Breast cancer patients and survivors CAN buy life insurance.
The specific form of coverage you qualify for is dependent on important underwriting questions.
Encouraging news – breast cancer survival rates continue to rise, thanks to medical advancements. Life insurance companies are aware of this and will often approve applications.
Here, you will find everything you need to know about underwriting breast cancer, the best companies to apply with, sample quotes, and frequently asked questions.
Table Of Contents
Life Insurance With Breast Cancer
Underwriters will need to know some specific information about your breast cancer during the application process.
Grab a pen and jot down answers to the following questions.
1. What are the dates of your diagnosis and your last treatment?
Two dates are significant in the eyes of the underwriter – when you were diagnosed and when you finished treatment (if you have).
Date of diagnosis
In other words, how old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer? In general, underwriters prefer to see the diagnosis at age 40 or older.
Why? Often, a breast cancer diagnosis that occurs at younger ages creates additional concerns:
- Higher likelihood of recurrence
- Possible genetic abnormalities or other health conditions
Date of last treatment
Again, the longer it has been since you completed treatment, the better.
Note – if you are still undergoing treatment, you can buy a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
Typically, traditional carriers (e.g. 20-year term life insurance) want to see months to possibly many years since you completed treatment.
2. What is the specific breast cancer name?
Breast cancer is used to describe different types of cancer that originate in the breast.
The specific breast cells affected matter because some are more treatable than others.
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) – non-invasive cancer cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct.
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) – cancer cells that begin in milk ducts that have spread beyond the ducts. (80% of cases)
- Triple Negative Breast Cancer – the three common receptors for breast cancer growth are not present in the tumor.
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) – aggressive cancer in which cells infiltrate the breast’s skin and lymph system.
- Medullary Carcinoma – carcinoma that sometimes appears as a spongy appearance in the breast.
- Tubular Carcinoma – specific tubular structure; typically found after age 50.
- Mucinous Carcinoma (Colloid) – originates in the milk duct and spreads to nearby tissue.
- Paget Disease Of The Breast Or Nipple – called mammary Paget disease, a rare form of cancer that affects nipple and areola regions.
3. What is the stage and grade?
Plan to communicate the stage and grade of your breast cancer during underwriting.
Today, most oncologists utilize the TNM system to determine the cancer’s stage.
- T stands for tumor size
- N stands for lymph node involvement
- M stands for metastasis
Additionally, your oncologist likely tested for hormonal receptor statuses, protein production (Her2), and if you are BRCA-positive.
In terms of what needs to be communicated to the underwriter, their specific questions vary but plan to communicate a detailed answer.
At a minimum, for traditional term coverage, you will need to share:
- Stage 0 (ductile carcinoma in-situ)
- Stage 0 (lobular carcinoma in-situ)
- Stage 0 (Paget’s disease of the nipple)
- Stage I
- Stage II
- Stage IIIA
- Stage IIIB
- Stage IV
Grading is determined when the cancer cells are evaluated under a microscope to determine the likelihood of the cancer spreading.
- Grade 1 – slower-growing; well-differentiated
- Grade 2 – growth at a moderate pace; moderately-differentiated
- Grade 3 – faster-growing; poorly-differentiated
4. What was your treatment plan?
Plan to communicate which of the following was included in your treatment plan:
- Excisional biopsy
- Partial mastectomy
- Radical mastectomy
- Radiation therapy or Teletherapy
- Hormonal therapy
5. Do you take prescription medication?
Share if you have been prescribed or are currently taking:
6. Have you experienced a recurrence?
When the same cancer comes back after treatment, whether it’s a short time later or many years later, it’s called recurrence.– American Cancer Society
Most breast cancer survivors will not get cancer again.
However, you are at a higher risk of recurrence during the first five years of remission.
For this reason, life insurance companies typically prefer to see many years of remission.
7. How is your overall health?
Because underwriters evaluate risk, and not just for breast cancer specifically, they will want to know about your overall health, as well.
Plan to be asked about the following:
- Your weight (to determine if you are overweight or underweight)
- Use of nicotine products
- History of other forms of cancer
- Health history of parents and siblings (blood-related)
- History of drug or alcohol abuse
- Prescription history
- Cardiovascular history (e.g. stroke or history of high blood pressure)
- Driving record (e.g. DUI conviction)
Best Life Insurance Companies For Breast Cancer
Some life insurance companies underwrite a history of breast cancer more favorably than others.
If you are in remission, consider the following for term life insurance:
Keep in mind – usually, individual consideration is made and a medical director may review your application.
Note – Foresters is a highly-rated no physical life insurance company.
Patients currently in treatment will need to buy a guaranteed issue policy, a form of no exam life insurance.
If you are in treatment, we recommend the following guaranteed issue (GI) life insurance companies:
Keep in mind – GI policies typically cap at $40,000 (or less) and there are no health questions.
Life Insurance Quotes With Breast Cancer
Because every applicant is unique, consider sample quotes as just that, merely examples.
Quotes For Life Insurance With A History Of Breast Cancer
|Standard Plus||Standard||Table 2||Table 4|
|40 year old||$11.46||$12.86||$16.23||$19.60|
|50 year old||$17.94||$20.30||$27.39||$34.48|
|60 year old||$33.43||$41.74||$59.54||$77.35|
|70 year old||$80.94||$93.95||$138.59||$183.23|
|80 year old||$220.41||$362.95||$541.36||$719.78|
Note – a table rating means that a surcharge of somewhere between 25 – 200% is placed on your premiums, due to a higher risk.
Who Qualifies For The Lowest Rates?
In order to be approved for a Standard Plus or Standard health rating, in general, you will need to meet most of the following conditions:
- Minimal lymph node involvement
- Remission for many months, up to 10+ years
- Early-stage and low-grade breast cancer
- Successful treatment that is complete
- Decent overall health
Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants regularly ask the following questions.
What are my options if I am still in treatment?
You will (almost always) only be able to buy guaranteed issue life insurance if you are currently in treatment for breast cancer.
How can I find the most affordable policy I qualify for?
There are a number of things within your control.
First, you will need to evaluate multiple companies, as each carrier underwrites breast cancer differently. Partner with an independent agent.
Second, you need to be proactive. For example, be sure to get in touch with your oncologist so that you can disclose your pathology report to your agent.
Third, demonstrate responsibility by regularly going to your doctor. Proactive healthcare is viewed favorably by underwriters.
What if I have already been declined coverage?
Do not fret.
A decline with one company does not mean a decline across the board.
You may still be able to find traditional coverage with another carrier, or at the very least, a guaranteed issue policy.
Should I wait to apply?
Even if you may qualify for lower rates in the future, do not wait to apply for coverage.
The best time to buy life insurance was yesterday. Today is the second-best.
You can always reapply for better rates if your health has improved or you have surpassed the required wait time for a traditional policy.
To get started, fill out your free quote.