Anyone thinking of growing marijuana plants in their home or lighting up once it’s legal next week, might want to look into their home or renters insurance and avoid getting behind the wheel.
Home insurance, will likely be on a case-by-case basis, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) because insurance companies generally use prior experience to assess rates, which is not possible while cannabis is still illegal.
“Insurance rates and premiums all are based on risk and experience, and we don’t know what that experience is going to be like once it’s legalized,” Vanessa Barrasa with IBC said. “It’s not like, ‘oh, cannabis is legal, the next day all your insurance and home rates grow.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
She says because this is uncharted territory, many providers are still figuring out their rates for cannabis.
“Every company is setting their own limits and so it’s really important that if you have a material change – you now have cannabis plants, before you didn’t – that is something that you should inform your insurance company of and make sure, obviously, that you’re being truthful and honest,” she said.
Right now, home insurance in Canada does not cover any loss if the property is used for cannabis activities, so she says each company is developing its own policy.
When it comes to renters, she recommends always having tenant insurance, so that belongings are covered if something happens at home. She adds that in any case, people should abide by the legal limits of owning plants and to inform themselves about how their insurance provider will address owning cannabis once it’s legal.
“That would be specific to your tenant or home insurance policy and it’s important that you speak to your insurance to make sure that they’re aware of your contents and you know what your limits are,” Barrasa said.
Car insurance could go up if you’re caught stoned
More expensive car insurance could be in the future of those caught high behind the wheel in B.C.
Driving under the influence of pot is still considered impaired driving, despite the statistic from BCAA that 20 per cent of millennials think they drive the same or even better when high.
It could immediately land you with a driving suspension, which lawyer Kyla Lee says ICBC will take into account when new rates go into effect next September.
“Everybody needs to be very careful when it comes to using cannabis while driving and using cannabis and then driving after the fact because it can have consequences that right now you don’t know that you’re going to be getting,” Lee said.
Drivers can already face additional fines and driver risk premiums if caught driving under the influence.
Road side tests still remain mandatory if an officer asks you to perform one. Refusing to take the test is a criminal offence and could land you with a big penalty.
Cannabis legalization happens on Oct. 17.