How life insurance works for cancer survivors

CHICAGOJanuary 28, 2022 – (

iQuanti: If you or someone you love has battled cancer, you might be wondering if you can still buy life insurance. The good news is that cancer survivors may still qualify for life insurance policies, but you may have to pay a higher cost. If you’re looking to get a policy, here’s what you need to know about how life insurance works and how to choose the best life insurance for cancer survivors.

Does life insurance cover cancer?

If you purchased a term or whole life insurance policy before you had cancer, those plans would likely pay out in the event of a cancer-related death. But there are different requirements if you are looking to take out a policy following a cancer diagnosis or treatment. And after undergoing treatment, it may be more important for cancer survivors to obtain an insurance policy that gives them peace of mind that their family would be cared for in their absence.

What determines eligibility for life insurance for cancer survivors?


Here are some things that life insurance companies can consider when deciding whether or not to issue a life insurance policy to a cancer survivor:

  • Cancer status: If you have been in remission for several years now, you may find it easier to get a policy than someone who is actively undergoing cancer treatment.
  • type of cancer: Certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer, may not be insurable due to high prevalence of recurrence and mortality rates. But other types of cancer like melanoma, breast or prostate cancer can put you in a moderate risk category that is still insurable. Before purchasing a policy, make sure you have medical records (or the ability to provide them upon request) that identify your specific type of cancer and disease progression.
  • family history: Insurers may ask about family history of cancer as this is also used to assess risk. This means that you will need information about relatives diagnosed with cancer, including the type of cancer, your relationship and their age at diagnosis. Cancer diagnoses later in life usually mean less risk for insurers and, therefore, a lower rate for you.

Types of life insurance plans to consider for cancer survivors

For cancer survivors, common types of life insurance like term and whole life policies may not be available. But other options exist, such as:

  • Guaranteed issue insurance: A guaranteed issue life insurance policy is typically used to help cover burial costs or leave a small inheritance. Since these policies are guaranteed and the companies cannot ask about health status, they may be a good option for cancer survivors who have not been in remission for a long time. Just keep in mind that this policy can be expensive and may come with a graduated death benefit that pays less in the years immediately following purchase.
  • Group life cover: An employer-sponsored group life insurance policy is generally guaranteed up to a certain level, regardless of health status. And that means you can qualify even after cancer treatment. Additionally, if you leave the organization, you may have the option of converting the policy to a whole life insurance plan.

The essential

You may still be able to get life insurance as a cancer survivor. But be prepared for a more rigorous underwriting process and higher rates. Before you start looking for the right policy, be sure to gather your medical documents, as life insurance companies will likely have many questions about your cancer diagnosis and treatment. But with thorough research and comparison of reputable insurance companies, you’ll find the right policy to meet your coverage needs.


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