How do you get life insurance if you’ve had skin cancer? Did you know that there are companies that specialize in skin cancer underwriting?
Quick Overview Guide
- Basal Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance
- Melanoma Life Insurance
- Skin Cancer Underwriting Questions
- Pre-Cancerous Skin Conditions
We give you everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision about your term life insurance and permanent life insurance options.
Does Skin Cancer Affect Life Insurance?
It depends on the type of skin cancer you had, and the success of the treatment.
Life insurance underwriting for skin cancer looks at the type of skin cancer, the pathology results, treatment received, time since treatment and recurrence history if any.
For most people who’ve had non-melanoma skin cancers, life insurance is available as soon as treatment is complete, and the best life insurance rates may be available!
With malignant melanoma, the availability of life insurance depends on the factors we detail in this article.
Term life insurance is available for all skin cancers, and in some cases, it may make sense to consider permanent insurance when the life insurance company has a rating reduction program available.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer, affecting roughly 3 million Americans per year.
With most basal cell cancers, treatment may include:
- Scraping the basal cell from your skin (curettage) & burning the tumor area (electrodesiccation)
- Mohs surgery – removes and examines thin layers of skin until the cancer is removed.
- Excisional surgery to remove the skin cancer
- Radiation Therapy
- Topical Medications
Most basal cell skin cancers are readily insurable at the best underwriting rate classes as soon as treatment is complete.
The exception is when a basal cell cancer is treated with radiation or topical medications…life insurance is still available but the best rate classes may not be.
Melanoma Life Insurance
Malignant melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer to insure.
Approximately 200,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in America.
You’ll need your pathology report in order to get the best underwriting feedback possible.
We use a quick quote process that ensures you receive accurate underwriting feedback from life insurance companies.
Melanoma Life Insurance Factors:
It’s okay if you do not have all the answers when we discuss your request.
We’ll provide you with an estimate of what to expect from life insurers, and once you have the details needed, we’ll confirm with companies.
Keep in mind that there is never any pressure or obligation with our life insurance service.
Life Insurance by Melanoma Stage
The following are general guidelines by the melanoma cancer stage.
Stage Zero Melanoma
Standard rates are available after surgery.
As more time passes since surgery, it may be possible to obtain a standard plus rate and in some cases even a preferred rate.
If you were diagnosed with stage zero melanoma (melanoma in situ), life insurance is available after surgery.
Stage 1a Melanoma
Life insurance is available at standard rates after surgery.
If it’s been a few years since surgery, a “standard plus” rate may be possible.
Stage 1a melanoma is less than 1 millimeter (mm) in depth and not ulcerated.
Stage 1b Melanoma
Life insurance is available at standard rates after surgery but may include an additional expense called a flat extra charge.
The flat extra will add $500 – $750 per every $100,000 of coverage you purchase and commonly last for 5 years after surgery.
Stage 1b melanoma is greater than 0.8 mm in thickness and ulcerated.
The presence of ulceration in melanoma indicates that it is a more serious melanoma.
Stage 2a Melanoma
Some life insurance companies will consider coverage after surgery, although most will postpone for 1 year after surgery.
When life insurance is available, the standard rate plus a flat extra will be added to the policy.
The flat extra lasts for 5-7 years and adds $750 – $1,000 per every $100,000 of coverage.
Stage 2a melanoma is greater than 1mm but less than 2 mm in thickness.
There is no indication of ulceration with a stage 2a melanoma.
Stage 2 melanoma cancer cells have not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 2b Melanoma
Standard life insurance rates with a flat extra of $1,000 per every $100,000 of coverage are available after surgery with a few insurers, as most will postpone coverage for 1 year or longer.
The flat extra may last for 7 years or longer in some cases.
Only a few companies may consider coverage right after surgery.
Stage 2b melanoma is 1mm – 2mm in thickness.
Ulceration is present in the pathology report.
If you have any additional skin conditions such as dysplastic nevi, please let us know as it will impact underwriting.
