How Do I Get Life Insurance After Lung Cancer?

Written by Terumi Davis

Obtaining life insurance after lung cancer is challenging, but not necessarily impossible. Your factors for obtaining a policy will depend greatly on the following:

  • The stage and grade of the lung cancer
  • The type of treatment you received
  • The number of years in remission
  • Your current health

Underwriting for Lung Cancer Survivors

You will need to submit a life insurance application when applying for a policy. The application will ask for information such as your age, gender, contact information, height, weight, the type of coverage you want and the dollar amount of coverage you are requesting and your family health history. Also, you will need to undergo a medical examination which will include blood and urine sample.

To ensure that you will obtain a policy with the most affordable premium possible, it is best that the underwriter at the life insurance company has a complete description of you, your health, your lung cancer history & the treatments you have received. The insurance company will exam your medical records and reports from your doctors to allow the underwriter to make the most informed decision possible in regards to your coverage. Otherwise by not providing this information, the underwriter will know less about you and assume that you are a high-risk case and will offer you a higher premium accordingly.

You will need to provide the insurance company with plenty of information such as:

  • Date of diagnosis
  • Type of cell and stage of lung cancer
  • What size was the tumor?
  • Treatment including date(s) of any surgery
  • Date treatment completed?
  • Complications from treatment
  • How long have you been in remission?
  • Recurrence or spread
  • The frequency of your follow-up appointments
  • The results of your follow-up appointments
  • Status of tobacco use
  • Medications you are taking
  • Any additional health issues

Most insurers follow guidelines from the National Cancer Institute’s database known as “Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results” (SEER). It contains a database of reports on nearly three million anonymous cancer patients. Oncologists, doctors and medical researchers throughout the nation submit reports to the database. Insurance companies then gather the information for underwriting purposes. Insurers can review patient demographics, morphology, diagnosis stages, first-course treatments, tumor locations and follow-up procedures.

According to the American Cancer Society, they estimate 234,030 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer for 2018. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. More people yearly die from lung cancer than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

Lung cancer is divided into three main types:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This the most common form. There are three subtypes in the NSCLC, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) also called oat cell cancer. This form of cancer spreads quickly.
  • Lung Carcinoid Tumor also called lung neuroendocrine tumor. The rarest form of lung cancer. These tumors grow slowly and tend not to spread.

Stage I:

The best chance of obtaining a policy with Standard rates after treatment program has been completed for at least one year or more. In stage I, the cancer is restricted to the lung.

Stage II:

A policy issued with mild to moderate Sub-Standard rates. The insurance company will issue a policy, but will add Tables or percentages of increase on the base premium. Will require several years of remission. In stage II, the cancer is confined to the lung and nearby lymph nodes

Stage III:

Best to go with graded or a guaranteed issued policy. Typically higher premiums with delayed or partial payouts. Low death benefit availability. In stage III, the cancer is confined to the lung and in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest

Stage IV:

Best to go with graded or a guaranteed issued policy. Typically higher premiums with delayed or partial payouts. Low death benefit availability. In stage IV, the cancer has spread (metastasized) beyond the lung and has entered other body parts or organs.

Life insurance companies will typically decline automatically if the cancer has metastasized.


Game Plan For Lower Rates

  1. Gather all necessary medical records before you apply. This includes your first pathology report, medical records and treatment plan you followed.
  2. Adhering to your doctor’s treatment program. This will establish your determination to the insurance company that you are committed to being cancer-free.
  3. Apply after all your tests. The life insurance company wants to know that your health has stabilized. You can qualify for a lower rate if your tests show that you are in total remission.
  4. Wait for approval. The longer you have been in remission means that you have a greater chance of receiving a lower rate.

You will have a higher chance of obtaining an approval for a policy if:

  • You were over the age of 40 at the time of the diagnosis
  • Your cancer was diagnosed in the early stages, and the tumors were small


Set in Motion

Since life insurance policies can differ from one company to the next, it is important to compare quotes from various companies, especially for lung cancer survivors. If you get declined by one insurance company or they quote you a very high premium, it does not mean the end of the road. By working with an independent life insurance agent who has access to over 60 companies, you will greatly increase your chances of finding a policy that you can afford. If your last treatment was, at least, a year ago and your cancer has been in remission since then, you can get a simplified issue policy. If you have been cancer free for several years, you may be able to get a medically underwritten policy. Keep in mind that the longer the time has past since your last treatment, the better your rate will be.

If you currently have cancer, it will be best to obtain a guaranteed issue life insurance policy

TDL Insurance Group works with multiple life insurance companies that will allow you to get the best plan at competitive pricing. To get started, fill out the quote form on the left-hand side to receive your instant quotes. If you prefer, you can call 800-876-9016 or email




About TDL Insurance Group
About TDL Insurance Group

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates.

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