Cancer History and Life Insurance Protection

Cancer history- Is affordable life insurance available?

Are you one of the millions of Americans living with a cancer history? Are you concerned that affordable life insurance may not be available for individuals with cancer history?

Trying to find affordable life insurance with cancer history can seem intimidating. We are experts at securing special risk life insurance. It is very important that you work with an independent agent.

Advances in medical technology and newer treatment options now make securing life insurance coverage more possible than ever before. But, you must use the right agent. Why should I use an independent agent?

Why is it important to use an independent life agent?

Only an independent life insurance agent will have access to multiple carriers that specialize in underwriting individuals with a cancer history. Captive agents can only quote or write for one particular company. If their company doesn’t specialize in underwriting individuals with cancer history then your options are limited.

It is also just as important that the independent life agent have experience in the special risk arena. Many independent agents can offer several different carriers, but do not have the knowledge of which company will offer the most affordable rates.

How do life insurance carriers determine rates for cancer history?

The insurance companies that specialize in underwriting rates for cancer history use some basic criteria. Like all insurance companies your rates will be determined by age, sex, smoking history, height/weight, family history, current medications. But, with individuals with a cancer history the criteria becomes more narrowed:

  • What type of cancer?
  • When was cancer diagnosed?
  • What type of treatment was used?
  • When was last treatment date?

With this basic information the underwriter can usually determine if a possible offer on life insurance can be made. But, to really narrow down the exact cost of coverage more information will be needed.

Insurance companies use a tumor rating schedule to make a determination on what risk class a particular individual may fall into. This risk class will then determine the rates that will be charged.

To get a good idea of what rate might be charged the pathology report from the insured’s oncologist or personal physician plays an important role.

The pathology report will give detailed information on the size, location and staging or grade of the tumor.

Once the underwriter has the information from the pathology report, they will go to their underwriting tumor rating schedule and determine the risk class. Here’s a typical look at an underwriter’s tumor rating schedule based on the number of years since the last treatment:

Group M                                                     Group A                                              Group B

Postpone                                                     Postpone                                             Postpone         (0-1 yr.)

Postpone                                                     Postpone                                            $7 x 5 years      (1-2 yr.)

Postpone                                                     $10 x 5 years                                     $7 x 4 years      (2-3 yr.)

Postpone                                                     $10 x 4 years                                     $7 x 3 years      (3-4 yr.)

$15 x 5 years                                                $10 x 3 years                                     $7 x 2 years     (4-5 yr.)

$15 x 4 years                                                $7 x 2 years                                       $5 x 1 year       (5-6 yr.)

$15 x 3 years                                                 $5 x 1 year                                                0               (6-7 yr.)

$15 x 2 years                                                         0                                                         0               (7-8 yr.)

$10 x 1 year                                                           0                                                         0               (8-9 yr.)

0                                                                             0                                                        0         (Thereafter)

Group C                                                       Group D                                                Group E

Postpone                                                        Postpone                                               $5 x 3 years  (0-1 yr.)

Postpone                                                       $7 x 4 years                                             $5 x 3 years  (1-2 yr.)

$7 x 5 years                                                   $7 x 3 years                                             $5 x 2 years  (2-3 yr.)

$7 x 4 years                                                   $7 x 2 years                                             $ 5 x 1 year  (3-4 yr.)

$7 x 3 years                                                   $5 x 1 year                                                       0           (4-5 yr.)

$7 x 2 years                                                           0                                                               0           (5-6 yr.)

$5 x 1 year                                                             0                                                               0           (6-7 yr.)

0                                                                             0                                                               0    (thereafter)

With most cancer history cases an underwriter will determine if a policyholder will be charged an extra premium for the risk. This extra premium is called a “flat extra”.  A flat extra is a surcharge on top of the standard premium rate. The flat extra is only the amount of extra premium for the cancer history.

