With 1 in 2 of us expected to be diagnosed with some form of cancer during our lifetimes, the question of whether you can get life insurance when you've got cancer, or you're in remission is a question many of us could be faced with at some point.
If you are currently living with cancer, unfortunately it's unlikely you will be able to get life insurance until you've been in full remission for a certain number of years, usually two or three years, but this can vary depending on the insurer.
However, if you have had cancer in the past and are now in full remission, you may be able to get life cover, but it may be a case of shopping around for an insurance provider who will accept you, and your premiums could be more expensive.
When deciding whether to offer you cover and on what terms, your life insurance provider will take into account the type of cancer you had and how advanced it was. Most insurers will want to know when you were diagnosed and when you last had treatment too. They may also require that a specified recovery period has passed before they will approve an application. This length of time differs depending on insurer, so you may want to shop around if you've only recently been given the all-clear.
Bear in mind, even if your cancer is in remission, if you're still undergoing surveillance appointments, you may be considered to still be an active patient in treatment and could be refused cover.
With your permission, your insurance provider may ask to contact your doctor asking for medical details regarding your cancer and you may have to undergo a medical examination before they'll issue your policy.
Some cancers have a hereditary link, such as breast or colon cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, you will have to declare this on our quote form and your premiums could be affected. This is because the insurer may see you as a higher risk applicant. You will only need to disclose the medical history of your immediate family, i.e., your biological parents and siblings.
However, it's important to be totally honest and disclose all information about your family's medical history during the application process, as failure to do so could invalidate any future claim.
Nevertheless, the fact that your family has a history of cancer doesn't automatically mean your life insurance premiums will be higher. Insurers may take into account how many of your natural parents or siblings were diagnosed with cancer, their age when the disease presented itself, as well as your own age, gender and health status.
If you have a family history of cancer, you may be wise to compare quotes with multiple insurance providers to get a better idea of your options and see if you can find a policy that meets your needs for a price you can afford.
If you already have a life insurance policy and you are diagnosed with cancer, the insurance company should honour it as normal, providing you were honest about your medical history when you took the policy out.
You may find it difficult to increase the value of your life insurance policy until several years after you enter remission, although some policies may have valuable options to increase subject to eligibility criteria. It's also important to keep your existing life insurance policy if you can, as this could be much easier than starting a new life insurance policy after your cancer diagnosis.
If your cancer is sadly terminal, you may wish to check with your insurer if they provide terminal illness cover. Some life insurance policies include this and will pay out the full amount of cover if you are expected to live for less than 12 months. If you do live longer, you won't be expected to pay anything back.
Critical illness insurance can be added to a life insurance policy for an extra cost. It's designed to pay out if you are diagnosed with one of the specified critical illnesses covered in your policy.
If you've been diagnosed with cancer in the past and are now in full remission, getting life insurance with critical illness cover is possible, but you may have to shop around to find an insurer who will accept your application. And again, cover for cancer would likely be excluded.
Perhaps you have a family history of hereditary cancer, in which case purchasing life insurance and critical illness cover may be a wise decision should the worst happen. You'll be able to tell us about your family history when completing our online quote form. Once again, it's important you answer these questions honestly to avoid invalidating any future claim.
Unfortunately, if you are currently living with cancer, just like with life insurance, it's unlikely you will be accepted for critical illness cover until you've been in remission for a set number of years.
If you'd like further information on life insurance, including what types of life insurance are available and how to choose which could be right for you, you can read our many life insurance guides for help.
Or, if you'd like to see if you can find cover to suit your circumstances and budget, you can compare life insurance quotes with Compare Cover. Our comparison service is quick and easy to use and allows you to instantly view and compare quotes in one simple search.
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