How to Buy Life Insurance After Being Diagnosed with Cancer

A couple evaluates their option for getting life insurance after a cancer diagnosis

Life insurance with preexisting conditions

For anyone trying to obtain life insurance, the insurance company at some point will need to assess your health to determine the risk of insuring you. Having a preexisting condition such as cancer can make qualifying more difficult. A licensed insurance agent can provide details on how to buy life insurance after being diagnosed with cancer, but in short, you’ll need to provide additional information to the insurer. You should also be prepared to get quotes from several companies to determine your options, and possibly consider other options.

Information for life insurers about your cancer

The first step is to determine your needs. An online tool can help.

When you start working with a licensed insurance agent to obtain coverage, at some point you’ll need to provide a detailed medical history, and in many cases you’ll need a medical exam. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you’ll need to disclose the type of cancer along with:

  • The tumor grade. This assesses how abnormal the tumor cells and tissue look and indicates how aggressive the cancer is. Tumors are generally graded on a scale of 1 to 4.
  • The cancer stage. This refers to how much the tumor has grown and whether cancer cells have spread elsewhere in the body. Cancers are grouped into five categories.

The insurer likely will rely on a national database from the National Cancer Institute as well as the information you provided to assess whether to underwrite (i.e., assume the risk) a policy and, if so, what the premiums will be.

Some insurance companies require your cancer to be in remission before offering coverage. In general, the longer you’ve been in remission, the easier it is to qualify for a policy.

Policies for cancer

If you qualify for a life insurance policy, you’ll need to decide what kind meets your needs — term or whole life — and what riders you may want.

If you don’t qualify for a term life insurance policy, consider Guaranteed Whole Life Insurance from United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, a Mutual of Omaha company. This type of insurance is guaranteed and has no medical questions as long as you are between the ages of 45 - 85 (NY, 50-75).