Get Life Insurance for Cancer Patients and Survivors

According to the American Cancer Society, in the U.S., nearly 400 people are saved from cancer every single day. 460 of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with cancer annually. Of those 460 people, about 174 people die from it. In our lifetimes, 40.6 percent of all men and women will receive a cancer diagnosis. Approximately 13,400,000 Americans are living with cancer right now. 66.1 percent of those diagnosed with cancer will survive.

It’s a common misconception that cancer patients cannot get life insurance policies. The right agent can arrange life insurance for cancer survivors and a guaranteed issue policy for people with cancer.

We help people get life insurance with cancer. We have the experience and access to the best life insurance companies to secure coverage for people with a cancer diagnosis.

We have put together our guide and cancer-specific pages so you can better understand what it will take to get coverage in place.

Here, you can find the underwriting guidelines and the possibility of getting coverage. You can find questionnaires for specific types of cancers, which will allow us to evaluate your cancer and let you know what options are available to you and your family.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is an umbrella term used to encompass all types of malignant tumors, called neoplasms. Tumors can grow on any living organ or tissue within the human body. Cancer is essentially abnormal or inappropriate cell growth.

Easily identifiable under a microscope, a cancer cell has a larger than normal nucleus that is abnormally shaped. Cancer cells contain mutated DNA and divide unusually quickly. Tumors grow from cells that double themselves without dying off. Tumors that are the minimum one-billion-cell detectable size have already doubled 30 times. Just 10 more doubling cycles will grow a tumor to a fatal one-kilogram weight.

How quickly tumors grow is classified by Grade or Stage. Grade I is most favorable, while Grade IV carries the worst prognosis. Cancer treatment depends upon the type and stage of cancer. Common treatments include surgery to remove tumors, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy.

Life Insurance for Cancer Survivor

We often get asked: Can you get life insurance after a cancer? or Can you get a life insurance policy if you have been a cancer patient?

And the answer is: Yes, you may be able to get life insurance policies in those cases. For guaranteed issue life insurance, you should talk to one of our agents.

If you’re a cancer survivor and in remission (or cancer-free), know that you may have options.

Below you can read about your life insurance options if you’re a cancer survivor.

Insurance Underwriting

You may be able to get a fully underwritten policy now that you’re in remission or cancer-free. A fully underwritten policy offers more coverage and gives choices as to which type of life insurance policy a cancer survivor can choose.

In order to secure a life insurance policy, it’s necessary to prove to the underwriter that you’re a good risk. In other words, the underwrite should determine whether an insurance company should take a chance in providing a life insurance policy to you.

To prove you are a good risk, the life insurance company will require current doctor records, a (free) paramedical exam, and your most recent pathology reports. It’s similar to a doctor evaluating your current condition.

Underwriting Guidelines

In order to be financially viable, life insurance companies that offer coverage to cancer survivors must carefully assess risk levels before approving new policyholders, especially if they’ve had a cancer diagnosis in the past. While some life insurance companies may simply deny life insurance coverage for cancer survivors, other companies may offer you a policy.

They often use expected survival life tables based on statistics for different groups of cancer to determine the specifics of your particular case.

The key to a successful issue of insurance is working with an agent who has experience in getting these types of risks approved. We have the experience you need to get approved, and we know what an insurance company wants to know for underwriting evaluation.

Underwriters Will Want to Know:

  • Where was your cancer, or what is your tissue of origin?

The type of cancer is the primary factor that will be assessed when considering a life insurance policy. In general, the waiting period will be shorter for more common and less severe types of cancer (such as bladder or skin cancer) due to the high survival rate and successful treatment. On the flip side, it would be longer for more severe types (e.g., bone cancer) that involve chemotherapy.

The waiting period will vary from one insurance company to another, but here are some examples that could give you an insight into what to expect with different cancer types:

  • Cervix, skin, prostate cancer – 1 year
  • Bladder, lymphoma, rectum, breast cancer – 2 years
  • Kidney, lung, ovary cancer – 3 years
  • Bone cancer – 5 years
  • Leukemia – 10 years
  • Treatments underwent?

Underwriters will also want to know the history of your treatment in addition to the type of cancer. This helps them determine the type of insurance policy you may get and your current condition.

