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If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer and are expected to survive for the next 5 years, you are probably facing another battle: purchasing a life insurance policy for cancer survivors.

Purchasing a good policy after being diagnosed with cancer is something mostly challenging, but it, fortunately, isn’t impossible. Rest assured that your chance of getting a great policy depends on cancer’s type, grade, stage, and treatment plan.

So, if you wish to purchase a policy through which you can provide financial protection for your beloved ones after your inevitable death, keep on reading this post; it does have an answer for every question in mind.

Is Life Insurance Available for Cancer Survivors?

That’s a sure thing.

A lot of cancer-diagnosed patients have been able to purchase life insurance policies. But, if you wish to purchase one, you will first need to wait till you’re in remission for a predetermined period of time. This period varies depending on your insurance company and the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with.

In addition, based on such a type of policies, you will be required to make high premium payments. And regarding the types of cancer which can possibly reoccur, you might need to buy a guaranteed policy.

Options Available for Cancer Survivors

It’s worth saying that options are in this case restricted. The majority of whole life and term policies are restricted that your application can be rejected in some cases. Instead, you can buy one of the following guaranteed policies.

First: Guaranteed Acceptance Policy

It’s a type of whole life insurance policies that provide a restricted death benefit. Similar to other whole life policies, this policy builds cash value in the long run; its coverage lasts inasmuch as you’re still paying premiums. Its death benefit is limited to about $25,000.

Contradictory to the majority of life insurance policies, you will not be asked any health-related questions when applying for the policy, and accordingly, there are no medical tests required at all.

The policy has some downsides which include the high premiums required of you because the insurer won’t have any health details and thus has to suppose that you are in a critical condition.

It’s worth mentioning that only people who are at least 40 years of age can buy this policy.

Second: Universal Permanent Policy

This policy is prominent in a way that after you make the premium payments, they are directly invested in stocks, bonds, or/and other forms of investment.

Your insurer, in this case, does its best to invest that money in order to be able to pay out benefits once you pass away.

One of the best benefits of this policy is the potential for monetary growth while guaranteeing financial, proper protection for your beloved ones after your death. However, this policy comes with the main downside; it’s comparatively high fees/premiums.

Third: Whole Life Insurance 

There are many reasons why individuals purchase this policy, one of which is providing financial protection for their beloved ones after dying as a result of cancer.

This policy is similar to a universal life insurance policy. Yet, the insured can’t alter the number of premiums required by the insurer. Accordingly, they cannot change the coverage later on.

In addition, there’s a cash value associated with the policy. But, during the coverage course, you cannot borrow money from the policy because if you do so, the amount your beneficiary/s will get after your death can decrease.

Fourth: Term Life Insurance

It covers a specific period of time of the beneficiary’s life. For instance, it covers from 10 to 30 years of their lifetime. Once that period is over, the policy becomes outdated.

Because this policy is limited, it tends to be inexpensive. Premium payments are required to be made monthly, quarterly, or annually. Also, at the end of every coverage time, you can renew the policy.

When renewing the policy, you will be required to provide updated health information. This information will be used by your insurer to decide whether or not to renew your policy.

There are many other options such as opening a health savings account or purchasing a critical illness insurance policy.

For more details about each option, there are many posts providing details for each policy plan on our website.

Types of Cancer Are Crucial, Why?

As discussed earlier, your chance of getting a great policy depends on cancer’s type, grade, stage, and treatment plan.

Different types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, ovary cancer, etc. can maximize or minimize the chance of buying a policy, raise or lower the premium payments you make on a regular basis, and differ from one stage to another.

For instance, if you were diagnosed with breast cancer, there would be a high chance of getting healed after a certain period of time. Thus, there’s a fat chance that you could buy a policy, especially that it is dependable on the stage of the disease.

Contrary to the aforementioned example, if you were diagnosed with brain cancer, there’s a great chance that you can purchase a policy. In fact, it depends on the seriousness of the cancer type.

Similarly, if you were diagnosed with breast cancer and got a chance of buying a policy, then the premium payments required of you will be low compared to the case of brain cancer, let’s say.

In other words, the policy will differ depending on the curability of your disease. For instance, some types of cancer are deemed low risk, while some other types are considered very serious. It’s worth mentioning that skin cancer does not affect premium payments at all.

Life insurance companies utilize the following categories to determine the premiums you’ll need to pay:

  •         Super preferred
  •         Preferred
  •         Standard
  •         Substandard

Depending on the type of cancer you’re diagnosed with, your insurer may add extra charges. Luckily, these extra charges can disappear shortly after a predetermined period of time.

Applicants who have recently been diagnosed with treatable types of cancer are usually rated as ‘standard’, while applicants with colon cancer, for instance, will fall under the ‘substandard’ category.

Remission and Waiting Period

If you are diagnosed with cancer, it’s possible that you have heard of the word remission more than once by your doctor. In fact, it has to do with your treatment, stage of the disease, and medical care.

Remission has two types: partial remission and complete remission. The first means that the cancer is still affecting your body, but the tumor has become smaller. In this case, the doctor may require you to check from time to time; the tumor has stopped to grow, though.

