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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

I finished treatment for breast cancer recently. Can I qualify for life insurance now?

Congratulations on your victory. Several factors determine whether you can qualify for life insurance at standard rates now or have to wait for a year or two to apply. They include the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes were involved, the type of treatment you received and when you completed treatment.

The good news is life insurance companies have made it easier for breast cancer survivors to qualify for coverage at better rates, and sooner after treatment than ever before. This is due to advances in detection, treatment and long-term survival rates.

The Hartford was the first insurer to offer standard rates for life insurance to women successfully treated for breast cancer, and other companies followed suit. In some cases, when the disease is caught early, women can qualify for life insurance as soon as they complete treatment. In other cases, they may need to wait, usually anywhere from one to three years and occasionally up to five years. This waiting period is still much shorter than breast cancer survivors faced a generation ago.

Talk to a life insurance agent about your situation, and consider working with an impaired risk specialist. This is an insurance agent who specializes in helping people with health conditions--such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer--obtain life insurance. These independent life insurance agents know which companies are most likely to offer you the best deal, considering your condition and circumstances.

For more, see Breast cancer survivors are getting better access to life insurance.

Last updated: Nov. 17, 2011