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Life Insurance with Lung Cancer in Canada: Everything You Need To Know

Life Insurance with Lung Cancer
Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed and deadliest cancer in Canada. Yet many patients are unsure if they can get life insurance after a diagnosis.

This in-depth guide provides lung cancer patients, survivors, and families with expert insights on obtaining life insurance with lung cancer in Canada.

Understanding Lung Cancer in Canada

First, let’s review key statistics, types, symptoms, and risk factors for lung cancer in the Canadian context.

High Incidence and Mortality

  • According to Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 32,100 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer in 2024, and 20,700 will die from it.
  • Lung cancer accounts for 13% of new cancer cases and 23% of cancer deaths in Canada.


Two Main Types

Major Risk Factors

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Chest or shoulder pain

Having reviewed the lung cancer landscape in Canada, let’s examine how it impacts your qualification for life insurance.

How The Diagnosis Affects Your Life Insurance With Lung Cancer

How The Diagnosis Affects Your Life Insurance With Lung Cancer
How The Diagnosis Affects Your Life Insurance With Lung Cancer

A lung cancer diagnosis makes getting life insurance more difficult but not impossible. Here are key factors insurers weigh.

Cancer Stage and Type

Insurers consider the specifics of your diagnosis. Early-stage, less aggressive cancers may be covered at higher premiums than advanced cancers.

Treatment Response and Outlook

Insurers examine treatment success and prognosis. Better response and outlook increase approval odds.

  • Five-year net survival for lung cancer is 22%. This prognosis is considered.
  • The prognosis for lung cancer depends heavily on how early it is detected and treated. Patients diagnosed and treated in the initial stages tend to have better survival outcomes overall.


Time Since Diagnosis

Many insurers require 1-5 years after treatment before evaluating applicants. This allows for assessing recurrence risk.

Overall Health

Beyond cancer, insurers look at your pre-existing conditions, family history, lifestyle factors like smoking, etc. Good health can mean better rates.

Policy Type Matters

Traditional policies have stricter requirements versus guaranteed issue policies with fewer health questions but less coverage.

Clearly, the specifics of your diagnosis and health impact options. Next, we’ll explore how cancer stages and types influence cost.

How Your Cancer Stage and Type Affect Premiums and Policy Choices for Life Insurance With Lung Cancer

Let’s examine how your lung cancer specifics affect premium rates and policy eligibility.

Early vs Advanced Stage

Early-stage detection improves eligibility. But even early-stage patients pay higher premiums than healthy individuals. Advanced cancer reduces options significantly.

Aggressive vs Less Aggressive Cells

Less aggressive types like NSCLC have better chances than more aggressive kinds like SCLC, which spreads rapidly and has poorer survival odds.

Active Disease vs Remission

Being in remission or cancer-free after treatment enhances eligibility compared to active disease. The longer in remission, the better the outcome.

Your cancer stage, type, and current status all impact your premiums and choices. Next, we’ll walk through the application process.

What to Expect When Applying for Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

Applying for life insurance with lung cancer involves more steps than a typical policy. Here is what to expect.

Compare Life Insurance Companies

Research life insurance insurers in Canada and find ones experienced in Life Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions. They may be more receptive.

Engage an Experienced Agent

An agent well-versed in underwriting for health conditions can advise suitable options. Rely on their expertise.

Share Your Medical Records

Insurers will closely review your diagnosis, treatment, pathology reports, and prognosis. Keep nothing back.

Undergo a New Medical Exam

Expect a fresh exam with blood tests, urine analysis, and a physician assessment, even if you just had one.

Application Review and Decision

Insurers will carefully assess your case. You may get approved with limitations or higher rates or declined.

Be prepared for a deliberative process requiring patience. Next we’ll look at how insurers weigh prognosis and severity.

Life Insurance Eligibility for Lung Cancer Survivors

As a survivor, several factors affect your chances of getting coverage:

Time Since Finishing Treatment

Insurers want to see years since treatment, as this lowers recurrence chances. Many require 1-5 years before approving applications.

