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Life Insurance with Brain Cancer in Canada

Life Insurance with Brain Cancer in Canada
Life Insurance with Brain Cancer in Canada

Living with a brain cancer diagnosis can be extremely difficult, both emotionally and financially. Life insurance provides a critical way to protect your family’s financial future in the face of uncertainty. This definitive guide covers everything you need to know about getting life insurance with brain cancer in Canada.

What is Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer refers to any malignant tumour originating in the brain and central nervous system. These life-threatening abnormal growths can occur in different parts of the brain and spinal cord.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, it’s estimated that in 2024:

  • 3,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer.
  • 2,600 Canadians will die from brain and spinal cord cancer.
  • 1,850 men will be diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer, and 1,500 will die from it.
  • 1,400 women will be diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer, and 1,100 will die from it. 

(source: https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-types/brain-and-spinal-cord/statistics)

Brain tumours are categorized as either primary or metastatic:

  • Primary brain tumours originate from the brain tissue and start and stay in the brain, rarely spreading elsewhere.
  • Metastatic or secondary brain tumours occur when cancer spreads to the brain from another part of the body. These are more common, accounting for over half of all brain tumours.

Other key factors are whether the tumour is cancerous or benign and its grade, which indicates how aggressively it grows. Even benign tumours can be life-threatening, depending on their size and location.

Types of Life Insurance for Brain Cancer in Canada

Types of Life Insurance for Brain Cancer
Types of Life Insurance for Brain Cancer

Traditional life insurance can be difficult to qualify for if you have an active brain cancer diagnosis. However, there are specialized policy options specifically designed for higher-risk individuals.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance provides simplified coverage without any health questions or medical exams. As long as you meet the basic eligibility criteria for age and residency, you cannot be denied.

The major drawback is that guaranteed issue policies limit death benefit payouts within the first 1-2 years. If you pass away during this initial period, the insurer returns only the premiums paid rather than the full sum insured. This protects the insurer from adverse selection.

Guaranteed issues can provide an affordable temporary solution to get basic coverage in place for your family. Popular options include:

  • Canada Protection Plan – Offers guaranteed issue life insurance up to $25,000 for applicants aged 16 to 80. The policy limit increases to the full sum insured after two years.
  • Foresters PlanRight – Provides instant coverage from $2,500 to $25,000 for eligible applicants aged 50 to 85 years old. Pays full death benefit after two years.
  • ASAP Underwritten Plus – Gives instant access to term life insurance from $25,000 to $150,000 for ages 18 to 70. Payouts are limited in the first two years.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance offered through an employer or association provides another potential option if you cannot qualify for individual coverage.

The four main types are:

  • Basic Employee Life – Covers all eligible employees and requires no health questions. The typical benefit is 1-2x annual salary.
  • Optional Employee Life – Allows workers to supplement employer coverage through voluntary additional buy-up policies that may require some medical underwriting.
  • Basic Dependent Life – Provides modest default coverage for spouses/children with no health questions needed. Typically, $5,000 to $10,000 per dependent.
  • Optional Dependent Life – Employees can purchase extra coverage for family members via buy-up policies that may involve limited underwriting.

Group life benefits are more limited than individual policies but are guaranteed issues in many cases. This makes them useful for higher-risk applicants. Employer plans end if you leave your job, so consider converting to an individual policy.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Simplified issue life insurance involves some basic health questions and may require a paramedical exam, but offers more lenient underwriting than fully underwritten policies.

Approval is easier for health conditions like cancer, but premiums are higher than standard rates. Simplified issue policies balance enhanced accessibility with higher costs for riskier applicants.

Popular simplified issue options include:

  • RBC Insurance No Medical Life Insurance – Offers ten or 20-year renewable term life coverage from $5,000 to $1 million for applicants aged 18 to 75. Limited health questions are required.
  • Canada Life Assure Term – Provides 10, 15, 20 or 30-year term life insurance from $25,000 to $5 million for eligible applicants up to age 65. Minimal medical questions apply.
  • Sun Life Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance – Gives access to permanent life insurance from $5,000 to $50,000 for applicants aged 18 to 65. Requires a short health questionnaire.

Rated Policies from Traditional Insurers

If your brain cancer diagnosis and treatment occurred more than five years ago and your health is now stable, you may qualify for coverage from traditional life insurance companies at standard or rated premiums.

A rated policy costs more than regular prices due to added risk factors. The higher your health risk, the more ratings you receive and the higher your monthly costs. Common ratings include:

  • Table A (100-150%) – Low-risk substandard rating with slightly elevated premiums.
  • Table B (175-300%) – Moderate risk with more significantly increased pricing.
  • Table C (300%+) – High-risk applicants pay significantly higher rates.

