6 Tips for Buying Life Insurance After a Cancer Diagnosis

A cancer diagnosis begins a process of careful planning; scheduling follow-ups with specialists, setting a course of treatment, eating healthy, and considering the future possibilities are just a few of the ways patients process the news. A heart wrenching part of planning for the future after a cancer diagnosis (especially an advanced cancer) is reconciling the possibility of death.

Cancer.org eases this worry, if only a bit, noting, “You may feel better knowing that the outlook for many people diagnosed with cancer is very good. Many people still believe that “cancer equals death.” But the fact is that most cancers can be treated. There are almost 14 million people living in the United States today who have or had cancer.” However, cancer can be unpredictable. Cancer.org still reports that survival rates vary from patient to patient. Even those in remission should continuously consider their future and the future of their family.

That’s why it’s so important to shop for life insurance. This task is especially challenging since many people with a threatening diagnosis have difficulty getting approved by a life insurance company. If you’re in the process of purchasing life insurance, or even considering it, then check out these six tips.

Life insurance is one of the most important investments that you’ll ever make for the future of your family. Your cancer shouldn’t keep you from getting the protection that they deserve.

1. Get Your Medical Records in Order

Image via Flickr by Muffet

Be prepared for questions. The answers are your medical records. You’ll need documentation to support all your claims. Consider a service such as HealthFrame that allows you to easily compile your personal medical records for quick access. In some cases, HealthFrame may even facilitate the exchange of information to a life insurance provider. The sooner you can answer the questions of a potential provider, the faster you can move to the approval process.

Bonus tip: Livestrong.com notes that many providers consider the date of your last treatment or an official date of remission when approving a policy. Be sure to have this information ready.

2. Shop Around

Shopping around ensures your policy is independently designed and negotiated giving you better odds for life insurance approval. A devastating diagnosis doesn’t absolutely mean you won’t be eligible. Having the right tools on your side when pricing out policies allows you the most competitive rates possible.

3. Consider the Types of Life Insurance

According to Consumer Reports, “Insurance agents push a wide range of products, but the two major types are permanent and term life insurance. Permanent life (which includes whole, universal, and variable life policies) is a mix of life insurance and an investment account that pays a benefit when you die or the built-up cash value if you liquidate it before your death. Term life is pure insurance protection that provides a death benefit if you die within a set number of years and typically nothing if you live beyond that term.”

Note that, depending on your circumstances, only one insurance type may be available to you. Term life insurance typically offers lower rates; however, whole life insurance is more likely to be approved for those with a cancer diagnosis or those in remission. No matter what, expect to pay a higher premium from the start than other policy holders.

Quick Tip:  You might have seen some offers on TV for Colonial Penn or AARP, don’t fall for those policies.  You can find much cheaper coverage by speaking with an independent life insurance agent or agency.

4. Get Ready to Pay Higher Premiums

Livestrong.com reports, “Today more than 200 insurance companies write life insurance policies in the United States. Not all insure cancer survivors. Those offering life insurance policies for cancer survivors usually require survivors to pay a higher premium.”

Setting aside money before and during the shopping and approval process is crucial to buying life insurance. You may think that it’s an unnecessary extra cost that you’re tacking on to the mounting money associated with your treatment, but it should be factored into your monthly budget just like any other bill.

It’s impossible to know just how much your policy will cost until you’re approved. Until then, plan big and make cuts where you can. Consider the following tips for saving during this time:

  • Reassess your health insurance policy – With the recent introduction of the Affordable Care Act, it may be possible to qualify for lower rates through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Saving even a few dollars a month from one policy may lend to the other.

  • Start automatically saving – Many banks and credit card companies now offer new ways to save that you’ll likely barely notice – including automatically adding the change from each purchase to your savings account. Talk to your financial institution about these programs to get creative with your saving.

  • Focus on people, not experiences – After a cancer diagnosis, it may be tempting to create a bucket list and rush to complete it. Doing so could mean high costs at the expense of new experiences. While you should consider reevaluating your lifestyle, spend the energy you do have spending time with loved ones – it costs nothing and the dividends are tenfold for your health.

5. Wait for Approval

Patience is key when it comes to life insurance approval for a cancer diagnosis. In the meantime, focus your energy on staying healthy and beating the disease. Life insurance providers are interested in your survival as well – whether or not they need to payout depends on it. Remember, even if your application isn’t approved that doesn’t mean you won’t get a second chance with another company. If you aren’t approved, consider this: the appointments you kept and the treatments you took during the approval process weren’t wasted; they may be the very things that another company values for insurance.

6. Understand the Challenges

If you’re armed with the reasons life insurance companies deny individuals, you’re more likely to be able to negotiate with the company or discuss additional options.

It’s also important to understand that these challenges aren’t permanent roadblocks. On buying life insurance post diagnosis, Forbes reports, “Maybe not now, but when you’re five to seven years cancer-free, you should be able to qualify for standard rates.”