Complete remission means that medical tests indicate that cancer (tumor) has gone. In other words, you are cured.

So, the stage of your treatment helps decide which policy best fits you.

Currently in Treatment

If you are currently being treated, then you will be eligible to purchase a guaranteed life insurance policy. It is the most expensive policy compared to other policies and provides cash benefits to your beneficiary/s shortly after your death.

The good thing about this policy is that the insurance company can offer it to any person, regardless of their gender and health concerns.

Moreover, this policy is generally for individuals over the age of 50 and those who still have up to 10 years to survive. It’s the last chance for those who aren’t eligible for other types of policies due to their health concerns and those who cannot resort to their employers to purchase a policy.

It’s worth mentioning that this policy is graded. That is, it will provide a full benefit only if you outlive a certain time determined by the insurance company. It is a small policy that pays between $5,000 and $50,000.

You’re Medically Fit

If you have already finished your treatment and are still in the remission period, your insurance company will ask for your cancer type.

You will still be able to purchase a guaranteed policy. Yet, it will not require any medical tests.

You are Cured and Past Waiting Period

As soon as you finish the waiting period set by your insurer, you’ll be able to buy a permanent or term life policy.

It’s because you are in this case called a better risk because you’ve cured (cancer-free) for a certain period of time.

All in all, if you currently have cancer and/or are within the waiting period, a guaranteed issue policy fits your case. But, if you are out of the waiting period, then a permanent or term life insurance policy is suitable for you.

Since the waiting period is solely dependent on the type of cancer, see the table below for more details.

Type of Cancer Waiting Period
Breast Cancer 1-5 Years
Lung Cancer 3-5 Years
Colorectal Cancer 1-6 Years
Uterine Cancer 2-5 Years
Prostate Cancer 1-2 Years
Melanoma Cancer 1-5 Years
Hodgkins Lymphoma 3-5 Years
Bladder Cancer 1-3 Years
Testicular Cancer 1-2 Years
Cervical Cancer 0-1 Years
Kidney Cancer 1-5 Years
Pancreatic Cancer 2 Years
Cervical Cancer 0-1 Years
Larynx Cancer 1 Years
Ovarian Cancer 1-5 Years
Esophageal Cancer 3 Years
Bone Cancer 5+ Years

Family Cancer History Can Affect the Policy

Because insurance companies are accurate about who is covered and the amount of premium payments they’re supposed to make, even individuals whose health bill is clean can be denied coverage. This is because the applicant’s family cancer history will definitely be responsible for affecting whether or not they will receive coverage.

In fact, your family cancer history is one of the major things insurance companies check when you apply for a policy. Diseases like cancer can result in high premium payments or sometimes coverage denial.

When you apply for a policy, the insurer will ask you about your family history with cancer. The history is limited to your parents and siblings. You will also be asked whether your under-60 family members have ever suffered from cancer or not. Over ’60s are mostly taken into consideration.

However, if you have a family member who has died as a result of cancer before the age of 60, your application can negatively be impacted that it can be denied. Or else, the premium rates can be very high.

Rest assured that if your application is denied, there’s still a good chance to get a policy as there are many options available to choose from.

Can You Buy Critical Illness Life Insurance?

Yes, you can.

But, before you purchase one, it’s worth knowing what a critical life insurance policy is.

It’s a policy which financially compensates you after being diagnosed with certain illnesses including cancer.

It can be structured to make premium payments which are based on your medical condition – stage, type, and curability of cancer.

There are several cases wherein people believe they will receive coverage since they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

However, the policy has some certain criteria that must be followed, because if it isn’t, the application can be denied.

So, it’s recommended to review the policy’s conditions meticulously before applying.

Is It Possible to Pay Treatment Expenses from Life Insurance?

Under the Affordable Care Act, cancer patients are provided with protection against losing life insurance coverage. The Act also protects the health care benefits they already have and obliges insurers to pay for cancer patients’ treatment costs.

Here are the rights guaranteed by the Act:

  • The insurance company can’t cancel the policy due to a cancer diagnosis.
  • The cancer patient can’t be denied insurance due to a cancer diagnosis.
  • Cancer patients who are under 18 can’t be denied coverage due to a cancer diagnosis.
  • In case the cancer patient is eligible to apply for a policy and wants to receive treatment in a clinical trial, their health plan should provide coverage for the costs.

To your surprise, the Act has limits on how much you pay out of your pocket for the medical treatment you get from your physician. Also, there’s no limit on how much your insurer covers for your treatment expenses.

Can My Insurer Cancel My Policy If I Diagnosed with Cancer Again?

No, they can’t.

Rest assured that your insurance company can’t cancel your policy in case you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. However, if cancer was already mentioned as an exclusion on the policy, your insurer will not pay out your claim.

As aforementioned, under the Affordable Care Act, cancer patients are protected against losing their life insurance coverage. That is, your insurer cannot cancel it under such new circumstances at all.


It’s worth remembering that there are tax reductions for individuals with cancer. By monitoring your out of pocket expenses including those spent on traveling from and to the clinic where you receive treatment, you can alleviate some of the annual tax exposures imposed on you and accordingly save money.