Life Insurance with Colon Cancer: 8 Things you MUST Know

Can you even qualify for life insurance with colon cancer?

This is a legitimate question to ask yourself if you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, whether active or in the past.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Roughly 5% of Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, it is expected to claim the lives of 49,700 Americans in 2015.

Not all that long ago, a diagnosis of colon cancer virtually guaranteed an automatic decline when applying for life insurance. Times have changed, so that’s no longer the case.

If you stick with us for a few minutes, you’ll learn the 8 things you must know to get affordable life insurance rates if you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer at any point in your life.

  1. How are Applicants with Colon Cancer Classified?
  2. Be Aware of The “Flat Extra” 
  3. Don’t Settle for the First Company That Approves You
  4. Are There any Options for Individuals with Stage 4 Colon Cancer?
  5. What Will They Ask Me on an Application?
  6. How Will Colon Cancer in My Family History Affect Rates?
  7. What If I’m a Colon Cancer Survivor?
  8. What If I’ve Already Been Rejected?

There is a wide range of criteria that factor into a life insurance company’s decision if they will underwrite a policy or not for an applicant with a colon cancer diagnosis.

The type of premium someone qualifies for will also vary depending on this set of criteria.

How are Applicants with Colon Cancer Classified?

Insurers look at the date you were diagnosed, types of treatment you received, and the current stage of your colon cancer.

If you were diagnosed over the age of 50, you stand a better chance at qualifying for lower rates.

With cancer staging, the lower your stage, the more likely you will get approved for a policy. If you fall within stages 0 to 1, this will reflect most favorably on getting approved for a policy.

warningIndividuals with stage 3 colon cancer may not get approved initially. Some life insurance companies will require a waiting period of 1 to 3 years or more from the diagnosis of cancer-free.

Insurers often require waiting periods in situations like this to help minimize their risk of an early death benefit payout.

Unfortunately, stage 4 colon cancer will usually result in a decline due to the advanced and metastatic nature of cancer at this stage. If this is you, skip below to section on stage 4 options.

Please keep in mind that even if you are diagnosed with an early stage of colon cancer, such as stage 0, you still won’t qualify for preferred or preferred plus status.

In best case scenarios, you will probably wind up with a standard rate.

Be Aware of The “Flat Extra”

Another common practice many life insurance companies use is charging an extra fee for applicants who are approved for life insurance with colon cancer.

This is referred to as a flat extra fee.

moneyThis is an extra charge ranging from $5 to $10 for every $1,000 of policy coverage. As an example, let’s say your flat fee is $5 per $1,000. If your policy is for $500,000 coverage, the total flat extra fee you would have to pay would be $2,500.

This flat extra fee usually is applied for the first 3 to 10 years of a life insurance policy.

The exact amount of the flat extra and the time frame it lasts depends largely on current cancer stage among other factors.

Let’s break down typical flat extra fees for each stage of colon cancer:

Stage 0:

If diagnosed before age 65

  • $5.00-$7.50 for every $1,000 coverage
  • Set for 3 to 5 years

If diagnosed after age 65

  • You may qualify for standard life insurance premiums without a flat extra fee

Stage 1:

If diagnosed before age 65

  • Coverage will usually be delayed for at least 1 year until after treatment is finished
  • Once this time period has passed, a flat extra of $7.50 to $10 per $1,000 of coverage will be applied
  • Flat extra will last up to 5 years
  • After 5 years, the insured individual will pay standard rate for remainder of policy

If diagnosed after age 65

  • Flat fee of $5.00-$7.50 per $1,000 coverage will be applied in addition to standard rate
  • Set for 3 to 5-year term

Stage 2:

Stage 2 colon cancer is where approval and rates get tricky for life insurance with colon cancer.

If diagnosed before age 65

  • An applicant will usually get declined for 5 years after completion of cancer treatment.
  • After this 5 year period, companies may underwrite a policy. The flat extra will usually be $10 per $1,000 of coverage and last for 10 years.

If diagnosed after age 65

  • Many companies will decline the policy until 2 to 3 years have passed after cancer treatment.
  • After this 2 to 3-year time frame, a flat extra of $10 per $1,000 of coverage for 7 to 10 years will be applied

Don’t Settle for the First Company That Approves You

With an unfortunate condition like colon cancer, it can be easy to accept the first policy you’re approved for out of fear. Fear that you may not qualify for another policy through other life insurance companies.

Even though your first approved policy may turn out to be your best option, it is still a good idea to work with multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the right fit.

You never know which life insurance company may wind up offering the coverage you need at the best premium.

moneyYou saw that the flat extra most companies charge can vary and usually falls within a certain range. Companies may charge different flat extra fees and this alone can greatly affect how much money you have to dole out each month.

