Everything You Need to Know About Skin Cancer & Life Insurance
Life Insurance With Skin Cancer
Impact on Underwriting Class:
Preferred Rates Possible
Table Ratings Common
Rate impact based on nature and
frequency of occurrence, any
complications, prescription drugs
Can I be approved for life insurance with skin cancer?
Every applicant for life insurance with skin cancer can be approved for a policy.
However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your skin cancer, how well it's controlled, and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options with high cholesterol is broken into three sections: (click button to go directly to section)
What information will life insurance companies want to know?
In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the symptoms that you have experienced, the treatment undergone, including surgeries, prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up. For a more exhaustive discussion of the underwriting of skin cancer applications please scroll to What Insurers Will Want to Know
Will I need to take an exam for skin cancer life insurance?
In order to get the best rates possible you may need to take an exam. Well controlled cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer may be eligible for no-exam underwriting. However, melanoma applications are seen as more serious will always require an exam for traditional term insurance.
The exam is a para-medical exam that collects blood and urine samples. The exam is administered at no cost by a travelling nurse and can be done at your choice of location.
If it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required. See How Term Life Insurance Works for more on the exam.
How much will my life insurance cost and how exactly are my rates affected by my history of skin cancer?
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. Skin cancer applications are generally going to be rated as standard or lower. This issue is discussed using rating guides and pricing samples. Sample pricing for simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.
How accurate are the quotes I get from your quote tool?
The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse condition than is reality.
If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
How can i improve my underwriting rating and lower my life insurance cost?
The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health.
See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Skin Cancer to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.
As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers.
If you have a medical condition history of skin cancer , documenting compliance with medical advice and any medications is very important. Obtaining Having a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.
Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.
What are the best life insurance companies for skin cancer?
Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and three of the better known term carriers for dealing with skin cancer are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.
However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.
What is the application process for life insurance with skin cancer?
Regardless of your pre existing condition, the application process is largely the same. The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam, and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here.
If you have questions about obtaining life insurance with skin cancer, you have come to the right place.
Whether it's you or a loved one is dealing with a form of skin cancer then you already know about the day to day rituals needed to avoid sun exposure.
A prominent cancer site skincancer.org even makes New Years resolution ideas to lesson the risks of skin cancer.
While it is possible to get standard and even preferred rates on applications with a skin cancer history, it requires a carefully packaged application to a receptive insurer. Therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with skin cancer cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
With a history that includes a skin cancer such as squamous cell, life insurance carriers will want to know as much as they can about the risk they are being asked to insure. This is no different than how the carriers deal with any other condition like history of heart attack and stroke, or even lifestyle choices like marijuana use and scuba diving.
Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.
Possible Underwriting Ratings with Skin Cancer
Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story matters.
That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance.
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.
Best Case- Most basal cell cases are rated standard or better. If, however, you have had multiple occurrences you could get bumped to a mid case scenario. Squamous cell cases , while more dangerous can also qualify for best case scenarios if the cancer has been removed , some time has passed, and there has been diligent follow up.
Simply use the quoter on the left for a standard quote.
Mid Case- If your case of Squamous cell was more involved and had spread before removal you may be looking at a mid substandard rate.
The same situation may aply for melanoma, if it was detected early stage and some period has passed. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 1.5 (Table 2/B) or 2 (table 4/D).
To learn about how table ratings work click here.
Severe Case- In cases of mid and later stage melanoma, the best you will likely do is a severe substandard rate. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 3 (Table 6/F) or 4 (table 8/H).
* while expensive this is still a very good outcome for the circumstances
Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.
Term life Insurance Pricing with Skin Cancer
At the top of this article we stated that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance with skin cancer Note, however, we mention “affordable” rather than "inexpensive" or “low cost". The reason for the distinction is that all too often, life insurance with skin cancer is not cheap life insurance.
In fact, because the coverage can be expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is often reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance with skin cancer affordable is to reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount.
The basic mechanics of term life insurance are pretty straightforward. As long as the policy premium is paid by (or for) the insured, and the policy is in force, the beneficiary will receive the death benefit upon the insured's death.
Some Sample Non-Smoker Monthly Term Rates for a skin cancer history.
$500000 20 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
The trickiest part of term life insurance with a health condition like skin cancer is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As
a result navigating this process is not as easy as using a quote tool and picking the lowest price. This is discussed in detail in the case study below.
How Term Life Insurance Works...Exam or No Exam?
Although the term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a medical exam as part of the application process, this option may not be available if you have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
You will be required to take a pare-medical exam. The exam is a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.
