Remember the last article? When we said never to lie on your life insurance exam – particularly if you smoke marijuana? If all the bong rips have gotten to your head, we’ll repeat it: don’t lie on your insurance exam.
There is one thing we forgot to mention and, yes, there will be a quiz on this at the end.
Do Not Smoke Marijuana Before Your Life Insurance Exam!
Not only should you be completely honest on your life insurance exam, but you should avoid getting higher than Snoop Dogg before going in for your medical exam, otherwise you could see your ratings go up in smoke. This includes smoking marijuana, eating substances with marijuana in them, drinking marijuana tea, vaping, sniffing marijuana, infusing your lotion with marijuana, painting your toenails with it…and basically any weird thing the kids do these days to get stoned. Don’t. Do. It.
We get it: medical exams are nerve-wracking and you might need to relax; however, smoking before your exam is a big no-no for a few reasons. Let’s check it out:
If you’re nervous about your exam, don’t be! Think of this exam like you would your annual physical, and then some. The “then some” includes a blood test, a urine test and some questions about your eating and sleeping habits. The doctor will also examine your reflexes, ears and eyes.
These underwritten exams also include a reading of your blood pressure and blood tests for cholesterols, sugars and triglycerides, as well as a heart exam. The latter hooks you up to heart rate monitor to check for hypertension or signs of heart disease. At the end of the exam, if you were a big boy or girl and didn’t cry, the doctor will give you a lollipop.
Were just kidding about that last part, pretty sure you have to ask for the lollipop. The point is the exam is not so scary when it’s laid out in black-and-white.
What Happens if I Fail?
What might be making you nervous is the chemical tests that test for traces of drug use. The first misconception we want to clear about these tests is that, should traces of THC be found in your system, it doesn’t mean you’re going to hear police sirens coming for you.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, prevents insurers from disclosing your lifestyle choices to authorities. So if you engaged in illegal consumption of marijuana and it shows up on your insurance test, you won’t be carted off to jail.
Hopefully, that eased some of your worry. Keep in mind that, just because you won’t face legal ramifications as a result of the test’s findings doesn’t mean you are given carte blanche to smoke before taking the exam.
Your insurer will test for the presence of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine. Cotinine remains in your system for roughly 96 days after you have stopped the use of tobacco products. The levels of cotinine in your system depend on your tobacco use and the how long before the test that you stopped using.
Additional substances that you carrier might test for are metabolites of opiates, cocaine, amphetamines or marijuana.
When testing for marijuana, the carrier is looking for traces of THC, a fat-soluble substance found in the cannabis plant. THC is detectable in your blood or your urine from anywhere between four and six weeks. For regular and heavy pot users – even those with prescriptions – this means that you should cease use within a month of taking the drug test.
But Isn’t Quitting Smoking the Same As Lying?
Not exactly. It’s more of a money-saving tool.
Think about it: so many carriers now are classifying marijuana users as non-smokers, and most Americans use marijuana as a recreational drug. This means the amounts of THC found in their systems are slim regardless. Habitual marijuana users will pose more of a risk due to the levels of THC found in their blood.
Most tests used by carriers aren’t as precise as the tests used by law enforcement, so trace amounts of THC in your system may go unnoticed. In most instances, these tests don’t even respond to anything less than 50 nanoliters of THC/milliliter of urine. Additionally, you will most likely already note your marijuana use frequency on your application, or to your agent. So you aren’t lying, you are reducing your risk and your premiums.
Still need a reason to quit smoking before your exam? How does saving thousands of dollars sound?
The Case for Quitting
Let’s name our client Wayne. Wayne sometimes smokes marijuana, but is a healthy and active male in his early thirties, and is looking for a $2 million death benefit.
On the day of his life insurance medical exam, Wayne decided he was going to smoke a joint. When he got his test results back, Wayne was shocked to find out that he had been rated a Table 4 Smoker and that his premiums were going to cost him over $2700 per month! For a 20 year term life insurance policy!
So naturally, Wayne felt dejected and decided that he would begin looking for other carriers, but he would cut back on his smoking habits prior to his exam. On this exam, Wayne found that he could get rated as a Non-Smoker Plus. With this rating, his premiums were dropped down to $335/month. That is a total savings of $2365 per month, and $28,380 per year! Everyone likes to save money, and this is probably the easiest way to do so on your insurance exam.
With the way underwriters are starting to view marijuana users, you may not even have to worry about cutting back in the future. You might even be able to smoke right there in the doctor’s office! (We seriously doubt that will ever happen, but you get where we were going with that.)
Until that time, though, it’s worth it for the lower rating and lower premiums.
Talk to your agent about your smoking habits and what these habits mean for your life insurance ratings. We cannot stress enough that agents are expert in their field and will be able to help you work out which companies to look into. Be open and honest, and your agent will work hard to find you a carrier that will work for you.
Smoking before your life insurance exam is automatically setting you up for failure, particularly if you aren’t a habitual marijuana user. Remember: the end goal of life insurance is to save you money and provide a safety net for your family and loved ones, so it only makes sense to do all you can to earn the best rating possible.
If you have found yourself in this situation don’ t worry! We’ve helped many marijuana smokers secure the best life insurance rates in the market. We’ll review your case, work for you and present the best rates for your life insurance.