Do They Drug Test For Life Insurance?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

For the life insurance medical exam, they may ask you to take a drug test. This is like other drug tests you have taken for an employer. They usually do this by taking urine or blood test.

The medical examination determines the insurance rates for life insurance. In addition, companies typically order a comprehensive drug panel during the exam, which checks for the following legal and illegal drugs:

If you test positive for most of these substances, your application will be instantly rejected. The exemption is marijuana and nicotine, which most life insurance companies permit. You can smoke or consume small amounts of marijuana as long as you don’t abuse it.

The “2 X rule” is a standard in the insurance industry that allows anyone to obtain the cheapest rates (preferred, non-smoking) if they consume cannabis twice a year or less. Other providers allow you to smoke more frequently.

These frequency rules don’t guarantee that you’ll get the best rates; rather, it indicates that it’s feasible rather than automatically assigned to the smoker prices.

Even if you smoke cigarettes only occasionally, you will be labeled a smoker if your saliva tests positive for nicotine.

Life insurance companies do not allow those who use drugs to acquire life insurance. Therefore, if you test positive for illegal narcotics such as cocaine and heroin, your application will be declined immediately.

If you have a history of drug addiction and are thinking about purchasing life insurance, it is feasible. Life insurance providers demand that applicants have been clean for at least three years (some impose longer waiting periods) and haven’t relapsed.

Life insurance companies ask about your drug use. If you have any, they will call to ask more about it. They will also ask you questions about the drugs you used and your current family, work, or school situation.


Most life insurance applicants do not need to worry about the life insurance drug test or blood test. However, if you currently do illegal drugs, it is unlikely that you will be able to buy life insurance.

You may be able to get no medical examination life insurance, such as simplified issue or guaranteed life insurance, but it might be prohibitively costly.

If you have been sober for some time and are negative for drug use, you may be able to purchase life insurance. However, look for higher premiums as a result of medical conditions caused by your prior drug usage.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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