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Critical illness cover for cancer survivors

LifeSearch author John Rogers
3 min read

by John Rogers, Marketing Executive

See author bio

John is a Protection expert, having worked in our customer facing teams and best practice teams, and now is immersed in Protection Content and Marketing. See author bio

Guide last reviewed 10 Oct 2023

For cancer survivors, the mere mention of life insurance products can trigger stress and frustration. However after experiencing something like cancer, it opens your eyes to the importance of protecting your finances and most importantly, your family. Insurance is not an easy thing to navigate with a rather serious medical history - particularly if it’s critical illness cover that you’re after - but the good thing is that things are getting better [1].

When it comes to cancer, medicine is advancing and cancer survival rates are higher than ever before, having doubled in the last 50 years in the UK. Whereas in past years, critical illness insurers would run a mile at the ‘C’ word, cancer survivors will be very glad to hear that many have since updated their position about offering cover for those who have beaten this all-too-common condition.

Are different cancers treated differently?

When it comes to insurance, cancer is not just cancer. Different cancers are treated a little differently and everything is assessed on an individual case-by-case basis. It’s certainly more difficult to get critical illness cover if you have had a more severe cancer such as bowel or lung cancer or where the cancer was of a high staging, so a stage three or four.

Although they sound very scary, some cancers can actually be caught and treated very quickly whilst they are still in the low stages, with little impact upon someone’s general day-to-day health. These include breast cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, hodgkin's lymphoma and some types of Leukaemia. 

What will an insurer need to know?

Any health problems that you’ve had prior to taking out insurance are referred to as a pre-existing condition, and you will probably be asked to declare any pre-existing medical conditions during the application process. When applying for critical illness cover as a cancer survivor, a provider is likely to have quite a few questions… 

For starters, they’ll want to know where the cancer was and how long ago you were diagnosed with it. They will also likely ask how long your treatment lasted for and when your last treatment was performed. They’ll ask for details of your GP, hospital or specialist in relation to the cancer and you may even be asked to undertake a medical examination. This is fairly common - a provider will need to know all of the details so that they can assess you correctly. It’s so important to be honest here. If not, any claim could potentially be made void.

Ideally, critical illness cover insurers will want you to have been free of any treatment for cancer for a few years, depending upon the staging of the cancer. Different types of cancer are treated differently, as they massively range in severity so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. Each insurer will approach every individual situation differently.

Are there any exclusions?

As with any pre-existing medical condition, it’s very likely that any critical illness cover policy will come with some form of cancer exclusion to the policy. This could be a full exclusion for any future cancer diagnosis, so you won’t be covered if your cancer returns. Or, it could be more specifically tailored to your individual circumstances, such as the exclusion of breast cancer for a breast cancer survivor. It really does depend on the provider and their individual underwriting guidelines. Whilst one insurer may decline you for critical illness cover, another might offer you a policy with a cancer exclusion.

If you’re a cancer survivor looking to take out critical illness cover, let a broker like us here at LifeSearch help you. We know how important insurance products become after going through something like cancer.



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LifeSearch author John Rogers
John Rogers Marketing Executive
A ‘Searcher since 2015, John is a Protection expert having worked in our customer facing teams and best practice teams, and now is immersed in Protection Content and Marketing.
See all articles by John Rogers
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