If you need personal assistance figuring this all out, contact our office so we can begin fighting for you. It won’t cost a penny.

Are There any Options for Individuals with Stage 4 Colon Cancer?

As we already covered earlier, life insurance companies will not underwrite a policy for applicants with stage 4 colon cancer.

But, there may still be 2 last line options that allow you to obtain some life insurance coverage.

Graded death policy: The insured amounts for graded death policies are usually much smaller than with traditional life insurance. And in the event of a death of the insured individual, the full payout is delayed for 2 years.

Not all companies may offer this type of policy, and it’s not an ideal situation, but can still provide at least some form of life insurance coverage.

Final Expense:  Nobody likes to talk about this option (neither do we). This is intended to help your loved ones cover funeral and burial costs.

What Will They Ask Me on an Application?

In addition to the normal questions about your overall health and family history, you can expect to be asked specifics about your colon cancer diagnosis and history.

warningThese are actually questions an independent broker should ask you BEFORE applying so they can shop you to the right companies. Please don’t just start firing out applications to a few big name companies hoping for the best. It’s not the way to go.

One of the things we at Simple Life Insure specialize in is aggressive underwriting pre-approvals. We’ll use our up to date knowledge of the industry and leverage underwriter relationships to put our colon cancer clients with the right fit every time. And of course the lowest premiums possible.

Things your broker will need to know to work with the insurance companies include:

  • Date of diagnosis
  • Stage history then and now
  • Treatment plan and history
  • Complications from any treatment
  • Current and past medications
  • In remission? for how long?
  • History of colon polyps
  • Family history of colon cancer (more details in later section)
  • Recent colonoscopy results

Bottom line: The more complete a picture your broker has, the better equipped they’ll be to secure you the best rates.

All the above information will be discovered during underwriting anyways but knowing it up front is the key to success.

How Will Colon Cancer in My Family History Affect Rates?

Short answer: If someone in your family died under the age of 60 from cancer, it’s usually going to hurt your rates. If they just had some polyps late in life or even reached a stage 1 diagnosis, this may have little effect IF you apply with the right company.

The truth is, different companies have different criteria for much they take family history into account. Some weigh it all heavily. Others take certain conditions in your family history seriously, while not rating you down for others.

LightbulbWe work with a company who will allow 1 colon cancer death in your family history PRIOR to the age of 60 if you 1) have had a normal colonoscopy in past 24 months and 2) are over the age of 50.

If you meet those criteria you can still be considered for PREFERRED rates!

Please see our article for information on how other types of cancer in your family history can affect premiums.

What If I’m a Colon Cancer Survivor?

That is wonderful! So glad to hear it.

Short answer: The longer it’s been since you beat it, the better off you are in securing life insurance.

These companies are in the business of accurately assessing risk and they feel more comfortable if some time has passed without signs of remission.

If it’s already been 8 years and no signs of polyps, you are looking good to get coverage.

If it’s only been a couple years since you beat it, you will have a harder time and your choices limited.

What If I’ve Already Been Rejected?

It’s not over yet! While not a great sign, it’s way too soon to know for sure one way or the other.

In order to determine your next move, we’ll need to know:

  1. What companies did you apply with?
  2. When was the rejection date?
  3. Any significant changes in health or lifestyle since the decline?
  4. Do you own any life insurance at all currently? (there are some tricks)

Bottom line: Let’s take a look  and do everything we can to get you coverage before giving up.

Please keep in mind that underwriting guidelines can and DO vary greatly between carriers and this is often a complicated maze for consumers to navigate.

The secret to getting the lowest rate is placing you in a policy with the company who views you in the most favorable light.

Honestly, I would skip our pretty little quote engine if you are applying for life insurance with colon cancer or with a history of it in your family.

The only way to go is to work with an independent broker who understands the complicated guidelines and will fight on your behalf to get the lowest rate for your personal situation.

We only sell life insurance so we stay on top of everything every day for our clients.

If you’d like our assistance, please contact us to get started.

We are here to help and will never pressure you in any way.


  • Ty Stewart

    Ty Stewart is a founder and contributor of He started researching and studying about life insurance when he got his first policy for his own family. He has been featured as a life insurance expert speaker at agent conventions and in top publications. As an independent licensed life insurance agent he has helped clients nationwide to secure affordable coverage while making the process simple.

  • Bennett Bier

    I’m Bennett Bier, owner, author and fact checker of Simple Life Insure. I believe working with a small independent broker offers consumers more personal attention and superior customer service. As an independent agent licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia I have access to many of the top A+ rated life insurance carriers. This lets me locate a plan that you will qualify for while saving you money at the same time. Over the years I have mastered the art of underwriting, getting approvals even for my highest risk clients. I’m also likely the person that will answer the phone when you call.