How To Buy Life Insurance After Colon Cancer

There are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States. – American Cancer Society

A serious health complication, like colon cancer, often puts “buy life insurance” at the top of your to-do list.

Important – Cancer survivors and cancer patients buy life insurance all the time.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about finding life insurance after colon cancer.

Table Of Contents

  1. Essential Facts
  2. Colon Cancer Questions
  3. No Exam Options
  4. How To Buy

Colon Cancer And Life Insurance Overview


Cancer originating in the cells of the colon or rectum, part of the digestive tract’s lower end.

Can I Buy Life Insurance If I’ve Had Colon Cancer?


Life insurance options are available for colon cancer patients and, especially, colon cancer survivors.

Depending on your diagnosis and treatment(s), it’s possible for you to purchase a traditional life insurance policy, such as 20-year term life insurance.

Will I Pay A Surcharge?


Life insurance carriers absorb varying levels of risk when they issue life insurance policies.

If an applicant poses more risk than the average person, they will likely be surcharged. Carriers call the surcharge a “flat extra” or Rated policy.

Specific to colon cancer, it is possible to pay Standard pricing for your policy, however, your specific diagnosis and treatments must be assessed.

Generally, underwriters tend to view a history of colon cancer fairly seriously.

What If I Had Advanced Colon Cancer?

There are still life insurance options for advanced (typically Stage 3 and Stage 4) cancer cases.

However, you will need to look beyond traditional life insurance.

For advanced cancer, and for those still undergoing treatment, you will need to take a look at Guaranteed Issue life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue (GI) is a guaranteed yes. Regardless of health complications, you will be approved for this type of coverage. GI is a form of no exam life insurance.

Keep in mind, GI policies are modest in size. However, some life insurance is better than zero life insurance.

Colon Cancer Questions Asked By Underwriters

Be prepared to answer seven specific questions pertaining to your cancer. The type of policy you are able to purchase will be determined by your answers.

Important – Be honest and upfront about your cancer in order to secure the best life insurance policy you qualify for.

colon cancer

1. When were you diagnosed with colon cancer?  How old were you?

How long ago you were diagnosed?

In general, the longer it has been since your diagnosis, the better. Why? Underwriters consider a recent diagnosis as a higher risk because it represents less time to demonstrate your remission and overall health.

Further, a recent diagnosis means you may still be receiving treatment. Cancer patients, in general, have fewer life insurance options than cancer survivors.

What was your age at diagnosis?

Most life insurance carriers view a colon cancer diagnosis after the age of 50 more favorably.

Why? Simply put, the younger you were at diagnosis, the more time for a possible recurrence or other health complications.

It’s worth noting that colon cancer incidences are on the rise for younger Americans.

Nearly one-third of rectal cancer patients are younger than age 55 years. – Journal of the National Cancer Institute 

You still have life insurance options if your diagnosis occurred before age 65.

However, most carriers will require you to wait longer before approval for traditional life insurance. (As an example, you may need to wait 5 years instead of 2 – 3 years.)

Note – Most often, the best case scenario for qualifying for traditional life insurance is a wait time of one year after remission.

2. What was the stage of your colon cancer?

Carriers will ask you about the specific staging of your cancer to assess your risk.

We’ll explain how underwriters typically view each stage.

Your age and unique medical report are two primary factors in determining whether you can qualify for a Standard policy and potentially how long you will need to wait to skip the flat extras.

Stage 0

Abnormal cells are found in the innermost layer of your colon.

Best case scenario.

It’s possible to qualify for a Standard (no surcharge) policy. You may need to wait between 1 – 5 years depending on your age and medical report.

Stage I

Cancer is confined to the inner lining of your colon.

Again, a Standard policy is often available. Wait time is usually between 3 – 5 years.

Stage II

Cancer has spread into or through the colon wall (or rectum). Lymph nodes are not involved.

It becomes more difficult at Stage II and beyond to secure a traditional policy. Your policy will likely be Rated and you will need to wait between 2 – 5 years, or possibly up to 10 years, following treatment.

Stage III and Stage IV

Cancer has moved to lymph nodes, and with Stage IV, other parts of your body.

Your life insurance options are more limited with late-stage colon cancer. You will want to buy a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

The top three carriers we recommend for Guaranteed Issue are:

  1. AIG Guaranteed Issue Whole Life
  2. Gerber Guaranteed Issue 
  3. Great Western Guaranteed Assurance

3. What was your tumor size?

Tumor size affects how successfully your cancer can be treated.

Tumor size proved to be an independent prognostic parameter for patients with colorectal cancer. – National Insistitutes of Health, NCBI

Unsurprisingly, there is an inverse relationship between tumor size and positive treatment outcomes.

Statistics from the National Institutes of Health indicate the median tumor size is 4.5 cm, with a range of 0.6 – 45 cm.

4. What forms of treatment did you receive?

Different treatment options exist for colon cancer. Your physician closely evaluated your diagnosis and prognosis to determine the best course of action.

Plan to communicate your treatment history:

  • Polyp removal
  • Surgery (communicate specific procedure)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Drug therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Proton beam therapy
  • Clinical trials

Underwriters want to understand what type of medical support you have received and the potential side effects associated with your specific treatments.

5. What was the date of your last treatment?

This particular question is important to determine if you can qualify for traditional life insurance.

Remember, it could be a number of years – anywhere between 1 – 10 years – before you are able to purchase a term life insurance policy or a whole life insurance policy. (This is for Stages 0 – II)

6. Are you going to follow-up appointments?

Life insurance underwriters like to see proactive care of your health.

By keeping your appointments with your doctors, you are demonstrating responsibility, not to mention monitoring of your health.

Conversely, skipping prescribed follow-up doctor’s appointments will negatively affect your life insurance application.

7. Are you in remission? Do you have other health complications?

In order to qualify for a traditional policy, you will need to demonstrate remission from your colon cancer. Your age and specific diagnosis will determine how long you will need to have been in remission.

Additionally, it’s common to experience other health complications if you are a cancer survivor (or patient). You will be asked about your overall health and lifestyle as well.

For example, your risk for colon cancer increased if you are:

No Exam Life Insurance For Colon Cancer

A number of no exam life insurance options exist.

Colon Cancer Survivors

For traditional life insurance, cancer survivors with a demonstrated history of remission (typically for at least 5 years) can qualify.

Always evaluate the best no physical life insurance companies before applying. Each carrier is different and there are a few who underwrite a history of cancer more favorably. For example, Phoenix Life Insurance Company accepts cancer survivors for their no traditional no exam product.

Colon Cancer Patients

If you are currently in treatment for life insurance, your coverage option is guaranteed issue life insurance. Keep in mind, it’s better to have a modest policy than no life insurance.

You can always apply for traditional coverage if you go into remission and surpass the required number of years of wait time.

How to Buy Life Insurance

Colon cancer patients and survivors need to do two things in order to find the best policy they qualify for.

  1. Partner with an independent agent – You will want access to multiple quotes from multiple carriers. Life insurance companies view cancer differently and you will want to evaluate your options before applying.
  2. Be ready to communicate – In order to purchase a policy quickly and efficiently, be prepared to accurately answer the details of your cancer and treatments.

To get started, simply feel out our free quote.