Life insurance and cancer

Cancer impacts the lives of many people and can make day-to-day life trying for both you and your loved ones. One in every two people * develop some type of cancer during their lifetime, and it‘s estimated that 3 million people in the UK are living with the disease. That figure is predicted to rise further to 4 million by 2030 **.

Facing a cancer diagnosis can be a worrying time for your whole family, but life insurance could at least help to relieve future financial pressures. It’s just useful to know that if you’re a cancer patient, or you’ve had cancer in the past, this can affect your life insurance options.

This guide explains more about life insurance and cancer.

*Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer, October 2022.

**Source: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/research/cancer-prevalence, September 2023.

  • Having cancer can be an extremely worrying time for you and your loved ones, not knowing what the future may hold. If you already had life insurance before your cancer diagnosis, you should be covered if you pass away, offering future financial support to those closest to you.

    In addition to life insurance, if you have critical illness cover, it may provide a payout in the event of a cancer diagnosis. This could relieve financial stresses while you focus on your health, help you to modify your home, or even access private treatment.

    It is worth checking your policy conditions. Many companies offer enhanced cover for cancers which aren’t included in standard critical illness policies.

  • Taking out a life insurance policy after a cancer diagnosis may still be possible. It could be a more complicated process and could mean higher premiums. The insurer will want to know additional details before providing cover. Things like the type of cancer, what stage it is at and what treatment you have had. They may also ask for consent to contact your doctor about the cancer.

    Lloyds Bank work with the insurance provider Cavendish Online to give cover for those battling with or having survived cancer.

    Can I get life insurance if I have a family history of cancer?

    If there is a family history of cancer, the insurer may need more information. This could include who in your family has had it, and what type it was. While you may still be able to get life insurance, the premiums could be higher than someone who doesn’t have a family history of cancer.

  • There are over 200 types of cancer*, but the most common are:

    • Prostate.
    • Breast.
    • Lung.
    • Colorectal.

    If you’ve taken out life insurance and then develop cancer which you later die from, your loved ones should be able to make a claim. Life insurance covers you in the event of death, as long as you policy is in place and the premiums are paid. Although it won’t replace you, a payout could give the people you care about financial support during this difficult time.

    If you have a cancer diagnosis and then take out life insurance, it could be classed as a pre-existing medical condition. It might not prevent you from getting life or critical illness cover, but it could be a more complicated and expensive.

    In the case of critical illness cover, you might receive a payout if the type of cancer you’re diagnosed with is covered on your policy. If a tumour isn’t malignant (not cancerous) or it’s non-invasive, it may not be covered. If you’re ever unsure, check your policy documents.

    *Source: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancer-starts/types-of-cancer, September 2023.

  • Yes, you should be completely transparent on your medical history when applying for life insurance. Not only will this ensure you get the cover you need, but your policy could also be invalidated if you’re not honest about your health and lifestyle.

    If you pass away and your beneficiaries make a claim, a payout may not be made if you didn’t disclose any pre-existing conditions. This would mean your loved ones may not get the financial support you had planned.

  • If you have history with cancer, life and critical illness insurers may ask more about your status. These might include:

    The type of cancer.

    • When you were first diagnosed.
    • What stage of cancer it is.
    • What treatments you may have undergone, and when.
    • Whether the cancer has spread, and where to.
    • What your current status is – for example, are you in remission?

    Insurers will need to access medical records from your GP to check these. Bear in mind it’s not just cancer you’ll need to discuss with your insurer. They’ll want to understand your full medical history, including any past conditions you’ve had, and your wider health and lifestyle.

  • There are several types of life insurance that cancer patients might want to consider.

    Term life insurance

    With term life insurance , you’re covered for a set period only.

    Options include:

    • Decreasing term – often used to cover things like a repayment mortgage. The payout amount will reduce over time, in line with your mortgage balance.
    • Level term – your loved ones can claim a pre-defined payout if you die while your life insurance policy is active. This amount won’t change during the term.
    • Increasing term – with this type of cover, the benefit your loved ones can claim may increase with inflation, helping them to manage higher living costs in future.

    Whole life

    If your policy is active, your loved ones can claim a financial payout when you die, whenever that may be. Because of that, whole life can be the most expensive type of life cover.

    Joint life insurance

    Couples or even business partners may choose joint life insurance, helping their surviving partner to manage their shared financial commitments should the other die.

    Scottish Widows – who are also part of Lloyds Banking Group – arrange our life insurance policies. They are our life insurance experts, helping to protect what matters most for over 200 years. To get a new policy, you need to be a UK resident aged 18 to 59. Cover can be provided up to the age of 69.

    It’s worth remembering that life insurance and critical illness cover products have no cash in value at any time. If no valid claim is made by the end of the policy term, it will end, and you’ll get nothing back. If you don’t pay your premiums on time your cover will stop, your policy will end, and you’ll get nothing back.

    Learn more about types of life insurance.

 
Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

  • No, life insurance doesn’t apply at the point of your cancer diagnosis. A life insurance payout can only be made if your loved ones make a successful claim in the event of your death.

    However, if you have critical illness insurance and it covers the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with, you could make a claim. This benefit could help you to manage financially while you focus on your health, access treatment, or make adaptations at home.

    At Lloyds Bank, you can purchase life and critical illness together, or independently.

  • Your life insurance policy covers your health condition at the time of taking out the cover. Usually, you won’t need to tell an insurer if your health changes. However, if you want to renew your life insurance or take out additional cover, you should tell your insurer about any changes, including cancer diagnoses and treatment.

    This may result in higher costs. However, it means you’ll have the cover you really need, and you’ll avoid your policy being invalidated.

    If all health conditions are listed on your policy, your loved ones are more likely to make a successful claim if you were to die unexpectedly.

  • Depending on the type of insurance you have, and the form of cancer you’re diagnosed with, you may be able to make a claim. This benefit could help you to manage financially while you focus on your health, access treatment, or make adaptations at home.

    Simply check your policy documents to see if you’re covered. When you make a claim, your insurer will need confirmation from a medical professional, detailing your condition and prognosis.

  • Life insurance will only benefit your loved ones if they make a successful claim in the event of your death. Not at the point of cancer diagnosis.

    However, if you have critical illness insurance you may be able to make a claim yourself. Simply check your policy documents to see if you’re covered.

    When you make a claim, your insurer will need confirmation from a medical professional, detailing your condition and prognosis.

    At Lloyds Bank, you can purchase life and critical illness together, or independently. Take the time to read through all of the policy documentation before you purchase life insurance, making sure it provides the cover you really need.

  • Scottish Widows – our life insurance partners – work with Macmillan to provide much needed help, guidance and support during a difficult time. If you’ve been given a cancer diagnosis, a dedicated Serious Illness Support Team can be contacted Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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