Can you get life insurance after cancer?

Yes, it may still be possible to get life insurance after surviving cancer.

If you've had any form of cancer in the past, insurers will regard it as a pre-existing medical condition, meaning each application would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

With over 200 types of cancer now prevalent in society, it’s predicted that one in two people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime[1].

This highlights the growing need to financially protect your loved ones should the worst happen.

However, many question whether they can secure cover after a cancer diagnosis.

Thankfully there are multiple insurers, including those available through Reassured, who offer life insurance to those who’ve previously had some forms of cancer.

Using an insurance broker with specialised staff, such as our impaired life insurance team, could help you to get some form of cover. Simply contact us today.

Do you need to tell insurers about your cancer diagnosis?

Yes, you’ll need to disclose a previous cancer diagnosis during the application process.

Insurers require this information so they can accurately assess the level of risk you pose and offer the most appropriate policy options.

Failure to provide this information is known as non-disclosure and it can prevent a pay out from being made to your loved ones.

The exception to this is with an over 50s plan as you won’t be obligated to disclose any medical information with this policy type.

If you already have life insurance in place and are diagnosed with cancer during the term, you aren’t obligated to inform your insurer.

Providing all the information when completing the application was correct, your new diagnosis won’t impact your current policy.

How long after cancer can you get life insurance?

Most insurers won't approve an application until a specified recovery period has passed. This is usually 2 - 3 years but can be up to 5 - 10 years.

If you apply for life insurance during this recovery period, it's likely that you'll be denied, or the application will be postponed until the desired recovery period has been reached.

As the desired recovery period differs between insurers, it's essential to shop around and find the cover which best suits you.

How much is life insurance after cancer?

The cost of life insurance premiums after cancer can be affected by a number of factors.

You’ll need to provide both standard information and details about your cancer diagnosis.

Your personal details include:

Your ageOn average, the younger you are, the cheaper your policy premiums will be
Smoking statusSmokers pay a higher premium, on average
OccupationsHigh risk occupations will require higher premiums on average
Policy detailsA longer policy term and higher sum assured (pay out amount) will be reflected in your premiums
Drug useYour application is likely to be declined if you actively use drugs
High-risk hobbiesDangerous or high-risk hobbies will result in higher premiums


Information about your diagnosis includes:

Time since recoveryTo know if a specified recovery period has passed
Type of cancer and gradingYour insurer can obtain this information from your GP (with your permission)
Treatment typesInsurers will need to know the type and length of the treatment you underwent, and whether it was successful
MedicationAny medication you’ve taken during and after cancer
Full medical examinationMost insurers will cover these costs


The type and stage of your cancer, as well as the treatment you've received, will have a significant effect on your premium. This is to account for the likelihood of cancer returning.

The sooner you apply for life insurance after the specified recovery period, the higher your monthly life insurance premium is likely to be.

This is because the chance of recurrence reduces over time and, therefore, you become less of a risk to the insurer.

It's highly likely that your insurer will want to obtain information from your consultant, as well as have you undergo a medical, prior to calculating your premium.

Reassured can find affordable cover for cancer survivors by comparing quotes from a panel of mainstream providers and smaller specialists.

Our friendly team can then walk you through the whole application process.

We can also provide the below calculator to help you determine how much life insurance you may need.

Life Insurance Calculator

Calculate how much life insurance you may need by filling in the costs you’d like your policy to cover.

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£137,934 is the estimated mortgage debt per household in the UK.

The purchase of a home is likely to be the largest financial commitment any of us will make in our lifetime. Your life insurance should cover your remaining mortgage balance to allow your loved ones to stay in the family home should anything happen to you.

Source: Moneynerd.co.uk

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The average monthly household budget in the UK is £2,548 (that’s £30,576 per year), which is spent on transport, food & drink, utilities (gas, electricity, water etc), clothing, council tax and leisure activities.

With energy prices hitting a record high and the cost of living rising sharply in the UK, you may wish to factor in utility bills and family living expenses into your cover.

Source: Nimblefins.co.uk

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The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.

Source: Money.co.uk

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According to SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,953 (with the overall cost of dying at £9,200).

Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

Source: SunLife.co.uk

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When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

This could include childcare (£7,000 per year for part-time care), school expenses (£1,519 per school year for uniforms, lunches, stationary etc), as well as an additional sum for further education (this could be a contribution of up to £5,000 per year).

Sources: Daynurseries.co.uk, Primarytimes.co.uk & Savethestudent.org

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2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.

Source: Moneyage.co.uk

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If you’re lucky enough to have your own savings or are part of the 30% of UK residents who already have a life insurance policy in place, this can provide financial protection for loved ones.

By entering your current cover, savings or death in service amount you can reduce the sum assured you require.

Source: Scottishbusinessnews.net

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Life insurance policy options after cancer

Due to the level of risk involved, some policy options may be more attainable than others when securing life insurance after cancer.

This is because some policies will require you to provide medical information during the application process.

