Breast Cancer Life Insurance | Breast Cancer Survivor Life Insurance

Breast cancer life insurance coverage is possible and can be affordable. Breast cancer survivors can get life insurance by proving they have received full treatment and completed regular follow-up visits per doctor’s orders. Rates can be as low as $58 per month or $696 annually if you are in remission. If you’re a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient, your term life insurance application may be postponed for months or years. However, you can still purchase guaranteed issue life insurance.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2021

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Quick Facts

  • Breast cancer life insurance coverage is possible as long as you’ve completed treatments, regularly followed up with your doctor, and have no other health concerns. Rates can be as low as $58 per month or $696 annually.
  • If you are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, your application may be postponed for months to years before you can be approved of term life insurance coverage. However, you can still purchase guaranteed issue life insurance.
  • It will be very difficult to find term life insurance options for Stage 4 breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women in the United States. Life insurance is an important protection that should be available to everyone, but cancer is considered a pre-existing condition. The big question is, can you find affordable breast cancer life insurance quotes? 

Thankfully, you can get life insurance even as a breast cancer patient or survivor. Although the different types of term life insurance may be higher for breast cancer patients, we can help you learn tricks and tips for securing a reasonable rate. 

Read through our guide to learn how you can get life insurance after a breast cancer diagnosis, and we’ll explore how your diagnosis impacts those rates. We’ll even look at real samples of breast cancer life insurance rates.

Before you buy life insurance with breast cancer, take the time to compare rates by entering your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

How do you shop for life insurance quotes with breast cancer?

Any cancer diagnosis is already very stressful. If you’re stuck in a panic wondering to yourself, “can I get life insurance if I have cancer?”, then you’ve come to the right place.  

Let’s discuss how to get life insurance for breast cancer survivors and for those who’ve been newly diagnosed. Thankfully, for those with breast cancer, many companies are willing to provide life insurance options.

The best place to buy life insurance is online, and believe it or not, life insurance with a history of breast cancer or even a current diagnosis of cancer is not only possible but is also affordable.

There are many different kinds of life insurance policies available to consumers. If you have cancer, certain kinds of life insurance will be easier to secure than others.

Check out the table below to learn what your life insurance options are if you are shopping for life insurance quotes with breast cancer. 

Life Insurance Policy Options for Breast Cancer Survivors
Breast Cancer StageLife Insurance Policy Option
In remission (past waiting period)Term life insurance or Whole life insurance
Are cancer-free (within waiting period)Guaranteed issue
Currently have cancer Guaranteed issue
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Can you get life insurance with cancer? As you can see, you can get a cancer life insurance policy. There are both term life and whole life insurance options available from the best companies for life insurance, especially if you are in remission.

If you’re approved for preferred life insurance rates, you can be approved for costs as low as $58 per month or $696 annually even after surviving breast cancer. 

Now, let’s look at how your specific diagnosis and breast cancer stage will impact your ability to qualify for coverage at a reasonable rate. Read on. 

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How do breast cancer stages affect life insurance eligibility?

Can someone with breast cancer get life insurance? As we’ve previously discussed, yes, there will be a handful of options available to you. However, the stage of breast cancer you were diagnosed with, and when the diagnosis occurred, will impact the process. 

Unfortunately, most people are considered to be uninsurable directly after receiving a cancer diagnosis. If you’re diagnosed in an early stage, it’s common to have to wait months or even years after your treatments before companies will cover you.  

At the end of the day, each person’s case is unique and insurance companies are going to consider your diagnosis in different ways. For the best experience, find a life insurance company for breast cancer that is compatible with you and familiar with working for cancer patients and survivors.

Now let’s take a look at some examples from real-life insurance customers to get an idea of how your stage of breast cancer can impact your life insurance eligibility. We’ll also look at some example rates for customers who have or have had breast cancer.

What breast cancer stages lead to good life insurance outcomes?

If you are a breast cancer survivor who has been in remission with no other health issues, you’ll have an easy time securing affordable life insurance. This is especially true if it’s been a number of years since your treatments. 

What about a very slow-moving diagnosis, like Stage 0 breast cancer? According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Stage 0 breast cancer is considered to be non-invasive and does not typically require any chemotherapy.  

This brings us to our first customer example, Nancy. She is set up to receive some of the more affordable premiums for a breast cancer patient. She applied for term life insurance when she was 56 years old. 

Term life insurance lasts for only a specified length of time, usually 10, 20, or 30 years. If you do not pass before your policy term is up, you can renew your policy. However, the cost might increase due to your increase in age. 

Below, see some of her other demographics that life insurance underwriters use to determine her rates. 

  • Diagnosed at age 50
  • Stage 0 breast cancer
  • Treatment involved surgery, radiation and chemotherapy
  • No lymph node involvement, no metastasis
  • Visits her doctor twice a year for mammograms
  • No other medical conditions
  • Outcome:  Approved at a Standard rating class
  • Premium: $700 annually

Nancy was approved at the Standard rating class for her term life insurance policy. That’s the same rating class any person in normal health will also fall into. It isn’t the cheapest rate, but it is average.

