Medical advances have increased tremendously over the years, with early cancer detection and treatment now insuring two out of three women will beat breast cancer. But, how do you go about taking out life insurance after you have been diagnosed with cancer? Early detection and diagnosis has increased the survival rates dramatically, but how will your insurer respond to this? The simple answer is that it completely depends on your insurance company. Cancer survivors are also at a risk of developing cancer again or having complications caused by their treatments. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for cancer survivors to get life insurance as they pose more of a risk financially.
“It’s essential, when applying for insurance after a cancer diagnosis, that you deal with a broad-minded insurer that will carefully examine your unique conditions and follow-up healthcare to secure the best possible insurance cover for you,” says Hayley Taylor, Head of Underwriting at Hollard Life.
Taylor advises the type of cover you can get, whether you can get cover, how much you can get, and how much you’ll pay for it will depend on several factors:
NOTE: Certain types of skin cancers may have no effect on your insurance at all.
Taylor says you may have what is called a 'loading' applied to your life insurance cover. This means you will pay more than the average person for your cover. If you have been in remission for over 10 years, you will not pay a 'loading' fee.
Some insurers may apply certain 'exclusions', which means they will not pay for certain conditions. Your insurer has to be upfront with you on this. If you are applying for critical illness cover, Taylor says it is unlikely they will cover cancer treatment, which will be excluded from the cover package.
If you get life insurance cover you may have to endure a 'waiting period' or 'claims free period', where you cannot file a claim for a certain amount of time. This is usually at the beginning of the contract and is a way to pool your monthly contributions before making a claim.
“In most instances, this just isn’t possible because there’s such a high risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body and the increased risk of developing another form of cancer as a result of chemotherapy treatment.”
Taylor advises finding an insurer that specialises in extraordinary cases in order to get the best insurance cover. She also believes that it may be wise to employ the help of a financial advisor who will help you get the best possible insurance package for you.