By Liran Hirschkorn
With medical marijuana now legal in 23 states (recreational usage, too, in four of those states), the country’s opinion of the drug is steadily changing, and life insurance companies are reacting accordingly. Where any drug usage whatsoever would have resulted in a quick and firm denial of coverage 10 years ago, marijuana users can now get a comprehensive life insurance policy without hassle. Just keep these few things in mind when sitting down with an agent.
Honesty is always the best policy.
It’s tempting to simply lie about marijuana usage, and certainly many users have become accustomed to doing so — given the stigma associated with it — but hiding information from your insurance company is never a good idea.
The least of the potential consequences of lying to an insurance company is that you can be denied coverage. This is a small price to pay when you consider that lying could actually be considered insurance fraud, a punishable crime.
Worse still is that your insurance company can deny a claim if you die. This means that, though you think your family will be compensated to cover the expenses associated with your death, when the time comes, they’ll get nothing. This is a terrible shame considering what you now know: There’s no real reason to lie.
Work with an informed agent.
When sitting down with a life insurance agent, be sure to ask the right questions. If this particular agent is unsure of most companies’ policies regarding marijuana usage, you might seek an agent with more experience.
For example, does your agent know specifically which companies are most accepting of marijuana usage? Prudential is one of the go-to companies for such situations. In fact, it will offer nonsmoker rates to marijuana smokers as long as they don’t also smoke tobacco products.
This is where choosing the right agent and company is imperative; a company that doesn’t have this policy might charge smoker rates regardless, which are two to three times higher than nonsmoker rates.
Avoid marijuana use a week or two before your insurance health exam.
Despite the loosening attitude toward marijuana usage, daily users will still find it difficult to obtain insurance. Some companies will approve a client as long as he doesn’t test positive for THC (the main psychoactive component found in marijuana) in the urine sample provided at the time of the health exam.
While avoiding usage before the exam might seem as dishonest as flat-out lying about using, remember that admitting to marijuana usage is still the key to finding your best coverage. Then, your agent can help you identify and work around stipulations; the industry is still biased toward occasional users.
Don’t be discouraged by restrictions on life insurance for marijuana users. The taboo is losing steam in the U.S., and many insurance companies are following suit. Remember to find an agent who’s well-informed about the difference between insurance companies in regard to marijuana usage, and being honest about your usage is the best way to get that comforting peace of mind for you and your family.
Liran Hirschkorn is an independent life insurance agent and founder of BestLifeQuote.com, a national life insurance agency. His mission is to help individuals across the U.S. find the best rates on life insurance, specializing in helping those who have previously been declined coverage. Liran’s expertise is in high-risk life insurance and understanding the unique underwriting guidelines of more than 30 life insurance companies.