Can you get life insurance if you have cancer now, or recently completed treatment?
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Cancer Life Insurance Overview
Cancer falls into the category of high-risk life insurance due to its complicated nature and the fact that only a limited number of insurers will offer coverage to you.
At RiskQuoter, we review your medical history, get preliminary feedback from life insurers and tell you exactly what to expect before you apply.
If life insurance is available, we’re going to help you find the best company and policy to meet your needs.
And there’s never any pressure or obligation with our service.
Life Insurance with Cancer
Can you get life insurance with cancer?
You’re most likely going to have to wait until after treatment to get term life insurance, but there are some exceptions.
For example, if you had basal cell skin cancer, life insurance is available immediately.
If it was melanoma, the cancer stage determines when coverage is available.
With some cancers, your treatment may be surveillance such as with prostate cancer.
In this scenario, life insurers want to see a history of stability before they will offer coverage.
The type of cancer and treatment received determine when life insurance is available.
When we discuss your medical history with you, we’ll tell you if life insurance is available now, or if your options are limited to accidental or guaranteed issue policies.
Life Insurance with Terminal Cancer
If you have a terminal illness, guaranteed issue life insurance may be available for those age 50 or older.
In some cases, policies are available for age 40 and older.
Keep in mind that the policy will be a graded benefit life insurance policy, meaning that you need to live for 2-3 years in order for your beneficiaries to receive a death benefit.
Otherwise, your beneficiaries would only receive the premiums you paid plus interest.
An accidental death benefit policy may be available as well.
If you have an existing life insurance policy, there may be benefits available that allow you to access a portion of the death benefit now.
It’s called an accelerated death benefit rider that many life insurance policies today include automatically.
It allows people with terminal cancer to receive part of the death benefit while still living.
You receive a portion of the death benefit now while living.
Upon death, the balance of your policy is paid to your beneficiary.
You made it through treatment and now need life insurance.
In some cases, cancer survivors may find coverage within a few months of completing all treatment.
The waiting period depends on many factors, including:
- What type of cancer did you have?
- When were you diagnosed with cancer?
- What was the cancer stage?
- What was the cancer grade?
- How was cancer treated?
- When did you complete all treatment?
- Has there been any recurrence?
- Do you have any other pre-existing conditions?
- Is there any family history of cancer?
For others, there will be a longer postpone period (see below).
Postpone Period by Cancer Stage
Here are some general guidelines for postpone periods.
|Stage 1||Surgery Only||3-12 months|
|Stage 1||Surgery & Radiation/Chemo||12 months|
|Stage 2||All Treatments||12 months (1)|
|Stage 3||All Treatments||5 Years (2)|
|Stage 4||All Treatments||G. I. Policy (3)|
(2) Longer for some breast, lymphoma, bladder cancer
(3) Guaranteed issue policies are the only option available.
Keep in mind that your medical history may have a shorter or longer postpone period.
In addition, some life insurers charge a “flat extra” expense that may last from 1-20 years.
Some of the postpone periods have recently increased with COVID-19, but we’ll let you know when we discuss your case.
If you had leukemia, Hodgkin’s or Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, underwriting looks for a complete remission.
Companies require 3-5 years after treatment before coverage is available.
Once life insurance is available, policies will require a table rating and a flat extra.
Can you get life insurance if cancer has returned?
Recurrence is the most complicated medical history to get through underwriting, as many factors are considered:
- Type – What type of cancer did you originally have?
- Is recurrent cancer the same type as your original cancer?
- Pathology – What does the pathology report say?
- What type of treatment did you receive?
- When was the original treatment completed?
- Has cancer spread to lymph nodes or other organs?
- When did you complete recurrent cancer treatment?
- What else do your medical records indicate?
Life insurers’ postpone period is 5-10 years after completion of treatment the second time around.
Life insurance is considered on a case by case basis.
It will involve a table rating and a flat extra expense.
Diagnosed with cancer after purchasing life insurance?
If you’re diagnosed with cancer after you have purchased a policy, you’re insured.
Life insurance companies won’t terminate your policy or reduce the death benefit after the fact as long as you did not commit fraud to obtain the policy.
If you died within the contestability period of the policy, insurers review your medical history.
Your beneficiary will receive the proceeds after review.
The most common questions are:
Life insurance is typically limited to guaranteed issue life insurance and accidental death insurance for most people.
You can get life insurance after cancer, although the postpone period will depend on the type of cancer, stage, treatment, etc.
Yes, life insurance policies cover cancer if you buy a policy and are later diagnosed with cancer.
A family history of cancer does not affect life insurance if you work with the correct life insurance companies.
The best life insurer depends on the type of malignancy, the severity, and the treatment you received.
Ready to take your next step?
Request your quote today!
We match you with the best life insurance companies based on your individual cancer history.
We use a quick quote process with our clients to ensure we reach all of the competitive companies.
It takes about 3 days to hear back from companies.
The benefit is that the quotes you receive from us are accurate based on the type and severity of your cancer history.
There is no pressure and no obligation with our service.
Please take a few minutes to submit your quote request today.
Michael Horbal is the founder and owner of RiskQuoter.com and a licensed life insurance agent who has helped thousands with affordable protection for families and businesses.