Life insurance can offer you the peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be financially protected when you pass away, especially if you are the breadwinner in your household. But the cost of life insurance depends a lot on your lifestyle, including whether or not you smoke. And now that cannabis is legal in Canada, insurance providers have to consider policies for cannabis users.
What’s the difference between term and whole life insurance?
Life insurance policies for smokers can cost anywhere from 2 to 4 times more than what non-smokers would pay, as tobacco use can significantly impact your health, both short-term and long-term. This presents a risk for insurance providers, which is why they increase the cost for policies to offset this risk.
The question is, how does cannabis use, in particular, affect your ability to secure a life insurance policy, as well as the cost for premiums? Given the recent legalization of cannabis and the increased use of the plant among Canadians, how do life insurance companies handle policies for cannabis users?
Have a critical illness? Check out critical illness insurance.
Can I Get Life Insurance As A Cannabis User?
Yes, you can take out a life insurance policy if you consume cannabis. Whether your cannabis use is on a regular or occasional basis, your insurance provider will want to know the frequency of use.
Life insurance companies will also want to know the reason why you use cannabis. Generally speaking, insurers will want to know more about whether you consume cannabis to help alleviate medical symptoms due to a medical condition or whether you’re using it on a recreational basis.
One of the most important factors that insurance companies consider is the current health of an applicant. If you suffer from a chronic medical condition that you are treating with cannabis, the insurance provider will require that information to help them determine the coverage amount you can get approved for and how much to charge you for premiums.
Is Cannabis Considered Smoking?
Since cannabis is now federally legal in Canada, insurance firms are now in a position to re-revisit their rules surrounding coverage for cannabis users and the potential risks that come with it. Before the legalization of cannabis, policyholders who used cannabis could be classified in the same category as cigarette smokers. As such, their premiums were much higher.
Today, only those who use cannabis more frequently than a certain weekly limit established by the insurance provider could be classified as smokers.
How The Use Of Cannabis Affects Life Insurance Rates
A few important factors determine the premiums charged by insurance providers when it comes to cannabis consumption:
Frequency And Amount
Life insurance coverage and cost mainly depend on how often and how much cannabis is consumed. Those who use cannabis and consume a large quantity every day may be viewed as a higher risk to insurance companies, which could result in higher premiums.
Mode Of Consumption
Some insurance providers may also be interested to know exactly how you use cannabis before they provide a quote. While cannabis is traditionally smoked, it can also be consumed via edibles and tinctures.
While insurance companies consider cannabis consumption an increased risk, the way it is used may play a role in premiums. More specifically, the risk is considered lower with the consumption of cannabis edibles or orally-applied tinctures as opposed to smoking or vaping. As such, a consumer would be considered a non-smoker even if cannabis is used every day.
Each insurance company will have its own rules surrounding the mode of cannabis consumption and how it will affect premiums. Some might differentiate between types of cannabis products used, while others won’t.
Are you a smoker? See life insurance for smokers here.
Recreational Vs. Medical Use
Medical cannabis users are less likely to be considered “smokers” since they are using cannabis to treat chronic medical conditions, such as anxiety, pain, or inflammation.
On the other hand, insurance companies may view recreational cannabis users differently. Generally speaking, casual cannabis use is considered to be anywhere from 2 to 4 joints smoked weekly. Any more than that could push you into the smoker category. Some insurers may have their limits on edibles as well, while others may not consider orally-administered cannabis products at all.
The Medical Condition Being Treated
If you are using cannabis to treat a medical issue, the insurance provider may want to know exactly what condition you’re trying to treat. Certain conditions, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis (MS), will be looked at differently than other less-serious ailments, and they may adjust their quotes accordingly.
Will I Need A Medical Exam?
If you’re looking to take out a standard life insurance policy, you may be required to undergo a medical exam after informing your insurance company of your use of cannabis. More specifically, you may have to provide a urine or blood sample so the insurance provider can determine whether or not you were honest on your application about your cannabis consumption levels.
But you may also be able to forego a medical exam if you apply for a no-medical policy. Keep in mind that these plans are usually more expensive than a standard policy because the insurer will have less information to go on to assess your health.
Rates From Life Insurance Providers For Cannabis Users
To give you an idea of how much a life insurance policy can cost, the following chart displays premium prices from different digital life insurance advisors that compare quotes from various insurance companies. The prices displayed are based on a $500,000, 20-year term policy for a 25-year-old male.
In one row, prices reflect infrequent cannabis use, in which case the policyholder would be considered a non-smoker. In another, prices reflect frequent cannabis use, in which case the policyholder would be considered a smoker.
|Infrequent (less than 2 uses/week)||$29.70||$32.40|
|Frequent (more than 4 uses/week)||$64.80||$57.28|
As you can see, the cost for a life insurance policy can double if the insurance company you choose considers frequent cannabis use as smoking.
What To Do When Applying For Life Insurance As A Cannabis User
Consider the following factors when applying for a life insurance policy as a consumer of cannabis:
Work With An Insurer That Will Classify You As A Non-Smoker
As mentioned, different insurance companies may have their own rules surrounding cannabis use when it comes to their prices. The more frequently you smoke cannabis, the more likely you will be considered a smoker, which will cost you more for your life insurance policy. If possible, try to find an insurance provider who has higher limits in terms of the frequency of cannabis use.
Compare Various Insurance Companies
Take the time to get quotes from a handful of insurance companies to find the best prices when your cannabis use is factored into the equation. Just be sure not to compromise coverage in the name of a cheaper premium.
Be Honest About Your Cannabis Use
It’s crucial to be completely honest about your lifestyle and health when applying for life insurance. If the insurance company discovers that you lied on your application about various aspects of your health or habits — such as your use of cannabis — they have the right to cancel your policy. Further, be sure to provide as much information about the reason why you use cannabis, such as your medical condition and the symptoms it causes that cannabis can alleviate.
When it comes to life insurance costs for cannabis users, what matters most to insurance companies is risk level. If you use cannabis responsibly, smoke only a few times per week, and find cannabis to be an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of your medical condition, you shouldn’t be penalized with a higher premium. But if you smoke a few joints every day, you will likely be deemed a smoker. Look into a handful of insurance companies to get an idea of how you would be classified, which will have a direct impact on your quotes.