If you’ve experienced a bout with prostate cancer, you may be concerned that you’ll be unable to get life insurance. But, that generally won’t be the case.
The life insurance industry has expanded its reach in recent years and now offers coverage in a way they never did before to those who experience serious health conditions.
That’s because the industry increasingly recognizes that people with serious health conditions, including cancer, often go on to lead full lives.
Life insurance for prostate cancer comes under a general life insurance category, often referred to as high-risk life insurance.
In most cases, life insurance coverage will be available, though there may be certain limitations, and higher premiums are very likely.
Can You Get Life Insurance with Prostate Cancer?
For most survivors of prostate cancer, life insurance will be available. However, as in the case of all types of high-risk life insurance, but especially for serious health conditions like cancer, there will be many variables that determine the premium you pay for a policy.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to qualify for the low-cost life insurance policies you see advertised on TV and on the Internet. Those policies have low premiums precisely because they are aimed at young and healthy applicants.
In many cases, previous experience with a health condition like cancer will lead to a declined application with low-cost providers. It’s simply not a market that low-cost providers target.
However, you should be able to get coverage, though it will require working with the right life insurance company. Though not well known to the typical consumer, many life insurance companies are specializing in specific health-related niches. That includes cancer.
By making an application with a company that takes a more favorable view of cancer coverage, you’ll not only increase your chance of being approved but also of getting a lower premium than you might otherwise.
Under a worst-case scenario, you’ll likely qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. That will come with a lower death benefit—generally not more than $25,000—and will not pay a death benefit within the first few years after the policy is issued.
But, it will generally be possible to get this type of policy even if you are currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. The only restriction is that you can’t have a terminal diagnosis; otherwise, guaranteed issue life insurance is available to nearly everyone, regardless of health considerations.
Prostate Cancer with an Existing Life Insurance Policy
If you already have a life insurance policy in place, there’s no need to worry that the insurance company will deny paying your benefit should you die, increase your premium, or cancel your policy.
Traditional life insurance is set up in such a way that you qualify for the policy based on your health at the time of application. Even if your health situation changes for the worse after the policy is approved, the policy will be unaffected by the changing status of your health.
The policy will continue in force, and cannot be canceled for any reason other than nonpayment of premiums. You can rest assured that even if you do get a prostate cancer diagnosis, any existing life insurance policies you have in place will remain effective.
Cost of Life Insurance with Prostate Cancer
Since there are so many variables affecting a life insurance application for a person with current or previous experience with a major health condition, it’s impossible to generalize what the premium will be for a given level of coverage.
Each policy will need to be underwritten based on its own merits and the many details that make up your health profile.
But, you should generally assume that you won’t qualify for the best premiums available if you are a prostate cancer survivor.
Those ratings include Preferred Plus, Preferred, and Standard Plus. All apply to applicants who are generally in good health, with no history of major illnesses.
It is possible, however, that you will qualify for Standard premium rates. But, that will be the case only if your experience with prostate cancer was many years in the past, has been treated successfully, and you are otherwise in excellent health.
In perhaps the majority of policies, you should expect to receive what’s known in the industry as a table rating. Those are substandard rates assigned to applicants who have a history of a major illness or other high-risk factors.
With most insurance companies, there are 10 different ratings within the range. At each level, the premium will be increased by 25% over the Standard premium rate. For example, if the insurance company assigns you a table rating of 2, your premium will be increased by 50% over the Standard rate (2 X 25%).
However, that means you’ll still qualify for traditional life insurance; you’ll just pay a higher premium. The workaround for that is to apply for a smaller policy, one in which the premium will fit your budget.
The Variables Associated with Prostate Cancer
One of the major advantages of prostate cancer, which is certainly not the case with all types of cancer, is that it’s highly curable.
It can be detected with a simple PSA test, which is not only easily administered but is also frequently recommended for men over 50, who are considered to be the most at risk for this particular type of cancer.
