Understanding Life Insurance and Marijuana

Written by Jason Fisher

If you use marijuana, insurance is not always the easiest thing to obtain, especially if you don’t know which companies are willing to work with you.

But, don’t be intimidated by the insurance companies. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll find the coverage you’re looking for with little to no headache. This goes for other issues you may face as well, such as seeking life insurance with diabetes, we are here to help you find the company that will work best for you and your needs!

Classifying Marijuana

Let’s start with the classification of marijuana as a drug and compare it to some other drugs. Marijuana is a schedule I drug according to the DEA. A schedule II drug listed is cocaine on the same page.

If someone is a cocaine user, do you think they’re getting life insurance? You can probably answer the question on your own. Yet if someone is a marijuana user, which is technically a substance listed in a higher schedule than cocaine, you can still get life insurance. So what kind of conclusions can we draw from this in regards to insurance?

Each insurance company is liable to pay the claims for the policies it writes. If someone applies to an insurance company and is accepted, having disclosed the use of marijuana, not only is it not necessarily a decline, but you can get a great rating. So it’s not really the legality which an insurance company is looking for, but something else. Obviously they are much more worried about having to pay the claim.

But the underwriters aren’t just looking at marijuana as a schedule I drug, and they aren’t just reviewing how you use it. In fact, they aren’t just looking at the long term effects, either. Those are just pieces of the bigger puzzle.

When considering life insurance and medical marijuana, you need to remember why you are medically allowed to use the marijuana in the first place. Too many applicants get excited they can get life insurance as a user, but forget the underlying reason why they’re using in the first place.

Medical marijuana can treat a lot of symptoms, and the number will likely increase in time as more research is done. Here’s a few:

  1. Chronic Pain
  2. Nausea
  3. Seizures
  4. Inflammation
  5. Stress
  6. Anxiety
  7. Spasms

But symptoms like these stem from something. Medical marijuana isn’t simply going to be issued to someone who has had one case of symptoms, but rather a series of them. The insurance company is not only worried about the symptoms, but why you have the symptoms as well.

If your symptoms stem from something like arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, hypertension, or any other disease which results in your issuance of a medicinal marijuana prescription, you’ll need to find out if you can still get life insurance with the attributed disease, not just the marijuana use resulting from the symptoms.

In short, you’ll need to be prepared to qualify for life insurance in all areas, not just the use of the marijuana.

What Does the Carrier Look at?

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!

Talk To An Independent Agent

There’s two kinds of insurance agents: Captive and Independent. A captive agent is an agent who works for just one insurance company, like State Farm or Nationwide. These agents, with a few exceptions, only write business for the insurance company they work for, and won’t give you many options other than the type of insurance that one particular company offers.

And independent agent is one who is not affiliated with any one single carrier. An independent agent offers multiple companies. This means they can not only shop your rate for you, but find insurance companies who are more lenient for different things, such as marijuana smoking.

This will create a greater likelihood you’ll find a company willing to give you a good rating, as opposed to dealing with just one company who won’t be so easy to work with. Using a knowledgeable, independent agent will increase your chances of finding the right company the first time, so you don’t have negative results or multiple hoops to jump through.

Admit Your Use

Very importantly, admit up front you use marijuana. Insurance agents will need to know from the beginning so they can find the right company, but also so they can get more detailed information from you.

Most marijuana users are scared to apply for insurance because they think they’ll be found out; don’t be alarmed! Insurance companies are not the law, and they won’t come knocking at your door because you admit to using marijuana.

It’s imperative you give as much information to the agent as possible so they can give you preliminary quotes which are accurate, but also so they can find a policy which fits your needs and budget. Nobody likes any surprises at the end of the road, with an increase in premium, or worse, a decline.

Find The Right Policy

Find the right policy. If you use an independent agent, you’re already going to get a great selection of product choices and companies to choose from.

But remember to buy a policy for your needs specifically. Don’t feel like you need to buy a round number, like $100,000 in coverage. It’s not abnormal to buy a policy for $145,000 to cover an exact obligation, like a business loan or mortgage.

Obviously, make sure you find a policy you can stick with. It’s pointless to aim at a policy which is over budget. If you can’t afford the right policy, buy something lower and in your affordable range: remember, something is still better than nothing!

Apply For Life Insurance

There are a couple ways of doing this, but some are much easier than others. You can, of course, have a meeting with an agent and go through a paper application. This is the method which has been used for over a hundred years, and it’s always good to see an agent face to face.

Another way, and the most popular now, is to buy a life insurance policy online or over the phone. As technology has evolved, the process has been simplified to the extreme. You can purchase life insurance in just a matter of minutes, right from home.