Your Stage and Type at Diagnosis

Early-stage and less aggressive cancers represent better eligibility. Advanced or aggressive ones mean higher perceived risk.

Your Remission Status

Being cancer-free helps versus active disease. The longer you are in remission, the better insurers will assess your eligibility.

Your Current Overall Health

Beyond cancer history, insurers evaluate other existing conditions, family history, smoking, etc. Good health equals better rates.

Your Adherence to Follow-Up Care

Sticking to monitoring and exams demonstrates a commitment to health. This helps eligibility.

While tricky, coverage is possible for survivors who optimize their health and wait before applying.

Available Policy Options for Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

Available Policy Options for Life Insurance with Lung Cancer
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
Available Policy Options for Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

If approved for life insurance after a lung cancer diagnosis, there are a few main types of life insurance policies to consider:

Term Life Insurance

  • Because lung cancer is associated with higher mortality risk, term life policies with shorter 5-10-year terms may be required.
  • Lung cancer patients with early-stage, less aggressive cancers may qualify for longer terms, like 20-30 years, at reasonable rates.
  • Term life provides a death benefit payout to beneficiaries if they pass away from lung cancer during the policy term.

Whole Life Insurance

  • Lifelong permanent coverage can give lung cancer patients peace of mind but generally has higher premiums.
  • Insurers may offer lung cancer survivors who are years past treatment and cancer-free reduced premiums on whole-life policies.
  • The cash value accumulation can help offset rising premiums over time that may result from a lung cancer health history.

Universal Life Insurance

  • For lung cancer patients, the adjustable death benefit can be useful to raise coverage after beating cancer without new medical underwriting.
  • The flexible premium payments allow paying more some years when finances allow, to compensate for high treatment costs.
  • It may cost more than term life but offers lifelong coverage regardless of any potential lung cancer recurrence.

How to Buy Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

If seeking life insurance after a lung cancer diagnosis, here are steps to go through:

  • Get quotes from several providers specializing in higher-risk life insurance cases like lung cancer.
  • Ask brokers to identify insurers most receptive to lung cancer survivors when applying.
  • If declined by multiple insurers due to your lung cancer history, consider a guaranteed issue policy.
  • Expect to undergo additional medical screening like lab work, imaging, and lung function tests during underwriting.
  • Be prepared to pay higher premiums relative to healthy applicants due to lung cancer. A minimum 50% surcharge is common.
  • For term life, choose a shorter duration, like 10-20 years, in case of lung cancer recurrence.
  • Carefully review exclusions for any clauses related to death from lung cancer recurrence or metastasis.

Understanding Exclusions and Waiting Periods for Life Insurance With Lung Cancer

Some key waiting periods and exclusions to know about:

Waiting Periods After Treatment

Most insurers require 1-5 years after treatment before approving applications. This protects against ensuring recurrence risk.

Exclusions for Recurrence or Metastasis

Some policies exclude payouts for death from recurrence or metastasis. This reduces liability.

Limited Payouts in the Initial Period

Guaranteed issue policies limit death benefit payouts for cancer in the first 2-3 years. This protects the insurer.

Review policies closely and clarify any clauses related to your condition. We’ll now look at improving eligibility.

How to Enhance Your Approval Odds for Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

Here are tips to boost your chances of qualifying for coverage:

Optimize Your Lifestyle

Focus on diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, and quitting smoking/alcohol. This shows insurers you are low-risk.

Closely Follow Your Treatment Plan

Strictly adhering to your prescribed regimen indicates your commitment to health.

Find Specialized Agents

Agents who are very experienced in high-risk cases can help identify suitable options and receptive insurers.

Taking proactive steps goes a long way towards improving outcomes.

Apart from Lung Cancer, other types of cancers impacting your qualification for life insurance are Thyroid Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Breast Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Cervical Cancer, etc. Refer to these articles to see how pre-existing conditions affect life insurance :

Understanding Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance with Lung Cancer
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

For those who declined traditional policies, guaranteed issue life insurance is an option. Keep these aspects in mind:

No Medical Exam or Health Questions

Guaranteed issue policies don’t require an exam or health questions, making approval straightforward.

