We’ll often get calls from clients who are looking for a life insurance quote after they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
For some, they may be looking for coverage right after they’ve been diagnosed while others may be interested in exploring what options might be available to them now that they’re in remission.
And while we would love…
To have a concrete answer for everyone that calls us, the truth is, that after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, qualifying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy is generally going to be pretty tough.
With that said however…
We do want to try to shed some light on what the process of applying for life insurance with a pre-existing disease with cancer will look like. As well as provide you with some “generalities” that many life insurance underwriters will use in trying to determine who will be eligible for coverage.
To accomplish this, we want to separate potential clients into one of two groups:
- Those who are currently treating their cancer.
- And those who are currently in remission.
Applicants who are currently treating their cancer.
As a general rule of thumb, regardless of what type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with, apart from the best final expense and burial life insurance companies, most carriers aren’t going to be all that interested in insuring someone who is currently receiving cancer treatment. Now there will be those few cases such as skin cancer or benign tumors where treatment may simply consist of surgically removing the tumor.
In cases like these, an insurance company may be willing to insure someone shortly after they’ve had their cancer removed.
But even in here…
The insurance companies will still want to wait till the applicant is completely cancer free before they will be willing to provide an offer of coverage.
That if you’ve been diagnosed with a more serious type of cancer or if your cancer treatment is going to require more than just a simple surgery to remove it, chances are, you’re not going to be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy for quite some time.
In cases like these…
Individuals will either need to pursue an alternative life insurance product such as a guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance policy or simply go without coverage until some later date when they are cancer free.
Applicants who are currently in remission.
When it comes time to helping out clients who are currently in remission, there are a couple of guidelines that we generally like to follow regardless of what “type” of cancer you have been diagnosed with. These guidelines will generally provide us with a pretty good idea about how an insurance underwriter will “view” your life insurance application upon submission.
Now it should be noted however…
That there are over 100 different types of cancers an individual can be diagnosed with which is why we’re simply going to try to provide one with a “rudimentary” understanding of how an insurance underwriter will “view” an insurance application from someone who has been diagnosed with cancer in the past.
We also want to stress that these “guidelines” will not necessarily mean that you’ll be automatically approved for coverage or automatically declined coverage, there only meant to help set ones’ expectations on what is most likely to occur. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
General underwriting guidelines for cancer survivors.
When helping cancer survivors find a life insurance policy that they will be eligible for, important factors like:
- What type of cancer did you have?
- What “stage” was your cancer diagnosed at?
- And what types of treatments did you require?
Will all certainly play a major role in determining if and when you’ll be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
The only problem with looking at questions like these is that, is it very difficult to get a “broad” understanding of what an insurance underwriter will be “concerned” about when we focus our attention to, too many specific details.
This is why, for the purposes of our discussion here…
We’re going focus more on what “category” of cancer you experienced and focus on whether or not your cancer spread from its original tumor site (metastasized) to another body part.
Benign Tumors and Skin Cancers.
As a general rule of thumb, benign tumors and less aggressive forms of skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas, and in situ melanomas), will be some of the few cancers that an insurance company will be willing to insure within the first year one has been determined “cancer free”.
This is mainly because, benign tumors are non-cancerous tumors that lack the ability to invade any of its neighboring cells or tissues, thereby preventing it from being able to metastasize.
Now while skin cancers are considered true cancers and do possess the ability to metastasize, in “most” cases due to their physical location on top of the skin, these cancers will often be diagnosed and removed prior to them becoming a significant health risk.
That being said however, aggressive or “non-in situ” forms of melanomas can be very dangerous which is why they would not be considered in this category we are discussion now. “Non-in situ” forms of melanomas survivors would need to wait longer before they would be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
As for what rate class individuals might qualify for with these types of tumors, it would be safe to say that in some situations many may qualify for a Preferred rate provided that they would meet all other requirements to be eligible.
Most other malignancies.
So, now that we’ve covered benign tumors and skin cancers, let’s turn our attention to other types of malignancies and get a general “feel” for how long it will take for an insurance company to consider providing coverage.
With these types of cancers, we only want to focus on cancer types that only occurred in a single tumor location and DID NOT metastasize to other part of the body.
While this definition can be applicable to nearly any type of cancer, the most common types that we see here at InsuranceBrokersUSA will most often include:
- Prostate cancer.
- Colon cancer.
- Breast cancer.
- Etc, etc..
For individuals who survived a non-metastatic malignancy…
You’re generally going to find that insurance companies are going to require at least 2 years of remission before they’ll begin considering your life insurance application for approval.
It also goes without saying that the more time you have been “cancer free”, the greater chances you’ll have to be approved. In fact, the general guidelines are pretty vague in this area which is why most underwriting guidelines will only commit to a 2-4 year window when applications will begin to actually be considered.
And even after 4 years of remission….
Many applicants will still be denied coverage until even more time has elapsed since their last date of treatment. This is why here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, we’ll often seek out the advice of an insurance underwriter prior to actually submitting ones’ life insurance application so that we can avoid any unnecessary denials.
Possible approval rates.
Individuals in this category, may be eligible for a Standard rate (in rare cases), but will usually end up qualifying for what is called a “table rate” (table rates range from Table A through H). Table rates are rates used by the insurance companies for those who are deemed “higher” risk applicants and will therefore typically need to pay more for their insurance.
The good news is that we here at InsuranceBrokersUSA work with many different life insurance companies so if you do qualify for a Table Rating, we’ll be able to compare many different Table Rate prices for you in an effort to find the lowest price possible.
Metastatic malignancies are cancers that originate in one part of the body and then metastasizes to another part. This new tumor will then be called a secondary tumor or metastatic tumor and will contain cells very similar to those found in the original tumor site.
Now it’s not all that…
Difficult to understand why going from a single tumor site to multiple tumor sites is going to significantly complicate ones’ life insurance applicant.
The good news is that while it will may be more difficult to qualify for life insurance, with a metastatic malignancy in the past, most applicants will be eligible for coverage in the future provided that enough time has passed since their last date of treatment.
That being said however…
Those who have been diagnosed with a metastatic malignancy will need to wait a minimum for 5 years and in many cases up to 10 years before they’ll be considered eligible for applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
These individuals will typically only be eligible for a Table Rating D-H when and if they are ever approved.
Now we’ll be the first to admit…
That we’ve tried to cover an incredible amount of information here in a very short time, and in doing so, we’ve really only begun to scratch the surface of what the “real” process of getting a life insurance policy after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer will look like.
But the truth is, much of the work that will be needed to be done in order for you to find a qualify life insurance policy after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer doesn’t need to be done by you, it needs to be done by us!
This is why we wrote this article so that you can get a general idea about what to expect, not so that you can become an expert yourself.
You see, we only have one goal here at InsuranceBrokersUSA and that is to help you find the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for, this is why we want to you become an active participant in the process and understand why we may make the recommendations that we do!
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!