Life Insurance for Cancer Survivors

A diagnosis of cancer is devastating to most, but today many survive cancer and go on to return to their everyday life activities. Surviving cancer generally makes you think about your own mortality, and you will want to plan ahead to feel secure knowing that your family and loved ones are taken care of if you are not there. Life insurance will provide the necessary financial security to help protect what you worked hard to build. Death is a challenging time, and you want to make sure your loved ones have the help they need. The challenge now is finding life insurance after surviving cancer.


If you’ve heard that you will not be able to have life insurance, this is incorrect information. There are life insurance policies that will provide coverage, but it can be a bit more complicated. Insurance companies will consider factors like the type and location, the stage, and the curability of the cancer diagnosis. Insurance companies consider these factors to determine if a policy will be issued, and be prepared to provide your medical records. You may need a medical check-up during the application process and then regular health checks throughout the duration of the policy. In many cases, you will be declined if you are undergoing treatment at the time of the application, so looking for coverage is not something you want to put off.

The reason insurance companies use these factors to determine your eligibility is because most companies follow the guidelines from the National Cancer Institute. They produce what is called the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) report that provides information on cancer patients. Physicians treating cancer patients report to the database (don’t worry, you are reported as a number), and then insurance companies can access the information for underwriting their policies. Underwriting is based on the location, type, and stage of the cancer to determine if you will be eligible. For example, you may be able to be insured if you are currently receiving treatment if the SEER report shows that the location, type, and stage of your diagnosed cancer has a good prognosis.

Life insurance companies can be hesitant to insure you if you recently recovered due to concerns that the cancer may return. Often, they will charge an added surcharge, also known as temporary flat extras, for two to five years and then the standard rates will apply. Your insurance rates will likely be higher, but the higher rate does not have to be indefinite. For example, the insurance company examines your medical records for seven years. If the prognosis continues to be good, you can ask for a reduction in your life insurance premiums.

You need to be aware that different types of cancers are looked at differently. Remember the SEER report? Information from that report shows the various types of cancer that are more treatable or less treatable. Patients surviving cancer that is reported to be more treatable, such as thyroid, breast, testicular, and prostate cancers may be able to receive life insurance at the standard rate with an added temporary surcharge. Patients surviving colon cancer or leukemia would more likely fall into what is called the “substandard” or “high substandard” categories that will have a higher premium or may be denied.

If you are unable to get life insurance with full death benefits, another option is to consider what is called a “graded” policy. The graded policy is one where the death benefits grow the longer you survive. With this type of coverage, for the first few years, you will pay the premium and part of the face value of the policy amount. Then after a specified amount of time, the insurance company will be required to pay the full face value of the policy.

Overall, here’s the great news, there are different options for cancer survivors to have life insurance coverage. It is more complicated, and it will take some research, but there is help out there for you. Smithfin has friendly, professional insurance comparison agents that will help you sort through the options to find the best insurance rate available. First, you want to do a couple of things to get yourself ready to shop for life insurance:

  • Gather all your medical records before you apply for life insurance. These should include your first pathology report, and your medical and treatment records. Having these will help the insurance company’s underwriters get the best picture of your situation, and it will contribute to reducing delays in the process. Remember, the more the insurance company knows about you, the better they can assess your case.
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plan exactly so the insurance agency will be able to see the results of your follow-up appointments. This can later reduce your rates, but it also shows that you are committed to being healthy.
  • Contact Smithfin to help you get life insurance quotes from several different companies at once. The cost of policies can vary quite a bit from one company to another, and you’ll want to find the best coverage at the most affordable rate.

Finding the right life insurance policy when you’ve survived cancer is important and can be complicated. You want one that provides the coverage you need to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones but fits within your budget. Smithfin is a life insurance comparison company, and that means they will compare quotes from the top companies across the nation to help find the coverage you need at the lowest rates possible.

Smithfin works with insurance companies that provide policies for high-risk applicants, like cancer survivors. It will give you peace of mind to have someone working with you during the process of searching for life insurance after surviving cancer. Don’t stress over searching for the right life insurance company by yourself, contact a Smithfin agent for compassionate, attentive help with your search. Or you can visit them at for an electronic quote.

About Smithfin
About Smithfin

Smithfin William Smith  is the owner of He's an independent life insurance agent.     "We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates saving them time, money and frustration."

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