Can Cancer Survivors Get Life Insurance?

If you are a cancer survivor, you may not think you will be able to get life insurance.  But it is possible for some cancer survivors to get a life insurance policy.  If you are still undergoing treatment, it may be a challenge to get life insurance, but if you are considered to be cured or in remission, your odds will improve.  If you have been cancer-free for three to five years, your odds of getting coverage will improve even more.

If your cancer has spread, if you have more than one type of cancer, if you have had a recurrence of cancer or if you also have other serious conditions such as heart disease, you may not be able to get life insurance.

Don’t apply everywhere

There are some things that a cancer survivor might be able to do to improve the chances of getting life insurance. It may not be a good idea to apply to too many insurers at once. There may be reinsurers servicing multiple insurers and if they see that you are applying all over the place, it could come across as making too much of an effort because you don’t think you have much of a chance of getting coverage.

Another way to send up a potential red flag is if you are not forthcoming enough when giving out medical information about your cancer, since insurers may think you have something to hide.  If it turns out that you deliberately withheld information, it could result in a policy being invalidated.

It can be helpful to show the insurer that you are following your doctor’s advice on improving your chances of remaining cancer-free. If you have been advised to undergo followup tests, be sure to do so.  If you are a smoker, you now have yet another reason to quit.

Some insurers are more open to cancer survivors

One way to improve your chances may be to consult an insurance broker, who may have a better sense of which insurers are more likely to give a policy to someone with your medical history.

Even if you are not able to get a life insurance policy, you may still have other options, such as a graded policy, which would not pay out the full death benefit for a pre-existing condition such as cancer, at first, but as you got older and remained in remission, the death benefit would increase and the policy would eventually be able to pay out the full death benefit.

You may also look into getting life insurance through a group policy on your job or in a joint policy with your spouse.


Ben Hargrove writes for a variety of life insurance and financial planning blogs, including Best Life Insurance Deals.