  • Grade or stage of cancer was at?

Regardless of the type of cancer, the severity of your condition at the time of diagnosis will also affect the waiting period and your possibilities. If you were diagnosed in the early Stages – I or II – you are more likely to get a life insurance policy faster.

  • Have you experienced any relapses?

Former cancer patients who have not experienced any relapses of the illness and have a normal life expectancy are more likely to get a policy faster. This is a signal that all of the cancer cells have died, and the problems are not likely to return.

  • Are you in remission now? How long have you been in remission?

The most favorable state of conditions for insurers to issue a life policy would be that you have been cancer-free for a certain number of years. This factor is again dependent on the type of cancer. As a rule of thumb, for those who have had less severe types of cancer (such as skin cancer or breast cancer), the remission or cancer-free period doesn’t have to be as long as for some more severe types of cancer.

  • Last treatment date? First treatment date?

This factor is again related to assessing the severity of your health issues. If you were diagnosed early and the last treatment date was long ago, you may be able to get better offers when buying life insurance. If you have been out of treatment for a long time, you may be able to get better options for coverage.

  • Age? Overall health?

If you are young, it’ll probably be easier to qualify for lower premiums. It’s assessed what impact cancer has had on your overall health, but other factors are also considered. For example, lifestyle, smoking, drinking, and other health problems such as cardiovascular issues or stroke can also factor in.

Medical Exam For Life Insurance

If you need to take an exam in order to obtain life insurance, a professional paramedic will perform it. It needs to be carried out prior to the review of your application for insurance.

This form of medical exam is free because the insurance company covers the cost.

Depending on the product you will get, the examiner will test different things (such as perform a blood test, measure your pulse and blood pressure, request a urine sample, and so on).

In this particular case, they will ask questions such as a family history of cancer, your current state, whether you have experienced any recurring symptoms, etc. (pretty much all of the factors mentioned above under “underwriters will want to know”).

Types of Life Insurance

There are two common options for life insurance for cancer patients: term life insurance and whole life insurance.

Term Life Insurance Options

If your current health status allows you to qualify, you’ll be able to get a term life insurance policy. The term life insurance is length-defined because the rates are locked in for a specific period of time, such as 10, 20, or 30 years.

This type of life insurance provides coverage for funeral costs where the beneficiary or beneficiaries are paid the value of the policy when they file a claim. In life insurance terms, this is known as “the death benefit” that keeps family members financially secure. The proof needed to file the claim is the insured’s death certificate.

A term life insurance policy for a cancer survivor will be the most affordable option you have, as the premium for this type of insurance policy is lower than the premium for the whole life policy.

However, it will put a time limit on your coverage. Ultimately, the length and cost will depend on the medical exam that takes into account factors such as your health status, age, and so on.

If your term life coverage expires, you may be able to renew and extend the policy, though the premium will become higher.

Also, this type of insurance does not have a cash value component.

Permanent Life Insurance Options

If your budget allows, we highly suggest cancer survivors buy a permanent life insurance policy.


Well, a permanent life insurance policy will lock in rates and a death benefit for the rest of your life. But: permanent life insurance policies ALSO build up cash value over time, which can be used in the future to pay for medical bills in the event that cancer returns. It also allows you to use a portion of the death benefit, in the form of an accelerated benefit rider, if you become terminally ill and your family needs cash.

Therefore, the cash value competent in the whole life insurance may be borrowed or withdrawn, and you build up savings at the same time. This amount ranges from 25% of the death benefit upwards. Plus, whole life insurance policies do not expire.

Term policies will also allow you access to a portion of the death benefit in the form of an accelerated death benefit rider, but permanent insurance policies last an entire lifetime.

In case that some of the funds of whole life policies are paid out for other reasons than the death benefit (e.g., health issues), they do not have to be paid back. The only thing that will happen is that it will be subtracted from the death benefit that is paid to the family (or whoever is the policy’s beneficiary).

Burial Insurance Coverage For Cancer Survivors

The cost of someone’s burial can add up to quite a high amount, including items such as memorial service, headstone, etc. These are also known as the final expenses. Therefore, a burial insurance policy coverage can reimburse the expenses for the family when their loved one passes away.

