Life insurance companies take any impaired driving charge seriously. Studies on impaired driving suggest that although cannabis affects people differently than alcohol, its effects on driving behavior can be just as detrimental. A marijuana DUI on your record will affect your life insurance rates. The question is, how much?
It doesn’t matter whether marijuana is legal or illegal in your state. That’s not what the life insurance company cares about. Their only concern is that hazards of driving under the influence. But even if you have a marijuana DUI on your record, there are ways to make sure you are paying as little as possible for your life insurance.
How to Save Money on a Life Insurance Policy with a Marijuana DUI
There are a handful of ways to make sure that you pay a reasonable amount for life insurance instead of some of the absurd rates anti-cannabis companies charge. Some companies will even outright decline people for DUIs or cannabis use, medical or otherwise.
Use the following tips to make sure you don’t end up paying more for life insurance than you need to.
Have an Independent Agent Get You Quotes
There are two types of insurance agents, captive and independent. Captive agents work for one company, meaning they can only offer life insurance policies from that one company. So even though they may have tons of options for you, they only have one set of underwriting guidelines. You’re out of luck if those underwriting guidelines aren’t cannabis-friendly.
Independent agents have access to dozens of companies. So they can choose the companies that are the most forgiving of DUIs as well as least restrictive about marijuana use. Some companies even waive smoker rates for both recreational and medical marijuana.
Use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator
This applies to every person looking at life insurance, marijuana DUI or not. Knowing exactly how much you need will prevent you from overbuying, or from being oversold. It will also protect your family against finding themselves under-insured.
Instead of ballparking your needs by multiplying your income somewhere between three and twenty; fill out the boxes in the life insurance needs calculator that analyze different aspects of your life. Elements like whether or not you have a mortgage or how many years of college tuition you want to fund.
Apply With a 420 Friendly Company
Life insurance companies are cautious. They are slow to move with the times. A few forward-thinking ones have looked at the research comparing smoking cannabis to smoking tobacco and concluded that charging smoker rates is ridiculous.
There are 12 marijuana friendly life insurance companies. They all have different guidelines for how frequently you smoke (or otherwise consume) cannabis before they assign smoker rates.
For medical marijuana patients, these companies will look at your condition instead of how you treat it. They recognize the benefits of medical marijuana and won’t take it into account, just the medical condition itself.
Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana DUIs
The answers to these can vary somewhat between states. Please keep that in mind and feel free to call with any questions about your specific circumstances.
How Will I be Charged if Caught Using Marijuana While Driving?
Each state has its own regulations for impaired driving. For alcohol, almost all states have that 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. Any higher will result in a DUI arrest. The police can arrest you for lower in places if they judge your driving to be particularly dangerous.
There are no legal standards to determine a base blood level for THC. This gets tricky and leaves a lot of room for states and localities to decide on their own regulations. It can also come down to the judgment of the particular police officer.
Most marijuana charges generally stem from what the arresting officer has observed. These include:
- Erratic driving or actual accident
- Presence of marijuana/odor
- Dilated pupils
- Evidence of erratic behavior
- Physical activity tests
- Blood or urine tests
Different tests are taking shape for determining the presence of THC. Most of these are blood or urine, but saliva tests are starting to look more promising. However, they still need more evaluation.
The problem with all current means of testing is that they can show THC even when the person has long since sobered up.
State THC DUI Limits
A few states which have legalized recreational cannabis amended their state laws to establish marijuana DUI limits.
Colorado uses a “permissible inference law.” A jury may consider a person impaired if they have more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter within 2 hours of driving.
Washington state is stricter than Colorado. They also set their limit at 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter within 2 hours of driving. However, if someone exceeds that amount, they will get a DUI.
California has not made any changes to its DUI laws as of this publish date.
Some states are naming marijuana DUIs differently to distinguish them from alcohol DUIs. (Most states use a single term for both alcohol and drugs.) The most common terms are:
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- DWI (Driving While Impaired)
- OUI (Operating Under the Influence)
- OWI (Operating While Impaired)
What Charges Can I Expect From a Marijuana DUI?
These also vary from state to state. Most convictions for a first-time marijuana DUI result in any (or all) of the following:
- Suspension of license anywhere from 96 hours to 6 months or more
- Potential of time in jail (up to 6 months)
- Probation ranging from 2 – 5 years
- Required participation in a DUI school
Repeat offenders for an impaired marijuana DUI can expect to receive harsher sentencing.
Can I Receive a DUI for Medical Marijuana?
Yes. Even if you’re treating a health condition with medical marijuana, an officer can still issue you a DUI. Medical marijuana, prescription drugs, and alcohol can all lead to a DUI. The courts consider impairment while driving impairment. The cause is irrelevant.
What Happens if I lie About a Marijuana DUI on My Life Insurance Application?
