What Cancer Survivors Should Know About Obtaining Life Insurance

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Please use for reference only.

Hilary Daniels
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

The following guidelines can facilitate cancer survivors' efforts to obtain adequate life insurance.

Shop Around

You can get information about brokers and companies that specialize in high-risk life insurance from:

American Council on Life Insurance
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20004

In addition, a list of licensed brokers in your area is available from your state insurance department.

Use an Agent

An independent agent can assist you in identifying companies and plans that best meet your needs.

Plan and Policy Options

You may want to consider group plans and graded policies. The advantage of a large group plan is that the insurance company does not review the health status of each individual plan member. Smaller plans may evaluate the health of group members, which can result in exclusion from the plan, denial of full benefits or paying higher premiums. Group life insurance plans are frequently available from companies that also offer group health insurance plans.

For cancer survivors who are denied a policy with full death benefits, a graded policy may be the next best option. Under a graded policy, if your death occurs within the first several years of the policy, your beneficiaries receive only your premium plus a portion of the policy's face value. Payment of the policy's full face value is made when your death occurs after the waiting period is over.

Excerpted from Charting the Journey: An Almanac of Practical Resources for Cancer Survivors by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.


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