How Does Tobacco and Marijuana Usage Affect Life Insurance Rates?


Most companies require 5 years of no tobacco usage to qualify for their best non-tobacco risk rating. However, even if you recently quit smoking, we still have some good options for you! Each company has its own set of underwriting guidelines and takes a unique view of applicants. Since we work with numerous companies, we can leverage those company differences and present you with the most competitive options available.

While most companies will automatically rate you as a smoker if you smoke the occasional cigarette, Minnesota Life allows up to 12 cumulative tobacco uses per year if an applicant can provide a negative nicotine/cotinine urine sample. Within these guidelines, Minnesota Life will allow use of the following tobacco products: cigar, pipe, chew, cigarette, and nicotine surrogates.

Also, most companies only allow for “celebratory cigars” in qualification of their non-smoking rates. As a couple of examples, Banner Life allows applicants to still qualify for non-tobacco rates if they smoke only one cigar per month and Cincinnati Life has an allowance of no more than six cigars per year while still qualifying for their best nonsmoker risk rating.


As medicinal and recreational marijuana usage becomes more prevalent, insurance companies are adapting their underwriting guidelines to compete with one another in providing insurance to potential clients. Lincoln, American General, and Equitable are among the most lenient companies when dealing with marijuana usage. A favorable rating towards marijuana also considers how the marijuana is used (vaped, smoked, or through edibles). The type of usage will affect an applicant’s rating in addition to how frequently the marijuana is used and if it is used recreationally or for medicinal purposes.

However, other companies may rate the marijuana user as a tobacco user, so knowing companies underwriting specialties can result in a savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars in premium.

Companies are constantly updating their underwriting guidelines, so if you have any questions please contact us and we can provide the most up to date information!