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Over the past 10-15 years, the perception of marijuana has changed. For the most part, there is now wide public acceptance and a trend toward decriminalization. Recent polls show that 68% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

Most states have decriminalized marijuana. Meaning that being caught with first-time possession usually comes with a warning or fine, rather than arrest, prison time, or criminal record. Consistent with this trend is the recent legislation in some states to allow recreational use and possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use.

The life insurance industry has been adjusting their views and risk classifications in an attempt to keep up with these changes.

A big challenge for the life insurance industry is that unlike alcohol and tobacco, there haven’t been enough studies done on the long-term effects of marijuana usage to determine any definite conclusions in regards to risk of mortality.

So, the life insurance industry isn’t completely embracing marijuana use with open arms quite yet. But Quotacy can still help marijuana users buy affordable life insurance.

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Key Takeaways

Marijuana use doesn’t equal an automatic decline when applying for life insurance. In fact, some life insurance companies are even willing to offer their best prices to marijuana users.

Each life insurance company has their own guidelines they follow when evaluating the cost of life insurance for an applicant. Because of this, working with Quotacy is the best way to ensure you get the best price for life insurance. Quotacy works with multiple top-rated life insurance companies and we’ll shop your case to those we know are more lenient with marijuana use.

Not sure how much term life insurance you need?

How Insurance Companies Evaluate Applicants Who Use Marijuana

Each life insurance company underwrites marijuana differently. When evaluating an applicant, certain factors come into play when dealing with marijuana usage:

  • Whether the use is recreational or medicinal;
  • If medicinal, what the malady is;
  • How the marijuana is used (whether smoked, vaporized, pill-form, liquid-form, oil-form, eaten, transdermal, etc.);
  • How often marijuana is used.

When dealing with marijuana use, underwriters are going to pay a bit more attention than usual to other medications the user may be on, their driving records, and their medical history.

To determine what risk class to assign to an applicant, underwriters need to evaluate if there is anything to be concerned about. Certain factors derived from underwriting will essentially go into a “Less Concern” or “More Concern” list. Obviously, the more factors there are to be concerned about, the higher the risk to insure.

Less Concern More Concern
Experimental or very occasional use Regular moderate or heavy use, teenage use
THC urine test comes back negative (typically means that use is not often) THC urine test comes back positive
Expanded drug screens (cocaine, heroin, meth, etc.) also negative Expanded drug test comes back positive
Only occasional alcohol, no concerns Daily alcohol and/or concerns
No opioid or benzodiazepine use Use of opioid or benzodiazepine use, even if prescribed
Favorable drug/alcohol questionnaire Unavailable or unfavorable report
No current or prior psychiatric disorder diagnosis Diagnosis or history present
No current or prior substance abuse History present
No medical impairments or complications related to drug use Medical impairment and treatment, complications
Favorable hobbies/occupation Unfavorable hobbies/ occupation
Clear driving record Adverse driving record

Applying to the Right Insurance Company

The truth is that some life insurance companies are much more lenient with marijuana use than others. Going with the wrong insurance company can cost you hundreds in extra premium dollars each year. Consider the examples below.

Example One: James

James is a healthy 33-year-old male who works as an accountant for a local sporting goods store. He smokes marijuana typically each Friday evening at the end of the work week. He does not use any other form of tobacco.

He applies for a 30-year $250,000 term life insurance policy. On his application, he admits to using marijuana 1-2 times per week.

His friend is an insurance agent and applies through him. The company the agent works for offers James a Preferred Smoker risk class.

James accepts the policy, not realizing he could get a better price elsewhere.

His 30-year $250,000 term life insurance policy costs James $70 per month.


Example Two: Ben

Ben is also a healthy 33-year-old male. He works as a graphic designer. To unwind, he too smokes marijuana 1-2 times per week. No other tobacco use.

Ben applies with an independent life insurance broker. His broker tells Ben that he has an insurance company willing to offer him the Preferred Non-Tobacco risk class. Ben accepts this policy.

Ben’s 30-year $250,000 term life insurance policy only costs him $24 per month.

You don’t need to figure out for yourself which insurer will offer you the best price. No need to apply over and over hunting for the cheapest policy. We do the work for you.

Quotacy is an independent life insurance broker. One benefit of applying for life insurance through us is that we comparison shop prices for you. We make sure you’re matched with the insurance company that will treat your marijuana use, and any other health or lifestyle factor, most favorably so you get the best price possible.

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Marijuana and the Cost of Life Insurance

Your price for a term life insurance policy will vary based on the type of use (recreational or medicinal), how often you use, and the life insurance company you apply to.

Recreational versus Medicinal Marijuana Use

Recreational users of marijuana can still get affordable life insurance. If you don’t use that often (a few times per month) then you may even qualify for the best risk class. The best risk class equals the best price.

Ingesting marijuana (i.e. edibles) is also typically more favorable to an insurance company than inhaling or smoking marijuana.

If you smoke or inhale marijuana daily or weekly, you’re likely only going to qualify for tobacco risk classes. But there are a few insurance companies that will offer non-tobacco classes for these cases.

The table below illustrates real monthly premiums from a top life insurance company. You can see how a person’s cost of life insurance varies greatly depending on what risk class they qualify for.

Quotes for a 20-Year $500,000 Term Life Insurance Policy for 30-Year-Old Male
Risk ClassMonthly Premium
Preferred Plus$19.66
Preferred$25.01
Standard Plus$31.55
Standard$35.68
Preferred Tobacco$68.82
Standard Tobacco$90.20

If you’re a marijuana user and are treating any type of depression, or if you have a history of unstable living environment, employment or lifestyle issues, major accident or motor vehicle offenses, or substance abuse history, then these are cases where you may not qualify for the Preferred or Standard risk classes.

Table ratings often come into play with these scenarios. A table rating is an increase in price the insurance company requires if your level of risk is higher than average.

Medicinal marijuana use is evaluated in a completely different manner than recreational use. Most insurance companies don’t even bother with the marijuana factor itself and instead base risk class solely on the medical condition being treated.

Medical Conditions That Qualify for Medical Marijuana

Qualifying medical conditions in which marijuana can be prescribed varies by state. Some qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • PTSD
  • Severe arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia
  • Migraines

Your Quotacy agent will review all aspects of your application, not just your marijuana use. We’re your advocate. We don’t work for the insurance company. We help you find the best policy option for your unique situation.

As you have read, marijuana use is still controversial in the life insurance industry. However, using marijuana recreationally or medicinally doesn’t mean you cannot get approved for life insurance, so don’t let your fear of being denied keep you from applying.

Getting a life insurance quote is easy through Quotacy. We don’t even ask for your contact information upfront. Look at quotes in peace on your own time.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

When you’re ready to apply, the online application only takes a few minutes. Submit it, and your Quotacy agent takes it from there and will keep you updated every step of the way.

Disclaimer: This post was updated 1/19/2022 and all life insurance underwriting notes are current as of this date, but the industry is continually changing to meet demands.

Watch the Life Insurance and Marijuana Video

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius, CLU

Senior Editor and Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.