Disclosing a previous cancer diagnosis could impact the policy terms you’re offered and the price you’ll pay.

While it’s not impossible to secure cover, you may be required to undergo additional questioning, have a medical exam, or have your policy written via manual underwriting.

The most common forms of life insurance and how they’re likely to be impacted by a cancer diagnosis are:

Level term life insurance after cancer
  • Provides a fixed lump sum
  • Term is predefined and can last up to 40 years
  • Fixed monthly premiums
  • Medical information is required so your cancer diagnosis may impact your application.
  • Pay out will only be made if you pass away during the term

A great choice for those who:

  • Have an interest-based mortgage
  • Want to provide a fixed lump sum to their loved ones if they pass away
Decreasing term life insurance after cancer
  • Provides a lump sum which decreases over time
  • Term is predefined and can last up to 40 years
  • Fixed monthly premiums
  • Medical information is required so your cancer diagnosis may impact your application
  • Pay out will only be made if you pass away during the term

A good option for those who:

  • Have a repayment mortgage
  • Are on a tighter budget (as this is the cheapest life insurance, on average)
Whole of life insurance after cancer
  • Provides a fixed lump sum
  • Cover lasts for life and guarantees a pay out
  • Fixed monthly premiums
  • Medical information required so your cancer diagnosis may impact your application
  • Pay out is made to loved ones regardless of when you pass away
  • This can be a costly option as you would pay inflated premiums for the rest of your life

A great option for those who:

  • Want to guarantee a fixed lump sum for their loved ones
  • Who are older, who have been cancer free for a long period, are in good overall health otherwise and require a larger sum assured than over 50s provides
  • This can be a costly option as you would pay inflated premiums for the rest of your life
Over 50s life insurance after cancer
  • Provides a fixed lump sum
  • Cover lasts for life and guarantees a pay out
  • Fixed monthly premiums
  • Medical information not required so your cancer diagnosis won’t impact your application
  • Pay out is made to loved ones regardless of when you pass away
  • Most have a 12 - 24 month waiting period. If you pass away in this period due to natural causes, a pay out won’t be made but premiums are refunded to loved ones
  • Pay out is made to loved ones regardless of when you pass away once the waiting period has passed. This is the first 12 - 24 months of the policy where a pay out won’t be made if you pass away due to natural causes (but a refund of premiums will be issued to your loved ones)

A good choice for those who:

  • Are a UK resident aged between 50 - 85 (as acceptance is guaranteed within this age range)
  • Have a history of or are currently living with additional health conditions
  • Have struggled to secure other forms of life insurance, due to a cancer diagnosis

Life insurance policies may also include terminal illness cover or can have critical illness cover added.

Terminal illness cover

  • Included as standard with all term-based life insurance through Reassured
  • Provides cover if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness which gives you less than 12 months to live
  • This could be used to help cover end-of-life care costs

Critical illness cover

  • Can be added to term-based life insurance for an additional cost
  • Provides additional cover if you’re diagnosed with a new life-changing, but not terminal illness
  • Pay outs could be used for care costs, home adaptations and other necessities

As a cancer survivor, it can be more difficult to secure critical illness cover and exclusions for cancer related illnesses could be added to your critical illness cover by some insurers.

Can you get life insurance after breast cancer UK?

Yes, it could be possible to secure life insurance as a breast cancer survivor.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the UK, with around 1 in 8 women being diagnosed in their lifetime[2]. In rare cases, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Just like any form of cancer, insurers will need to know certain details about your condition. Such as:

  • What treatment you’ve had (and how long for)?
  • When you were diagnosed?
  • When you last had treatment?
  • What stage your cancer was?

You may experience loaded (higher) premiums due to the increased risk, or your application may be postponed until a recovery period has been reached. In some cases, you may be declined life insurance.

Can you get life insurance after prostate cancer?

Yes, obtaining life insurance as a prostate cancer survivor could be possible.

However, underwriting processes will vary between insurers so it’s important to compare quotes to find the most favourable policy.

In the UK, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer within their lifetime. The risk of being diagnosed increases with age[3].

This highlights the need to have adequate life insurance in case the worst were to happen.

You’ll need to provide medical information (detailed above) so that insurers can assess the level of risk you pose.

It’s likely that you will experience higher premiums or a postponed application if a certain recovery time has not yet been reached.

Both breast cancer and prostate cancer are more prevalent in those over 50, making over 50s life insurance a good option if you’re diagnosed, between 50 - 85, and a UK resident.

However, you would have to survive 12 - 24 months from the policy’s start date in order for a claim to be successful.

Can you get life insurance after skin cancer?

Yes, it could be possible to secure life insurance if you’re a survivor of skin cancer.

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with around 15,400 people being diagnosed with the condition each year.

As with many other cancers, the risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer increases as you get older[4].

Just like breast and prostate cancer, if you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer prior to securing life insurance, insurers will need to know certain information about your condition.