Maximum Benefits Are Low

Coverage amounts max out around $25,000 to $50,000 – much lower than typical policies.

Expect to Pay Higher Premiums

With no underwriting, premiums are pricier relative to benefit amounts.

Know the Initial Payout Limits

Many guaranteed issue policies limit payouts for health conditions in the first 2-3 years. Read the fine print.

The guaranteed issue provides an alternative for difficult cases, but know the limitations.

Where to Buy Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

Those shopping for life insurance after lung cancer have a few options:

  • Direct purchase works best with large insurers who have specialized underwriters experienced in lung cancer cases.
  • Independent agents and brokers with high-risk expertise are ideal for navigating lung cancer cases.
  • An agent experienced in lung cancer life insurance can identify companies open to survivors years after successful treatment.
  • Checking with lung cancer advocacy groups and forums can provide referrals to brokers specializing in lung cancer cases.
  • Applying through an employer or association plan involves minimal underwriting but may provide insufficient coverage amounts.

How to File a Claim on Life Insurance with Lung Cancer

To file a life insurance claim due to lung cancer, beneficiaries should:

  • Provide full medical records and details on diagnosis, treatment, remission, recurrence, and cause of death related to lung cancer.
  • If death is sudden, be prepared to authorize an autopsy to confirm lung cancer as the cause of death.
  • Review the policy exclusions for any clause declining payout if death occurred within a certain time period after diagnosis.
  • For term policies, confirm the claim is being filed within the term period and that premiums were fully paid.
  • If lung cancer was not disclosed on the initial application, be prepared for additional investigation and interviews before payout.

Key Takeaways for Canadian Lung Cancer Patients and Families

What should lung cancer patients and families take away from this guide?

  • Getting coverage after diagnosis is difficult but possible in many cases. Don’t assume you are excluded.
  • Maintaining wellness, waiting to apply, finding specialized agents, and securing guaranteed issue policies if needed go a long way.
  • Gather all your medical documentation and disclose everything to insurers for the best outcome.
  • With preparation, collaboration with experts, and a proactive approach, many applicants can obtain coverage.

The most crucial step is to start the conversation with insurers. Contact an experienced advisor for professional guidance specific to your unique situation.

Next Steps: Connect with an Expert Advisor

At Lifebuzz, our experienced advisors help lung cancer patients and survivors get affordable life insurance coverage every day. We’re here to help you understand your options and advocate on your behalf during the application process.

To start a conversation and get a free personalized quote, contact Life Buzz today. We look forward to helping you protect what matters most.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about life insurance with lung cancer

Q: What are my chances of getting approved for life insurance with lung cancer?

A: The chances of approval for life insurance with lung cancer depend on many factors, such as cancer stage, treatment success, time since treatment, overall health, etc. Early stage patients 2+ years post-treatment have decent prospects if otherwise healthy. Advanced stage patients with recurrence have lower odds of qualifying for life insurance with lung cancer.

Q: Can I get life insurance with lung cancer while actively receiving treatment?

A: Most insurers will not approve life insurance with lung cancer applications until after lung cancer treatment is successfully completed. Some may consider limited guaranteed issue policies during treatment. Full coverage is often only available 1-2 years post-treatment for life insurance with lung cancer.

Q: How long after lung cancer treatment until I can qualify for life insurance with lung cancer?

A: Insurers usually require 1-5 years after completing lung cancer treatment before approving life insurance with lung cancer coverage. The waiting period depends on the stage and prognosis. The longer you are cancer-free, the better your chances for life insurance with lung cancer.

Q: Does lung cancer stage matter when applying for life insurance with lung cancer?

A: Yes, the lung cancer stage significantly impacts eligibility for life insurance with lung cancer. Early stages (I and II) have better chances of qualifying versus later stages III or IV. This reflects the prognosis and recurrence risk for life insurance with lung cancer.

Q: Can I get life insurance with lung cancer after removing early-stage localized lung cancer?

A: Yes, you have a good chance of getting life insurance with lung cancer after removing early-stage localized lung cancer, as long as you are 1-2+ years post-surgery with no recurrence and maintain overall health.

