From the Learning Center

Life Insurance for People with Cancer (and Cancer Survivors)

By Lloyd Harvey·November 08, 2022·6 Minute Read

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Finding out you or someone you care about has cancer is one of the toughest challenges you could ever face. At first, it can feel like the road ahead is paved with unanswered questions. From cancer treatment methods and their physical effects to care plans and support groups, there is a lot to unpack.This article can help answer one crucial question: Can you get life insurance with cancer? 

Can You Get Life Insurance with Cancer?

In most cases, you can still get life insurance if you have cancer. There are actually types of life insurance designed specifically for people diagnosed with a terminal illness. Though getting life insurance with cancer is possible, it can sometimes be challenging. Here are some of the predicaments you may face when looking for life insurance for people with cancer:

Can People with a Recent Cancer Diagnosis Get Life Insurance?

A new cancer diagnosis can push life insurance to the top of your priority list. But rest assured, life insurance options exist for people with cancer, even if the detection is new.

Types of Life Insurance for Cancer Patients

However, knowing the types of life insurance with high approval rates for cancer patients can remove some stress from the application process. Here are some life insurance options to consider if you have cancer:

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

This no-medical exam life insurance offers permanent coverage. The maximum coverage amount is typically much lower than other types of insurance. Simplified Issue Life Insurance is intended for people over the age of forty-five. Although there is no medical exam, you will be required to answer some health history and medical questions when you apply. 

The not-so-great news: cancer can be a disqualifier for simplified issue life insurance, especially if you have additional health issues. The great news: there is another option, and this one is, quite literally, guaranteed.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

Also known as “guaranteed issue life insurance” and “no questions life insurance,” this type of whole life insurance can help people with cancer who are looking for coverage, even if their diagnosis is considered terminal. There is no medical exam, no deep dive into your prescription history, and if you apply for guaranteed life insurance with cancer, the insurance company won’t even ask you what type of cancer you have. But, of course, there are some restrictions to consider before you purchase a guaranteed policy.

How Do You Get a Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance Policy with Cancer?

The name says it all. You will likely be approved for a guaranteed acceptance policy if you apply when you are in the allowed age range. Most companies offer guaranteed acceptance insurance to people between the ages of fifty and eighty. If you fall outside of this range, rare exceptions are sometimes made. 

While some types of life insurance offer coverage options up into the millions, the death benefit of guaranteed life insurance typically ranges from $2,000 to $25,000. In addition, death benefits are tax-free for your beneficiaries when delivered in a lump-sum payment. They could use the life insurance payout from your policy to cover the funeral cost or help pay off some lingering medical bills.

Every guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy comes with a waiting period. Each life insurer has its own waiting period regulations — typically two or three years. Once the waiting period ends, your policy is in force with the full death benefit. If you were to die before the waiting period ends, all is not lost. Your beneficiaries would still receive a payout.

However, instead of the full death benefit, they likely would get the total amount you had spent on your insurance premiums plus interest (ask your insurance agent about the rates available).

Though some may feel disheartened by guaranteed acceptance life insurance limits, it can help lift some weight off the shoulders of those facing cancer. Knowing the people in your life have a little financial cushion to land on when you are gone gives you one less thing to worry over.

Can You Get Term Life Insurance with Cancer?

Term life insurance is one of the simplest forms of life insurance. A term life insurance policy provides coverage for a term, typically anywhere from ten to thirty years. Though there are no-medical exam term life insurance policies available, your application is unlikely to be approved while you have cancer.

Life Insurance for People with Cancer: Does Your Type of Cancer Matter?

The short answer is yes. Take, for example, non-melanoma skin cancer. Unlike most other types of cancer, this common form of skin cancer does not typically affect life insurance rates.

Another example of the type of cancer’s influence on life insurance is the length of time it takes for an insurer to consider you cancer free. Every life insurance company has its own set of rules. Still, most of them require you to be in remission for a minimum of three to ten years to be considered cancer-free, and some insurers have different requirements for different types of cancer. 

Should You Wait to Get Life Insurance After Cancer?

Now that you know that there is life insurance for people with cancer, you might be wondering if it’s something you should buy now or if you’re better off waiting to see if your cancer goes into remission. Unfortunately, this is one of those questions that no one can answer for you. The decision to buy life insurance with cancer is a deeply personal one. 

How Does the Insurance Company Determine Your Eligibility?

If you buy life insurance in remission, you will likely answer a few questions about your cancer history. Insurance companies take a deep dive into your lifestyle, medical records, and health status. As a result, you may have to undergo a medical exam or submit a lab test. If an exam and a blood draw sound less than pleasant, no medical exam life insurance applications are available. Here are some examples of what insurance companies might look for concerning cancer: 

Diagnosis date

Remember, each insurer has its own waiting period for those in remission. That length of time can be dependent on the cancer type. 

Type of cancer

See above. Cancer survival and recurrence rates can impact the underwriting process and influence premiums.

Metastasis or multiple cancer sites

Did your cancer metastasize or spread to multiple parts of your body? Metastatic cancer is considered more severe than non-metastatic cancer and may put you at a higher risk for recurrence.

Any relapses you may have faced

For example, an insurance company may ask you if your cancer ever returned after a period of remission.

Other health concerns

Health history comes up in life insurance for people with cancer and people without cancer. The insurance underwriter will likely inquire about your medical history, the medications you take, and any recent hospitalizations.

Your family history

Insurance companies look at your medical history and that of your family.

What is the Best Type of Life Insurance for a Cancer Survivor?

You may want to take out a new life insurance policy when you are in remission. There are no limits to the number of life insurance policies one can have, but each insurance company has a coverage cap.If you are over fifty, you may find that simplified issue life insurance and guaranteed acceptance life insurance are your best options, even in remission.

However, suppose you are younger and have been cancer-free for years. In that case, you could qualify for term life insurance or a less restrictive type of permanent life insurance, like whole life insurance or universal life insurance coverage.

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Quick Decision Term Life Insurance

Cancer has a way of putting things into perspective for everyone involved. For example, if you have cancer, you might be motivated to encourage other people in your life to apply for life insurance sooner rather than later. Likewise, if you are caring for a cancer patient, you likely understand how difficult it is for people with cancer to get a life insurance policy after their diagnosis.

If you (or someone you care about) are in excellent health, consider applying for no medical exam term life insurance. With Bestow, applying for term life insurance is simple — and rates from $11 per month. Upon approval and dependent on your age, you can apply for a policy that typically lasts anywhere from ten to thirty years. Once your term life insurance policy is activated, you lock your rate in for the entire term. As long as you pay your premium, that policy is in force, regardless of what curveballs life might throw your way.

Key Takeaways

  • You can get life insurance with cancer, but it may be a challenging process.
  • The type of cancer you have is relevant when applying for life insurance. For example, non-melanoma skin cancer typically doesn’t affect life insurance rates.
  • If you have cancer, you might consider guaranteed life insurance, a type of permanent life insurance that guarantees approval to those in a specific age range, typically fifty to eighty.