Can I take out life insurance if I've been diagnosed with cancer?

According to statistics, one in every two UK adults will be diagnosed with cancer. It might be some comfort to know that, even if you’re diagnosed, you still qualify to take out a life insurance policy.
Our guide can help you understand the factors that might determine if you’re eligible to take out a life insurance policy, and what you need to know.


What factors affect the cost of life insurance?

The cost of life insurance tends to be higher if you’re more likely to make a claim. This is the case if you have a long-term illness or other serious health condition.

If you have a cancer diagnosis, your life insurance premium will be based on how severe your illness is.

Life insurance costs can be calculated by considering other things, such as:

• Age
• Weight
• Lifestyle (such as smoking or drinking alcohol)
• Family medical history
• Job
• Hobbies
• Where you live
• The type of insurance policy you want to take out
• The sum assured.

If you want a more in-depth idea of what insurers look at, read our guide on the factors that decide life insurance costs.

Also, different insurers have their own definition of what a terminal illness is. That’s why it’s important to check which serious or terminal conditions are covered by a life insurance policy before you buy it.

Our guide to life insurance and terminal illnesses can help you understand more about what might be covered.


Can you claim on your own life insurance for a terminal illness?

As long as you’re still paying for your cover at the time, you can usually claim your own life insurance for a terminal illness.

Most policies do include terminal illnesses, but some older policies don’t. Check the small print of your policy documents to find out.

You can also take out critical illness cover in addition to your life insurance policy. Our critical illness cover guide explains how it’s different to life insurance, and what getting both could mean for you.


Can my family claim on my life insurance when I die?

Yes. Your family can claim on your life insurance policy when you die, but only if you’ve named them as your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the people you want to receive your money when you die.

You’ll usually be asked to nominate at least one beneficiary when you take out your life insurance policy, so that your provider knows who to pay the money to. You can also nominate beneficiaries for your pension.

You can find out more in our guide to nominating your beneficiaries.

To make a claim, your beneficiaries can get in touch with your life insurance provider. Keep in mind that each provider has their own process and requirements.


Can I get life insurance if I’ve had cancer in the past?

Many insurance companies offer cover for cancer survivors. Some insurance companies will cover you if you’ve been given the all-clear for a set time. Check with your provider to find out the length of time required.

Insurance companies will review your medical outlook and assess how severe your illness is when deciding whether to cover you. You’re likely to pay higher premiums if there’s a higher possibility of you making a claim.

Do you need extra support?

Are you or a loved one too sick to work? Does illness make it harder to communicate with us? You can speak with us in confidence about your circumstances and we’ll do our best to find the right support for your needs.