Life insurance for cancer survivors

If you’re a cancer survivor, you can get affordable coverage from insurance companies like Symetra. Your eligibility, cost, and coverage options depend on what type of cancer you had and how long you’ve been in remission.

Rebecca Shoenthal author photoNupur Gambhir

By

Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Licensed Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is an insurance editor and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent at Policygenius in New York City. Previously, she worked as a nonfiction book editor. She has a B.A. in Media and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

&

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is an insurance editor at Policygenius and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent in New York.

Updated August 24, 2021|2 min read

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Most of the time, beating cancer won’t disqualify you from getting covered by a traditional policy, however cancer survivors do generally pay more for life insurance rates. But some people can get affordable rates if they have been in remission long enough and haven’t had a recurrence. Eligibility and actual costs vary for each insurer. Our partner insurer Symetra offers some of the best coverage options to cancer survivors. 

If you’re currently being treated for cancer, it’s a lot harder to get affordable coverage. You will only be eligible for final expense insurance.

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurance eligibility for cancer survivors depends on the type of cancer you had and how much time you spent in remission

  • Current cancer patients are only eligible for final expense insurance

  • Life insurance pays out to your beneficiaries if you die from cancer

How much do cancer survivors pay for life insurance?

If you have been in remission long enough, you’ll be able to get life insurance coverage at a reasonable price. However, each insurance company has its own eligibility guidelines, and getting coverage depends on:

  • The type of cancer you had 

  • Stage of cancer you had

  • Date of diagnosis

  • Date of last treatment

  • Recurrences 

  • Any complications you may have experienced

Certain cancer diagnoses get better premiums than others based on how risky the insurer views them. For example, someone who had skin cancer will often pay less than someone who had lung or pancreatic cancer.

Here are the health classifications you can expect for different types of cancer, ranging from most affordable to least: 

Preferred Plus, or the most affordable rates:

  • Cervical cancer

  • Non-melanoma skin cancer

  • Papillary thyroid cancer

  • Stage 1 seminoma testicular cancer

Preferred, or the second-most affordable rates:

  • Prostate cancer

  • Testicular cancer

  • Thyroid cancer

  • Uterine cancer

Standard, or some of the least affordable rates:

  • Benign tumors

  • Bladder cancer

  • Breast cancer

  • Colon cancer

  • Leukemia

  • Lung cancer

  • Renal cancer

Some types of cancer may lead to an automatic application decline, or even lower ratings, which mean costly premiums. 

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How do cancer survivors get lower rates?

If you already have life insurance, you may be able to pay less for your coverage after a certain period of time. Some insurance companies will lower your rates if your health has improved through a process called reconsideration. People who have been in remission for at least 12 months for early-stage cancers such as prostate cancer, or at least two years for early-stage cancers such as breast cancer or colon cancer are most likely to be eligible for reconsideration.

If you have been in remission for one or more years, you can also buy a new policy to get a lower rate than you pay now. 

Best life insurance companies for cancer survivors

The best life insurance company for you depends on your cancer history and current health. However, Symetra offers some of the best coverage for cancer survivors. Symetra offers comparatively low rates to people who have had breast, cervical, colon, prostate, skin, testicular, or thyroid cancer. To be eligible for their Preferred rates, which means some of the best possible premiums, you cannot have had any recurrences. 

Does life insurance pay out if you have cancer?

Your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit payout if you die from cancer while the policy is active. The only instance where your policy will not pay out is if you intentionally lied on your application and didn’t disclose your cancer diagnosis.

A Policygenius agent will work with you for free to get the most affordable coverage for your health history — our agents provide ongoing support throughout the application process so that you get insured at the best rate. 

Frequently asked questions

Does COVID-19 affect the life insurance application process or eligibility?

Due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, some insurers are modifying processes and/or imposing coverage restrictions on certain health conditions or age groups. Speak to a Policygenius agent for free to find out how to get the most affordable policy.

Can I get life insurance if I had cancer?

Yes. Insurers offer coverage to cancer survivors. Though your coverage will depend on the type of cancer you had, how long you’ve been in remission, and your treatment plan. Alternative life insurance policies, such as guaranteed-issue, are also available but cost more.

Does life insurance test for cancer?

No, insurers do not test for cancer. But because insurers look at your previous medical records, they will be aware of any cancer diagnoses you have had. You should disclose a cancer diagnosis and your treatment plan when you apply for life insurance.

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