If you want to see for yourself, get a quote in under 60 seconds right from our site. If you find something you like, you can even make your purchase on the spot.

Medical Symbol

What to do Before the Exam

Applying for life insurance and getting through the exam can be stressful. You want to ensure you’re getting the lowest rates. We have a few tips for you to consider before you start the application process.

Be Prepared

If you were getting your favorite drink and were able to simply hand the bartender the exact recipe, it would surely keep a lengthy and confusing discussion at bay. Apply the same procedure to being prepared with your life insurance information.

You want to have as much information as you can on paper and ready to send when you apply for your life insurance. For example, have any and all important dates, (such as diagnosis dates, dates of treatments, and dates of use) a frequency of use chart, any prescriptions if you use medicinal marijuana, and all possible contact information of doctors, specialists or hospitals you may have seen in the past few years. Also, if you consume edibles, smoke, or use any other type of method, be sure to include details on those in addition.

You might think this is overkill, and everything may not be required, but you want to be precise when asked. You might be asked multiple times as well, from application, to a telephone interview, and even clarification from the underwriters throughout the process. Keeping a log of everything allows you to be accurate and timely in your responses, which will help you greatly.

Be Punctual

When asking the bar tender to make your drink, he adds ice to the glass, then begins asking you questions about how to make it perfect for you. If you take all day to respond, eventually the ice would melt, and your drink would be watered down, resulting in something not quite right for you.

Again, be responsive in the same way in regards to your life insurance. If you take 30 days to get your medical completed following your application, and take a week to answer each question the underwriters have for you, it may appear you’re taking your sweet time to give yourself a favorable rating. But in actuality, it would be highly beneficial for you to be punctual and answer exactly the question as asked, not more or less.

Be Realistic

You might not get a flawless drink, but you might expect something close. If you have a really difficult palate and your drink has a smorgasbord of mixers and liquors, perhaps you should even lower your expectations further. Worse case scenario, you might just have to settle with a new drink because certain ingredients may not even be available.

The big picture with life insurance not only involves your use of marijuana, but all things considered over and above its use. The reason why its used, if medical, must be an insurable condition. Your overall health also needs to be considered, as well as your driving recordmedical history, and current health factors. Keep your expectations realistic as your entire health portfolio needs to be reviewed, not just the marijuana aspect.

Be Patient

No bartender likes to be rushed, especially when making a specially catered elixir for you. Have patience and let him do what he does best, and your drink might just be what you’re looking for.

Life insurance can take 4-6 weeks for underwriting, and in cases involving extra health concerns, multiple doctorsspecialists or hospitals records to go through, it can take even longer. There’s no use in haunting the insurance company and prying for answers. If you want a policy super fast, you’ll have to pay for a guaranteed or simplified issue, no exam policy to get it expedited. If your health records are clean, driving record clean, and all other factors check out, you could receive your decision faster than 4-6 weeks, but don’t count on it.

Ace Your Exam

In no way do we recommend trying to manipulate your exam results. But, there are some things you can do to ensure your exam goes as smooth as possible.

Like any other person applying for life insurance, you’ll probably be subjected to a visit by an examiner who will need to draw a bit of blood and collect a urine sample from you. He or she will also ask you additional medical questions, measure height, weight, and occasionally perform an EKG test.

Schedule the Exam in the Morning

The exam will require you to fast beforehand for 4-8 hours. Obviously, if you are sleeping, you’re not eating so you won’t have to skip meals all day while you wait for your exam time.

Drink lots of Water

starting a day or two before your exam, and stay away from fatty foods, sugary drinks, or alcohol.

If you have prescriptions for marijuana or other drugs, have them on hand for the examiner, so she can take notes about their dosage and frequencies of use. Don’t forget to tell the examiner about other vitamins or supplements if you take them as well.

Await Results

You’ve completed the process, but don’t fret if you don’t get results immediately. The underwriting process for life insurance can take up to 4-6 weeks, and even longer in some instances if there are significant medical records to go through from multiple doctors or specialists.

When you get your results, you’ll also have the chance to request your medical results from the insurance company. If you didn’t the rating you were looking for, ask them for the results. They’re free.

If you happen to find something which looks incorrect, you can appeal if need be. Just be sure you have sufficient evidence to back your claim. Mistakes happen, so don’t be alarmed. Be in communication with your agent at all times, and he or she should be able to assist you through the entire process seamlessly.

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About Jack D. Davis
About Jack D. Davis

Jack has been an independent life insurance agent since 1985 with a focus on helping families and small business owners.  Jack’s calm approach is very much appreciated by his clients when explaining what type of policy is needed for their unique situation.

You can reach Jack at 800.277.3098 or email: Info@JackDDavis.com

Learn more about Jack D. Davis

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