Is it possible to take out life insurance if I have cancer or am in remission?
Whether it’s possible to take out life insurance if you have cancer will depend on the nature of your condition and the insurance company’s terms for providing coverage. By law, you must disclose any known information about your health that may be relevant to the insurance company’s decision on whether or not to provide you with a policy.
When making a decision to insure you or not, insurers take into consideration the type of cancer, treatment and what stage it’s in.
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What are insurers assessing when I apply for life insurance with cancer?
When reviewing your application, an insurer will consider:
- If you’re undergoing any treatment for your condition
- Whether you’re in remission
- Have there been any relapses
- Details of the medication you’re taking
- Can they charge a higher premium to account for additional risk
In general, if you’ve had cancer and are now in remission, coverage will likely be available. However, it does depend on how long you have been in remission for — this is one of the biggest factors when insurers consider offering you a life insurance policy.
When it comes to pre-exiting conditions companies can either:
- Refuse to provide you with a policy
- Hike up premiums
- Exclude coverage for certain events (they may provide life insurance to cover accidental death but exclude any claims related to cancer)
How to increase the likelihood of finding life insurance for cancer patients
If you’re a cancer survivor and have started shopping for life insurance, there are some things you should know. These strategies can help you when it comes time to apply for life insurance as a cancer patient or survivor.
- Collect the right paperwork. You want to have all of your documentation ready before you apply. This includes your complete medical records, pathology reports and records of your treatment plan. The more the insurance company knows about you, your cancer diagnoses and treatment plan, the more likely they may be able to insure you.
- Get a note from your doctor. Ask your doctor to write you a note stating when you had treatments for cancer done, when you went into remission and what your prognosis is. This may help the insurance company get a better understanding of your specific situation.
- Abide by the treatment plan. It’s important for the insurance company to see that you’re sticking with your treatment plan — meaning going to all follow-up appointments or check-ups. The more proactive you are about your health, the more likely you’re to remain healthy.
Do I have to tell my insurer if I am diagnosed with cancer after taking out insurance?
It depends, if you get cancer after taking out insurance, some policies may include a specific condition that requires you to notify your insurer of any diagnosis or genetic test result — check the fine print closely to be sure. However, when it comes time to renew your policy or if you decide to change your level of coverage, you’ll have to inform your insurance company of your diagnosis.
What questions might be asked when I apply for life insurance with cancer?
- Do you have a family history of cancer? What was the age of onset? What was the age of death as a result of cancer?
- What type of cancer do you or did you have?
- Have you been advised that the cancer is treatable and what’s the percent chance of success?
- What treatments did you receive while you had cancer?
- Are you still taking medication or receiving tests?
- What is the contact information of your doctor?
What if I’ve been diagnosed with cancer and haven’t taken out insurance yet?
If you have cancer and apply for a life insurance policy, you should inform the insurer of your condition. In the event of your death, omitting known information on your life insurance application will only void the contract, resulting in a partial benefit or more likely a denied claim — which means premiums were paid for no reason.
Most insurance providers will work with you to try to get you approved for a policy, however it may result in higher premiums or limited coverage.
What happens if I don’t tell my insurer about my condition?
In the event of claim, your insurer can use your condition to refuse paying your claim.
Can I take out critical illness insurance for cancer?
Critical illness insurance offers a lump sum benefit payment if you suffer from a specified illness. Some insurers will provide coverage and financial support if you’re diagnosed with cancer. This coverage is designed to provide the financial support you need to pay your medical costs, continue your rehabilitation and keep providing for your family.
The cancers commonly covered under critical insurance policies are:
- Carcinoma in situ of the breast
- Skin cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Hodgkins Disease
- Brain tumors
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Invasive cancer
- Malignant bone marrow disorder
- Carcinoma in situ of the male or female organs
It’s important to keep in mind that insurers determine application approval and coverage based off of each individual situation.
What can the benefit payment be used for?
The lump sum benefit your policy offers can be used to pay your medical bills, help with your recovery and manage ongoing expenses that may arise from expensive treatments and strenuous rehabilitation processes. You can also use the benefit to offset any time taken off from work that results in missing your regular income.
What you need to know about buying life insurance as a cancer survivor
A cancer survivor is typically considered a person who has successfully undergone treatment for some type of cancer and has been in remission for at least five years. The insurance company will review each case on an individual basis to determine the level of risk the applicant presents. They will look at several different factors, such as the type of cancer you had, the stage of cancer you had, the treatment plan you underwent and the grade of the cancer.
Over 88% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive in remission for at least five years and 85% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will also survive for at least five years past remission. This has led to lot of cancer survivors to try to find adequate life insurance to protect themselves and their families.
Most insurance companies use a specific guideline to provide valuable statistics for various types of cancer at various stages and also provides the success rate for different kinds of treatment plans. The insurance company will evaluate your specific set of circumstances and compare it against their guidelines to determine your risk factor. This will determine your eligibility for life insurance for cancer patients and your premium rate.
So when you’re shopping around, don’t get discouraged if you’re denied on your first application, there may very well be an insurer that is willing to give you a life insurance policy.