To those wondering, can I get life insurance if I had breast cancer? If you are in remission, have a very slow-moving stage of breast cancer, and have no other medical issues, you should be able to be approved for term life insurance at the Standard level like Nancy.

While this might not be the perfect outcome, it’s definitely better than what could happen. Next, you’ll see how breast cancer stages affect eligibility for life insurance.

What breast cancer stages lead to postponing life insurance?

In some cases, a cancer diagnosis makes a person temporarily uninsurable in the eyes of providers. In those cases, your application may be put on pause for a number of months or even years.

According to Cancer.Net, there are 4 common breast cancer stages. Stage 2 breast cancer is considered to be where the stages get more serious. A cancer diagnosis can also be restaged throughout the treatment process. 

It is not uncommon for breast cancer patients with a Stage 2 diagnosis or higher to be told they need to wait 10 years after their treatments have ended before they can be approved of a policy. Usually, at that time, the coverage will also cost more than average.

This is the case of our next example customer, Jillian. She is not going to have as good of an outcome as our first example. She also applied for term life insurance, but she was 45 years old.

See Jillian’s other demographics being considered by life insurance underwriters below:

  • Diagnosed at age 42
  • Stage 2 breast cancer
  • Treatment involved surgery, radiation and chemotherapy
  • Minor lymph node involvement, no metastasis
  • Visits her doctor twice a year for mammograms
  • No other medical conditions
  • Outcome: Postponed for ten years from treatment ending (age 50)

To those still wondering, can you get life insurance if you had cancer? This is a good example of a situation that could occur and result in denial of coverage. 

If Jillian continued shopping, she could potentially find a company that won’t delay her life insurance policy. However, it will take a lot of time and patience. If you’re in this situation, consider working with an agent who has experience finding life insurance for breast cancer patients. 

Similarly, you might consider sharing your pathology report with either your agent or the companies you are interested in and have been in contact with directly. You can request an unofficial estimate for coverage and see if the company will offer you coverage or not.

What breast cancer stages lead to declined life insurance coverage?

Of course, there are some situations when people are denied life insurance coverage after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. The most obvious example is patients with a terminal diagnosis or people who have a history of making risky health or lifestyle choices.

This brings us to our third and final customer example, Mary. Mary applied for term life insurance when she was 38 years old, but she was denied coverage due to her risky lifestyle and medical choices.

See her details below:

  • Diagnosed at age 34
  • Stage 2 breast cancer
  • Treatment involved surgery, radiation and chemotherapy
  • No lymph node involvement, no metastasis
  • Has not seen her doctor in over two years
  • No other medical conditions
  • Tobacco User
  • Outcome: Declined

Even though Mary is the youngest example in the group at the time of her diagnosis, she was still denied coverage. This is because she had a more serious diagnosis like Jillian above, Stage 2. 

Mary also has not seen her doctor in over two years, which is a red flag for life insurance providers. Her lack of routine medical follow-up and her tobacco use led to her application being denied.

To those wondering, can I get life insurance with Stage 4 cancer? It will be more difficult, but not necessarily impossible. Take a look at the next section for some relevant advice. 

How do I get life insurance with breast cancer after being declined?

If you’re denied life insurance coverage after a breast cancer diagnosis, don’t worry. It does not mean you’ll never find anything. You may need to choose a different kind of life insurance policy.

Instead of a term policy, consider guaranteed issue life insurance. There is no medical exam associated with guaranteed issue life insurance. Anyone who applied for this type of coverage is guaranteed to receive it.

Hence the name, this coverage is ‘guaranteed’ for as long as you pay your premium. However, those premiums will be much higher than what you pay for traditional term life insurance. 

You can also try applying for coverage with a different company, as each provider uses different underwriting formulas when approving or disapproving potential clients. Finally, you can also wait for a number of years and apply again at a later time, when you’re in a different stage of health. 

Applying for insurance after a breast cancer diagnosis might cause a little more work, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get life insurance with breast cancer.

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What will life insurance underwriters look at if you have breast cancer?

If you have any pre-existing condition when applying for life insurance, you’ll need to prove that you’re still low-risk enough to receive coverage. Therefore, life insurance companies want to see that women with a history of breast cancer have done two responsible things. 

First, have you received full treatment? Second, have you completed regular follow-up visits per doctor’s orders? 

Lifelong follow-up is crucial, as recurrences can occur as many as 30 years after the initial diagnosis. However, the process of underwriting for breast cancer patients has a slightly different focus.

Providers want to ensure that you’re not too high-risk to take on as a client. 

Therefore, the life insurance company you apply with will be looking specifically at:

  • Your age at diagnosis
  • The amount of time since diagnosis
  • The stage and grade of cancer
  • The tumor size
  • Any lymphatic node involvement
  • Whether metastasis is present
  • Whether there was any recurrence of cancer following recovery
  • Length of time since treatment and recovery
  • Your menopausal status
  • The treatment success and adherence to treatment recommendations
  • Follow up visits as recommended by the doctor
  • Whether you are a tobacco/drug/alcohol user
  • Any other major health problems

In many cases, getting term insurance for cancer patients is possible, but some cases may be more difficult than others. Be sure to start comparing life insurance policies to get your best rates.

