Getting life insurance for cancer patients can be challenging. Because so many companies take a close look at an applicant's medical history, a cancer diagnosis can significantly impact your life insurance rates. This can make it difficult (not to mention prohibitively expensive) to plan for your medical expenses and your family's financial future.
If you're looking for more information about whole or term life insurance for cancer survivors, don’t worry! In this guide, you’ll learn about how you can acquire life policies, the different benefits of each type of life insurance, and what insurers look at when offering insurance products.
Can A Cancer Patient Get Life Insurance Policies?
It depends. While it's not impossible for someone to get life insurance after a cancer diagnosis, their health condition will definitely affect the rates they’re offered.
Insurance companies will charge higher premiums for the types of cancer that they deem to have a lower survival rate. The lower your life expectancy, the higher the rates they'll give for cancer life insurance.
Does The Type Of Cancer Affect My Life Insurance Options?
Yes. Some types of cancer are more treatable than others. Skin cancers, for example, have much higher survival rates than breast cancer.
Before they can provide you with your options and rates, your life insurance company may require you to disclose the following information:
The type of cancer you have
The stage that your cancer is currently at
The medications that you're presently taking
Approximate date when you were diagnosed with cancer
How many times you've been diagnosed with cancer in the past, or if this is your first time
How long you have been cancer-free (if you are a survivor and in remission)
Your present treatment plan and how your cancer is responding to treatment
Your family history of cancer, if any
If your cancer has metastasized, and to which other parts of your body
Do not conceal your medical history from your insurance provider – this can cause problems when your beneficiaries claim your death benefit or even result in the cancellation of your policy.
If you don't want to go through a medical exam or disclose your medical history to your provider, don't worry! There are still options where you can get covered without doing either of these things.
Types Of Life Insurance Options For Cancer Patients
Wondering which form of life insurance will give you the best coverage? Here’s a comparison of the different types of life insurance that cancer patients and survivors can get.
Traditional Life Insurance
This option is best for cancer patients who have been in remission for five years or longer. If you have been cancer-free for a while, you may qualify for traditional whole life insurance policies again – giving you full coverage until your death. You can also opt for term life insurance, which gives you coverage from ten to thirty years depending on your chosen policy.
If you're applying for traditional life insurance, expect to undergo a medical examination. The findings will affect the rates, coverage, and death benefits that the provider will offer you.
Group Life Insurance
If you or your spouse are employed, employer-provided group life insurance might be an option. You may also qualify for this policy if you're a member or veteran of any organization that offers insurance coverage.
Group life insurance doesn't require medical exams for you to qualify. Your employer (or your spouse) usually pays for all or part of the insurance premium.
The drawback is that the death benefit is usually significantly lower than an individual policy. However, it's still a good way to get insurance and help your family cover funeral costs.
Simplified Issue Life Insurance
This is one of the best life insurance policies for those who are cancer-free but still have other health conditions. It requires you to complete a health survey and recount your medical history, but there won’t be a medical examination. A simplified issue policy has a slightly higher cost than a traditional whole or term life insurance plan, but at least your beneficiaries can claim the full death benefit from the very first day of coverage.
Also known as final expense insurance, this is a form of insurance that is frequently offered to those over 50 years of age. This is designed to help policyholders prepare for medical expenses, end-of-life costs, and remaining debts.
This kind of policy does not require a medical exam, making it an option of choice for many cancer survivors who don't want to undergo a rigorous examination. It also comes with lower premium rates, but you should expect much lower coverage as well.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
This is the easiest whole life policy you can get, regardless of the type of cancer you have. This is because you won't be required to undergo a medical exam or have a health screening. Like other whole life policies, this life insurance policy type also accumulates cash value over time and stays in force for your entire lifetime.
One of the major drawbacks to this form of whole life policy is that your beneficiaries won't get the full death benefit unless your policy has been in force for a certain waiting period, also known as a graded death benefit.
