Can you still get life insurance if you smoke cannabis?
If you have smoked or currently smoke cannabis, you may be wondering if it will prevent you from getting life insurance. In fact, you’re not alone. Around 7.2% of adults in the UK from age 16 to 59 have smoked cannabis in the last year – that’s approximately 2.4 million people.
Unfortunately, smoking cannabis can have an effect on your life insurance premiums, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get it all together.
What do insurance companies ask?
All insurance providers and advisers will ask relatively the same sorts of questions when it comes to your life insurance. In general, they need to know your age, your current health status, medical history, family medical history and lifestyle factors. These lifestyle factors include your BMI, smoking status, alcohol intake and drug intake.
Life insurance premiums are based on the level of risk you post to the insurer. The higher the risk of death, the higher the premiums because it’s more likely that they will need to pay out on a claim.
The need to disclose your details
Some people may be uncomfortable providing sensitive information about themselves, or revealing how much they smoke, drink or if they take drugs. It’s important to realise that all the information used by insurance providers and advisors is confidential. The information is used purely to assess the application risk.
It’s important that you disclose all the details, because if you were to pass away and they found out through a medical report, then the likelihood is, they won’t pay out.
What will they need to know if I smoke cannabis?
If you say ‘yes’ when they ask about smoking cannabis, you will need to provide them with a bit more information. This is so that they can assess the level of risk.
Typically, they will need to know
- If you have used cannabis in the last 5 years
- How often you smoke
- How much you would smoke
- If you use tobacco
Sometimes, smoking cannabis can have no effect on your ability to gain life insurance or the price. But this is dependent on how often you use it and the quantity. In more severe cases, however, you may be declined.
Cannabis drug testing?
Testing for cannabis is relatively time-consuming, so most insurers won’t bother to ask for a drug test. Smoking cannabis is relatively common in the UK. For this reason, insurance providers recognise that occasional use doesn’t damage health any more than smoking cigarettes.
Why would I get a rating for smoking cannabis?
Occasional cannabis smokers may be able to obtain standard rates or a small loading on your premium. But in some instances, insurance providers may increase your premiums or decline completely.
If you smoke tobacco with marijuana
When you smoke tobacco with your cannabis, then insurance providers are likely to treat you the same as they would a regular smoker. This can often mean that your insurance premiums will be up to a third, if not double the amount they would be if you didn’t smoke.
If you have a history of mental health
Cannabis smokers with a history of mental health or alcohol issues may well be declined life insurance. This is because you are at an increased risk for the insurance provider. It may be that you can obtain life insurance once the situation improves.
Changes in attitudes toward marijuana
Back in 2001, Portugal decriminalised all drugs and by 2011 substance abuse was reported to have halved across the country. It was California that led the way, which legalised medical marijuana back in 1996 and was the first of 9 US states to have legalised recreational use.
With Canada legalising cannabis just this year, and insurance companies adapting policies to cater to these customers, it seems that attitudes are continuing to change.
But what does this mean for the UK?
Medical cannabis has just become available to patients in the UK on an NHS prescription. Government officials called the drug into questions after two young children were denied cannabis oil which helped their seizures.
However, it is cannabis oil, with a lower component of THC, the psychoactive component, that is legalised and only can be prescribed by specialist doctors. So, it does appear that attitudes are slowly changing. In fact, it has been said that legalising the drug could not only introduce a new tax revenue that could be used for public spending but prevent high-strength dangerous products, increase safety and save money for the NHS.
No changes yet
For now, it seems the insurance industry will remain the same, but will likely insure those taking cannabis for medical purposes. Yet it is highly expected they will ask for medical reports from your GP.
The industry remains fairly black and white still when it comes to smoking. Even after the introduction of e-cigarettes and a widespread uptake on vaping. So, it seems a little too advanced to expect changes when it comes to cannabis.
Despite this, it’s still possible for cannabis smokers to obtain life insurance. But it’s always worth speaking to an adviser to find the best product that can fit your requirements.
For more information about life insurance for you or your business, please get in touch today.