This includes when you were diagnosed, what stage the cancer was at, what treatment you received and when you last had treatment.

Premiums may be increased due to the higher risk you pose to the insurer, or your application may be postponed until a specified recovery period has been reached.

Insurers may also want to contact your GP or consultant or may ask you to undergo a medical exam to get a better understanding of your condition.

Can you get critical illness cover after cancer?

Yes, it might be possible to secure critical illness cover after you’ve had cancer.

However, like life insurance, whether you’re offered cover will depend on:

  • The severity of your condition
  • Type of cancer
  • What treatment you had
  • When you last experienced symptoms

Insurers may also only offer cover once a certain recovery period has been reached.

As cancer is commonly covered within critical illness cover, insurers will need to mitigate the increased risk of a claim being made.

This might involve exclusions for cancer or cancer related illnesses being added to the policy and/or inflations to the premium you’ll pay. An exclusion means you won’t be able to make a claim for this condition and, sometimes, other associated conditions.

Alternatively, some insurers may decline you for critical illness cover.

What if your cancer is terminal?

Unfortunately, if diagnosed with terminal cancer, you'll be unable to secure conventional term-based life insurance as your risk is too high.

However, depending on your life expectancy diagnosis, it could be possible to take out over 50 life insurance.

Acceptance is guaranteed to UK residents aged 50 - 85 and offers life insurance with no medical.

Due to this you have no obligation to disclose your cancer diagnosis.

The only condition to take into consideration is that you're required to live a minimum of 1 or 2 years from the start of the policy, depending on the insurer. This is known as the waiting or qualifying period.

If you have life cover already in place when being diagnosed with terminal cancer, check your policy details to see if it includes terminal illness cover.

This will allow you to make an early claim on your policy and receive an early pay out, which can help you fund medical treatment and get your financial affairs in order.

Over 50s plans with terminal illness cover is not available through Reassured.

What if someone else in your family has had cancer?

You’ll still be able to secure life insurance if someone in your family has been diagnosed with cancer.

However, your family medical history can affect the cost of your monthly premiums and policy options.

Certain forms of cancer can be hereditary. Therefore, if a close relative (mother, father, sister or brother) has previously been diagnosed before the age of 65, it's highly likely to increase the cost of your premium.

It's important that this doesn’t deter you from disclosing all information about your family’s medical history during the application.

This can lead to non-disclosure which can result in the denial of a pay out when the time comes.

What if you get cancer during the term of your policy?

Your policy won't be affected, providing you were honest during the application.

If you fully disclosed all the required information about your medical wellbeing and family history in the application process, your existing life insurance won’t be affected and the pay out will be honoured by the insurer.

Certain cover options will provide you with a pay out if you're diagnosed with cancer during the term of your policy. Typically, this in the form of:

  • Critical illness cover - Can be added to term-based cover for an additional cost
  • Terminal illness cover - Included with all term-based cover

Being diagnosed with cancer doesn't affect your special event option

A special event (or guaranteed insurability) option allows you to increase your level of cover without the need for additional underwriting. It’s included in some policies, or it may be added as an optional benefit at the point of purchase which incurs an additional cost.

If your policy includes the special event option, it can be used for life changing events such as having a baby, moving house or getting married.

Even if you're diagnosed with cancer, you still have this option available to you and can increase your level of cover in the instance of a specified special event occurring. However, being diagnosed with cancer would not be classed as an event which would allow you to amend your policy.

Can you take out life insurance pre-diagnosis?

When a doctor mentions cancer, it's normal for people to think about the future of their loved ones and how it'll be affected.

Therefore, when suspecting a diagnosis of cancer, many people will question whether they can take out life insurance as a precaution for the worst.

Unfortunately, once you’ve had this discussion with your GP, it must be disclosed during the application process to ensure your policy is valid.

In this instance, it's likely that your application will be postponed until the results have been obtained and a diagnosis has been made.

Will life insurance pay out for cancer?

Whether a life insurance pay out will be made for cancer will depend on whether you were diagnosed before or after your application.

Being diagnosed when your life insurance is already in place doesn't affect the terms of your policy, and a pay out will be made to your loved ones as it would with any other cause of death.

Similarly, if you have terminal illness cover or critical illness cover in place you should be able to make a claim.

Cancer help and support

If you're affected by cancer, the following websites could provide you with valuable support:

Life insurance quotes for cancer survivors

Whether you’re a cancer survivor or have a family history of cancer, be reassured that there could be options available.

Why not get in touch with an FCA-regulated life insurance broker, like Reassured, to discuss your policy options?

A friendly member of the team can take your personal circumstances into consideration and provide you with details of the insurers from our panel who are most likely to offer you cover.

We also have a dedicated impaired team who could help applicants who have been declined in the past.

The best bit is you can use our award-winning service to compare quotes completely free of charge.

Sources:

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/

[3] https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer

[4] https://www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/information-gps/gp-resources/skin-cancer/skin-cancer-incidence-and-risk-factors

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