Written by Kim Wilhelm
Last Updated 26 Mar 2023
Getting a cancer diagnosis can be devastating, especially if you don’t already have life insurance. It’s estimated that there will be 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses in 2021. And about 1,670 Americans die every day from cancer.
If you don’t already have life insurance, can you get life insurance with cancer?
Whether you just received a diagnosis, are a current patient, or are a cancer survivor, you can get life insurance with cancer.
What you can qualify for, how much coverage you can get, and what you’ll pay depends on:
The type of cancer you have
What stage it’s in
Your treatment plan
Can You Get Life Insurance if You Have Cancer?
Yes, you can get life insurance if you have cancer, but the more complex your case, the harder it is to qualify. If you check “yes” on the application regarding having cancer, you’ll have to answer specific questions about it. This is the same for any pre-existing condition.
In America, the most common cancers are:
- Breast Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Melanoma Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Kidney Cancer
- Endometrial Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Liver Cancer
After you submit your application, the life insurance company will look up the cancer mortality, or death rate, for the type of cancer you have.
Those with a high survival rate, like breast and prostate cancers, may mean you can qualify for coverage and still get standard rates.
More aggressive cancers with a lower life expectancy in the US will make it less likely to get approved through the traditional life insurance process.
The earlier your cancer was caught, the better your chances of getting life insurance with cancer. Stage 0 or Stage 1 cancer, and non-melanoma cancers such as basal or squamous cell carcinomas, may still qualify for standard rates.
If you are still actively being treated for cancer or just recently in remission, you may not qualify for traditional life insurance, even if you’re following your treatment plan perfectly and have a good prognosis or relative survival rate.
Let’s look at how life insurance traditionally works, what you can expect with cancer, and how to get the best life insurance coverage.
How Does Life Insurance Work?
The traditional way to buy life insurance as a healthy adult is to choose the type of life insurance best suited for your needs and the amount of coverage.
Choose the type of life insurance best suited for your situation. This could be term, whole life, or a combination of the two.
Figure out the amount of coverage for your needs.
Compare quotes from a few life insurance companies.
Choose one and fill out the application.
Complete a 30-minute or more phone interview.
Complete a medical exam, including blood and urine samples.
Wait a few weeks for approval.
Now, healthy adults can usually get much faster underwriting without an exam or health interview. Accelerated underwriting uses data and technology to verify your application responses much faster than traditional methods can.
This means many people can get approved in a few days, and some in a few minutes.
Best Life Insurance Companies if you had Cancer
- Liberty Bankers Life - Best if 24 mo plus from Melanoma
- Independent American Life - Best for past Prostate
- Baltimore Life Companies - Best if you had Lymphoma
- Mutual of Omaha - Best for past Leukemia patients
- American Home Life - Best if taking meds to prevent breast cancer
* The "best company" depends on other health factors as well as age, state of residency, and coverage desired. For your best chance to be approved with low rates, speak to one of our experienced insurance professionals.
To get started, click here for a quote now.
Depending on where you are in your cancer journey, you may wonder what your best options are for life insurance.
Cancer Free for 2 Years or More
If you are free from cancer for two years or more, you can likely qualify for any type of life insurance.
Whether you’ll be approved and at what rate will depend on the company and their underwriting guidelines.
Currently Undergoing Cancer Treatment
If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, your options for life insurance are more limited.
Most carriers that have health questions or a medical exam as part of the life insurance application will probably deny you. Having been recently diagnosed or currently undergoing treatment for cancer is usually a knockout question, or disqualifying question, on most applications.
But if you still need life insurance, you have another option. Guaranteed issue whole life insurance provides guaranteed approval. There are no health questions or medical exam to complete.
Although this option may be more expensive than other life insurance options, it can still give you the coverage you need and the peace of mind should the Good Lord call you home, your loved ones will be able to pay for your final expenses.
If you’re in remission but haven’t hit the 2-year mark yet, you might qualify for simplified issue or traditional life insurance. It depends on the company and their underwriting guidelines for the type and stage of cancer you had.
Regardless of where you are in your cancer journey, Final Expense Direct can help you find a life insurance policy that meets your needs. Call us today to speak with one of our agents and get a quote.
What Kind of Policies to Avoid After Cancer
After you’ve had cancer, not all life insurance policies are a good fit. If your cancer was fast growing, more advanced, or was widespread, you have a greater chance of it recurring.
Having had cancer once is bad enough, but getting it again can make it harder to get approved for life insurance.
That’s why we don’t recommend term life insurance policies after cancer. You’ll only have coverage for a certain number of years, and then you’ll have to get a new policy if you outlive it.
What Kind of Policies are Best After Cancer
The kind of policies that are best after cancer are permanent policies, like whole life insurance.Depending on your type of cancer, stage, treatment, and where you are in the process, you might qualify for simplified issue coverage. If not, then you can still get guaranteed issue whole life insurance, no questions asked.
How Life Insurance Works if You Have Cancer
But if you have cancer or are newly in remission, most life insurance companies will require the traditional method, with no guarantee of coverage. And the premium could be expensive, making it unaffordable for the amount of coverage you need.
The biggest hurdle you’ll deal with is choosing the right life insurance company. Each company uses different underwriting guidelines, and even though Company A might not offer coverage, Company B might, and at decent rates.
But it could take you a while and several denied applications before you find the right fit.
If you’re looking to get life insurance with cancer, you shouldn’t have to do all the work yourself. You’re already dealing with enough, and you don’t need the added stress of finding life insurance.At Final Expense Direct, we work with a long list of the best life insurance companies to get Americans the coverage they need. Our agents know the life insurance company guidelines, so we can quickly and easily match you with the right life insurance for your type of cancer and stage of recovery.
No-Exam Life Insurance for Cancer Patients
Some cancer patients will get the best life insurance rates with no-exam life insurance. This type of life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam, and some policies don’t have any health questions to answer. This is called guaranteed issue life insurance, and you’re guaranteed to be approved.
There is also simplified issue no-exam life insurance, which asks 3 or 4 health questions on the application. Most life insurance companies ask if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and if you check “yes,” you probably won’t be approved.
Final Expense Direct specializes in no-exam life insurance coverage. Call us today at 1-877-674-0236 to speak with an agent to get a quote based on your cancer situation.
Can You Get Life Insurance on a Parent with Cancer?
Yes, you can get life insurance on a parent with cancer. To do this, your parent will have to sign a consent form acknowledging and approving you getting life insurance on them as part of the application.
What About Life Insurance for Stage 4 Cancer Patients?
Stage 4 cancer patients will usually only qualify for guaranteed issue whole life insurance, or final expense insurance. Also called burial or funeral insurance, this policy is guaranteed approval without health questions or a medical exam. It’s the most expensive and usually has a low death benefit maximum of $50,000 or less. But, some coverage is better than none as a terminally ill patient.
Call us at Final Expense Direct and we can get your best rate on final expense life insurance as a stage 4 cancer patient.
What is the Life Insurance Payout for Someone with Cancer?
The life insurance cancer death benefit payout depends on your policy. If you have a graded death benefit and die in the first two years, your beneficiary will only get the premiums paid, plus interest. Otherwise, your beneficiary should get the full death benefit payout.
What is the Best Life Insurance for Cancer Patients?
There are too many variables to consider for there to be one best life insurance for cancer patients. Call us at Final Expense Direct so we can find the best life insurance at the best price for your specific cancer situation.