Life Insurance with History of Cancer


According to a statistic published by the American Cancer Society, approximately 1,658,370 new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2015, and roughly 589,430 deaths were cancer-related.

Although it’s difficult to think about, cancer is an incredibly frightening reality for many Americans. If you, a family member or loved one has faced a cancer diagnosis or a history of cancer, it can be easy to feel scared by what the future may hold. Shopping for life insurance with history of cancer only adds to this fear and stress, as a lot of carriers view a cancer diagnosis as a high risk and, all too often, the fear is that they won’t cover you.

Life insurance is incredibly beneficial: it is the cornerstone to a strong financial plan and it is a promise to protect your family’s financial future. A life insurance policy can be used to pay for medical or final expenses and to tie up any financial loose ends that may be left behind when you are no longer around.

You might be worried that you won’t pass your insurance medical exam or that if your cancer recurs you may no longer qualify for affordable rates.

I am here to tell you that finding life insurance with a history of cancer does not have to be a hassle or cause undue stress. Read on to find out how you can qualify for affordable life insurance with a history of cancer.

The Key To Finding Good Insurance

If you are applying for life insurance with a history of cancer, you will need to know the basics, namely: what to underwriters look at when assessing your risk, how you can lower your risk and what kind of insurance is best for you.

I am going to address all of these in just a moment, but first I want to address a bigger issue: no matter how afraid you are that you won’t be able to afford – or find – life insurance, you do need life insurance, and in order to find the best life insurance for you, you NEED an agent.

Your life insurance policy acts as a financial safety net for your family and loved ones, and it necessary, no matter what your risk may be. I want to stress the importance of finding coverage, and the importance of working with an independent agent.

An independent agent will take the time to get to know you and your family, as well as your unique history with cancer. The best part about working with an independent agent is that their knowledge is twofold:

  1. A professional working knowledge of the life insurance industry. Agents have spent years making connections in the industry and know which companies are right for your situation. Additionally, these connections allow them to understand a company’s underwriting process and how to best present underwriters with your risk.
  2. A knowledge of high-risk diseases. Agents take the time to conduct in-depth research on your history with cancer, including treatment options and the probability of recurrence. They then cross-reference this information with their knowledge of life insurers to find you the best coverage and the most affordable premiums available.

While it is virtually impossible to plan for the shock and the sadness that a history with cancer, or a recent cancer diagnosis, may cause, a life insurance policy can help ease some of the uncertainty about your family’s future.

How Underwriters View Cancer History

Now that the importance of life insurance has been stressed, let’s talk a bit about how underwriters will view your risk.

The vast majority of insurers follow SEER guidelines. SEER stands for “Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results,” and is a series of guidelines published by the National Cancer Institute to provide reports on over three million oncologists, cancer patients, researchers and doctors across the countries.

These reports are designed to provide a comprehensive resource on cancer case studies, outcomes and medical breakthroughs. Insurers use SEER as a guideline, comparing your case to individuals with similar demographics, cancer behaviors and treatment options available.

Agents also use the SEER guidelines, so that they can stay up-to-date with the latest news in the cancer world.

Before you start the application process, let’s go over some of the information that underwriters will ask you or will need to know:

  1. Your prognosis. Your prognosis consists of your diagnosis and the predicted outcomes of your cancer treatments. Yes, this information is available in the SEER database; however, underwriters will want details specific to your unique case in order to compare them with the database’s findings.
  2. The type, stage and grade of your cancer.
  3. Your general medical history is also important. Your medical history is more than just a cancer diagnosis, and an underwriter will want to know if you have had a history with past diseases. These diseases include: diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and the presence of other forms of cancer.
  4. Your tobacco use. Are you a smoker or have you been a smoker? This information is standard for most insurance forms and is crucial to accurately assessing your risk. If you are thinking of omitting this information, think again: you could be sued for insurance fraud.
  5. Your treatment. Some treatments pose a greater risk to your health than others, and will, subsequently, raise your risk and your premiums.
  6. Your weight should also be included in your most recent medical records, along with any diet and exercise program you are currently following. This is important because being overweight can further compromise your health.
  7.  Your age and the age at which you were diagnosed with cancer.

As you can probably tell, underwriting cancer insurance is a complicated and highly-detailed process.

This is also where an agent comes in handy: an agent will also look at all of this information, but will be able to quickly and efficiently scan your health history for anything that might increase your risk in the eyes of underwriters.

It’s incredibly important when applying for insurance to make sure that your medical records are constantly up-to-date, and that any changes in your health are reported to your agent and insurer.

This will allow you to reply for better rates when applicable. For example, if you have recently lost weight or switched your diet, your agent should know so that they can communicate the measures you are taking to lower your risk.

It is possible to find affordable insurance with a history of cancer. It’s simply a matter of using the right resources.

Please reference a few other posts regarding cancer:

Feel free to use this blog as a resource, as well! The information provided here is meant to provide you with a broad overview of the often-complex life insurance industry. Please give me a call today if you have any questions or if you’d like a quote tailored to your specific situation.


Related Posts:
1. Life Insurance for Breast Cancer Survivors
2. Life Insurance with Prostate Cancer
3. Life Insurance after Skin Cancer