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Can Those With Cancer Sign Up for Life Insurance Policies?

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The answer is yes, you can. There are up to 3 options available for those with cancer, either cancer survivors or those diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer is indeed considered a pre-existing condition, and thus, it affects your chance of getting insurance. However, it is noteworthy that many people who have cancer or survived the disease are qualified for a policy. After all, cancer is a kind of risk that you present to the insurer, and some factors make people less at risk than others. The less risk you present to the insurer, the more chances for you to get a policy. Let’s read through the article to know more about this.

Statistics of those with cancer in Canada

We all know that cancer is a deadly disease, but how serious is it? Recent figures from the Canadian Cancer Society reveal that cancer is a primary cause of deaths in Canada, accounting for 30% of the fatality rates. To be more specific, the risk for Canadian men to be diagnosed with cancer is 49%, while that for Canadian women is 45%.

These figures are indeed alarming. An ironic fact here is that as our longevity increases, we are more vulnerable to diseases when we get old. So, preparation for this is of paramount importance. Drink more water, eat whole-grain food, exercise regularly, quit smoking, you name it! And buying insurance is among the common ways to protect yourself and your family financially.

Types of insurance for those with cancer

A common question we’ve been receiving from our clients is whether there is a specific insurance product related to the disease. To answer this, there are four available options for you: (1) To buy a standard life insurance policy, (2) to buy no medical life insurance, or (3) to buy insurance from your workplace.

Life insurance for those with cancer

To put it simply, those with cancer apply for life insurance like everyone else. In some cases, this option is called standard insurance. If their application gets approved, they may have to pay for a higher premium and more limited coverage in some cases. This is because insurance premiums are calculated upon risk, and those with cancer represent more risks to the insurers. 

It’s noteworthy that not everyone can buy this type of insurance. In the next section, we’ll provide you with factors that decide whether you are eligible for a life insurance application or not. Those who manage to get accepted will have to pay the premium. If they purchase whole life insurance, they can use the cash value to pay for their hospital fees. Should they die, their beneficiaries will receive the death benefit.

Important: It is necessary for you to differentiate between life insurance and critical illness insurance for cancer.

Critical illness insurance is an insurance product that deals with critical illnesses, including cancer. Customers can buy a critical illness policy covering many critical illnesses, or they may choose to buy a policy with cancer as the only critical illness to be covered. 

This insurance option pays a lump sum should the insured be diagnosed with cancer as described in the policy. You will receive your money as you have submitted the necessary documents to your insurer that you are diagnosed with cancer covered in your policy. The payout is tax-free, and you can use it at your disposal. That is, to hire a caregiver or pay for your medical bills, support your family, etc.

People apply for this option when they haven’t received any diagnosis and purchase the insurance as a preparation. One limitation of critical illness insurance is that there are precise stipulations. In many cases, if your cancer is not specified in your policy or your cancer symptoms don’t match what is stated in the contract, you may not get the lump sum. It is crucial that you have someone with expertise to help you read through the contract and decide what needs to be involved.

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Can Those With Cancer Sign Up for Life Insurance Policies? 2

No medical life insurance (simplified and guaranteed)

As the name might suggest, this insurance option doesn’t require you to undergo any medical exams to apply for a policy. This means that almost anyone can get approved for this one. On the other hand, the cons are that premiums can get very high. Also, there is often very limited coverage that the insured can benefit from. 

You may encounter two products for this type of insurance: simplified issue life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance. You will only have to answer a few questions related to your current health for the former one. For the guaranteed issue life insurance, there is a two-year waiting period required. If you can survive through these two years, your policy will take effect. Otherwise, the claim is not paid, and the money will be returned to your beneficiaries.

Insurance from your workplace

One good news for those with cancer is that they can get life insurance through their jobs or their spouses. Group insurance from your workplace doesn’t require any individual medical examinations. The premiums are affordable, and there is no waiting period.

The demerit of this type of insurance is that the amount of coverage is fixed and is not very substantial. For those who have dependents, the coverage will not be enough to cover the heavy medical bills and take care of their loved ones. Furthermore, when you change your job, you’ll lose your insurance. Thus, this kind of insurance is not guaranteed for everyone.

Factors that affect the chances of getting insurance for those with cancer

In the last part, we have talked about four available insurance products for those with cancer. However, the four choices are not for everyone. When it comes to the question of Can cancer survivors get insurance? or If I have been diagnosed with cancer, can I get insurance? The answer is yes, in many cases. And some factors decide this as follows.

