Buying life insurance as a cancer patient presents several challenges.
We advise you not to stop your search though. It’s still imperative that you get coverage for your family to protect your current financial situation and to make your family more comfortable in the future.
For many cancer survivors, it is still definitely possible to buy an insurance policy.
Whether you get insured is contingent upon several issues and how advanced your cancer is and on the way, you handle your application.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the life insurance underwriting specifics for cancer patients. With this information, you’ll have a good idea what to expect once you start applying.
Life Insurance Underwriting for Cancer Patients
When you first meet with an advisor they want to get to know you better. And one of the ways they’ll accomplish this is going through a list of questions to understand your health more thoroughly. Here are examples of topics that will be discussed:
- What year was your diagnosis?
- Type of cancer you have/had?
- 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 everything regarding your medical history. The underwriters tend to get worried when they see an application that skips mentioning certain 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
Are you applying 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 could have no impact on your classification.
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, have outlines for, we can estimate (to a degree) on what you can expect.
- Preferred Plus: Possible but unlikely 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: Ideal situation 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 have good health.
- Table Rating (substandard): Most cancer patients fit in here, 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. Read over these examples that show the importance of a well-handled application.
Case Study: Female, 55 year old, non-smoker, with 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, but only got a substandard rating. It seemed insurers overweighted her past cancer history.
We suggested she reapply with a note from her doctor vouching for her good health and strong recovery. With our suggestion, 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 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 afterward. Right after his treatment ended, this applicant decided to apply for coverage. 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 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. Assuming you can’t get good rates is going to hinder your chances at getting covered sooner. Companies know that cancer is a part of life, and there are carriers in some instances that will still cover you!
Most likely you’re going to pay a higher premium than applicants who do not have cancer, but don’t add on top of that by using tobacco. Studies show that you might be charged double or more if you’ve smoked cigarettes or used chewing tobacco within the last year before you apply. So quit! There’s never been a better time than now.
The next thing to work on is the rest of your health. As a cancer patient you’ll need to improve the other areas of your health before you apply for coverage. It’s important to start working on eating better and getting physical exercise. These two things will shed those extra pounds, less blood pressure, and lower your cholesterol. The culmination of this leads to less of a monthly premium.
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.