How can I prepare for my term life insurance application with breast cancer?

If you have breast cancer, there are important measures you can take to prepare yourself before applying for term life insurance. Doing so will help your chances of getting approved for the best rating class possible. 

Use the following tips to put yourself in the best position to win:

  • Have all doctors’ names/addresses/phone numbers available.
  • Make sure your doctor(s) has copies of all records regarding the cancer treatment, pathology reports, and follow-up reports.
  • Have a list of all medications and their dosages available.
  • Do not skip any follow-up visits with your doctor. 

The breast cancer life insurance underwriting process is an important opportunity for prospective clients to get good coverage and get the cheapest term life insurance possible. Life insurance underwriting guidelines will help you understand your life insurance rates.

Remember, you’ll also need to be clear with your agent on your status because there are anticipated differences in life insurance for breast cancer survivors versus insurance for those with active breast cancer.

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Final Tips for Applying for Life Insurance After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Can breast cancer survivors get cancer insurance? We’ve helped thousands of people apply for term life insurance, and many of those people had breast cancer. When it comes to breast cancer and whole life insurance, there are policies available just like with term life insurance. 

It’s easier to get term or whole life insurance as a cancer survivor than it is to get life insurance with pre-existing cancer. However, breast cancer survivor life insurance is still different than the average Joe. 

The best chances for approval with a good rating class and no extra premium are if you’re over age 40 at the time of your diagnosis and are in an early stage with small tumors. If it’s been over 10 years since treatment with no recurrence, you will also have an easier time getting a good rating class. 

Generally speaking, life insurance companies do not make policy offers while the applicant is currently in treatment. You may be declined if you apply too soon after finishing treatment, typically within the first year. Approval is more likely the longer it has been since treatment, with no recurrence.

Life insurance companies usually postpone applicants who have not followed doctor’s orders regarding follow-up visits or those that have outstanding follow-up visits. Extra premium is commonly required when it has been less than ten years since recovery.

Rating classes better than Standard are rare. Most applicants with a history of breast cancer receive a Substandard rating class. Understanding term life insurance rating classes is important.

Stage 4 breast cancer life insurance would be hard to come by. The life insurance company will usually decline applicants if the cancer metastasized.

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What is breast cancer?

Now that we’ve fully covered how life insurance is impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis, let’s look at what breast cancer actually is. 

Breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that begins in the breast tissue. There are two main types of breast cancer, each determined by the location where the cancer originated. Each type can be invasive, meaning it has spread, or non-invasive (also known as in-situ).

  • Ductal carcinoma – Originates in the milk duct
  • Lobular carcinoma – Originates in the breast lobules, which produce milk 

Breast cancer is very common. And you deserve life insurance regardless of the type of breast cancer you experience. In the next section, take a look at some American breast cancer statistics.  

What are the breast cancer statistics?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

In 2014, an estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. An estimated 62,570 new cases of in-situ breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed. And an estimated 40,000 women were expected to pass away. 

Breast cancer awareness in this country continues to grow each year. Death rates from breast cancer have declined each year since as far back as 1989.

While the disease is largely a woman’s disease, men are not immune to it. Each year about 2,400 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men. However, a man’s lifetime chance of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000 and not 1 in 8.

What are the breast cancer treatment and prevention options?

Breast cancer treatment varies by individual circumstances. Treatment depends on tumor size and location, stage and grade of the disease, and other factors. Treatment options typically include the following, with most women receiving a combination of treatments:

  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy, etc.)

Breast cancer prevention is achieved by maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle to include a proper diet, moderate exercise, and avoiding known carcinogens such as tobacco and excess radiation.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, consider being tested for BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Tamoxifen is a medication that has been approved by the FDA to help prevent breast cancer, by interfering with estrogen activity.

The Bottom Line: Breast Cancer Life Insurance

The good news about applying for term life insurance when you have a history of breast cancer is that, yes, you can qualify for coverage. Your outcome and resulting premium cost will depend greatly on some factors, including your age, stage of cancer, treatment, follow-up, medical history, and more.

Affordable breast cancer life insurance is not out of the picture. While you can control the outcome to some extent through good follow-up and lifestyle habits, when it comes to getting life insurance, other uncontrollable factors will come into play when the life insurance company reviews your application.

Can you get life insurance if you have a terminal illness? While there isn’t a clear and perfect answer, it is usually possible.

Remember, you could be asked to wait and apply later (postponed), or your policy may cost more due to an extra premium being applied to try to make the breast cancer and life insurance payout worthwhile for all parties.

As always, discuss your situation with your life insurance agent or broker, and provide as much information as you can. They will help direct you to the best life insurance company based on your individual circumstances.

Now that you know how to get term life insurance with breast cancer, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below to compare life insurance rates today.

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