The medical exam is discussed in detail here.
Most term carriers will have the underwriting department do a telephone interview with you. The In the case of skin cancer the conversation will be wide-ranging, and last about 20 minutes.
The purpose of the interview will be to flesh out the information that it has from your exam, medical information, and driving history. Questions will often revolve around lifestyle. Answer as honestly as possible, but never "offer" unrequested information.
In addition to the period of insurance, it is essential to understand the available policy riders. Riders are additional benefits that, often for an additional cost, are included in your policy.
The five most prominent riders are listed below with links to in-depth descriptions.
- Waiver of Premium
- Living Benefits
- Conversion Privilege
- Child Rider
- Additional Purchase Option
While there is no waiting period for the insurance to go into effect, the insurance company has a two-year window from the policy start in which they can contest a benefit for material misrepresentation on the initial application. So, honesty is the best policy.
You can dive deep into the ins and outs of term life insurance, learning about available term lengths, riders, financial ratings, and rates. The Life Insurance Help Desk works with almost all of the top term life insurance carriers.
Life Insurance with a Skin Cancer History: What Carriers will Take into Consideration
Life insurance underwriters will generally be concerned with 5 general questions
- Do you fit into the usual risk factors for the condition
- What are/were your symptoms
- What was the Diagnosis & Treatment
- What is the aftercare (follow up & compliance)
- What is your health like apart from the condition/history in question
While the outline above is general in form , the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and an Attending Physicians Statement (APS).
Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.
Do you "fit" into the usual risk factors for the Condition
Because skin cancer can be life threatening (especially melanoma), underwriters will scrutinize symptoms more closely than most files.
Underwriters tend to be more comfortable with making offers when the applicant's condition fits into a common risk factor pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there is a concern that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will try to allay their fears by taking a harder look at the file.
The American Academy of Dermatology lists the risk factors for skin cancer as such:
- Exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet light is a risk factor for all types of skin cancer.
- Increasing intermittent sun exposure in childhood and during one’s lifetime is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.
- Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, especially in women 45 and younger.
- Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include skin that burns easily; blond or red hair; a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns; tanning bed use; immune system-suppressing diseases or treatments; and a history of skin cancer.
- Melanoma survivors have an approximately nine-fold increased risk of developing another melanoma compared to the general population.
- Men and women with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than people without a nonmelanoma skin cancer history.
What are/were your symptoms
When underwriting life insurance with skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma, carriers will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the diagnosis.
The Cleveland Clinic points out that the most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, typically a new growth, or a change in an existing growth or mole.
- Basal cell carcinoma might appear as a small, smooth, pearly or waxy bump on the face, ears, and neck; or as a flat, pink/red- or brown-colored lesion on the trunk or arms and legs.
- Squamous cell carcinoma can appear as a firm, red nodule, or as a rough, scaly flat lesion that might itch, bleed, and become crusty. Both basal cell and squamous cell cancers mainly occur on areas of the skin frequently exposed to the sun, but can occur anywhere.
- Melanoma usually appears as a pigmented patch or bump. It might resemble a normal mole, but usually has a more irregular appearance. Thinking of the ABCD rule tells you what signs to watch for:
- Asymmetry—The shape of one half doesn't match the other.
- Border—The edges are ragged or blurred.
- Color—Uneven shades of brown, black, tan, red, white, or blue might be present.
- Diameter—A change in size occurs (greater than 6 mm).
The Cleveland Clinic also encourages you to "be alert to pre-cancerous skin lesions that can develop into non-melanoma skin cancer. They appear as small scaly, tan or red spots, and are most often found on surfaces of the skin chronically exposed to the sun, such as the face and backs of the hands."
Your Diagnosis and Treatments
Life insurance underwriters will want to know the diagnosis of your skin cancer and the date of the initial diagnosis. They will also need to know about any any subsequent episodes. Underwriting will additionally want to know what medications you have been prescribed for your condition.
Skin cancer is diagnosed by performing a biopsy. This is the removal of a sample of tissue that is then placed under a microscope and examined by a pathologist. Sometimes, a biopsy can remove all the cancer tissue and no further treatment is needed.
What are the Common Treatments for Skin Cancer?
With all the misery that various cancers have brought upon people, "luck" is a strange word to use when discussing treatments. Nonetheless, "lucky" is a common sentiment , as most people who have skin cancer diagnosed have it detected prior to it spreading.
Melanoma that has spread to organs presents a more serious challenge.
treatments for skin cancer are surgical, pharmaceutical and homeopathic., usually in combination.