The short answer: bad things. The insurance company doesn’t just take your word for it. They strictly follow the “trust by verify” life theory.
As part of the life insurance application, you will sign a permission form for the company to check several databases with information on you. (They check these for everyone.) The primary databases are the following:
- MIB (Medical Information Bureau)
- Prescription Rx database
- Motor Vehicle Report
As part of the Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), the life insurance company will see if you have ever had any accidents, traffic tickets, or DUIs.
If the life insurance company finds that you lied on your application, they will automatically decline you. Worse, that decline will show up in the Medical Information Bureau database. That, in turn, red flags any future applications with other life insurance companies.
The MVR tells the company a lot about you. It essentially provides evidence if you tend toward risky or dangerous behavior that could affect your lifespan. Poor driving records will increase life insurance rates.
The other thing to keep in mind is that every life insurance company has a 2-year contestability period for every policy they sell. This means that if you were to pass away within two years of buying the policy, the life insurance company retains the right to investigate the circumstances of your death.
If they determine that you lied on your application, they have the right to deny your claim. This can result in either a costly legal battle for your heirs or no money at all.
How a Marijuana DUI Affects the Cost of Life Insurance
This depends on several factors, but the main two are:
- Time elapsed since you had the DUI
- Whether you have received multiple DUI convictions
If your DUI occurred within the past six months, then most life insurance companies with either decline or postpone your application. Some, more conservative, companies won’t even consider your application when you’ve had a DUI within the past 10 years.
Within that range, most companies will prefer to see between 2 and 5 years have passed since your DUI. They ask for what seems like such a long wait is because data shows that someone convicted of one DUI is likely to get another one.
Insurance companies have also found that DUIs correlate with substance abuse problems for many people. (This may not be the case for you, but the insurance company will want to rule out this possibility.) A life insurance drug test is a standard part of the medical exam for standard policies. With DUIs, they will carefully look at the results.
What Health Class Can I Expect with a Marijuana DUI?
If you’ve been convicted of a marijuana DUI, the most lenient insurance companies will offer you a standard rating at best.
The time elapsed since the DUI will also affect the rating as well as current health. If you still have any THC in your system (remember it takes several weeks to clear out), then make sure to apply with one of the 420 friendly companies.
If you suffer from some pre-existing health conditions or have a family history of medical complications, then you might receive a table rating.
Use the Instant Quotes tool on the left to see what rates might be for you. (Top if you’re on mobile.)
What if I Need Life Insurance Right Now?
If your conviction was recent, you might need to resort to Guaranteed Issue life insurance. It can either be your life insurance, or a stopgap until you can qualify for traditional policies.
Guaranteed issue policies don’t require a medical exam. Neither do they ask any health questions. You fill out a short application, and the company automatically approves it within 12 to 48 hours.
The downside is premiums are higher than a traditional policy. They also offer significantly less coverage. Most of the time, death benefits stop at $25,000.
What is the Most Affordable Life Insurance with a Marijuana DUI?
Term life insurance is without a doubt the most affordable type of insurance. It’s simple, and with no frills or gimmicks, offers a death benefit only. You purchase term insurance in periods of time such as 10, 20, or 30 years. You can get policies from $100,000 to $10 million.
Most term policies have a conversion option that lets you turn them into permanent policies. This conversion feature can be important if your health declines. You don’t need a medical exam to convert your policy either. The insurance company simply rolls your current policy into a permanent one with rates reflecting your current age.
Life insurance gets more expensive as you age. However, the more time that passes since a DUI, the better health class you qualify for. (This also depends on your overall health.) A term policy can be a bridge until enough time passes that you can qualify for lower rates from either a longer term policy or a permanent life insurance policy.
Another low-cost option is a guaranteed universal life (GUL) policy. It’s similar to a term policy, except that it lasts until age 90 or higher. Premiums are only slightly more than traditional term policies.
However, if you have a large estate, high income, or need tax-sheltered options, a permanent life insurance policy may be a good move.
Permanent policies are more expensive than term because they have a cash accumulation portion along with death benefits. You can choose between whole life or universal life policies. These last your entire lifetime, guaranteeing tax-free cash to your heirs.
How MJ Life Can Help Find Affordable Insurance with a Marijuana DUI
Every person’s situation is different. There is no one size fits all approach to life insurance. Which is too bad really, that’d make the process less overwhelming.
Since any DUI affects life insurance rates, whether it was marijuana or alcohol-related, the best bet is to look at as many companies as possible to narrow down the ones that treat DUIs with understanding.
We work with 70 of the best life insurance companies in the business. That way we can quickly narrow down the best ones for each family’s unique circumstances. We will help you apply with the one life insurance company that is most forgiving with a marijuana DUI.
Give us a call today at (888) 987-8447 with any questions. We’re here to help, and there is never any obligation to buy.