How do you get life insurance if you’ve had skin cancer? Did you know that there are companies that specialize in skin cancer underwriting?
We’ll answer these questions and more in this guide.
This Skin Cancer Life Insurance Guide Covers:
- Does Skin Cancer Affect Life Insurance?
- Life Insurance by Type of Skin Cancer
- Skin Cancer Underwriting Questions
- Pre-Cancerous Skin Conditions
Does Skin Cancer Affect Life Insurance?
Life insurance is affected by the type of skin cancer, the pathology results, treatment received, time since treatment and recurrence history.
For most people who’ve had non-melanoma skin cancers, life insurance is available as soon as treatment is complete.
With malignant melanoma, life insurance depends on the factors detailed later in this article.
From a life insurance underwriting standpoint, skin cancer is the most common cancer we work with.
Getting to the right life insurance company is one of the most important factors when it comes to finding life insurance after cancer.
Life Insurance by Type of Skin Cancer
The type of skin cancer you had will determine which life insurers are best.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, affecting roughly 3 million Americans per year.
With most basal cell cancers, treatment may include:
- Scraping the basal cell from your skin (curettage) & burning the tumor area (electrodesiccation)
- Mohs surgery – removes and examines thin layers of skin until cancer is removed.
- Excisional surgery to remove the skin cancer
- Radiation Therapy
- Topical Medications
Most basal cell skin cancers are readily insurable at the best underwriting rate classes as soon as treatment is complete.
Exceptions to this are the rare basal cell cancers treated with radiation or topical medications.
For these cases, life insurance underwriters may make you wait until after your followup visit with your physician.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Life Insurance
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Approximately 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Mohs surgery and excisional surgery are the most common treatments for SCC.
Smaller squamous cell carcinoma may be treated using curettage and electrodesiccation.
Most squamous cell cancers receive similar but slightly less competitive life insurance rates than basal cell carcinoma cases.
Melanoma Life Insurance
Malignant melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer to insure.
Approximately 200,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in America.
The availability of life insurance depends on many factors found on your pathology report.
We’ll tell you exactly what to get from your dermatologist.
Melanoma Life Insurance Factors:
- Melanoma Cancer Stage – What stage was the cancer?
- What was the thickness and depth of the melanoma?
- Was the melanoma ulcerated?
- Were any lymph nodes positive for cancer?
It’s okay if you do not have all the answers. We can quote you based on the info you do have and adjust later once the details are confirmed.
Life Insurance by Melanoma Stage
The following are general guidelines by melanoma cancer stage.
Stage Zero Melanoma
If you were diagnosed with stage zero melanoma (melanoma in situ), life insurance is available after surgery.
Standard rates are available now and preferred rates in later years with some life insurers.
Stage 1a Melanoma
Stage 1a melanoma is less than 1 millimeter (mm) in depth and not ulcerated.
Life insurance is available at standard rates after surgery and standard plus rates may be possible in future years.
Stage 1b Melanoma
Stage 1b melanoma is greater than 0.8 mm in thickness and ulcerated.
The presence of ulceration in melanoma indicates that it is a more serious cancer.
While life insurance is available at standard rates after surgery, an additional expense called a flat extra may be added to the policy.
Flat extras are temporary and usually last 5 years or less.
The flat extra will add $500 – $750 per every $100,000 of coverage you purchase.
Stage 2a Melanoma
Stage 2a melanoma is greater than 1mm but less than 2 mm in thickness.
There is no indication of ulceration with a stage 2a melanoma.
Stage 2 melanomas have not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Many insurance companies will postpone offering coverage for 1 year after surgery, although there are a few that may consider coverage now.
When coverage is available, the standard rate plus a flat extra will be added to the policy.
The flat extra would last for 5-7 years and would add $750 – $1,000 per every $100,000 of coverage.
Stage 2b Melanoma
Stage 2b melanoma is 1mm – 2mm in thickness.
