Life Insurance for Stoners?
April 19, 2012 2:01 PM   Subscribe

I want to get some life insurance. But, I like to smoke the marijuana from time to time. What can I do?

So, I like to smoke the occasional pot stick, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'm in a situation though where I would like to get some life insurance and I'm currently abstaining from my drug of choice because I know there will be a blood test involved. My questions are:

1) Are they testing for marijuana?

2) How often will I have additional tests?

3) As a occasional pot smoker what are my options for hassle free affordable health insurance?
posted by trbrts to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Wasn't an issue for me, not sure what your insurance would be testing for.
posted by Cosine at 2:02 PM on April 19, 2012

Most of my other insurance products are with Allstate so I was thinking about sticking with them. Can I just ask them what they are testing for without setting off some kind of insurance company alarms?

Cosine: so you puff and you got a blood test and no problems?
posted by trbrts at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2012

Why not just call them anonymously? I doubt they'd have any reason to not tell you the truth.
posted by griphus at 2:10 PM on April 19, 2012

Ask them what the blood test is for. When I got life insurance the blood test was for the express purpose of screening for HIV. I've had the policy 5 years and there have been no additional tests, though there would be if I wanted to increase the amount.
posted by IanMorr at 2:12 PM on April 19, 2012

I have life insurance through the NEA. All I had to do was answer some questions on a form. If you belong to a similar professional organization, you might get similarly easy access to insurance.

(Also, my insurance is way cheaper than the quote the all-state guy gave me. Yay, for large-group purchasing power.)
posted by oddman at 2:29 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

My family has been in the life insurance business for over 30 years. Find a good agent and just tell him. Typically this is a question on any application. Ask your agent which carriers he works with who are lenient for marijuana use. All carriers, to my knowledge, test for drugs. Trust me, it is far worse to lie and get busted, then to just be up front.

If you can wait a few months and clean your system out, there is nothing preventing you from smoking after the insurance is in force. MeMail me if you have further questions. I've written loads of insurance for former drug users.
posted by yoyoceramic at 2:32 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Q1) It it my understanding that a marijuana screening test is a common part of the paramedical exam that most life insurance companies conduct before issuing a policy. Testing positive for marijuana can cause your rates to be much higher than if you tested negative or can be a reason for them to deny coverage to you. There are life insurance companies/policies that don't require a paramedical exam but I have heard that their rates and higher and coverage might be more limited.
posted by OsoMeaty at 2:33 PM on April 19, 2012

We actually got life insurance policies with no exam - I didn't want them doing a blood test & screening for things, even though we're not using anything we shouldn't be. I'd be happy to look up the company we're with if you memail me, although it sounds like there are plenty of other options!
posted by needlegrrl at 2:39 PM on April 19, 2012

They're not the cops. Just apply. We got ours through USAA and there was a blood draw, but you're overthinking this: parents & cops care about drugs. Insurance companies care about money.
posted by yerfatma at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2012

When I bought mine through USAA in December there was both a blood stick and a urine sample. The lab results are still in my online documents so lemmie see here...

Right up at the top are two lines above anything else: HIV 1 Antibody and Cocaine. Down lower is a check for cotinine - a nicotine metabolite. No indication they were looking for mj.

But here's the thing. There's a very explicit query about use of illegal drugs amongst the bazillion other lifestyle queries. So while they're not the cops you should be careful about this. Your insurance company is perfectly happy to take your premiums under your false pretenses. It's when payout time comes that they'll get more interested.

I would be shocked to learn that anyone ever had their life insurance payout denied because of pot unless they got shocked to death by their grow light falling into a hydroponic pond or something. But you will be asked about use and if you lie about it you offer them an avenue to deny a claim. So I'd be cautious about your answer, particularly if any of your medical records indicate use - because you will be signing blanket release forms.
posted by phearlez at 5:29 PM on April 19, 2012

I worked in life insurance claims and had to do many investigations when someone died within the contestable period (2 years for my company). The first thing we did was order medical records. If someone had a non-smoker policy, we looked to see if there was anything in the records that indicated he was a smoker. If there was, that was enough to rescind the policy under the "material misrepresentation" clause, meaning that if the company had known he was a smoker they would have issued him a different policy at a different rate. Therefore, we would deny the claim and refund any paid premiums. I think this is pretty standard in the industry.

I can't tell you how many times I had to write letters to the spouses of the insureds who had died, telling them that they were not going to get the $250,000, $500,000, etc. that they were expecting because their husband/wife hadn't told the truth on the application. I hated doing it and it really broke my heart to talk to people devastated by the death who then had to find out that they weren't going to get any insurance money.

In other words, please don't lie on your application unless you can guarantee that you have never told a doctor that you smoke pot or that you will live past the contestable period (look at the policy to see what it is for that company).
posted by la petite marie at 5:50 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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