Small tumors can be surgically excised, removed with a scraping tool and then cauterized, frozen with liquid nitrogen, or killed with low-dose radiation.
Larger tumors must be removed via a surgical procedure.
Melanoma tumors have be removed surgically, ideally before they spread beyond the skin to other organs. The surgeon removes the tumor , along with a safe area of surrounding tissue. There is dispute whether removing nearby lymph nodes is valuable in certain cases.
In cases where surgery is not the first choice, applying an ointment containing a chemotherapeutic agent called 5-fluorouracil or an immune response modifier called imiquimod to a superficial tumor for several weeks may work.
Neither radiation nor chemotherapy will cure advanced melanoma, but either may slow the growth. Chemotherapy, used in combination with immunotherapies is the preferred care. If melanoma spreads to the brain, radiation is used to slow the progress of the disease.
Your Follow Up Care
When evaluating life insurance with skin cancer history applications, underwriting will want to see compliance with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.
Are you going to the doctor regularly? Are you have had sun spots tested? Follow up compliance is a huge selling point to underwriter sitting on the fence about a rating.
Your Over all Health (and related conditions)
While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in skin cancer cases will specifically look for both risk factors and certain complicating conditions.
Obtaining Life Insurance with Skin Cancer
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.
The primary caveats with skin cancer are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies will only be available in very small face amounts in most cases. Also, an attending physician's statement (APS) is guaranteed to be requested.
The APS can slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.
The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:
Date of Diagnosis
Type of skin cancer diagnosed, the number of episodes, the most recent.
Affected body part/area
- Has the cancer spread (metastasized)?
Dates of Treatments
Case Study Pricing Policies with Skin Cancer
So, I have been preaching about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a little self serving coming from an independent agent.
You are right, it is. However, it is also the undeniable ( and provable) truth.
Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with skin cancer or any other impairment.
Gender: Female Age: 29
$1000000 20 Year Term
History of Mild Skin Cancer
NSAID only No Other Health Concerns
This looks like a best case scenario that would be either standard or Table 2/B or 4/D depending on the insurers appetite for a skin cancer risk.. Let’s take a look at the rates.
- Standard Rates
- Table 2/B Rates
- Table 4/D Rates
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates.For standard rates Lincoln is 35% more expensive than Banner.
On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple. This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.
For people who suffer from skin cancer or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.
Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard or table 2 risk and which ones will grade you as table 4-6.
In the case above Prudential (one of the more expensive standard rates) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carrier will likely rate the risk table 4 while Pru might well go standard.
This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you 29% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and AIG @ Table 4).
Final Expense Insurance with Skin Cancer
Approved!That was Easy.
There are several final expense carriers where underwriting is not concerned with skin cancer. In fact, they don't even ask! These no-exam needed burial policies are the next best choice for anyone who will not get through traditional underwriting.
The "final expense" market serves differing consumer needs. There is the need that is made obvious by the name "final expense". This term refers to a funeral, burial and miscellaneous cost tied to the rituals surrounding life's end.
Many of the buyers of these policies simply want to remove any financial burden their funeral and burial would cause to their loved ones, while others want to leave a legacy.
Alternatively, the simplified issue marketplace serves as a safe harbor for people who need some life insurance, but cannot qualify for traditional term underwriting. The lenient underwriting standards of this market allow for people with severe sleep apnea to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
- First-day Coverage
- Graded Coverage
How Final Expense Life Insurance Works with Skin Cancer
With death benefit face amounts that top range from $5000-$100000, simplified issue or "final expense " life insurance is almost exclusively whole life insurance.However, the calculation of the death benefit depends on if the policy is first-day coverage or graded
First day policies are straightforward, and provide a full death benefit from day 1 of the policy.
Graded policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period.
These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die in the first year of the policy; 50% if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
The carriers offer graded policies based on the applicant's health. These provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
Graded or not, a whole life policy has a fixed premium that cannot increase and the policy stays in force until the premiums stop being paid or the insured dies.
Pricing for Burial Insurance with Skin cancer
In addition to different underwriting standards, final expense pricing is complicated by the fact that a lot of providers only operate in certain states.
As a result the samples below are of limited value. You should use the final expense quote tool found here.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
No Exam, but possibly a phone interview
Many burial policy insurers will have 10-15 minute home office interviews using the telephone. They are looking for the use of prescriptions that do not come up on their prescription check and assessing cognitive function.Be alert!
