Most insurers won't approve an application until a specified recovery period has passed. This is usually 2-3 years but can be as much as 5-10 years.
This means, if you apply for life insurance during this period, it's likely that you'll be denied, or at least the application will be postponed until the desired recovery period has been reached.
The length of the desired recovery differs between insurers, so it's essential to shop around and find the cover which best suits you.
The cost of premiums can be affected by a number of factors.
The sooner you apply for life insurance after recovery, the higher your monthly premium is likely to be.
This is because the chance of recurrence becomes less as time goes on and therefore, you become less of a risk to the insurer over time.
The type and stage of your cancer, as well as the treatment you've received, also has a significant effect on the cost of your premium. This is to account for the likelihood of cancer returning.
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.
For this reason, it can be beneficial to discuss the application with your consultant to determine the information they're likely to pass to the insurer.
Summary of information you'll be expected to provide:
- Time since recovery
- Type of cancer and grading, (if this is unknown, your insurer can obtain the information from your GP)
- What type of treatment you had, how long you underwent it and whether it was successful
- Full medical examination
Some policy add-ons may be affected even if you're able to secure cover.
Some life insurance policies incorporate add-ons such as critical illness cover.
This means that if you contract one of the illnesses detailed by the policy, one of which is usually cancer, you'll receive an early pay out.
However, when arranging a new policy, if you've previously had cancer but wish to include critical illness, the insurer may have it written into the agreement that the previous illness be excluded from a claim.
Alternatively, in some instances, as opposed to the exclusion taken place, the premiums are increased to account for the risk of possible recurrence.
On the rare occasion, you could still be declined for a policy.
In most cases, there's an option for cancer survivors to obtain life insurance.
However, if the type of cancer was of a certain severity or resulted in further medical complications, there's the possibility you may be denied life insurance altogether.
Always ask the question though, as there's usually an alternative option available.
It's recommended that prior to going through the formal quotation stage, you ask for a number of informal quotes.
This is because if an insurer carries out a formal quote and the application is denied, insurers can pass on the fact that this denied quotation has been made.
There are a number of insurers which offer policies to those who have previously had cancer.
Using an insurance broker with a specialised team, such as our impaired risk team, can allow you to find the most suitable policy at an affordable price.