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Buying life insurance as a cancer patient can be a challenge.

Don’t give up though. Life insurance is one of the most important purchases that you’ll ever make, and any pre-existing conditions shouldn’t keep you from getting that. We know that shopping for life insurance coverage as a cancer patient can be frustrating and difficult, but that’s why we are here. It’s our mission to ensure that you’re getting the best life insurance plan available at the lowest price.

For many cancer survivors, it is still definitely possible to buy an insurance policy.

Whether you get insured depends on a number of factors like the severity of your illness and on the way you handle your application.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the life insurance underwriting rules for cancer patients. With this information, you’ll have a good idea what to expect when you apply for coverage.

Life Insurance Underwriting for Cancer Patients

When you apply for life insurance, your insurance agent should ask a number of questions about your cancer history. Be prepared to answer:

  • When were you diagnosed with cancer?
  • What type of cancer did you have?
  • How long did your cancer treatment last?
  • Have you needed to receive any cancer treatments like chemo or radiation therapy in the past 5 years?
  • Have you been disabled in the past year because of your cancer or for some other reason?
  • Do you have a family history of cancer and have any close family members died of cancer?

Make sure your application clearly answers all these questions regarding your medical history. Life insurance underwriters get worried when they see an application that is missing information, especially when the person applying is a former cancer patient. By submitting a complete application, you give yourself the best chance at getting a fair rating and avoiding a rejection.

Life Insurance Quotes for Cancer Patients

When you apply for life insurance after cancer, the type of cancer you had is incredibly important. Serious cancers like leukemia could be uninsurable whereas mild forms like non-melanoma skin cancer might not affect your rating at all.

To get the best possible rating, it helps to wait at least five years since your last cancer treatment before applying. Insurance companies want to see this long break to make sure new problems don’t come up. From there, your quote depends on a variety of factors. While each insurance company, such as Banner Life or MetLife, has different underwriting rules for, here are some general guidelines to give you an estimate of what rating you can expect.

  • Preferred Plus: Possible in very rare cases for applicants that only had non-melanoma skin cancer. Cancer treatment must have ended at least 5 years ago and applicant must be in perfect health otherwise.
  • Preferred: Also possible for applicants that only had non-melanoma skin cancer. Cancer treatment must have ended at least 5 years ago and applicant must be in very good health. Standards are a bit easier than Preferred Plus.
  • Standard: Best possible rating for cancer patients that had breast, thyroid, testicular, and prostate cancer. Applicants need to be cancer-free for at least 5 years. Applicants should also be in good health otherwise.
  • Table Rating (substandard): Most likely rating for most cancer patients, except applicants with non-melanoma skin cancer. Table rating will depend on the applicant’s health at the time of application, the severity of the illness, and the applicant’s family history of cancer.
  • Declines: Most applicants that haven’t been cancer free for 5 years. Insurance companies also tend to decline applicants that had more serious forms of cancer like leukemia, colon cancer, or a cancer that metastasized.

Life Insurance Case Studies for Cancer Patients

As a cancer patient, you need to handle your application properly to avoid unnecessary problems. Here are a couple real life examples that show the importance of a well-handled application.

Case Study: Female, 55 y/o, non-smoker, had non-melanoma skin cancer at 47, only needed 1 year of treatment and had been healthy and cancer-free since then.

This applicant only had a mild case of non-melanoma skin cancer that had cleared up without any problems. Despite waiting the appropriate five years before applying and also being in very good health, this applicant only received rated policies. It seemed insurance companies were overweighting her past cancer history.

We suggested she reapply with a note from her doctor vouching for her good health and strong recovery. With this extra information, she was able to qualify for a Preferred rating and got a price discount for her policy.

Case Study #2: Male, 62 y/o, had prostate cancer at 56, ended cancer treatment at 57, applied for life insurance that year and was rejected

This applicant was treated for prostate cancer when he was 56. The treatments went well and the applicant fully recovered a little over a year afterwards. Right after his treatment ended, this applicant decided to apply for life insurance. He was rejected and gave up on ever trying again.

After reviewing our website, this applicant realized that he applied too soon after his cancer treatment to get a policy. We reviewed his application and also realized he left out some information on his past cancer treatments. Now five years later, this applicant tried again with an application that completely described his medical history. With these adjustments, he was able to receive a Substandard Level 1 policy, the best rating below Standard.

Getting Better Life Insurance Rates

As a cancer patient, you’ll be considered a “high-risk” applicant, which means that the insurance company is going to charge you higher premiums for your life insurance protection. One of the most common reasons that cancer patients don’t have life insurance is because they assume that their coverage is going to be too expensive, but in most cases, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are several ways that you can lower your insurance rates. Making a few simple changes could save you thousands of dollars on your insurance coverage.

The first thing that you should do is cut out any tobacco that you currently use. If you’re listed as a smoker on your application, then you’re going to be facing much higher rates for your plan. Smokers are at a higher risk for a dozen different health complications, which means smokers pose a higher risk to the insurance company. They are going to offset that by charging you increased rates. Smokers pay at least twice as much for coverage versus what a non-smoker is going to pay.

The next thing to do is improve your overall health. As a cancer patient, you’ll ready have a red flag on your application, which means you’ll need to improve the other areas of your health before you apply for coverage. The two best ways to do that are to improve your start a diet and get regular exercise. Both of these will shed those extra pounds, lower your blood pressure, and lower your cholesterol. All of these are going to translate into lower premiums.

Getting life insurance as a cancer patient is definitely possible; you just need to be smart about your application. If you’re not sure what to do next, it might be a good idea to work with a qualified life insurance broker like our company. We’ve helped many cancer patients get life insurance and we can help you too.

Our company specializes in life insurance for cancer patients. We can guide you through your application plus match you up with the life insurance companies that offer the best rates for cancer survivors. For a free rate quote, call us or fill out our online quote application form today.

We know that shopping for life insurance protection is not a fun experience, but that’s why we are here to help. It’s our job to help connect you with the best plan possible. As a cancer patient, finding affordable life insurance can be tough, but it’s not impossible.

Our independent agents have years of experience working with all types of applicants with various kinds of cancer, and we know which companies are going to give you the best possible. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, which means you shouldn’t wait any longer to get the coverage that your family deserves.

If something tragic were to happen to you, and you didn’t have life insurance coverage, your family would be responsible for a massive amount of debt and other bills. That’s where your life insurance coverages comes in. Nobody wants to think about his or her own death, but not planning for the inevitable is one of the worst mistakes that you can make for your family.

photo credit: jaredpolin via photopin cc