Life Insurance after Cancer [Ultimate Guide]

Is Life Insurance after cancer available?

Finding affordable life insurance after cancer can seem daunting. In today’s life insurance arena there is a good chance that some type of life insurance protection may be available. Often times you just need the tips to locating the right life insurance carrier.

This blog will give you the information you need to find out if life insurance after cancer is available. It is important to remember that every life insurance company evaluates your health and lifestyle differently. This blog will help you find the companies that specialize in underwriting life insurance after cancer the best.

Cancer- General Concepts and Terms

In general terms cancer is used to describe any of the multiple types of malignant tumors. Cancer can affect any organ or tissue in the body including the blood and lymphatic system. It is characterized by inappropriate cell growth. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.

One third of all people in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetime. It is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death.

When life insurance companies review individuals with a history of cancer, the number one report they will want is the pathology report.

The pathology report is obtained from a prospects primary physician. This report will contain information obtained from a biopsy of the suspected cancer. The only time a pathology report may not be needed is if the diagnosis of cancer was 10 years or more ago with no re-recurrence.

Pathology reports will give life insurance underwriters several bits of key information. Here are some of the terms an information they will look for:

  • GRADE– The “aggressiveness” of a cancer. Grading is determined by the number of cells undergoing mitosis or cell division. The higher the grade the more rapid the growth of the cancer and the more likely for spread. Most cancers are graded on a score of I to IV. Grade I being the most favorable and Grade III and IV having the worst prognosis.
  • STAGING– Refers to the extent of the tumor mass or size. The most commonly used staging system is called TNM (T- for tumor size, N-for regional lymph node spread, and M- for any metastasis or spread)
  • GLEASON– The Gleason system grades the aggressiveness of a tumor. This system is used quite often in prostate tumors. The scale typically runs from 2-10. The higher the Gleason score the more likely the tumor will spread to other sites.
  • TREATMENTS-  Depending on the type of cancer and stage, treatment can include any of the following: Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immuno-therapy, and hormonal therapy or a combination of.

In summary, insurance companies will evaluate life insurance after cancer based on these factors:

  1. Tissue of origin (i.e. colon, prostate, breast, etc.)
  2. Grade of tumor
  3. Stage of tumor
  4. Time since diagnosis
  5. Type of treatment
  6. Time since treatment ended
  7. Any recurrences or relapses

Keys to finding the best life insurance company

In doing research for life insurance after cancer it is again important to remember that certain life insurance companies underwrite more aggressively and therefore offer better rates than other companies. These companies are “niche” companies that have an expertise in certain pre-existing medical conditions.

Oftentimes, these particular life insurance carriers may not be as well known as other carriers that advertise or market their companies on TV more. Don’t be fooled. These life insurance companies are still strong outstanding insurance companies. The secret is finding who these companies are.

In the life insurance area their are agents that are captive and agents or are not. In order to find a life insurance company who specializes in affordable protection after cancer you must use an agent that is not captive.

Captive agents only have one company they can write with. Independent non-captive agents will typically be able to write policies with many different companies.

But, not only do you want to work with an independent non-captive agent, you must work with an independent non-captive agent who specializes in finding coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

These agents will have years or life underwriting experience. They will know the companies that specialize in life insurance after cancer. They will know what questions to ask and how to negotiate the best offer between the carriers.

Number one rule when looking for life insurance with cancer history. Use an expert agent. The agent will make all the difference in the time you spend researching for companies and the premium you spend on coverage.

It is no difference than when you are looking for a doctor to perform heart surgery. You would never use a doctor who is just a general practitioner. You would want the best doctor to perform heart surgery. In other words, you need and want a “specialist”.

Questions on life insurance after cancer

Your special risk agent will need to get information about you and your medical history in order to present your case in the best light to the life carriers that will be fighting for your business. Below are some of the questions:

  • What is the type of cancer?
  • When was the date of diagnosis?
  • How was the cancer treated? I.E. surgically, radiation, chemotherapy, node dissection, hormonal therapy, etc.?
  • Date  of last treatment
  • Are you currently taking medication? If so, type and amount?
  • What stage was the cancer? I.E. Stage O, Stage I, Stage II, Stage III, Stage IV?
  • Any lymph node involvement?
  • Any evidence of recurrence?
  • Date and results of last follow-up study, image, lab testing?
  • Have you used tobacco in last 5 years?
  • Any other major health history? I.E. diabetes, heart disease, etc.?

In addition to the questions above, it will be important to know the amount of protection needed and what type of policy desired. (Term or Whole)


With the information above and a good special risk life agent working on your behalf, you give yourself a chance to find the most competitive offer for life insurance after cancer in the marketplace.

If after traditional special risk life underwriting is complete and no offer is available, you may still have options. Several life insurance companies may offer a small amount of protection on a simplified or guaranteed issue basis. These types of policies are usually the last resort for coverage.

These policies are typically offered on a graded death benefit basis. This means no death benefit is typically paid the first two years the policy is in force. If death occurs during the first two years all premiums are paid back plus 10% interest. Beginning the third year full death benefit would be paid.

So, there you have it. The steps to take to finding affordable life insurance after cancer.

If you have a need for life insurance and wish to speak to an expert in the special risk life insurance arena, please contact us at 1-888-393-9003 or


For a FREE quote

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How can I help?

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.

For a FREE quote, call, text or email:

Call: 678-207-8160

Text: 678-207-8160


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3482 Keith Bridge Road Suite #125
Cumming, GA 30041


We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates.

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