Purchasing Life Insurance After Prostate Cancer
If you a prostate cancer survivor seeking life insurance protection, you might be concerned about high rates or even the possibility of being declined.
The good news is that, depending on your specific treatment and overall health, purchasing an affordable life insurance policy to protect your loved ones might be easier than you think.
We've helped hundreds of clients with a history of prostate cancer and we can help you too. By representing more than 50 top-rated life insurance providers, we're able to quickly match our clients with their best option.
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
Quick Article Guide
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer we see in men. In fact, WebMD states that approximately one out of nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime.
Almost a decade ago, when Warren Buffet’s diagnosis made headlines, Buffet himself was quoted saying that his prostate cancer was “not life-threatening.” A routine PSA test caught his cancer early, and by treating it before it could spread, Buffet was able to make close to a complete recovery.
Buffet's story is not an uncommon one. In fact, according to Cancer.org, only about one in forty men that are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States end up dying from it. After nearly ten years, Warren Buffet remains in great health.
This seems like much better odds than most cancers, but because prostate cancer is common in older males, it's also third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Despite these statistics, purchasing life insurance after having prostate cancer is possible and affordable.
However, not all life insurance companies view prostate cancer the same. This is why we always recommend working with an independent life insurance agent that represents at least a few dozen life insurance providers. Here's what you'll need to know before you get started:
When you’re applying for a term life insurance policy, you will need to provide your agent with some basic information about your prostate cancer history. Each life insurance company will need to evaluate:
- Age of your diagnosis
- Type of treatment received (prostatectomy, brachytherapy, or radiation)
- Stage and grade of the cancer
- Pre-treatment AND current PSA levels
- Gleason score
Every insurance providers sets their own approval guidelines so some providers could be a better fit for your unique health profile. The best way to avoid overpaying for your coverage is working with an independent agent that will "shop the market" and compare quotes from multiple companies.
If you need help, our agency represents dozens of highly-rated companies, and we're licensed in all 50 states. Our comparative shopping services are always free, and there is no cost to apply for life insurance.
Below is an in-depth description of each of the various factors that life insurance companies will consider for applicants who have survived prostate cancer.
One of the primary risk factors for prostate cancer is the age of the person's diagnosis. In younger people, cancer cells replicate quickly and they have a higher propensity to metastasize. As we get older, cancer replicates much slower and its less likely to spread to other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer also becomes an increasingly common in men over the age of 60. In fact, roughly 40% of men in their seventies, about 70% of males in their eighties, and almost every man over the age of 90, will experience issues from prostate cancer.
With recent advancements in medicine, the life insurance providers have become more lenient with approvals for applicants with prostate cancer. The vast majority of life insurance companies offer more favorable rates to men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer over the age of 60. In most cases, for those over 60, once the prostate cancer is successfully treated, you can purchase a life insurance policy immediately afterwards.
If you were diagnosed or treated for prostate cancer before the age of 50, finding an insurance company that is willing to offer you a policy could be a challenge. Our agency represents dozens of highly-rated companies that offer lenient underwriting and we may be able to help. Give us a call today at 855-247-9555, or request free a quote below to get started.
When it comes to life insurance, the cost of your policy will depend on how the cancer was treated. From the insurance company’s standpoint, a prostatectomy is the safest option. During this surgery, a portion or all of the prostate gland is removed to keep the cancer from spreading.
A prostatectomy is performed only when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland or "in-situ." If you were diagnosed with a low-grade cancer that was surgically removed, you may be able to purchase life insurance immediately following your surgery.
When you apply for a coverage, the life insurance provider will review your lab results to check your current PSA level. If you're PSA is under 0.02, you'll be eligible for their third-best health class, or standard plus rates with some of the companies we represent.
If your cancer was treated with radiation by either external beam radiation, (such as IMRT, SBRT, proton-beam, etc.), or brachytherapy (such as radioactive seeds), you'll need to wait at least 12 months from you last treatment before you're eligible for a fully-underwritten life insurance policy.
The life insurance companies require this waiting period to make sure your treatment was successful. To be eligible for coverage after the waiting period has passed, you'll need to have a PSA of 0.1 or less. In this situation, some life insurance companies will offer you their “standard” rate class.
There are very few options for those who are on a “watch and wait” plan from their doctor.If you are over the age of 60 and your prostate cancer is in stage one or two, there should be a couple of companies that will approve your policy if you are in otherwise good health.
For those in their forties or fifties on a “watch and wait” plan, the only option is a Guaranteed Issue (GI) life insurance policy. These policies offer up to $25,000 of coverage with no health questions asked.
The life insurance companies will review your PSA levels before and after your prostate cancer treatment. PSA levels are also tested during your free exam. There have even been some cases where men have learned about their elevated PSA levels after applying for life insurance.
Ideally, a healthy man should have a PSA level of 4.0 or less. If your PSA levels come back higher, your doctor will normally order a biopsy to see if there are any other signs of cancer. When applying for life insurance, the underwriters will want you to have a PSA level less than 20 at the time of your diagnosis, but if your PSA levels were less than 10, you may qualify for “preferred” rates.
After your treatment for prostate cancer has finished, your PSA should always be below 0.1. If your prostate has been removed, the term life insurance companies will typically decline any applicant with a PSA of 0.02 or higher.
Early detection is extremely important when it comes to cancer. The sooner the cancer is found and diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. In addition, early detection treatments tend to be more successful.
People that treated their prostate cancer while it was in stage one or two will receive the most favorable rate class and price. If your cancer was in stage three when it was detected, getting an approval becomes more challenging, but there’s a chance that you may still qualify after a probationary period.
Unfortunately, if you’re cancer was diagnosed as stage 4, we are unable to help you with purchasing a term life insurance policy; however, you may be eligible for Guaranteed Issue life insurance depending on your age.
When it comes to the aggressiveness of the cancer, most life insurance companies will prefer to see a Gleason Score of six or less. If your Gleason Score was 7.0 or higher, you may still qualify for a life insurance policy with a flat extra, but this will dramatically increase the cost of your coverage.
A flat extra is a fee that is applied to your insurance premium when your health risk is considered to be high. The flat extra is usually an additional charge per $1,000 dollars of life insurance coverage, and it's usually applied to the cost of your policy for 5 to 7 years following a treatment for a cancer that spread or metastasized.
After the 5 to 7 years are up, your flat extra will end, and the cost of your policy will decrease. Remember, it’s best to talk to an underwriting specialist so they can match you to the right carrier. Our agents are underwriting experts and we work with dozens of highly-rated life insurance companies.
An important side note: Make sure to be upfront and honest with your agent about how the cancer was treated, your overall health, and current lifestyle. This will only benefit you in the end because every life insurance company is different.
What might cause one company to charge you more or decline your application may not be an issue for another company. By being honest and disclosing everything up front, the application process should be quicker and easier. Your odds of being approved as applied will also be much higher.
How We Can Help
JRC Insurance Group works with clients across the U.S. and we are appointed by 63 top-rated life insurance companies. Our agents specialize in the underwriting process and we have helped thousands of clients just like you. If you are a prostate cancer survivor, we can help!
With a few questions about your health and lifestyle, we’ll be able to match you with the right company, ensuring that your life insurance is the most affordable option available. Give us a call today for a free quote, or request a free quote here, we look forward to helping you! Toll Free: (855) 247-9555
Managing Partner and Co-founder
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.