Ulceration is present in the pathology report.
Standard rates may be available with a flat extra of $1,000 per every $100,000 of coverage. The flat extra may last for 7 years or longer in some cases.
Only a few companies may consider coverage right after surgery.
Many carriers will postpone offering coverage for 4-5 years after surgery.
If you have any additional skin conditions such as dysplastic nevi, please let us know as it will impact underwriting.
Stage 3 Melanoma
Stage 3 melanoma require lengthy postpone periods of 5 years or longer from the completion date of all treatment.
The table ratings will typically add 50% to the standard rate and last for the life of the policy.
The flat extra will add $1500 – $2000 per every $100,000 of coverage you consider and may last 5-7 years.
Guaranteed issue policies may be an option if you are looking for smaller policy sizes.
Stage 4 Melanoma
Life insurance is limited to guaranteed issue life insurance policies when available in your state of residence.
Coverage amounts are commonly limited to around $25,000 and the death benefit is graded.
Skin Cancer Underwriting Questions
In order to provide you with accurate life insurance quotes, here’s what we need to know:
- What type of skin cancer did you have?
- When were you diagnosed with skin cancer?
- Where on your body was the skin cancer located?
- Were there multiple locations of cancer?
- How was the skin cancer treated?
- What were the start and completion dates of treatment?
- Has there been any recurrence of skin cancer?
- The following questions apply to melanoma
- What stage was the melanoma?
- What was the depth and thickness of the melanoma? (Breslow, AJCC)
- Clark’s Level – Diagnosed prior to 2010? Clark’s level refers to depth of tumor invasion.
- Were any lymph nodes cancerous?
- If yes, where and how many were cancerous?
- Was the melanoma ulcerated?
- Any pre-cancerous conditions? (dysplastic nevi, Paget’s disease)
- Is there any family history of melanoma?
Your pathology report is the best source of information.
We’ll quote most basal cell and squamous cell histories on the spot.
For melanoma, we’ll give you a ballpark idea of what to expect, but the best way to get accurate quotes for melanoma is for us to quick quote out to companies with your pathology report.
Quick quotes are explained later in this article.
Pre-Cancerous Skin Conditions
It’s important that you let us know if you’ve had any of the following skin conditions that may lead to cancer.
Dysplastic Nevi are atypical moles that may resemble melanoma.
People who have dysplastic nevi are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.
Life insurance underwriters look at your history, the number of dysplastic nevi, and the amount of time that has passed since removal.
It is possible to obtain preferred rates for dysplastic nevi, although most companies require less than 4-6 dysplastic nevi in order to be considered for their preferred rates.
We have the guidelines and will know which companies to work with based on your history.
Actinic Keratosis is considered to be a pre-cancerous condition as it could develop into skin cancer if left untreated.
Once treated, underwriting follows the same rules as basal cell carcinoma and sometimes squamous cell carcinoma.
Which life insurer is best for my skin cancer history?
Every melanoma history is uniquely different and the best company for you may be different than for someone else’s melanoma history.
To ensure that you receive the best rate available, we use a quick quote process.
What’s a quick quote?
A quick quote allows us to obtain underwriting feedback quickly (3-4 days) from multiple companies that specialize in skin cancer underwriting.
Quick quotes are anonymous, meaning that no personally identifiable information is shared with companies.
Once we receive underwriting feedback from companies, we summarize what each company has to say in terms of underwriting and price.
The benefit is that you’ll know which companies are best before completing applications and paramed exams.
We have the expertise to help you with your best life insurance options no matter what type of skin cancer or pre-cancerous condition you may have had.
With our service, there is never any pressure or obligation.
We’ll provide you with the information you need in order to make an informed decision about your life insurance.
If you change your mind, simply tell us to close your file.
We’ve specialized high risk life insurance underwriting of cancers for many years, with expertise in many cancers, including:
You find more information here on life insurance after cancer.