Guide to 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 is 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.

We help cancer survivors get life insurance.  We have the experience and the access to multiple life insurance companies to secure coverage.

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.


In order to be financially viable, life insurance companies that offer coverage to cancer survivors must carefully asses 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.

The key for a cancer survivor to successfully get life insurance is by working with an agent who has experience in getting these types of risks approved.  We have the experience you need to get approved.

Underwriters will want to know:

  • Where was your cancer or what is your tissue of origin?
  • Treatments underwent?
  • Grade or stage of cancer was it?
  • Have you experienced any relapses?
  • Are you in remission now?
  • How long have you been in remission?
  • Last treatment date?
  • First treatment date?

For Cancer Survivors

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

Additionally, you can read our cancer-type specific pages to better understand what it’ll take to qualify for a life insurance policy with the type of cancer you have/had.

Life Insurance After Cancer

If you’re a cancer survivor and in remission, know that you may have options. You may be able to get a fully underwritten policy now that you’re in remission. 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.  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.

Below are two types of policies you will have to choose from if you can qualify for a fully underwritten policy.

Term Life Insurance

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

A term life insurance policy for a cancer survivor will be the most affordable option you have, however it will put a time limit on your coverage.

Permanent Life Insurance

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

A permanent life insurance policy will lock in rates and a death benefit for the rest of your life. Permanent life insurance policies 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.

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

Life Insurance For Cancer Patients

Can I get life insurance if I have cancer?

It’s a question we get every day:

It takes work, but it’s not impossible to find life insurance for people with cancer.

We work with an exceptional life insurance company who is willing to offer a graded death benefit life insurance policy for individuals with cancer with payouts of up to $25,000. It’s available only for individuals ages 50 to 80 years old.

Note: We now have options for individuals under 50 years old as well.

So If you are a current cancer patient or you are undergoing treatment currently you can only qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

How a graded death benefit policy works?

Graded death policies pays out the full death benefit, but 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 in to the policy, plus interest.

Anyone, regardless of the type of cancer you, have or had, can qualify for a graded death benefit life policy. We can get you life insurance with cancer, but you will be limited to a $25,000 death benefit.

Graded death benefit policies are also know as guaranteed issue policies. Graded plans are the only guaranteed life insurance for cancer patients.

People often ask about a guaranteed issue policy. So we wanted to clear up that a guaranteed issue policy is the same thing as a graded death benefit policy.

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

Are their any other options for a cancer patients other than a graded plan?

If you currently have an individual term life insurance policy look into your policy conversion options. Most term 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.

I’m ready to try to get coverage. What’s Next?

Now that you have done your research it’s time to get started.  Find your cancer specific page in the menu bar on the right and fill out the questionnaire or click here to call us 855-924-5433. We will have an agent follow up within a day.

Remember, it will be helpful to have your doctor records, including the first pathology report and all available medical records. As well as the treatment plan you’ve followed per you doctors orders.