7 Ways Kidney Cancer Affects Life Insurance [Instant Quotes]

You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.

– Stuart Scott

A serious medical diagnosis, like kidney cancer, often prompts us to take a serious look at what’s most important – such as our loved ones.

Regardless of what the future holds, you will want to make sure those you care about most are financial secure. Cancer often puts “buy life insurance” towards the top of your to-do list.

ThankfullyCancer patients buy life insurance all the time.

However, your kidney cancer, aslo called renal cell cancer, will affect your life insurance application in seven important ways.

Here, you’ll find everything life insurance carriers will want to know about your kidney cancer and how you can buy the best policy you qualify for.

Table Of Contents

  1. Underwriting Questions
  2. No Medical Exam
  3. Apply For Life Insurance

Life Insurance And Kidney Cancer Questions

Be prepared to answer some important questions about your kidney cancer during the life insurance application process.

Keep in mind, the more upfront and prepared you are, the faster your application can be processed.

Let’s uncover the seven important questions underwriters ask.

Note – the questions refer to a traditional life insurance policy. Guaranteed issue policies do not ask health questions.

Subject to change.

1. What was the date of your diagnosis?

The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 64. Kidney cancer is very uncommon in people younger than age 45.

American Cancer Society

In the eyes of an underwriter, the more time that has passed since your diagnosis, the better.

Why? It demonstrates less risk. Put simply, you generally have less of a chance for recurrence the longer it has been since the onset of your kidney cancer.

2. What was the stage of your kidney cancer?

Your kidney cancer stage plays a direct role in the type of life insurance policy available to you.

Unsurprisingly, the more advanced your cancer was, the more difficult it becomes to find a traditional policy.

Your doctor likely focused on three important questions to determine your stage:

  1. What is the size of the cancer in your kidney?
  2. Has the cancer spread to areas beyond the kidney?
  3. Are lymph nodes and/or distant organs involved?

Stage 0 and 1

Best case scenario.

Your kidney cancer is less than or equal to 7 cm. The tumor is confined to the kidney.

While each applicant is unique, you can generally expect to qualify for a traditional policy after approximately 1 – 2 years.

Traditional policies include:

Stage 2

Kidney tumor is larger than 7 cm and is contained within the kidney. No lymph node involvement.

In general, Stage 2 kidney cancer survivors will need to wait about 5 years (or more) before purchasing traditional life insurance.

Keep in mind, carriers typically rate policies at this point. In other words, your premiums are surcharged somewhere between 25 – 200%.

Stage 3 and 4

Your cancer has spread beyond the kidneys. Specific to Stage 3, cancer has not spread beyond Gerota’s fascia. In the case of Stage 4, the main tumor has spread beyond Gerota’s fascia.

At Stages 3 and 4, your available life insurance options change.

Because advanced stages are considered higher risk, almost all carriers will offer a policy that has a smaller face amount than a traditional policy:

We don’t recommend a guaranteed issue policy as your first choice. However, for someone who would otherwise not qualify for coverage, it can be a godsend. Some life insurance is better than no life insurance.

3. What type of treatments did you receive?

Thankfully, they’re continues to be advancements in the treatment of kidney cancer.

Your underwriter, when you are applying for a traditional policy, wants to know the type of treatment(s) you received and whether you experienced side effects.

Depending on the type of kidney cancer you had, whether or not it had spread, and your overall health, your doctor likely prescribed one or more of the following treatments:

  • Surgery – either kidney removal or tumor removal
  • Cryoablation – freezing of cancer cells
  • Radiofrequency ablation – burning of cancer cells
  • Biological therapy – drugs to harness the immune system
  • Targeted therapy – drugs to block abnormal signals sent by cancerous cells
  • Radiation – high-powered beams of energy to kill cancerous cells
  • Clinical trials – (especially with advanced-stage) research trials to find new ways to treat cancer

Plan to communicate serious negative side effects you experienced.

4. What was the date of your last treatment?

Underwriters are looking for a certain period of time to have passed since your last treatment, hinging on the stage of your kidney cancer.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the last date of your treatment because it affects the type of policy you can purchase.

For example, based on your diagnosis and overall health, you may need to wait anywhere from one year to more than five years since completing treatment – for a traditional policy.

5. Are you attending follow-up appointments?

Proactive care of your health is ideal in the underwriter’s eyes. For example, it’s best to demonstrate that you are regularly meeting with your physician for follow-up medical care.

Keep track of the appointments you are attending so you can communicate whether you are meeting with your doctor as recommended.

6. Do you use tobacco?

In particular, smoking negatively affects life insurance and is closely related to kidney cancer.

Puffing cigarettes increases the likelihood of developing the deadliest form of kidney cancer. But by quitting, smokers lower their chances of developing severe kidney cancer.

Duke University School of Medicine

If you use tobacco, be honest during the application. You won’t be declined coverage as a result of tobacco use, but you will likely be charged higher premiums.

If you have quit smoking, congratulations! Typically, underwriters will want to see you tobacco-free for at least one year (sometimes longer) before offering non-tobacco rates.

7. Are you in remission? How is your overall health?

Keep in mind, it’s the job of the underwriter to evaluate how much risk an applicant presents, and then charge accordingly.

For traditional life insurance, you will need to be in remission (for a year or longer, depending on your kidney cancer diagnosis).

If not, current cancer patients have different life insurance options. Until you have been in remission for the required amount of time, you will need to purchase a guaranteed issue policy.

Also, plan to communicate your overall health status. There are factors that increase your risk of developing kidney cancer:

No Exam Life Insurance For Kidney Cancer

Life insurance with no exam required is available to cancer survivors and cancer patients.

For many, there is zero interest in participating in a medical exam during a life insurance application.

Most top-rated life insurance companies realize this and are increasing their options to buy life insurance without needles, nurses or liquid samples.


There are a number of no physical life insurance companies that offer coverage to cancer survivors.

You will want to work with an independent agent to assess the best company to apply with because each will underwrite a history of cancer a little differently.


Cancer patients have one type of life insurance policy available: guaranteed issue life insurance.

Guaranteed issue is a type of no exam life insurance, with some defining characteristics:

  • No health questions
  • Policies typically cap at $25,000 (can go up to $40,000 with specific carrier)
  • Graded death benefit – you will need to wait for usually 2 years before beneficiaries receive all policy proceeds
  • Age restrictions – most carriers require you to be between 50 – 80 years old (however, Great Western begins coverage at age 40)

Apply For Life Insurance

You CAN buy a life insurance policy after a kidney cancer diagnosis.

In order to purchase the best policy you qualify for, do two things:

Record your health history

The best way to quickly secure a life insurance policy is to have your medical information at hand.

Specially, keep your physician’s information, dates related to your cancer treatment, and general health history recorded.

Collaborate with an independent agent

Especially if you have encountered health complications, like kidney cancer, you will want to partner with an independent agent.

Independent agents will work on your behalf to access multiple quotes from the top carriers in order to find the best-priced policy you qualify for.

Fill out our free instant quote to start the process.