Stage 3 Melanoma
Stage 3 melanoma requires lengthy postpone periods of 5 years or longer from the completion date of all treatment.
Once life insurance is available, some companies will add a permanent life insurance table rating and all companies will add a flat extra to the price of life insurance.
The table ratings will typically add 50% to the standard rate and last for the life of the policy.
The flat extra will add $1500 – $2000 per every $100,000 of coverage you consider and may last 5-7 years.
Accidental death benefit policies are available and guaranteed issue policies may be an option if you are looking for smaller policy sizes.
Stage 4 Melanoma
Life insurance is limited to the accidental death benefit and guaranteed issue life insurance policies when available in your state of residence.
Coverage amounts for a guaranteed issue policy are limited to $25,000 and the death benefit is graded. Accidental death benefit coverage is available up to $500,000.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance
Approximately 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is non-melanoma skin cancer.
Life insurance for squamous cell skin cancer is available at preferred rates, and sometimes the preferred best rates that life insurance companies offer.
Underwriting wants to know the details of your cancer history, location on your body, and the type of treatment you received.
Skin Cancer Underwriting Questions
Here’s what we need to know:
- What type of skin cancer did you have?
- When were you diagnosed with skin cancer?
- Where on your body was the skin cancer located?
- Were there multiple locations of cancer?
- How was the skin cancer treated?
- What were the start and completion dates of treatment?
- Has there been any recurrence of skin cancer?
- The following questions apply to melanoma
- What stage was the melanoma?
- What was the depth and thickness of the melanoma? (Breslow, AJCC)
- Clark’s Level – Diagnosed prior to 2010? Clark’s level refers to the depth of tumor invasion.
- Were any lymph nodes cancerous?
- If yes, where and how many were cancerous?
- Was the melanoma ulcerated?
- Any pre-cancerous conditions? (dysplastic nevi, Paget’s disease)
- Is there any family history of melanoma?
- Have you had any other health issues in the past or present?
Your pathology report should have most of this information.
Pre-Cancerous Skin Conditions
It’s important that you let us know if you’ve had any of the following skin conditions that may lead to cancer.
Dysplastic Nevi are atypical moles that may resemble melanoma.
People who have dysplastic nevi are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.
Life insurance underwriters look at your history, the number of dysplastic nevi, and the amount of time that has passed since removal.
It is possible to obtain preferred rates for dysplastic nevi, although most companies require less than 4-6 dysplastic nevi in order to be considered for their preferred rates.
We have the guidelines and will know which companies to work with based on your history.
Actinic Keratosis is considered to be a pre-cancerous condition as it could develop into skin cancer if left untreated.
Once treated, underwriting follows the same rules as basal cell carcinoma and sometimes squamous cell carcinoma.
Which life insurer is best for my skin cancer history?
Every melanoma history is uniquely different and the best company for you may be different than for someone else’s melanoma history.
To ensure that you receive the best rate available, we use a quick quote process.
What’s a quick quote?
A quick quote allows us to obtain underwriting feedback quickly (3-4 days) from multiple companies that specialize in skin cancer underwriting.
Quick quotes are anonymous, meaning that no personally identifiable information is shared with companies.
Once we receive underwriting feedback from companies, we summarize what each company has to say in terms of underwriting and price.
The benefit is that you’ll know which companies are best before completing applications and your paramedical exam.
We have the expertise to help you with your best life insurance options no matter what type of skin cancer or pre-cancerous condition you may have had.
With our service, there is never any pressure or obligation.
We’ll provide you with the information you need in order to make an informed decision about your life insurance.
If you change your mind, simply tell us to close your file.
We’ve specialized high-risk life insurance underwriting of cancers for many years, with expertise in many cancers, including:
- prostate cancer life insurance
- breast cancer
- thyroid cancer
- bladder cancer
- cervical cancer
- colon cancer
- kidney cancer
You find more information here on life insurance after cancer.