Skin Cancer Life Insurance – Everything You Need to Know

By Michael Horbal - Updated on 09/20/2023

Finding an affordable life insurance policy can be challenging if you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Receiving a quote is easy, but getting approved can be difficult. Getting life insurance can be next to impossible if you have had melanoma.

At RiskQuoter, we can help you obtain affordable life insurance after skin cancer, even if life insurers have previously declined you.

Does Skin Cancer Affect Life Insurance?

Melanoma affects life insurance rates.

Basal and squamous cell skin cancer have minimal impact if you work with a high-risk life insurance company.

skin cancer ratings

Life insurance underwriting looks at the type of cancer, the pathology, the treatment received, and the time since treatment.

Life insurance is available for most people with non-melanoma skin cancers when treatment is complete.

With malignant melanoma, the availability of life insurance depends on the following factors in this article.

Melanoma Life Insurance

Malignant melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer.

About 100,350 melanoma cases[2] will be diagnosed in America this year.

There are 4 types of malignant melanoma:

  1. Superficial spreading
  2. Nodular
  3. Lentigo maligna
  4. Acral lentiginous.

Superficial spreading melanoma comprises 70% [3] of all melanomas.

Your pathology report is needed to get the best underwriting feedback possible.

Melanoma Life Insurance Rate Chart

StagePostpone?Flat ExtraLikely Outcome?
In situNoNoStandard Plus
Stage 1aNoNoStandard
Stage 1bNoPossiblyStd + Flat Extra
Stage 2aYes$750 – $1000 (1)Std + Flat Extra
Stage 2bYes$1000 (2)Std + Flat Extra
Stage 3Yes$1500 – $2000 (3)5 Year Postpone
Stage 4YesYes (4)10 Year Postpone
(1) $750 – $1000 per every $100,000 of coverage for 5 – 7 years
(2) $1000 per every $100,000 of coverage for 7+ years
(3) $1500 – $2000 per every $100,000, plus a table rating
(4) Stage 4 melanoma has a minimum 10-year postponement.

Melanoma Life Insurance Factors:

We’ll estimate what to expect from life insurers and tell you what is needed to confirm rates.

Remember that there is never any pressure or obligation with our life insurance service.

Life Insurance by Melanoma Stage

The following are general guidelines for various cancer stages.

Melanoma In Situ

Standard life insurance rates are available after surgery. [4]

As more time passes since surgery, obtaining a standard plus rate may be possible.

In some rare cases, a preferred rate is available.

Stage 1a Melanoma

Stage 1a melanoma is less than 1 millimeter (mm) in-depth and not ulcerated.

Life insurance is available at standard rates after surgery.

A Standard plus rate may be possible four years after surgery. [5]

Stage 1b Melanoma

Stage 1b melanoma is more significant than 0.8 mm thick and ulcerated.

Life insurance is available at standard rates after surgery but may include a flat extra charge.

The flat extra adds $500 – $750 per every $100,000 coverage and lasts five years. [4]

The presence of ulceration indicates that it is a more severe melanoma.

Stage 2a Melanoma

Stage 2a melanoma is greater than 1mm but less than 2 mm thick.

There is no indication of ulceration with stage 2a melanoma.

Most life insurers will postpone coverage for one year after surgery.

When life insurance is available, a flat extra will be added to the policy.

The flat extra lasts 5-7 years and adds $750 – $1,000 per every $100,000 coverage. [4]

Stage 2 melanoma cancer cells have not spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Melanoma Stage 2b

Thickness is 1mm – 2mm in thickness.

Ulceration is present in the pathology report.

A flat extra of $1,000 per every $100,000 coverage is available after surgery with a few insurers. [4][6]

Most companies postpone coverage for one year or longer.

The flat extra may last for seven years or longer in some cases.

Please let us know if you have additional skin conditions, such as dysplastic nevi, as it will impact underwriting.

Stage 3 Melanoma

Stage 3 melanoma requires lengthy postponement periods of 5 years or longer from the completion date of all treatments.

Once life insurance is available, companies will add a life insurance table rating and a flat extra to the price.

The table ratings typically add 50% to the standard rate for the policy’s life.

The flat extra will add $1500 – $2000 per every $100,000 coverage you consider and may last 5-7 years. [4][6]

Stage 4 Melanoma

Life insurance is limited to the accidental death benefit and guaranteed issue life insurance policies.

Coverage amounts for a graded benefit guaranteed issue policy are limited to $25,000.

Accidental death benefit coverage is available for up to $500,000.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer.

More than 4 million cases of basal cell are diagnosed in the U.S. each year[1]

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 radiation or topical medications treat basal cell cancer.

Life insurance is still available, but the best-rate classes may not be.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance

Approximately 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a non-melanoma skin cancer.

Life insurance for squamous cell skin cancer is available at the preferred best rates.

Underwriting wants to know the details of your cancer history, the location on your body, and the type of treatment you received.

Pre-Cancerous Skin Conditions

Let us know if you’ve had any skin conditions that may lead to cancer.

Dysplastic Nevi

Dysplastic Nevi are atypical moles that may resemble melanoma.

People who have dysplastic nevi are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.

Underwriters look at your history, the number of dysplastic nevi, and the time since removal.

It is possible to obtain preferred rates for dysplastic nevi.

Most companies require less than 4-6 dysplastic nevi to be considered for their preferred rates.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis is a pre-cancerous condition that could develop into skin cancer if left untreated.

Once treated, underwriting follows the same rules as basal cell carcinoma and sometimes squamous cell carcinoma.

Skin Cancer Underwriting Questions

What we need to know to help you:

  • 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 before 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?

Your pathology report should have most of this information.

Which Company is Best for Melanoma?

Every melanoma history is uniquely different.

The best company for you may differ from someone else’s melanoma history.

That’s why we use a quick quote process.

What’s a quick quote?

A quick quote obtains underwriting feedback from all cancer companies in 3 to 4 days.

Quick quotes are anonymous.

The benefit is knowing which companies are best before completing applications and your paramedical exam.

Final Words

We have the expertise to help you no matter what type of skin cancer or pre-cancerous condition you have had.

With our service, there is never any pressure or obligation.

We’ll provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your life insurance.

If you change your mind, tell us to close your file.

Related Posts


[1] Basal Cell Carcinoma Overview. Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed June 17, 2020.

[2] Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed June 17, 2020

[3] – Munich American Reassurance Company. (2020). Malignant Melanoma [PDF file].

[4] Prudential Financial, Inc. (2017) Rx for Success Skin Cancer. [PDF file].

[5] Legal & General America. (2011) Dialogue Melanoma – Issue #17 [PDF file]

[6] AIG – American General Life Insurance Company (2014) Melanoma Data A, Thickness 1.01 – 2.0 mm [PDF file]

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