I started Insurance Blog by Chris™ because I have a passion for insurance. Here at the blog, our job is to educate and inform people about the best insurance for them. Since then, we have grown into national brands with a large team of researchers helping people understand all forms of insurance.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2021

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The effects of drug use are devastating on the human body. As we’ve seen in so many cases, prolonged drug use can lead to a severely decreased life expectancy.

So you won’t be surprised to learn that all life insurance applications include some type of question about the applicant’s use or abuse of alcohol, as well as the use of any drugs currently or in the past.

For example, Genworth Life & Annuity Insurance Company’s drug question reads as follows:

“Other than prescribed by a physician, have you ever used marijuana, narcotics, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens, or any prescription drugs?  If “Yes”, also give the name, form, amount, frequency, and length of use, and date last used.”

Best Case Life Insurance Approval Using Illegal Drugs

girl worried about her life insurance drug test

In a best-case scenario, if you use marijuana, even currently, you may be able to get Standard Non-Tobacco rates, if use is recreational.

Funny thing is if you use it with a prescription, you’ll be classified under Tobacco rates, which cost two to three times the Non Smoker rates.

Although the use of medical marijuana has become more prevalent, and even legalized in some states, life insurance companies view its use as being similar to smoking or the consumption of alcohol.

RELATED: 5 Critical Tips You Must Know Before Buying Life Insurance

As many as 20 states or more have approved marijuana for medical purposes such as in the treatment of those suffering from:

  • Nausea caused by Chemotherapy
  • Chronic Pain
  • and a variety of other diseases and medical conditions

Marijuana does not have the same stigma as other more serious addictive drugs.

With more serious drugs such as meth, cocaine or heroin, if you use currently, you’ll be declined.

You need to quit for at least several months before being approved for life insurance.

Please note that a prescription for marijuana and its effect on life insurance rates has nothing to do with getting life insurance while on prescription medications for regular health issues such as:

These sort of medications actually can help you qualify for life insurance since they help control health conditions.

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What If I Quit?

If you used in the past and quit, a life insurance approval will depend on some factors:

  • Time passed since you quit.  At least 1 year from time quit is required by most companies, and even longer is required by some.
  • Length of time you did drugs.
  • Severity of drug use and addiction. Obviously, heroin and cocaine are the most harmful to the body and most addicting.  But in any case, was rehab such as seeking the help of a professional or program needed to quit?
  • Any residual medical issues, or complications caused by drugs such as HIV or heart problems, etc.
  • Were you ever hospitalized when you were using drugs?
  • Have you ever relapsed since you quit?
  • Currently living a stable life – If you have a steady job, a home, are married, etc., these things look good for you.

RELATED: Check Sample Life Insurance Rates by Age (No Personal Info Required)

How to Be Approved as Former Drug User

Be up front and honest about your drug history on your application. If you’ve already been declined for life insurance coverage, say so.

If it was several years ago, and you’ve been sober since you may not have any problems at all. You may be able to qualify for preferred rates.

Even if your drug use was more recent, say within the past few years, you still may be approved paying a higher premium, but then you can apply for a new policy every year as you get farther and farther away from your drug using days, and keep getting better and better rates.

You’ll definitely want to work with an independent agent who can put your case out to bid to several companies to see who will possibly pre-qualify you at the best rating.

You’ll also want to find an agent who specializes in high risk life insurance, as we do.

Lying About Drug Use

Don’t lie about the history of drug use on a life insurance application.

First of all, it’s insurance fraud. Secondly, if you get approved, and die within the first two years, the insurance company will investigate deeper into your past, and if they find out you lied about drug use on the application, they don’t have to pay the death benefit.

Your best bet is to speak with a knowledgeable agent about your history of drug use, like one of the agents here at Huntley Wealth Insurance.

We’ll run through your specific drug use history and be able to guide you to the company with the lowest life insurance rates.

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Low Cost Life Insurance

You may have to resort to a low cost type of life insurance policy, such as 10 or 20 year, rather than a permanent form of insurance like whole life.

Once you’ve been removed from your drug use for several years, you may be able to replace the term policy for a permanent policy for a price you can stomach.

No Medical  Exam or Guaranteed Issue Policies

Another approach you could take if you can’t wait for a policy and need coverage now is to consider a “No Exam” or “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance policy.

This is an alternative in those situations where have been declined or are worried about being declined for traditional life insurance such as Term or Permanent No-Exam policies.

You may also be required to answer a brief questionnaire while Guaranteed Issue policies may or may not have a brief questionnaire.

These types of policies are generally much more expensive (as much as 3 times the cost) than a traditional life insurance policy which does require a medical exam.

Also, the amounts of coverage provided by these policies are much lower than what is available with traditional life insurance coverage policies.

However, the big advantage is that they are much easier to get, but keep in mind that approval, coverage amounts, and rates can also vary significantly from company to company, so always go through an independent agent to find the best rates and type of coverage.

Use an Independent Life Insurance Agent

Whether you are a marijuana user or recovering from more serious drug usage, the best way to find a company that is most likely to give you approval and to find the best rates is by using an independent life insurance agent such as here at IBBC.

We have access to dozens of life insurers and know which companies are the most lenient especially if you are an infrequent user of marijuana, or have had more serious drug usage issues, or additional complicating health issues. We specialize in high risk cases.

We suggest you avoid applying online if you are a former drug user because you be declined or are very likely not going to get the best rates. And, we especially recommend that you don’t apply to a specific life insurance company for this very same reason.

Call us today at 888-603-2876 if you have any questions or need to apply for a policy today, especially if you are a former drug user because we may be able to help!