijuana and urine tests are not something you can manipulate. There are a ton of different urine kits, body cleanse techniques, and crazy diets which people go on in order to try to affect the readings of the blood and urine tests. Frankly, they don’t have a very high success rate at all. If you use marijuana, the life insurance company is probably going to see it, or at least traces of it.
Frequency of Use
Perhaps the greatest determinant of underwriting for life insurance for marijuana users is how often someone uses the marijuana. There are actually multiple companies who will give an applicant a great rating if they use less than two times per month. Two times a day is quite the opposite.
Each company might categorize the frequency of use differently. For example, one company might classify marijuana as a zero tolerance use, but another might say it’s okay multiple times a week simply because they classify marijuana itself differently. It all depends on each companies view and concern about how lethal marijuana is now, and in the future, both involving short-term and long-term use.
It’s all statistics in the end. One company might think frequent use means you have a higher likelihood of using other drugs, driving under the influence, or simply long-term medical issues. The other might deem it less harmful, citing marijuana has never killed someone by overdose. Each has it’s own opinions.
Continue to follow along all month long as we look more into the world of life insurance and marijuana through our #CoveredForLIFE campaign.