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Should Cancer Patients Get Life Insurance?

CHICAGO - January 21, 2022 - (

iQuanti: Cancer patients already face immense challenges. And the thought of leaving behind loved ones without financial protection may be an added stressor. While many cancer patients may feel like life insurance is out of reach, it may be possible to get a policy in place despite the diagnosis. So if you or a loved one is a cancer patient, here's what you need to know about life insurance for cancer patients and whether getting a policy is right for you. 

Are Cancer Patients Eligible for Life Insurance?

Eligibility for life insurance depends on several factors, including:

  • Cancer status: Life insurance companies may determine eligibility based on treatment status. And that means those who have been out of treatment longer may have a greater chance of eligibility than someone actively undergoing treatment.
  • Family history: Since some cancers are genetic, the insurer will likely have questions about family history of illness. That may include providing information on family members, such as types of cancer, age at diagnosis, and how you're related. Any cancer diagnoses that occur later in life are typically viewed more favorably by insurers.
  • Type of cancer: Cancers with a particularly dire prognosis, like leukemia or pancreatic cancer, may be less insurable than those with a more moderate risk, like breast cancer or melanoma.

Depending on the answers to these questions, cancer patients may be eligible for specific policies like:

  • Guaranteed issue life insurance: Many guaranteed issue life insurance policies are for smaller amounts and may be expensive. But that's because they often don't ask questions about medical status and offer a guaranteed death benefit. Be sure to read the fine print as these policies may have a graded death benefit, which means they'll pay out less in the years immediately after purchase.
  • Group life insurance: This type of coverage is typically offered through an employer and will insure you up to a certain amount regardless of health status.
  • Term or permanent life insurance: Those who have been in remission for years or have a less severe form of cancer may be eligible for traditional policies like a term or permanent life insurance policy.

Reasons for Cancer Patients to Get Life Insurance

While the death benefit for some guaranteed issue or group policies may be smaller than a term or permanent policy, the funds can still be used for several reasons, including:

  • Covering funeral expenses: Those with cancer may already feel the burden of leaving their loved ones too soon. But knowing funeral expenses are covered can bring peace of mind that their family won't be in debt because of it.
  • Leaving a small legacy: A life insurance policy that pays out a few thousand dollars may be enough to leave loved ones with a bit of financial cushion. And alleviating financial strain while the family is already grieving is a legacy you can be proud to leave.

The Bottom Line

Cancer patients may find peace of mind in purchasing a life insurance policy. Since these policies are sometimes expensive and may have smaller death benefits, it's important to calculate the cost of coverage vs. the potential benefit for beneficiaries. When in doubt, it's wise to connect with a reputable life insurance company, insurance agent or financial advisor who can recommend the right policy for your unique financial and medical situation.

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