Getting An Affordable Life Insurance Plan

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you know that your life insurance plan is going to be more expensive than someone that hasn’t been diagnosed. That doesn’t mean that your life insurance policy is going to cost you a fortune everything month in premiums. There are several ways that you can secure better rates from the insurance company.

The first thing that you should do is improve your health through a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Your cancer diagnosis isn’t the only factor that the insurance company is going to look at when you apply for life insurance coverage. Improving your health is a great way to increase your chances of getting coverage.
Additionally, if you want to improve your chances of getting affordable life insurance, you’ll need to stop smoking or using any forms of tobacco. If you’re listed as a smoker on your application, you can expect to pay much higher premiums versus what a non-smoker is going to pay for the same coverage. If you want to get the most affordable life insurance plan, you’ll need to kick the bad habits once and for all.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the best rates for your life insurance coverage, you’ll need to compare the rates from dozens of insurance companies, like we mentioned above. The best way to do that is to work with an independent insurance agent. Because there are dozens and dozens of insurance companies on the market, you could spend weeks looking to find the best plan, or you can let us do all of the work for you.

If you have any questions about getting life insurance coverage after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, please contact one of our agents today. We would be happy to answer those questions and ensure that you’re getting the best plan to meet your needs. Our agents have years of experience working with applicants diagnosed with cancer. Our agents can help walk you through the process and make sure that everything is handled correctly.

Every insurance company is different, which means that you could get drastically different rates depending on which company that you choose. Finding the right company could be the difference in getting declined for insurance or finding an affordable policy. Instead of spending weeks researching companies, let us bring all of the rates directly to you. Because we work with dozens of companies, we can help you find the best policy to meet your needs in a matter of minutes. We can save you both time and money.

Have you recently been diagnosed with cancer and considered life insurance? We want to hear from you. If you’ve started shopping, what challenges have you encountered? Share your story in the comments below.

Call us today for a quote at 1-888-552-6159.

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Liran Hirschkorn is an independent life insurance agent. His mission is to help individuals across the U.S in finding the best rates on life insurance as well as helping those that have previously been declined get approved for coverage. Liran looks forward to speaking with you about your life insurance needs.

Comments (58)

  1. adablanton says:

    Hi, My brother in-law has colon cancer for the last two years, can he get life insurance? Thanks ada

    1. Liran says:

      He can get a guaranteed issue life insurance. I will get in touch with you with more details.

  2. Laura says:

    I am curious. Is there a way to get insurance for a child after a cancer diagnosis or recurrence? Thoughts?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Laura,

      It depends if the cancer has been successfully treated then possibly yes, especially as a rider on an adult’s term policy. If there is cancer currently the Gerber Grow Up plan might approve – they don’t disclose their underwriting guidelines, so we could help you apply, and it’s likely hit or miss.

  3. Sharone Brown says:

    Mr. Lirian, can I get life insurance for my 61 and was given one year to live a year ago. My uncle has Prostate Cancer; he is convinced that he will beat it by continuing to take natural products. He stopped Chemo after only having chemotherapy from June 2013 – September 2013. I only want a small policy for $10,000. Please advise? Thank you!

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Sharone,

      I just emailed you with some information. He can get Guaranteed Issue life insurance.

  4. tiffany thomas says:

    Hello Liran,
    My name is Tiffany, and my husband just got diagnosed with AML, it a form of leukemia. And im trying to see if I can get him any kind of life insurance coverage. Please let me know.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      I will send you an email now with some information.


  5. Paul Kilgore says:

    I am 2 years into pancreatic cancer without surgery. Is there any options for me?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Paul,

      I just sent you an email with more information.

  6. Gwen Holt says:

    My brother has been diagnosis with prostate cancer is there any life insurance or burial insurance that we can purchase that could help us.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Gwen,

      I’ve emailed you information – there are options for him.

  7. Lisa says:

    My husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer in his lower leg last year. He had his leg amputated and all the cancer was removed with the amputation. He did not require chemotherapy or radiation. He has had no metastasis to any part of his body. Does he qualify for any type of life insurance?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Lisa,

      I just sent you an email with more information.

  8. Lacy says:

    I’m wondering about what life insurance you can get if you have lung cancer

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Lacy,

      I am emailing you some information now.

  9. Cindy says:

    My husband has $25,000 term life insurance. He was recently diagnosed with CLL, can I increase the amount or will my premium skyrocket?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Cindy,

      I just sent you an email with some additional information.

  10. Carey says:

    My 66 year old husband was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. He has a $100k term policy. The premium will become prohibitive in 2020. I called the issuer of that policy to get a rate to convert it, but it is too expensive. Do we have any other options?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Carey,

      I am emailing you some information now with a recommendation.

  11. Gerry says:

    What are the life insurance options and costs for someone who has lung cancer?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Gerry,

      Sending you an email now with more information.

