Since cancer is such a broad diagnosis, your ability to get coverage will depend on your specific condition.
If you have recently been diagnosed with a form of cancer, then there is a good chance you will have greater difficulty getting approved for a life insurance policy. This is not to say that getting life insurance after a cancer diagnosis is impossible, but you should expect to encounter more difficulty during the application process.
This is true for people who have survived cancer as well. In the next few sections we’ll get more in depth into some conditions and how they will affect your ability to get life insurance. From there, we’ll explore some of the different avenues you can take to get coverage if you have been diagnosed. It is also important to cover how cancer survivors should approach the life insurance application process.
Can I Get Life Insurance After a Cancer Diagnosis?
Depending on the type of cancer, you may still be able to secure an affordable term life insurance policy
Different cancer diagnoses means vastly different treatment plans.
Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is life changing. Your first instinct may be to look for forms of financial protection like life insurance. Depending on the severity of your diagnosis, you may or may not be able to secure life insurance at this time.
For example, there are types of non-melanoma skin cancers that do not spread to other parts of your body and can be easily removed. If you are experiencing a non-malignant cancer diagnosis, there is a good chance that you will be able to get a cheap life insurance policy—as long as you are in good health otherwise.
There are also malignant types of cancers that will in many cases prevent you from securing life insurance or an affordable life insurance policy that fits within your budget. These types of cancers can spread throughout the body and often require invasive procedures like surgeries, radiation, or chemotherapy. Because of the amount of complications that come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it is very possible that people with malignant forms of cancer will be denied life insurance coverage.
Can I Get Life Insurance After I Have Recovered From Cancer?
You will be able to get a better rate on life insurance after you have recovered for several years
Yes, you can get life insurance after you have recovered from cancer—but your access and cost will largely depend on the waiting period after you have been deemed cancer-free.
When you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurance company will evaluate your current health status and determine whether or not to present you with a policy. This evaluation process is called underwriting. During the underwriting process, the insurance company examines your complete health history and results from your medical exam. For many insurance providers, there is a required waiting period of anywhere from 3-10 years in remission.
Generally speaking, the longer that you wait after you have been in remission, the better chance you will have for approval. However, this will depend on your age as well. The older you are, the more difficulty you will have getting approved for a plan.
Let’s say that you were diagnosed in your late 20s and have been recovering into your 30s—you will have a good chance of getting an affordable life insurance rate. If you were diagnosed in your 30s and are recovering into your 40s, you will have a more difficult time getting approved for a life insurance policy. Either that, or you may be offered a policy that is outside of your budget. But, that does not mean that it is impossible. Many people who are searching for life insurance after they have recovered from cancer seek out the help of a life insurance agent to give them a bit of extra advice.
The chance of the cancer’s recurrence is also a major factor in the waiting period. For example, leukemia—a cancer that affects blood cells—has a higher chance of recurrence than a lot of other cancers. Because of this, most life insurance companies will require a waiting period of at least 10 years.
What Types of Life Insurance are Available to People Who Have Recovered from Cancer?
If you have made a full recovery and met the waiting requirement, you can qualify for traditional insurance policies
There are still a lot of life insurance options available for people who have recovered from cancer—even if you haven’t met the designated waiting period. However, in order to qualify for a traditional term life insurance or permanent life insurance policy, you will need to meet the required waiting period. The policies we are about to discuss are referred to as “standard” or “traditional” policies because they are the most commonly purchased policies.
Term life insurance is a type of life insurance that will expire at the end of the designated term. A term life insurance policy is often the most affordable way to get covered since there is no guaranteed payout. When you take out a term life insurance policy, the goal is to have enough saved by the time the policy expires that the policy is no longer necessary. If you have completed the waiting period set forth by the insurance company, then there is a good chance you can secure a cheap term life insurance policy.
The same is true for permanent life insurance, though permanent life insurance tends to be much more expensive. Permanent life insurance also never expires—meaning your family will receive your payout after you’ve died. Your permanent life insurance policy also includes an accumulating cash value that can be used toward medical expenses, senior care, and other necessary services as you age.
Simplified life insurance is a form of term life insurance that allows people to simplify the application process. Most forms of life insurance will require a medical exam which can be difficult to schedule and can take up to 8 weeks to get blood test results back. This prolongs the application process for longer than many people are willing to wait. If you have waited the designated period of time after your remission to apply for life insurance, simplified life insurance is a great option to get coverage ASAP.
The last type of insurance we’re going to discuss is guaranteed issue life insurance. Guaranteed issue life insurance is a limited form of life insurance where applicants cannot be rejected due to their health status. Guaranteed life insurance offers far lower coverage amounts and often requires a waiting period before the coverage begins. For example, you might purchase $25,000 worth of coverage, but you’ll have to wait 2 years until your family can receive a payout. Guaranteed life insurance is a good option for people who have been denied the other types of coverage discussed.
Making health and financial decisions after a cancer diagnosis is difficult. It is always a good idea to keep life insurance in mind if you haven’t already purchased a policy. With the help of a life insurance agent, you can find the right path to get the coverage you need. Remember, while there may be some road blocks, it is definitely possible to get coverage after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.