Life insurance is a long game. Insurance providers are betting that they’re going to get their money’s worth (and then some) out of plan participants before they die and the company has to pay out on their policy. Consumers, on the other hand, are betting just the opposite, in a sense. It’s a strange concept – gambling against your own longevity. However, you do gain something valuable when you purchase life insurance. You get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones will be cared for in your absence and that your death will not saddle them with a huge financial burden. The unfortunate truth is that obtaining this peace of mind could cost you a lot more than you think if your health is poor and considered a ‘high risk’ insurance policy.
If you are a cancer survivor, you undoubtedly be considered ‘high risk’ and have a corresponding premium to your life insurance policy. If you didn’t have a permanent (or whole) life insurance policy in place prior to your cancer diagnosis, one with the rate locked in for life, and you decide that you want one after surviving cancer, you’ll find yourself on the hook for often outrageous premium payments with rates being far beyond what you can afford to pay. Still, you don’t want to leave your loved ones without a nest egg, or at least the funds needed to cover end-of-life expenses. What can you do?
There are several options to explore. You should start by getting all of your ducks in a row as soon as you are healthy again. Insurance providers may ask for medical history, a current physical examination report, and blood/urine samples before you can be approved for a policy. Not all life insurance policies require these components, but the ones that don’t will probably charge you more. Talk to your doctor about a strategy to ensure that you are eligible for life insurance and how to get the most affordable rate. It could depend on the type of cancer you had, the age at which you were diagnosed, how you treated the condition, and how long you have been cancer-free.
From there you need to comparison shop. Cancer survivors will almost certainly have fewer options than the average, healthy adult when it comes to life insurance, but there are still options. For example, there are policies specifically designed for cancer survivors. They may include higher premiums and a lower payout, and your approval could depend on your personal circumstances, but they do exist and you can find them.
Term life insurance policies are an option, and they generally cost less than whole life policies. You might find, however, that it’s easier to get approval for whole life insurance after you’ve had cancer. The place to start looking is employer-sponsored insurance. If you are eligible, this option will likely be the least expensive. If your employer doesn’t offer this option or you’re not eligible, exercise due diligence. When you shop around you have the best opportunity to compare options and pricing and find a policy that works for you. After cancer, you won’t have the same options for life insurance you had before, and you’ll probably pay more. But you are by no means precluded from purchasing life insurance- you just might have to work harder to find a suitable policy.