Q: Will my existing life insurance cover death from lung cancer?

A: For life insurance purchased before a lung cancer diagnosis, the policy typically remains valid and will cover death from lung cancer as long as you disclose medical history accurately during application.

Q: Can I adjust my life insurance policy after a lung cancer diagnosis?

A: After a new lung cancer diagnosis, you likely cannot adjust an existing non-guaranteed life insurance policy until any contestability period expires. Consult your insurer on possible options for your life insurance with lung cancer.

Q: How do I determine the right amount of life insurance to get after lung cancer?

A: Factors like income replacement needs, dependents, debts, final expenses and your post-cancer life expectancy should guide required life insurance amounts when shopping for life insurance with a lung cancer history.

Q: Can I get a physical exam waiver when applying for life insurance with a lung cancer history?

A: Most life insurers will require a new medical exam and records review when applying for coverage after lung cancer, even on no medical exam life insurance policies. Limited exceptions are possible for applicants seeking life insurance with a lung cancer history.

Q: Will I pay higher life insurance premiums with a history of lung cancer?

A: Yes, you will almost certainly pay higher premiums for life insurance policies after a lung cancer diagnosis, likely a minimum of 50% more compared to healthy individuals applying for life insurance.

Q: Who are the best life insurance companies to apply to with lung cancer?

A: Some top life insurance companies to try applying to with lung cancer are BMO Insurance, Canada Life, Sun Life, RBC Insurance, and Foresters Financial. Brokerages like PolicyMe and also specialize in high-risk life insurance cases like lung cancer.

Q: Can I get life insurance with lung cancer through my work?

A: Most employer group life insurance plans involve minimal underwriting, so coverage may be available through work after lung cancer. However, the benefits of life insurance for lung cancer are usually low compared to employer plans.

Q: Can I appeal a denial for life insurance with lung cancer?

A: Yes, you can appeal a life insurance denial with lung cancer by providing updated medical records to demonstrate treatment response, improved health, or years since cancer-free. Second opinions on pathology can also strengthen appeals for life insurance for lung cancer patients.

Q: Will my premiums for life insurance with lung cancer ever decrease?

A: If you maintain good health and continue cancer-free for 5+ years after lung cancer, you may be able to request reduced premiums on life insurance with a lung cancer policy as the perceived risk decreases over time.

Q: Can I get life insurance with lung cancer if I have other pre-existing conditions?

A: Getting life insurance with lung cancer is more difficult but still possible in many cases if you have other medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Your overall health is evaluated when applying for coverage.

Q: What medical information do I need to apply for life insurance with lung cancer?

A: To apply for life insurance with lung cancer history, gather pathology reports, treatment records, imaging scans, oncology visits, bloodwork, pulmonary function tests, and any documentation related to diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care.

Q: Can I get life insurance with lung cancer as a senior?

A: Yes, seniors can obtain life insurance with a lung cancer history. However, depending on their age and health, they may be limited to smaller benefit amounts or guaranteed issue policies. Shorter-term lengths are also typical for seniors with life insurance and lung cancer.

Q: Will hospice care impact my life insurance with lung cancer?

A: Electing hospice care indicates end-stage illness, so benefits would be limited for life insurance with lung cancer. Existing policies may have accelerated payout options. New policies would likely not be approved.

Q: Can I convert term life insurance to permanent insurance after a lung cancer diagnosis?

A: Converting term life insurance to permanent insurance after developing lung cancer depends on the policy terms but is often allowable within conversion option time limits without new underwriting.

Q: How do I determine my life insurance needs with lung cancer?

A: Considering finances, dependents, and personal medical outlook can help determine the appropriate amount of life insurance coverage needed when shopping with a lung cancer history.

Q: Can I get life insurance with lung cancer to cover my mortgage?

A: Yes, you can get a life insurance policy with a lung cancer history to cover an outstanding mortgage balance. The term length should align with the remaining mortgage years.

Article Sources:

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  1. Lung cancer in Canada –
  2. Securing Life Insurance with Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Survivors –
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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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