What do you know about Life Insurance and cancer? Not a lot?
Do you know how having cancer affects your Life Insurance policy? Or your premiums?
Don’t worry, not a lot of people do – but you’ve come to the right place.
In this article I’m going to be discussing Life Insurance and cancer, and how being a cancer survivor might impact on your Life Insurance policy.
“Does it depend on what type of cancer you’ve recovered from?” I hear you cry.
“How will my Life Insurance premiums be affected if I’ve had cancer?” you might ask.
“How easy is it to get cover in the first place?”
Let’s find out…
According to Cancer Research UK, every 2 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer. That’s around 367,000 new cases every year.
Those are frightening numbers, but thanks to research into the disease and advances in medicine, more than half of those patients will live with their diagnosis for 10 years or more.
In fact, the UK cancer survival rate has doubled in the last 40 years, and is improving all the time.
That’s great news.
But, if you are someone who has lived with cancer, what are the chances of you being able to get Life Insurance?
Slim to none, right?
While I’m not claiming that you’ll definitely get Life Insurance cover, having had cancer doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be declined cover either.
There are many different types of cancer, and a lot of whether or not you’ll be able to get Life Insurance will depend on the location and severity of your illness.
Other factors that will apply include the date that you were diagnosed, and whether or not you are in complete remission.
An insurance company is going to want to speak to your doctor, as well as ask you questions about your condition and family medical history in order to gather as much information as possible.
I’ve Had Cancer, What Questions Might An Insurer Ask About Me When I Apply For Life Insurance?
There are 8 points to remember about Life Insurance when living with Cancer. They are:
- What type of cancer have you had and where was it located?
- When was it diagnosed?
- Have you undergone treatment?
- Was the cancer malignant? If yes, what was the grade/stage of cancer?
- Has the cancer been surgically removed?
- Has the cancer come back at any point?
- Did it spread to other parts of the body?
- Are you in complete remission?
As with any type of insurance application, it’s important to answer all the questions you’re asked as fully and as honestly as possible.
It can be tempting to leave information out in the hope that you’ll pay slightly lower Life Insurance premiums…
…but if that missing information comes to light when your family claims on the policy, they won’t receive the money that you wanted to provide for them.
And that’s gonna suck.
Once they have all the relevant information, Life Insurance providers will assess the risk you present to them.
In other words, what are the chances of you dying during the lifetime of the policy? – a depressing, but nevertheless important thing for an insurer to consider.
This is why insurers will need to have access to your medical history, however intrusive it may seem.
As with all types of insurance, if you’re looking at getting a Life Insurance policy and you have or have had cancer (or any type of medical condition), I strongly advise that you speak to an independent advisor.
Having an expert (such as ourselves!) take a look at the market for you and find the most favourable policy, will take away some of the stress and work.
Once you have been assessed by a Life Insurance provider, there will normally be one of three outcomes:
- You are offered standard cover – This could be the case if your cancer has been in remission for years, particularly if you had early-stage, low-grade cancer, and don’t present any other risk factors – like smoking.
- You’re offered cover with increased premiums – That sentence says it all really. You will get Life Insurance cover, but with higher premiums to reflect the risk you pose to the insurer.
- You will be declined cover – Again, self-explanatory. If you are still undergoing cancer treatment, or have only very recently been given the all-clear, then the insurer may decline to offer you cover at all.
If I’ve Had Cancer, When Can I Apply For Life Insurance?
If you’ve had cancer you won’t be able to apply for Life Insurance within the first 5 years of being given the all clear.
After this 5 year period, whether or not you can get Life Insurance really comes down to the severity of the cancer.
What is almost guaranteed though is that you will pay more for your policy than someone who hasn’t had cancer.
Bear in mind, the longer it is since you beat cancer, the better.
Some insurance companies will potentially offer you Life Insurance without a price increase if you’ve been cancer-free for over 10 years. Again, this depends on what type of cancer you had.
What If I’ve Been Turned Down For Life Insurance Because Of Cancer?
Well, just because one company has declined to offer you Life Insurance because of cancer, it doesn’t mean they all will.
Insurance is a competitive market, and all insurance companies will have their own set of underwriting criteria.
However, some Life Insurance applications will ask if you have been declined cover elsewhere, and as I’ve already stressed, it’s really important to be honest on those forms!
This is to ensure you the very best chance of getting the cover you need, as well as giving your family the best chance of getting a payout without a hitch if they need to make a claim.
What Happens To My Current Life Insurance Policy If I Get Cancer?
If you took out your Life Insurance before you were diagnosed with cancer, your policy is still valid.
Most Life Insurance policies will have Terminal Illness Cover built in, which will offer you an early payout on your policy if you were to be diagnosed with less than 12 months to live.
Which is both horrific and pretty cool in equal measures!
So, there we have it – getting Life Insurance if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer can be difficult (depending on your circumstances), but not impossible.
There are so many variables when it comes to a disease as individual as cancer, that your chances of getting cover will depend on your own personal circumstances.
That’s why it’s always best to get some expert advice before you apply for any type of insurance.
If you would like a Life Insurance quote, or if you have any insurance-related questions, please do get in touch.
Our advice is free (ta dah!), and one of our qualified advisors would be more than happy to help. If you have any questions please do call us directly at our Ashford branch.