Can You Get Life Insurance If You Have Cancer?

Find out about your life insurance coverage options if you have been diagnosed with cancer.
By Mike Parker
Updated Sep 8, 2022
A cancer patient speaking with a Life Insurance Agent.
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If you have a history of cancer in your family, have been diagnosed with cancer, or are in remission, getting life insurance is likely a priority. 

Life cover can offer a sense of security to people who have been diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening condition. 

This article will discuss life insurance for people with cancer and tell you everything you need to know about your coverage options.

What Is Life Insurance? 

Life insurance is a type of long-term coverage that insures a person’s life. Life insurance policies are contracts between policyholders and insurance companies. 

A policyholder (the person covered by the life insurance policy) pays a monthly or annual premium for the life insurance company (the business offering coverage). 

In exchange, the life insurance company promises to pay out a death benefit to the insured person’s beneficiaries when they die.

Terms you should know:

Death Benefit: The amount of money that will be paid out to a policyholder’s beneficiaries when they die.

Premium: A regular payment made to an insurance company in exchange for insurance coverage.

Policyholder: The person who is insured by a life insurance contract.

Beneficiary: A nominated person who will receive the full or a portion of a life insurance contract’s death benefit.

There are many types of life insurance plans available. They can be divided into two categories: term life cover and permanent life cover.

Term life insurance plans offer coverage for a specific period. They can last for between one year and thirty years, after which they expire.

Permanent life cover has no expiration date, which means it will continue for as long as the policyholder lives and continues paying their premiums.

There are also supplemental life insurance plans that cover specific events, such as accidental death, disability, and dismemberment.

If you have cancer or are in remission, you will be able to get life insurance.

What Factors Do Life Insurance Companies Consider?

Life insurance companies look at several factors when building a risk profile for people who want to buy life insurance through them.

What is a Risk Profile?

A risk profile estimates the length of a person’s life and determines the  probability of dying prematurely. Life insurance companies create risk profiles to reduce the possibility of paying out death benefits prematurely.

When a person applies for life coverage, the life insurance company will look at their:

1) Age: As a person ages, the chance of them dying increases. This means that older people will generally pay more for life insurance than younger people.

2) Gender: Research and statistics suggest that women are likely to live longer than men. This means they will pay less for life insurance.

3) Whether you use tobacco products: Tobacco use has been linked to an increased risk of death. If you have cancer and use tobacco products, your life insurance application will likely be denied.

4) Medical History: Applicants are usually given a medical questionnaire and undergo a medical exam.

5) Family Medical History: Life insurance companies may refuse to give you life insurance or charge you higher premiums if you have a family history of severe disease, including cancer.

6) Your Driving History: Life insurance companies will look at how many traffic tickets you’ve been issued and the number of accidents you’ve had. They might charge you a higher monthly premium accordingly.

Two women discussing if you can get life insurance if you have cancer.

Source: Pexels

Can I Get Life Insurance if I’m in Remission?

Generally, life insurance companies won’t reject a person outright if they have had cancer in the past. 

What is Remission?

Remission is a term used in medicine to describe the reduction or disappearance of signs of disease.

Life insurance companies will likely charge you higher premiums if you haven’t been in remission for longer than three years.

As there is a significant risk of cancer returning, life insurance companies use risk calculations and generally wait at least three years before they reduce the costs of coverage.

Getting life insurance if you are in remission depends on:

  • How long you have been cancer-free

  • What stage of cancer you had or have

  • The type of cancer

  • Your current lifestyle and health status

  • Family history of cancer

  • The life insurance company’s risk appetite

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that will be considered in deciding whether you qualify for life insurance or not. 

However, the critical thing to remember is that it is possible to get life cover if you are in remission or have been cancer-free.

If you can’t get life cover because you haven’t been in remission for long enough, there are alternatives like final expense and guaranteed issue life insurance.

Can I Get Life Insurance if I Have a Family History of Cancer?

Life insurance companies will generally charge higher premiums for people with a genetic or familial disease

This is because a family history of certain conditions increases your overall risk profile and the probability of premature death.

However, you will not be denied outright if your family has a history of a particular disease, including cancer.

Insurance companies will also consider the severity of the illness, the type of illness, and the availability of modern treatments before they decide.

For example, a person with a family history of prostate cancer will potentially have a lower overall risk profile than a person with a family history of some forms of skin cancer. 

Life insurance companies will look at a range of factors before deciding whether to cover you.

For people with family histories of certain types of cancer, getting life insurance can be challenging.

However, there are alternatives to term life and permanent life cover that have lower coverage requirements.

A woman with cancer who is smiling because she can still get life insurance.

What Are the Best Life Insurance Plans for Cancer Survivors?

Firstly, if you’re in remission or are a survivor, congratulations! 

Getting life cover can be tricky if you don’t know the options available to you or which life insurance companies will consider your application.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage. 

Our advice is to speak with a life insurance agent. Not only will they be able to guide you through your different coverage options, but they can also help you find the best life insurance providers quickly.

Each person’s situation is unique, which means you’ll need expert advice and assistance to get the right kind of life coverage for your condition.

Here are a few of our top recommendations for life cover if you have cancer or are in remission.

A woman in remission who is covered by Life Insurance.

Source: Pexels

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of permanent life cover that does not require medical exams or medical questionnaires to qualify.

These insurance plans usually have a smaller death benefit and a waiting period of two years. However, the premiums are generally more affordable than term or permanent life cover.

They are called guaranteed issue life insurance because policyholders are guaranteed a payout regardless of the cause of death.

If you’d like to know more about guaranteed issue life cover, reach out to one of our agents.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final expense life insurance is permanent life insurance with lower qualifying standards than traditional term and permanent life plans. 

These policies usually cover the policyholder for a smaller amount and offer people an affordable way of getting expenses covered, such as funeral costs unpaid hospital bills, and estate transfer fees.

The great thing about final expense insurance is that beneficiaries can use the death benefit in any way they want. 

A policyholder’s beneficiaries can use the death benefit (usually no more than $50,000) to cover any expenses that need to be paid once they have died.

For example, a person with cancer might get final expense insurance to cover their hospital bills or pay for their funeral arrangements.

Or, they might want to help their family pay off the remaining mortgage or cover the cost of estate transfer fees. If you’re interested in finding out more about final expense life insurance, speak to an agent today.

Group Life Cover

Group life cover is a good way of insuring your life if you get cancer. These are policies that cover more than one person under a single policy.

Group Life coverage is usually offered by companies, unions, and professional associations. Sometimes, your employer will cover the cost of these policies, or you might have to pay a small monthly premium.

Check if your company, union, or any association that you are a member of, offers group life cover as a benefit.

A family that is happy because they can be covered by life insurance even if one of them has cancer.

Source: Pexels

Where Can I Learn More about My Life Insurance Options?

If you’re interested in learning more about life cover or have a specific question that you want to be answered, PolicyScout can help.

We have a range of articles that will help you find out more about the different types of life insurance you can buy and our guides make the process of finding affordable, comprehensive life cover easy.

Our team is ready to assist you with any questions you might have and can help you find a life insurance provider in your state. Contact us on 1-888-912-2132  or today.