Top life insurance companies in Canada like Manulife, Sun Life, Canada Life and RBC Insurance are open to covering cancer patients on a case-by-case basis at adjusted rates. It’s worth exploring this option if your prognosis is positive.

Alternatives to Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

If life insurance is out of reach, two alternatives to explore are:

  • Self-insuring – Putting aside savings in a registered account like a TFSA that your beneficiaries can inherit in case of death. This DIY approach requires discipline.
  • Crowdfunding – Platforms like GoFundMe allow you to fundraise for expenses in challenging times. This is not reliable like life insurance, but an option in a bind.

Though not perfect substitutes, self-insuring and crowdfunding provide potential stopgaps if life insurance is unaffordable or unattainable.

How Does Life Insurance with Brain Cancer Work in Canada?

Buying life insurance with brain cancer involves navigating a specialized underwriting process focused on your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Insurers will carefully assess:

  • Your precise form of brain cancer and histology findings
  • Date of initial diagnosis
  • Treatment received – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.
  • Response to treatment and outlook for recurrence
  • Any other major health issues or comorbidities

Based on their risk evaluation, the insurer will decide if coverage can be offered and at what terms. More favourable cases may qualify for standard or moderately rated policies, while difficult cases are limited to guaranteed issues or group life insurance.

It’s critical to be upfront and transparent about your full medical history so underwriters can properly evaluate your unique situation. Failing to disclose pre-existing conditions constitutes fraud.

Working with an experienced broker who understands underwriting is hugely beneficial when applying with a complex health history. They can help identify your best options and guide you through the process.

Pros and Cons of Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

Potential Advantages

  • Provides critical protection – Life insurance ensures your family is taken care of financially if you pass away prematurely.
  • Variety of options – From guaranteed issues to rated individual policies, there are ways to get coverage.
  • Customizable benefits – Policies can be tailored to specific financial needs and budget considerations.
  • Tax advantages – Life insurance death benefits are not taxable as income.

Potential Disadvantages

  • Higher premiums – Rated policies for health risks cost more than standard rates.
  • Limited payouts – Guaranteed issue plans restrict death benefits for 1-2 years.
  • Requirement for stability – Approval often requires a significant period since treatment with no recurrence.
  • No return on premiums paid – If the policy lapses, insurers keep your premium payments.

Cost of Life Insurance with Brain Cancer in Canada

Cost of Life Insurance with Brain Cancer
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
Cost of Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

Monthly premiums for life insurance with brain cancer vary substantially based on your unique situation:

  • Type of tumour – Benign meningioma is at a much lower risk than malignant glioblastoma.
  • Treatment response – Remission is better than active disease.
  • Years since diagnosis – >5 years ideal vs recent diagnosis.
  • Your age and other health factors – Young and otherwise healthy lower rates.

Let’s take a look at sample prices for a $500,000 10-year term policy for a 40-year-old male five years after brain cancer treatment could be:

  • Preferred if benign: $30 monthly
  • Standard if malignant: $60 monthly
  • Table A rating: $120 monthly
  • Table B rating: $240 monthly

These demonstrate how premiums rise significantly with higher risk ratings. Getting rated policies remains much cheaper than guaranteed issue coverage.

Comparing Top Companies For Life Insurance with Brain Cancer in Canada

When shopping for life insurance with brain cancer, look for an insurer that:

  • Specifically, it covers cancer patients. Some niche players have expertise in this area.
  • Offers both individual and group policies – Gives you diverse options to explore.
  • Has strong financial strength ratings – Ensures payouts when required.
  • Provides access to experienced underwriters – Helps get a fair assessment.
  • Allows conversions from group to individual – If your needs change.

Some top recommended life insurance companies in Canada for brain cancer patients include:

Sun Life

  • Offers flexible individual permanent and term life insurance products, including simplified issue options.
  • Also provides group life coverage through many employers across Canada.
  • Strong reputation for cancer insurance underwriting.

Manulife

  • Leading provider of both individual and group life insurance solutions.
  • Opens individual policies to cancer survivors on a case-by-case basis.
  • Policyholders can convert group coverage to private plans if desired.

RBC Insurance

  • Top player with a broad range of individual and group life insurance choices.
  • It offers innovative no-medical exam options on the individual side.
  • Known for willingness to cover individuals with cancer history.

Be sure to compare quotes from multiple insurers, as pricing can vary. It pays to shop around for your particular situation.

Related: Best Life Insurance Companies For Pre-Existing Conditions

Who Needs Life Insurance with Brain Cancer?

Here are some common scenarios where securing life insurance with brain cancer is advisable:

Diagnosed Recently

If you have been recently diagnosed, life insurance provides funds to help cover medical bills, experimental treatments, and loss of income during your battle with cancer.

Guaranteed issues or group policies offer accessible options in this scenario.

Parents with Dependents

Parents with young kids or teenagers still relying upon them need coverage to pay for their children’s needs in the tragic event of premature death.