This waiting period can range anywhere from one to three years. If you die within the waiting period, insurance companies will only give a percentage of the death benefit, plus a refund of your premiums already paid. This waiting period is designed to prevent people from getting immediate, large policy payouts after signing up.
Another drawback of this form of whole life insurance? A guaranteed issue policy has higher life insurance rates, making it more expensive to take out. There is also typically a lower limit on the death benefit that your family can receive from your insurers. While traditional life insurance can insure people for over $1 million, guaranteed policies only provide death benefits ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, with only a handful going above $100,000.
Will Life Insurance Companies Pay My Policy If I Die Of Cancer?
Yes. If your policy has been approved, your life insurance company is obligated to fulfill its end of the contract as long as you regularly pay your premiums. However, you should talk to your life insurance provider about the finer details – your policy may have a waiting period where you need to live through any possible medical conditions before your beneficiaries can claim the full death benefit. This is common in guaranteed issue life insurance with cancer patients.
Can Cancer Survivors Get Life Insurance Policies?
Yes, they can! If you're a cancer survivor, your potential providers will ask health questions, like how long you've been in remission. The longer the cancer-free period, the better your chances of qualifying for life insurance and getting reasonable premiums.
Some companies require people to be cancer-free for three to five years before they offer them whole or term life insurance policies. However, depending on the type of cancer, they may still give you coverage despite a more recent recovery.
For example, skin cancer has higher survival rates than breast cancer or prostate cancer. A skin cancer survivor is more likely to get coverage, even if they’ve been in remission for less time.
FAQs About Life Insurance For Cancer Patients
How does a family history of cancer affect my life insurance policy?
If your loved ones are cancer patients or survivors, this could affect your rates when you apply for life insurance. However, it mainly depends on the type of insurance that you choose.
Traditional life insurance policies require you to share your family medical history. This helps life insurance companies assess your chances of developing cancer. A history of cancer can increase your premiums, even if you’ve never been diagnosed yourself.
In simplified issue policies, insurance companies will still ask about medical history, but that information is not as likely to affect your rates. Guaranteed issue policies don't require an examination – even if your loved one has a cancer diagnosis, this won't drive up your rates or affect eligibility.
Should I add a rider to my life insurance policy?
Yes. A death benefit will always be a big help to your beneficiaries, but there will be times when you have an immediate financial need. Cancer patients or survivors who qualify for life insurance should consider adding riders for extra protection.
There are several riders that can be added to a policy. However, there are two kinds that insurers often recommend to cancer patients – terminal illness riders and living benefit riders. Here's a quick breakdown of these two.
Terminal illness rider: This allows earlier access to benefits. In the event that you're diagnosed with a terminal illness with slim chances of recovery, you may be able to access some or all of the death benefit, along with the policy’s cash value. You can then use this money for hospital care, treatment, living expenses, and more.
Living benefit rider: This lets you access your life insurance payout if you have an illness or condition that significantly affects your daily functions or ability to work. For a cancer patient, a living benefit rider may be able to help you cope with high medical or living costs.
When you get a cancer life insurance policy, make sure that you add either of these, if not both. While they will increase your premiums, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you are covered even if the unexpected happens.
Do I need to undergo a medical exam to get insurance coverage?
This will depend on the type of life insurance policy that you are getting. If you want to avoid an examination, you can opt for simplified or guaranteed issue life insurance policies. The drawback is that you'll end up paying higher premiums, but at least you can guarantee that your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit after you pass away.
An alternative is to get life insurance coverage through your workplace. If your employer provides coverage for all employees, a group life policy is a great way to get coverage without being examined.
Regardless of your diagnosis, no one is uninsurable – not even people with cancer. There are still many options for patients and survivors, whether to cover future medical care or provide a financial safety net for your loved ones.
If you want to know which company is offering you the best life insurance and maximum coverage, talk to us at Wesley Insurance, LLC. We can help you go through your options for term and whole life insurance, and decide which is best suited for you!