Many of the questions that we receive through our call centre and social media pages revolve around whether someone can take out life cover if they have cancer, diabetes, HIV or any other illness
In other words, they ask about the underwriting process, which differs from organisation to organisation.
Whether you can get life insurance if you are a cancer patient or survivor depends on a few variables – where the cancer is, what stage cancer, whether you’ve had any complications (if you are in remission), your age, and other health and lifestyle factors. Again, these individual factors will be weighted differently at each insurer and Company A may take into consideration something that Company B doesn’t.
The good news is that with medical advances meaning that cancer is being beaten more and more regularly nowadays than ever before, having a condition such as cancer doesn’t necessarily preclude you from getting life cover. That means that many life insurers may still offer you a policy. However, you are likely to have ‘loading’ applied to your cover. This means that your premiums are higher than an equivalent cancer-free individual as the risk to the insurer is higher. If you have been cancer-free for a significant time period though (10 years or more, for example) some insurers may drop the loading and provide you with better rates.
Depending on the insurance provider, there may also be exclusions for something such as critical illness or disability cover. Sometimes, cover may be granted which includes a waiting period. In other cases, your cover may be taken out as per normal.
Because of these factors, it’s generally a good idea to take out life insurance while you are still young and healthy. Your premiums will be lower, it will be very easy to get life insurance and even if your health deteriorates as you age, you’ll already have your life cover in place.