Cannabis and Your Insurance – What You Need to Know


When cannabis became legal in October 2019, Alberta led the Canadian charge regarding the number of licenses granted to recreational retail stores. While most provinces allowed a small handful of stores, Alberta blew the doors open with 17 private retailers. The day weed became legal, there were a dozen stores in and around the province’s capital, including six in Edmonton proper and two in Fort Saskatchewan. Two days later, an additional ten stores (most of them in Calgary) were granted licenses.

As cannabis culture descended upon Alberta, so did the plethora of questions:

  • What are the effects of mixing marijuana and drinking?
  • What’s the best way to grow weed?
  • How close can a recreational cannabis store be to a school?

At Alpine Insurance, we’ve been receiving many questions about how the legalization of cannabis will or could impact insurance across Alberta. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.

Will the legalization of cannabis impact insurance rates in Alberta?

No car insurance company has come out and said they’ll raise rates due to legalization. However, history shows that there is a chance we’ll see insurance rates go up in Alberta and across Canada.

Using the example of our American neighbours, the states that have legalized cannabis have all seen accidents and car insurance premiums go up. In states that legalized cannabis, car insurance premiums went up an average of 3.2 percent between 2016 and 2017, compared to only 1.6 percent for those where it remains banned.

In Colorado, police forces have indicated that the legalization of marijuana has led to more impaired driving charges and accidents, which of course, raises costs for insurance companies.

The short answer: we don’t know for sure, but it is a real possibility. We won’t see the impacts of legalization on insurance for another few years.

Will growing marijuana impact my home insurance or renter’s insurance?

In the past, your home insurance would have been void if you were growing marijuana. Now that it’s legal, you can grow weed without impacting your insurance rates. When you fill out your home insurance forms, you will not be asked whether you grow or use cannabis.

That being said, you’ll want to make sure you comply with the following protocols:

  • You’re following the legal limits of four plants.
  • The seeds are bought from licensed cannabis retailers.
  • Give one of our friendly insurance agents a call before purchasing any special equipment for growing marijuana, such as a large hydroponics unit and if equipment needs to be insured.

If you’re a renter, condo-owner or live in a multi-family dwelling, you may not be allowed to grow cannabis in your home. You need to ensure you read and understand the rental agreements or condominium bylaws before engaging in any cannabis-related activities.

Can smoking cannabis in my home impact my insurance?

Albertans are allowed to consume cannabis in their homes and in some public spaces where smoking tobacco is allowed, but it is banned in vehicles. Municipalities across Alberta have also created extra restrictions on cannabis use. Calgary consumption bylaws can be found on The City of Calgary website, and Edmonton cannabis rules are found on Edmonton.ca website.

Even if you are following the regulations, smoking marijuana can impact your insurance rates. Not unlike smoking tobacco in your home, smoking of marijuana can have an impact on your insurance rates of up to 20 percent more. It has been proven that the risk of a house fire is far greater for smokers than non-smokers, and insurance companies charge accordingly.

Whatever your cannabis activities – Let us find the right insurance for you

Our job at Alpine Insurance is to help you find the best insurance coverage at the best price for your lifestyle, home and belongings. It’s important that you share with us any smoking habits or cannabis growing activities. This way, we can shop from several insurance companies to find the insurance policy that best matches your needs with the right protection. We will take the time to explain how to read your policy, understand what is covered, and be aware of what activities can void your coverage.

 

 

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