Final Expense Policy Features
There are fewer riders associated with simplified issue policies than traditional term, but living benefits such as the accelerated benefit for terminal illness, and chronic illness are fairly common. Additionally, some final expense policies have a small cash component and have loan provisions.
The contestability laws are the same for all types of life insurance policies. That is, the carrier has two years from the origination of the policy to contest the benefit payout on policy where the application contained material misstatements.
What Final Expense Life Insurers Will Take Into Consideration with Skin Cancer
As stated before, simplified underwriting is seldom concerned with skin cancer. Unlike traditional underwriting that grades on a scale, "final expense" is a yes or no proposition.
Note that "yes" is divided into first-day coverage and "graded" categories. skin cancer offers are generally not "graded". So, full coverage would begin on day 1.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions.Since skin cancer is usually not a question on these policies, the only way to get ‘knocked out" is if you answer yes to a different "knockout" question.
Knockout questions tend to revolve around heart attack, stroke, cognitive function, insulin use, amputations and some of the heavy drugs these conditions require for treatment.
Next Step For Final Expense with Skin cancer
Because most final expense underwriting rules differ wildly, it's unusual that you can just go to the final expense quote tool and start.However, unless you have other conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because skin cancer by itself will usually not cause a "knockout", best price may win. Remember to use the quote tool on the "final expense" page. The quote tool on this page is limited to term quotes.
Upon receiving your quote request, we will be in touch as soon as possible (often in minutes), and we will help you through the process. The whole process shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes.
We are committed to a transparent pricing process and are happy to share a computer screen with you or send a video of the method used to get your rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Guaranteed life insurance for Skin Cancer
As a stand-alone condition, skin cancer does not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. The only time that an applicant would need to go the guaranteed route is if the skin cancer was paired with a condition that could not qualify for graded a final expense policy.
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
Pricing for Guaranteed Issue policies
Guaranteed policies should only be used as a last resort. In addition to the benefit grading provisions that make the policies toothless during the two or three year grading period, they are the most expensive policies sold.
How Guaranteed Life Insurance Works
With only the requirement of age (40) and citizenship, guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a death benefit that ranges from $5000-$50000. Such plans are exclusively whole life insurance.
However, all guaranteed issue policies are "graded". Generally, the grading represents a 2 or 3 year period that the policy must be in force before a full death benefit will be paid.
Like "final expense" policies, guaranteed policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period. These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
No Exam Required on guaranteed policies
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
Contestability on Guaranteed issue policies
Although the contestability laws are the same as other policies, beyond age and citizenship, it's difficult to see where contestability may arise in a guaranteed issue case.
Next steps for guaranteed Issue Policy with skin Cancer
The guaranteed issue process is lightning fast and can be handled over the telephone in a matter of minutes. Give us a call or email us.
Why you Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Skin Cancer
Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.
What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.
For example Prudential may have more of an appetite for the risk that Skin Cancer presents than say Banner Life. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.
So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 50% or 60% better, how would you feel?
You’d probably be mad either at the agent or yourself or both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.
In fact a good independent agent will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a good rate.
Note that if he doesn’t, he probably won’t be in a hurry to let you in on this info.
Your Next Step
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible for life insurance with skin cancer, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand). Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started. We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we’ll even share our computer screen with you if you’d like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Thank you again for choosing the Life insurance Help Desk to research your options for life insurance with a history of skin cancer.If you have any questions, please give us a call or contact us by email.
What Your Friends and Co-workers (May) Know About Skin Cancer
The 4 Stages of Melanoma
Skin cancer is the most common of the cancers and luckily, the most treatable. Nonetheless, there are about 100000 cases of melanoma (the most common form) a year diagnosed in the United States and close to 9000 deaths.
Prior to the early twentieth century a tanned skin was not thought to be attractive. Tanned skin was relegated to field workers. This started to change when Coco Chanel returned from the French Riviera vacation with a tan and fans loved it.
Until the early twentieth century a tanned skin was not thought to be attractive. Tanned skin was generally reserved for field laborers. Perception of the tanned look began to change when Coco Chanel returned from a French Riviera vacation looking bronzed and her fans began to follow suit.
Sadly, the condition, left untreated, took Marley's life.
What is Skin Cancer
The Mayo Clinic defines the skin cancer as — the abnormal growth of skin cells and states that the condition most often develops on skin exposed to the sun. However, this common form of cancer can also occur on areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.
There are three major types of skin cancer:
- basal cell carcinoma
- squamous cell carcinoma
Mayo Clinic advises that you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking your skin for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages.
Early detection of skin cancer gives you the greatest chance for successful skin cancer treatment.
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