Term life insurance until kids are independent adults is wise.

People at High Risk of Recurrence

Even after successful treatment, some brain cancer patients see their cancer return. Life insurance gives peace of mind if you are at elevated risk.

Focus on guaranteed issues or group policies if the risk of relapse is substantial.

Loved Ones with Ongoing Health Issues

If you are diagnosed with brain cancer and your spouse or other loved ones have long-term care needs, life insurance ensures their continual support.

Prioritize getting some form of coverage in place.

Tips for Getting Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

Tips for Getting Life Insurance with Brain Cancer
Tips for Getting Life Insurance with Brain Cancer
  • Work with a specialized broker – They have experience navigating cases like yours.
  • Be patient – It can take time and multiple applications to find an insurer willing to offer fair terms.
  • Disclose everything – Hiding anything will void your policy later on if discovered.
  • Consider group options first. They may offer simpler acceptance to get basic coverage.
  • Ask about conversions – See if you can later switch group coverage to private policy.
  • Explore alternatives if needed – Like self-insuring or crowdfunding if denied elsewhere.
  • Appeal declinations – Have your doctor clarify details of your prognosis to underwriters.
  • Re-apply annually if limited options now – More insurers may open up after a few years of stability without recurrence.

Aside from Brain Cancer, other health conditions impacting your ability to obtain life insurance are Lung Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Breast Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, etc. To learn how these impact approvals and rates, refer to these informative articles:

How to Buy Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

Here is an overview of the typical application process when seeking life insurance with brain cancer:

  1. Consult with a life insurance broker – Work with a specialist who understands high-risk coverage.
  2. Select policy type – Choose from guaranteed, group, simplified issue, or rated based on qualifications.
  3. Determine coverage needs – Consider financial obligations, debts, dependents, and income replacement required.
  4. Complete initial application – Answer health questions or complete a paramed exam if required. Ensure full disclosure.
  5. Provide medical history – Request detailed records from your doctors about diagnosis, treatments, response, and prognosis.
  6. Interview if needed – Clarify any details directly with the underwriter if they have additional questions.
  7. Check medical exam requirements – You may need new exams depending on the time since the last treatment.
  8. Get rated if required – Be open to paying higher premiums if needed to get approved.
  9. Review and sign documents – Finalize paperwork if offer requirements are acceptable.
  10. Pay the first premium – Provide initial payment to put coverage into effect.
  11. Schedule future premiums – Set up automatic withdrawals for ongoing policy payments.
  12. Designate beneficiaries – Name specific individuals who will receive death benefit payout.

The process requires patience, but taking it step-by-step can help you get covered. Having an experienced broker on your side is invaluable for the best outcome.

Where to Buy Life Insurance with Brain Cancer in Canada

You generally have three main options for where to purchase life insurance with brain cancer:

Direct from the Insurance Company

Pros:

  • May have specialized options for your situation.
  • Can access group policies available through an employer.

Cons:

  • Limited to one insurer’s selection of products.
  • Lack of expertise guiding complex cases.

Independent Broker

Pros:

  • Can shop multiple top insurers to compare.
  • Expertise with high-risk underwriting cases.
  • Help appealing if declined by one firm.

Cons:

  • Commission structure may influence recommendations.

Online Insurer

Pros:

  • Fast and convenient application process.
  • No agent commissions often mean lower pricing.

Cons:

  • Limited personal guidance for difficult cases.
  • Less specialized experience with cancer patients.

For most clients with brain cancer, working with an independent broker offers the best balance of experience, choice and affordability. Be sure to verify all brokers hold appropriate licensing.

How to Make a Claim on Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

If an insured person passes away from brain cancer, beneficiaries can make a claim by:

  1. Contacting the insurer – Call them directly and ask for the claim support team.
  2. Completing required forms – Provide background information, consent, and details about circumstances.
  3. Submitting proof of death – Supply documentation like a coroner’s statement or death certificate.
  4. Sending medical records – Doctors will need to confirm the cause of death and treatment history.
  5. Verifying beneficiary information – Confirm legal names, contact details, tax ID, and payment preference.
  6. Signing claim settlement paperwork – Review payout amount and insurance settlement release.
  7. Receiving death benefit payment – The insurer will deposit funds directly to named beneficiaries.

It is always emotional to deal with the passing of a loved one. Relying on the support of a caring broker or insurer representative makes navigating the claim process less stressful.

Give Your Family Peace of Mind with Life Insurance

A brain cancer diagnosis delivers an enormous shock. While focusing on treatment, it’s natural to downplay or delay planning for the worst. Yet, hoping for the best while being prepared for all potential outcomes is prudent.

Take control of your financial future by taking steps to protect your family with life insurance. Make sure your bases are covered should the hardship of bereavement compound the hardship of loss of income.

