When banks offer advice on pot: RBC says users could pay 40 percent more for life, health insurance

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      One of Canada's biggest banks has a message for cannabis users who might be tempted to lie about their consumption for insurance purposes.

      "Smoke pot? Do I tell tell my insurer?" reads a headline on an article in the Royal Bank of Canada's (RBC) insurance website.

      According to RBC, the "high stakes" of applying for various types of insurance might compel cannabis users to lie in policy applications because they're afraid they'll be denied.

      As Canada gets closer to the legalization of cannabis, insurers have a vested interest in tweaking their policies to be more inclusive of cannabis users, but not all have done so.

      While RBC reports that some insurers have made changes based on studies that have shown cannabis use to be "relatively" safe, others still charge cannabis users higher rates, which are often reflective of surcharges applied to cigarette smokers.

      "If you find an insurer who doesn't have a marijuana surcharge — you won't have to pay extra for your insurance because of your usage," it says.

      But RBC reports that frequent users insured with companies that do apply surcharges for marijuana use will pay up to 40 percent more, depending on which provider they might be using.

      Addressing the risks associated with lying about use, the institution says falsifying information isn't the way to go: in the event that an insurer requires an applicant to take a blood or urine test and the results of that test counter the information provided in an application, the policy could be voided.

      Policies can also be contested or rescinded if an insurer thinks an applicant is being dishonest, which can result in a denial of claims. 

      All this is to say, honesty seems to be the best policy.