Typically, once you reach 50, the PSA test will be administered on a regular basis by your physician. If detected early, prostate cancer has a very high survival rate.
If you have a history of prostate cancer, life insurance companies will be interested in your PSA test readings.
A healthy reading is a PSA level of 4.0 or less. However, in many cases involving prostate cancer, the prostate gland is removed entirely.
That being the case, the insurance company will look for a PSA test result of 0.1 or lower. If it’s higher, you may not be eligible for coverage.
Another score closely monitored by life insurance companies is the Gleason Score. The score ranges from 1 to 10 and indicates the degree to which cancer has spread.
Generally speaking, life insurance companies look for a score of six or lower. But, even if the score is seven or higher, you may still qualify for traditional life insurance with a flat, extra fee added to your premium, based on an additional cost per thousand dollars of coverage.
The good news, however, is that even if an extra premium is added, it can be removed 5 to 7 years after successful cancer treatments have been completed.
Other variables the insurance company will want to know about:
- How long ago you received the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer.
- Your age at the onset of the disease.
- The type of treatment you received.
- The stage level of cancer, 1 through 4.
- If there have been any repeat episodes since your last treatment.
- Your PSA and Gleason scores.
- Your overall health apart from your prostate cancer experience.
Again, the further in the past your prostate cancer episode was, the greater the likelihood of getting coverage and getting it at a more affordable premium.
The Cancer Stage Your Prostate Cancer Reached
This is a major factor in determining both the premium you will pay for prostate cancer life insurance and even whether or not you will be approved for a policy at all.
If prostate cancer was determined to be Stage 1 or 2, you’ll have the best chance of qualifying for traditional life insurance policies. If it reached Stage 3, you may still qualify for traditional life insurance, but you will pay very high premiums.
Unfortunately, if your prostate cancer reached Stage 4, traditional life insurance policies will generally not be available. In that case, you’ll need to consider guaranteed issue life insurance.
Life Insurance Living Benefits for Prostate Cancer Patients
Most people think of life insurance strictly as providing a death benefit.
And, while that may be true in a lot of cases, there are certain policy types and policy provisions that may provide living benefits that can be especially important to anyone with cancer, including prostate cancer.
If you have a whole life insurance policy, you will be able to take loans against the cash value of the policy that can help you with medical and living expenses while you are going through treatment for prostate cancer.
If you have a terminal diagnosis, you may be able to access at least part of the death benefit, even on a term life insurance policy. This is accomplished when an accelerated death benefit rider has been added to your policy. In fact, this provision is often a standard policy feature in many plans.
With an accelerated death benefit, you can access a certain percentage of your policy’s death benefit, up to a fixed dollar amount. For example, if your policy provides for an accelerated death benefit of 75%, and your death benefit is $400,000, you’ll be able to access up to $300,000 while you are still alive.
Those funds can be used to cover medical expenses and living expenses for your family. Any funds not taken before your death will be dispersed to your beneficiaries upon your death.
Buying Life Insurance for Prostate Cancer Survivors
The single most important strategy when buying prostate cancer life insurance is working with the right insurance company. While it’s true many companies will provide coverage for most people with a history of cancer, many companies now specialize in high-risk life insurance, including prostate cancer.
Not only will these companies be more likely to approve your application, but you’ll be more likely to get an affordable premium. The secret is knowing which companies have the most favorable view of prostate cancer or any other type of high-risk health condition or lifestyle factor. As an average consumer, there’s no way you will have access to that information.
It’s best to work with a licensed life insurance broker. Because we work with many different life insurance companies—especially on behalf of applicants determined to be high-risk—we know who the companies are that will be the best fit for whatever health condition you have. That includes prostate cancer.
So don’t worry if a low-cost life insurance provider has turned you down for coverage because of a previous history with prostate cancer. There are companies that will take a very different view of your situation, and will be highly likely to approve your application.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.