You will notice on the above chart a figure like $10 x 5 years. This is the extra premium per each $1,000 of coverage applied for if you qualify under this group. The number of years is how long the extra premium is required to be paid. At the end of the period, the extra premium charge would stop.

Postpone- means the insurance company wishes to postpone your application until more time has passed before evaluating the risk.

0- represents that no extra rating is required if qualifying under this Group.

If an insured also has other medical history such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. then the underwriter could determine that an additional premium risk need be included.

GROUP M – This classification is for the majority of metastatic, locally invasive, or aggressive tumors. With metastases to one or more of the lymph nodes or to any other organ, the following tumors will be classified as Group M: most head and neck, endocrine, lung, heart & pericardium, gastrointestinal, urologic, most female and male reproductive system tumors, skin, soft tissue, and bone.

GROUP A, B, C, D, E- These classifications usually presuppose no local invasion beyond the organ in which the tumor originates, no regional lymph node involvement, no distant metastasis, complete cure after treatment and no re-occurrence.

How Dave found affordable life insurance with cancer history

Dave is a 65 year old non-smoking male. His current $500,000 level term policy has reached the end of the guaranteed term. Dave wishes to continue his life insurance coverage. Unfortunately, Dave has no guaranteed conversion option available on his current policy.

His currently policy renewal rates are increasing dramatically. Dave knows  he will need to find new coverage. He is worried that he may not be able to find coverage that is affordable due to his cancer history.

Dave was diagnosed approximately 6 years ago with prostate cancer. Dave calls his nationally known property and casualty company. They insure his home and auto. He knows they offer life insurance so he sets up an appointment to discuss his coverage needs.

Dave explains his  situation to his local P & C agent. Dave tells him how he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and  asks if this will disqualify him for new life insurance. Dave’s agent is not experienced with handling life insurance for individuals with cancer history. He suggests Dave go ahead and apply and let’s see what happens.

After taking a medical exam and doing lab work for the P & C company Dave waits to find out the decision. Three weeks later Dave’s agent calls and tells Dave that the carrier has approved the policy, but wants to add an additional $5.00 per thousand of coverage  for 4 years on top of the standard rates. This additional premium for $500,000 of coverage adds $2,500 of additional costs.

Dave cannot afford to pay the high extra rating on the new policy with his P & C agent. He decides to research other alternatives to see if another agent might offer something better.

Dave finds an agency online that specializes in underwriting individuals with cancer history.

Dave’s new agent asks details on his prostate cancer history. He ask for date of diagnosis, how cancer was treated and when the last treatment was. He asks Dave if he can secure a copy of his pathology report from his personal physician.

Dave gets a copy of the pathology report and submits to the new agent. After speaking to several underwriter’s and sending a copy of the pathology report to them, Dave’s new agent comes back with a standard risk class.

The underwriting carrier determined that Dave’s cancer was graded as a Grade 1 diffuse tumor or a stage A2. Based on their underwriting guidelines this particular tumor fell into the GROUP D class of the schedule above. And with 6 years now gone by since last treatment there was no extra rating for his cancer history. He qualifies at a standard risk

This saved Dave over $10,000 in premiums over the next 4 years.

As this example shows, working with a life insurance agent who specializes in securing coverage for individuals with cancer history, offers you the best opportunity to get affordable life insurance.

If you or someone you know has a cancer history and needs life insurance, please contact us at 1-888-393-9003 or Many times we can tell you right over the phone if affordable life insurance is available. 






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Mike Raines

I am an independent life insurance agent with over 30 years’ experience. I am an expert in finding coverage for those with past or current medical history such as heart disease, diabetes, post cancer, etc. I also specialize in those that participate in scuba diving, mountain climbing, private pilots, etc. I work with the best life insurance companies in the nation, such as Prudential, AIG, Protective Life, Transamerica to name a few. Each carrier has different opinions on rates and underwriting, and it is my job to match you with the best company. To do that, I need to ask you a few questions about your health and lifestyle to qualify you.

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