As cannabis legalization spreads throughout the country and mainstream support for marijuana grows, more and more cannabis users are willing to admit their use of the once-demonized substance to friends, family, and medical providers. But this honesty can still have drawbacks, as a few cannabis users seeking life insurance have recently discovered. Some blazers shopping for insurance have found that companies are quoting them rates five times higher than those quoted to non-users, says a new report from the New York Post, "with certain issuers making the same risk assumptions for pot smokers as cigarette smokers."
Legal cannabis is still in its early stages throughout the country, and the insurance sector has not yet established industry-wide best practices for pot-smoking policy holders. Jack Dolan of the American Council of Life Insurance told the New York Post that his organization doesn't “get into that side of things, that is something for individual company operations” — a posture likely adopted due to the plant's still federally illegal status. Individuals shopping for life insurance are finding that some companies are willing to overlook cannabis use, while others will charge the maximum rate to any admitted marijuana maven.
At a recent conference of the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors, Mark Maurer, president of Florida-based insurance firm LLIS, recommended that insurers ask all potential clients about their cannabis use, reports the New York Post. As an example, Maurer cited a 36-year-old client who admitted to vaping cannabis once or twice a week. The client told him that she received one life insurance quote for $3,772 — the same rate as a plan for tobacco users — while another company quoted $677, the same rate as a plan for non-smokers.
Maurer noted that the woman's decision to admit her cannabis use was a smart one, as it allowed her to find the cheapest rate while remaining honest about her kush consumption. Insurance companies reserve the right to refuse to pay out a policy if they discover that the insured individual had been lying about their substance use. Maurer also noted that although some insurers are jacking up their rates, he doesn't “know of any life insurance companies who will out and out decline an applicant because they smoke marijuana.”