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Find Out How to Buy Life Insurance After Cancer Remission

Russell Cain Updated: 20 May 2020

If you or a loved one have had a cancer scare, you know that one of the first things that you’re confronted with is the possibility of death. According to Cancer Australia, it is estimated that over 138,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2018, with an estimated 48,586 deaths will result from the disease.

Because getting life insurance with cancer cover when diagnosed or in remission can be very complicated, you might want to make sure you have the right type of policy and enough cover, especially if you have a family history of cancer.

With medical advances and improved treatments, cancer mortality rates are declining by an average of 1.7% each year since 1998 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). People are beating cancer and with that comes the question of whether you can take out a life policy when in remission.

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Does life insurance cover cancer?

Term life insurance policies in Australia generally pays out a lump sum benefit if you die due to natural causes, such as cancer, or because of an accident. If you already have a life insurance policy in place and get diagnosed with cancer, as per the insurer’s definition, and pass away because of the disease, your benefit will typically be paid to your nominated beneficiaries.

Life insurance for terminally ill cancer patients

When diagnosed with terminal cancer, also known as end-stage cancer, and your medical specialist believes the disease will result in your death within 12 to 24 months, depending on your insurer, your full life cover benefit will generally pay out in advance. However, you’ll need to meet all the terms and conditions of your policy and often a second opinion from an independent medical specialist will be required.

Does life insurance pay if you die of cancer?

Generally, yes if you have a life policy that covers death due to natural causes and you fully disclosed all relevant and important information when you initially applied for coverage, your death benefit will usually be paid to your nominated beneficiaries. However, if you did not fully disclose all information, for example, in the past you’ve sought medical advice for cancer-related symptoms, your claim could be affected and even denied.

Can you get life insurance as a cancer survivor in Australia?

Buying life insurance after cancer might be difficult and expensive, but it’s not impossible. Cancer survivors who’ve been in remission of some years are generally more likely to qualify for life cover, as opposed to current cancer patients. If you’ve previously had cancer, it’s defined as a pre-existing condition and as such whether you can get cover and at what cost depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether you have a family history of cancer,
  • The type of cancer you had, its stage and whether it metastasised,
  • The location of the cancer, the size and its effect on your lymph nodes,
  • Date of diagnosis,
  • How long you’ve been in remission and if you’ve had any relapses,
  • Treatments and medications you’re using now and used in the past,
  • Whether you’ve had multiple occurrences of the specific cancer,
  • Your health status and if you suffered from any other cancer types

Other information your insurer will generally need, includes your general health, smoking status, BMI, age and gender, and the amount of cover you want.

How to buy life insurance after being diagnosed with cancer

If you’re applying for life insurance when in cancer remission you may want to request a broker to conduct a pre-assessment for you. By doing a pre-assessment you’re able to find out how an insurance company might assess your particular medical information and personal requirements without having to provide your details, it’s completely anonymous.

When you’re ready to apply for coverage and want to have the process go as smoothly as possible, make sure you have the following available:

Every person’s cancer diagnosis is different. The more information you provide, the more likely you are to find a policy that offers the best possible cover for your requirements at a premium you can afford.

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Which life insurance companies cover pre-existing cancer?

Each life insurance company has their own underwriting guidelines. So, before you purchase a policy, shop around and compare quotes to make sure the coverage offered and the premium you’ll pay makes sense for your family, and financial situation.

A life insurance company’s main concern is generally the risk associated with a policy they issue. So, depending on your application and all the medical information your provided, a company might decide to:

Does trauma insurance cover cancer?

Generally, a lump sum trauma benefit will be paid upon diagnosis of cancer. However, whether a claim is valid depends on the policy definition of the disease. For example, cancer might be defined as any a malignant tumour characterised by the uncontrolled growth and spread of cancerous cells requiring significant interventionist treatment.

It’s important to read the product disclosure statement (PDS) to ensure you know exactly what the policy does and does not cover.

Cancer-affected households often encounter lost income and out-of-pocket expenses relating to transport, medications, specialist clothing and mobility devices, as well as childcare and housekeeping costs. The amount of trauma insurance payable depends on the cover amount you’ve chosen.

Select insurers may offer optional benefits for an extra fee, for example, the accommodation benefit and family support benefits for individuals who need to travel long distances to receive treatment. These additional benefits are great for family members who need to take time off work to care for their loved ones.

Examples of cancers covered by trauma insurance

Skin cancer

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is a common occurrence in Australia.

Lung cancer

Cancer affecting your lungs is the most common cause of cancer death in Australia and effects bother smokers and non-smokers.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer. However, men can also develop cancer of the breasts.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide and is almost always caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Prostate cancer

If detected early and treated quickly there is a high chance of survival. The Cancer Foundation of Australia recommends that all men over the age of 50 go for annual assessments. If you have a family history, you should go for a check-up from the age of 40.

Bowel cancer

Both men and women are at risk of developing bowel cancer. In Australia, it’s more common in people over the age of 50.

Whether critical illness insurance will pay a benefit when diagnosed with one of the above cancer examples depends on the insurer’s definition of that specific cancer. Please remember to consult the company’s PDS to make sure.

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