People with cancer can get life insurance but often have fewer options. Individuals may need to choose no medical exam insurance, which does not require a certain level of health but may be more expensive.
Life insurance options for people with cancer can depend on the stage and type of the disease and whether individuals are in remission or undergoing treatment. It can also depend on age and lifestyle factors.
This article looks at different types of life insurance that may be suitable for people with a cancer diagnosis, those undergoing treatment, and those in remission.
People with cancer can get life insurance, although it may be more difficult to apply for standard life insurance.
According to the cancer support charity Macmillan, some life insurance policies will include terminal illness cover. If people have existing life insurance before a cancer diagnosis, the policy should remain in place, with beneficiaries receiving death benefits as usual.
It may be easier for individuals to remain with their existing life policy and continue to make payments rather than look for a different life policy after a cancer diagnosis.
If people apply for life insurance after a diagnosis of cancer, it may be more difficult, but it is possible. Individuals may need no medical exam life insurance, which might be more expensive but does not require a medical exam.
No medical exam life insurance means that the insurance company may ask for little to no medical information.
According to life insurance companies, premiums may be higher for this type of insurance. Additionally, death benefits may be lower.
Types of no medical exam life include:
- Simplified life insurance: People may need to fill out a questionnaire about their medical history rather than have a medical exam.
- Guaranteed life insurance: This option may be best suited for people with severe illness, as it guarantees death benefits for beneficiaries.
Term life insurance offers coverage for a certain period, such as 5 or 10 years. The coverage only lasts for that set time, so people only receive a payout if the insured person dies within this period.
People can renew term life insurance beyond the original time period, but premiums may be more expensive.
Whole life insurance offers lifelong coverage for as long as they pay premiums, which may be more expensive than term life premiums.
Whole life insurance may create cash value, which people could access to pay for immediate financial needs, such as treatment costs.
People will need to provide health details and may need a medical exam for term and whole life insurance.
A terminal illness rider, or an accelerated benefit rider, is a life insurance rider that allows people to access death benefits earlier.
If a policy has an accelerated death benefit rider, it allows individuals with a terminal illness diagnosis to receive a certain amount of their death benefit from the life insurance.
The type of life insurance available to people with a cancer diagnosis may depend on the type, grade, and stage of the disease.
According to insurance companies, people with early stage cancer or those who have been cancer-free for a certain time may have more options.
However, those with advanced cancer may have fewer options and may need to purchase guaranteed life insurance.
It may be more difficult for people undergoing treatment to get a life insurance policy, and options may be more limited. A person may need guaranteed life insurance if they are undergoing treatment.
Options may depend on the type, grade, and stage of cancer and whether it is life threatening.
Once people have been in remission for a certain number of years, they may have a wider range of options for life insurance.
Depending on the type of cancer, insurance companies may require someone to be in remission for a set number of years.
Many factors may affect an insurance company’s decision. They include what treatments people had, when they finished treatment, and how well recovery is going.
Having a family history of cancer does not usually affect people being able to get life insurance. In some cases, a family history of cancer may affect premium rates.
A life insurance company may review a person’s family history and assess the pattern of cancer, such as how many family members had the disease, the age of onset, and their lifespan.
Having a cancer diagnosis may make life insurance premiums more expensive.
At the beginning of the policy, people may be paying higher rates, as there may be a higher level of risk for the insurance company.
Over time, rates may change if there is less risk of the cancer returning or a person’s stage of cancer changes.
No medical exam life insurance may be more expensive than standard life insurance, but people will not need to undergo a medical exam to apply for it.
People may wish to look at websites that offer independent reviews of life insurance for people with cancer. These may give them an idea of some of the best life insurance for the type they are looking for.
Individuals will be able to apply for life insurance through the insurance company’s website or call the company to speak to a representative.
Each insurance company may have its own requirements for the application process. If people apply for life insurance that requires medical information, the insurance company may need certain information, such as:
- the type, stage, and grade of cancer
- the length of time since the last treatment
- the cancer prognosis for the individual
An insurance company may also ask for a medical examination. If people are applying for no medical exam life insurance, they may need to fill in a questionnaire, though they may not need to provide medical information.
People can apply to multiple companies to see what the different offers are. They can also consult a financial advisor — especially someone with experience in dealing with individuals with cancer — to find the best policies for them.
People may be able to use the cash value of life insurance to pay for treatment costs. People can contact their insurance company to determine if their policy has cash value. Term life insurance does not offer cash value.
Individuals may be able to use cash value to cover any immediate costs and keep benefits for beneficiaries.
People may also be able to use an insurance rider, such as an accelerated death benefit rider, to access part of their death benefits early.
People with cancer can still get life insurance, but their options may depend on the type of the disease cancer, stage, and whether they are receiving treatment or in remission. Lifestyle factors and age may also play a part.
There are no definitive guidelines for life insurance policies for people with cancer. People who are not receiving treatment or have been in remission for a certain amount of time may have more options.
For those undergoing treatment or with advanced cancer, no medical exam life insurance may be an option.
It is important to disclose all necessary information when applying for life insurance to prevent an insurer from later denying a payout. People may want to speak with a financial advisor about finding the best option for them.