A burial insurance policy can be an option for cancer survivors who have been out of treatment for at least 2 years.

There are two main types of burial life policies: a day one policy and a graded death benefit policy.

The former kind, day one policy, pays out the full death benefit at any moment, regardless of the policy issue date.

The latter, graded death benefit, does not pay the full benefit until two years from the issue date have elapsed. If the individual who is insured passes away in the first two years, the policy will pay out only the premium that you’ve put in plus interest. This is also known as a guaranteed issue policy with a two-year waiting period, and anyone can qualify for it. This includes cancer patients.

The standard burial insurance (day one benefit) for cancer patients is not available. You can read below to see your options regarding the guaranteed policy if you currently have cancer.

Life Insurance for Cancer Patients

Can I get life insurance if I have cancer? It’s a question we get very often:

If you are a current cancer patient or you are currently undergoing treatment, you can only qualify for one type of policy -a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

This type of policy requires no exam, no health questions about your medical or family history, and offers guaranteed acceptance.

This means that you can qualify for this kind of coverage regardless of your health status. If you obtain guaranteed insurance, you can also get a graded benefit plan mentioned above that allows those who have cancer to have the death benefit in their policy after a two-year waiting period.

We work with several guaranteed issue life insurance companies that are willing to offer a graded life insurance policy for individuals with cancer. The payouts for death-benefit coverage are up to $25,000. It’s available only for individuals 50 to 85 years old.

Our agents can help you compare the premium quotes from different insurers and get the best deals for you.

Get a Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policy

If you don’t qualify for permanent or term policies, this is a no-exam option that may be what you are looking for.

Guaranteed policies are for people who now have or have had in the past severe health problems, such as cancer.

A policy with a graded death benefit will pay out the full amount only after a two-year waiting period has passed since the policy was issued. If the policyholder dies before the waiting period is up, the beneficiary will receive back all premiums that were paid into the policy, plus 10% interest (depending on the carrier).

Anyone, regardless of the type of cancer, can qualify for a graded death benefit life policy, but you will be limited to a $25,000 death benefit.

Are there any other options for current cancer patients?

If you currently have an individual term life insurance policy, look into your policy conversion options. Most term life insurance policies come with a conversion option built into the policy.

A conversion option will let you convert a term life policy to a permanent policy at any time without having to prove insurability. So you can be terminally ill, and still be able to convert the policy to a permanent option.

If you convert the policy, your new premiums will be based on your attained (current/older) age, but by converting, you will have a policy that never expires. The permanent option that you convert to will be much more expensive than your current policy, so if you need to get the cost down, you can always convert and ask the life company to lower the death benefit.

By lowering the death benefit, it will help lower the cost and make the permanent policy more affordable. You could end up with less coverage, but some life insurance is better than none.


What is the cost of life insurance with cancer?
How much you will pay for life insurance will depend on your current health status and the kind of insurance that you qualify for and want to get. For instance, if you are younger and have been cancer-free for a number of years, it might be easier to get lower premiums. Also, some types of policies (such as permanent life insurance) are more expensive but come with certain benefits. To find the best option for you, you can chat with one of our agents, and s/he will gladly help.
What to do if I get turned down for life insurance?
If you can’t get a standard life insurance policy, there are more options. Good alternatives are guaranteed life policies, which are also available for cancer patients and don’t require a medical exam. You can also wait until your remission tests come in. Overall, our qualified agents will help you get to the right insurance companies that will have a solution for your needs.
Does a family history of cancer affects my eligibility for life insurance?

Whether a family history of cancer will affect the approval for life insurance depends on the kind of policy that you want to get. For instance, traditional life insurance policies will require you to share your medical family history, so it could have an effect on the rates you’d get. On the other hand, guaranteed issue policies don’t require that information, so it will not be taken into account, albeit these may have higher premiums and limited payouts. It’s all about finding a tailored offer that works for you.

Final Words

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are not alone, and you aren’t excluded from products such as life insurance.

There’s an option for everyone – you just need to know where to look.

So, worry not about not qualifying or too high premiums; our agents will deal with that for you.

We will discuss the available real-time options with you, and we can offer our complete assistance throughout the process!

Talk to your Agent Now!