Type of Cancer

As scary as it sounds, cancer doesn’t always mean death. Thanks to recent breakthroughs in science and medications, nowadays, 60% of Canadians survive their cancers. Besides, not all cancer diseases pose the same risk. Testicular and thyroid cancers, for example, have a survival rate of better than 90 percent. In contrast, pancreatic cancer, the third-leading cause of cancer death in Canada, has only an eight percent survival rate.

Insurance companies will consider the following cancers:

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Thyroid (in many cases, but it will depend on the tissue type)
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Breast cancer (depending on the stage the cancer is at)
  • Cervical Cancer

Cancer Stage

There are different stages of cancer, which indicate how much cancer is present and what part of the body it is affecting. The cancer stage plays an essential role for the insurers to decide upon your application. For example, if your cancer is in an early stage and is proved to be treatable, you may still get accepted for life insurance. However, if cancer has spread out to other parts of your body and has developed to a critical stage, your application will be declined.

Whether you apply for standard life insurance or critical illness insurance, you will have to show medical documents that specify your cancer stage. Insurers will check on this and determine the risk that they need to cover. They will then decide whether you are eligible for a policy and how much premiums you will have to pay.

Cancer Advancement

Apart from the stage, the advancement of the cancer is also what the insurer looks for. They want to know if the cancer cells are growing and spreading to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer). If your cancer cells are inactive, and the cancer has been stable for more than 3-10 years, then you may still stand a chance of getting a policy.

Quick Q&A: Can cancer survivors get life insurance?

The answer is yes! And the chances for cancer survivors getting life insurance are higher than those diagnosed with cancer. The insurers will look at your current treatment, health conditions, the number of years that you have been cancer-free, etc., to decide the approval and rate.

Places to buy insurance for cancer patients or cancer survivors

You can find insurance policies for cancer in most Canadian insurance companies these days. The policies and the cost may vary significantly depending on each company.

Since cancer is a highly complex matter, we understand that you may need further consultancy on your specific circumstances. One way to reach for help is to ask for a reputable broker or insurance agent. Insurance Direct Canada is one of the most trusted insurance brokers in Canada, you can also call at +1-877-611-6722 (toll free) to get insurance quotes and more advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Of the three options that you mentioned, how can I know which option is for me?

So basically, there are three options for you to choose from: buying normal (standard) life insurance, buying no medical insurance (including simplified and guaranteed policy) and buying insurance from your workplace. If you buy insurance from your company, you can still purchase additional life insurance.
The specific answer to your question will be given on the evaluation of your case. Generally, if you have just been diagnosed with cancer, your options are limited to no medical insurance. If your cancer diagnosis is more than 5 years ago, and you are in good shape, most companies consider you a cancer survivor.

What does it mean by “rated insurance”?

It means that you have to pay more for the premium if you are diagnosed with cancer. After all, the metrics of insurance premiums are risk-based. The more risks you present to your insurer, the more you have to pay for them. 
Cancer is a pre-existing condition, and thus, cancer patients have to pay more. Of course, in some instances where you survive your cancer for more than 10 years and are in excellent shape, you may qualify for a normal (standard) rate.

What are the questions that insurance companies will ask me?

The questionnaire will vary, depending on each company, though generally, you can expect to be asked about:
– How long have you been diagnosed?
– Have you been stable since then?
– What type of cancer do you have?
– What was the stage of your cancer when you were first diagnosed and now? Has it spread to other parts of your body?
– Do your family members have a cancer history?
– What kinds of treatment are you currently taking? Are you under active medical cancer treatment such as chemotherapy?
These questions aim to find out about your health conditions. Based on this, the insurer will decide upon which insurance policy they will offer, along with the premium rates.

I haven’t got cancer. Should I buy an insurance policy for cancer? Which insurance policy is the most economical option?

Yes. We’d recommend you to do so. As you can see, cancer is responsible for 30% of death rates in Canada. No one can confidently say that they’d never contract cancer in their whole life. 
Those who do not have cancer but want to prepare for the worst-case may buy life insurance or critical illness insurance. The first will give you the death benefit (and the cash value if you buy whole life insurance), while the second will offer you the payout upon your diagnosis. If you don’t want to buy life insurance, you may choose to buy critical illness insurance for cancer, which is a relatively affordable and simple option to safeguard your future. 
The purpose of buying insurance early is to ensure your insurability. Should you suffer from cancer later in your life, you can use your insurance to afford the treatment fees and take care of your family.

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