Even with existing health conditions, coverage remains within reach through today’s specialized high-risk life insurance solutions.

Visit Lifebuzz.ca to compare personalized quotes from top providers and find the right policy for your situation today. Protect your family and give yourself the peace of mind you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with Brain Cancer

Can I get life insurance with brain cancer if I'm over 65 years old?

Yes, you can still get life insurance with brain cancer over age 65, but your options may be more limited. Guaranteed issue or group life insurance policies are often the only ones available due to age and health. Shop multiple insurers for the best rates.

What are my life insurance with brain cancer options if I also have diabetes?

Having multiple health conditions in addition to brain cancer makes getting affordable life insurance more challenging. Guaranteed issues and group policies may be your only options. Be prepared for higher premiums based on the combined risks.

If my brain cancer is now in remission, how much will life insurance with brain cancer cost?

If you are in stable remission after completing treatment over five years ago, life insurance with brain cancer is more affordable. You may qualify for rates close to standard but only mildly elevated rates based on your history.

Can I get life insurance with brain cancer to cover my mortgage?

Yes, you can get a life insurance policy with brain cancer specifically to cover an outstanding mortgage balance. Opt for level term life insurance lasting until your mortgage will be paid off.

What are my chances of approval for life insurance with brain cancer if I was diagnosed four years ago?

If it has been four years since your brain cancer diagnosis without recurrence, you have fair chances of approval for regular life insurance at somewhat higher rates. Be patient through the process.

Is it possible to find affordable life insurance with brain cancer for someone with a limited budget?

Yes, guaranteed issue or group life insurance can provide more affordable options for life insurance with brain cancer on a tight budget. Look for guaranteed acceptance without high-risk premium markups.

What conditions exclude someone from qualifying for life insurance with brain cancer?

End-stage or terminal prognosis, ongoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment, and significant cognitive or functional deficits from cancer usually preclude approval for life insurance with brain cancer policies.

If I had surgery for a benign brain tumour, what are my options for life insurance with brain cancer?

With a benign brain tumour fully excised, you have excellent chances to qualify for competitively priced life insurance with brain cancer from a standard carrier after a short waiting period.

How long should I lock in life insurance with brain cancer coverage?

Lock life insurance with brain cancer coverage in for as long as you can predict needing financial support for dependents. Consider 15-30 year terms or permanent coverage, depending on your goals.

What medical details do insurers request when I apply for life insurance with brain cancer?

Expect to provide pathology reports, operative reports, oncology summaries, radiology scans, doctor's notes, and follow-up visits. Insurers will assess tumour type, grade, response, and outlook.

Will getting genetic testing about my brain cancer risk impact my eligibility for life insurance with brain cancer?

Yes, disclosing negative genetic testing results related to brain cancer may help your case, while positive results for high-risk mutations will make life insurance with brain cancer harder to qualify for.

How soon after being diagnosed with a brain tumour should I apply for life insurance with brain cancer?

It's best to wait at least six months after completing treatment before applying, as insurers want to see a period of stability. Consider guaranteed issue coverage in the interim.

Can I get life insurance with brain cancer if my only treatment was radiation therapy?

Yes, you can qualify for life insurance with brain cancer after radiation treatment alone. Your outlook depends on the type of tumour, response to radiation, time since treatment, and risks of recurrence.

What steps can I take to improve my chances of getting life insurance with brain cancer?

Stay closely monitored by your oncologist, maintain follow-up scans, document stable status over multiple years, improve modifiable risks, and keep your doctor informed to provide supportive documentation to insurers.

What life insurance with brain cancer options exist if I live in rural Canada with limited local access to agents?

Those living in rural areas can access life insurance with brain cancer through direct mail, phone, or online with national insurers that underwrite high-risk cases across Canada without needing local agent support.

References
  1. https://protectyourwealth.ca/life-insurance-with-brain-cancer/
  2. BRAIN TUMOUR LIFE INSURANCE – iaminsured.co.uk
  3. BRAIN TUMOUR LIFE INSURANCE – specialriskmanagers.com.au
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Written by Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen is an award-winning insurance expert and industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is the chairman and director of IDC Insurance Direct Canada Inc., one of Canada's leading online insurance brokerages.

Ben is renowned for his extensive knowledge of life, health, disability, and travel insurance products. He is the prolific author of over 1,000 educational articles published on LifeBuzz, BestInsuranceOnline, and InsuranceDirectCanada. His articles provide Canadians with advice on making smart insurance decisions.

With a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) designation, Ben is frequently interviewed by media as an insurance industry spokesperson.

He has received numerous honors including the Insurance Council of Canada’s Pivotal Leadership Award, the Canadian Insurance Hall of Fame induction, and the President’s Medal from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Ben continues to shape the vision and strategy of IDC Insurance Direct as chairman. He is dedicated to advancing the insurance industry through his insightful leadership.

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