  12. Fernando Acevedo says:

    Hi how you doing my little sister was diagnose with stomach cancer she is 26 years old is she able to get life insurance

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Fernando,

      She can get a guaranteed issue policy. If you would like to contact me I can provide you with more information on it.

  13. Jackie Estes says:

    My fiancee father has been diagnosed with colon rectal cancer and has told us that we should take an insurance policy out on him to help us out when he does pass on. Is their any options for him that we should look into???

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Jackie,

      I will email you some information with options for him.

  14. Jamie says:

    My dad just found out he has cancer don’t know what kind yet but it’s in his back hips and liver are they any way to get life insurance?

    1. Liran says:

      There are options for coverage – send me an email to Liran@BestLifeQuote.com or call 800-574-0245 ext 101 and I can go over options with you.

  15. Paul says:

    colon CA surgery back in 2009. All of my colon removed with no Mets, no chemo or radiation. Oncologist won’t follow me after year three, last flex dig was negative summer 2014. Looking for whole or other perm insurance, not term. 45 yo male, nonsmoker, on htn meds, slightly overweight. Love some companies, products, and rates. Thanks!

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Paul,

      I will email you to get more information. Thanks.

  16. Brian says:

    What are the life insurance options for a Colon cancer survivor who had surgery and chemo (2010), who has been cancer free for 4 yrs going on 5? 42 yo male, nonsmoker, on no meds.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Brian, it depends on the stage/grade of the cancer. I will email you now for more details.

  17. Janice says:

    hi i would like to know if my father would be eligible for any kind of insurance. He just recently was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Janice, I just emailed you.

  18. Felicia Miller says:

    My dad was just diagnosed with throat cancer im trying to see if it is to late to get him a cancer policy.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Felicia,

      I am sending you an email now with some information.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He needs Life Insurance. Can you please advise on what kind of insurance would be good for him?


    1. Liran says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I will email you now with some information.

  20. Moniqua says:

    I’m searching for life insurance for my mom how has BREAST cancer for the second. Time and lung cancer for the first time is there a policy that I can purchase please let me know thanks so much in advance.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Moniqua,

      I just emailed you with some information.

  21. George says:

    My mom was just diagnosed with lung cancer in November 4 2014, Is it possible for me to get a Life Insurance policy on her? geob87@gmail.com

    1. Liran says:

      Hi George,

      I just sent you an email with some information. Thank you

  22. Danielle says:

    My mother in law has been diagnosed with cancer. Last week was put in a nursing home and told she could not live alone. She is 68. We just found out she let her life insurance go. Is there any coverage we can get to help with expenses? The report is not good we were given. Any help would be would extremely welcomed.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Danielle, I am sending you an email now.

  23. Daniel Kim says:

    Hi Liran,

    My father has been battling brain cancer (astrocytoma) for the past six months. As we’re not sure if he may live more than a year, I’m wondering if he would be eligible for term-life insurance. Please help.

    Warm Regards,

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Daniel,

      I just sent you an email with some information.

  24. Adam Sharpe says:

    My mother was diagnosed a year ago with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare liver cancer. She’s had surgery and chemo and has had good results (tumors are getting smaller), are there any options for her? If so just shoot me an email, thanks.

    1. Liran says:

      Sending you an email now.

  25. Travis says:

    I’m looking for insurance for two people. My father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer over 2 years ago and at that time was given 3 to 6 months. Due to this, his children have been helping with home improvements (A/C, roof, flooring) to ease my dad’s mind and help my mom. My mother is an early stage endometrial cancer survivor since early 2000. While my father has in place prior life insurance, the children are interested in additional insurances on both our parents to help cover the home improvements, if needed.

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Travis,

      Just sent you an email with more info.

  26. Jessica says:

    My father just found out he has brain cancer he is having some of it surgically removed and some will have radiation. He has already beat Lung cancer 4 yrs ago. Is there anything that will help with his final expenses if and when that may come?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Jessica,

      I just emailed you.

  27. karen samuelson says:

    My husband was diagnosed with stage four non single cell carcinoma On Nov 4 2014. He has been going through chemo and radiation For possible remission. Is there a plan that might cover that might cover him?

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Karen,

      I just emailed you.

  28. Al says:

    Hi, I was diagnosed with Leukemia APL and I am now in remission. I am considered to be overweight and most companies wont insure me. What options do I have? Thanks

    1. Liran says:

      Hi Al,

      I just sent you an email with more information.

  29. Ikechia says:

    Hello Mr. Liran,

    My partner of 17 years was just diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer; he’s soon to be 49 years old.. He’s been receiving Chemo treatments 4 weeks now and will continue for 14 weeks. We have no life insurance and would like inquire and start shopping for some on his behalf. Is there a plan that will might cover him? If so, which plan would you suggest?

    1. Liran says:

      I just sent you an email with more information. Thank you

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