Life Insurance with a Family History of Cancer

It is well-known that life insurance companies look for active or previous cancer in every application they receive. Personal history of cancer is something life insurers take very seriously and can greatly affect an individual’s policy. But what about life insurance with a family history of cancer?

Cancer is one of the most prolific disease states of our time. The mortality associated with it reaches far and wide. It’s very likely you know a friend or family member who has battled with cancer at some point in his life.

It is estimated that 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States for 2015. Even more staggering is the estimated number of lives cancer will claim in our country this year alone: 589,430.

Believe it or Not, Family History of Cancer Will Affect Your Life Insurance Premiums

I know what you’re probably thinking, “That’s not fair, I have no control over my family’s cancer history!”

I understand your frustration. It doesn’t seem right that something completely out of your control can result in more expensive life insurance rates.

But you must remember that life insurance companies are businesses. And just like any other business, their top priority is making money and minimizing their risk.

That’s the cold hard truth, whether you like it or not.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

It is still possible to receive favorable life insurance rates even with a family history of cancer in some cases.

In fact, there are some life insurance companies out there that don’t even consider family history of cancer at all. We’ll get to those companies shortly.

But first, let’s take a look at when family cancer history negatively affects your life insurance premiums.

Family History of Cancer: What is the Cost?

The family history of cancer pertains to your parents and siblings as far as life insurance companies are concerned.

Most companies will want to know if any of your parents or siblings has died from cancer, or if they were diagnosed with cancer before the age of 60.

moneyIf either of these situations applies to your family history, then you can expect to pay a higher rate.

On the other hand, if your father was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 75, this would probably have a more favorable effect on your premium.

Another thing insurers consider when qualifying applicants for life insurance with a family history of cancer is the type of cancer involved.

According to the American Cancer Society, only about 5 to 10% of cancers are linked to genetic mutations.

But…there are certain types of cancers that seem to run in families more commonly. Breast cancer and colorectal cancer are two examples.

Now this doesn’t mean that just because your parent or sibling had one these cancers, that you are guaranteed to get this cancer too.

Your personal health and genetic makeup will both play a big role.

Just be aware that it is possible you may be at increased risk due to family history.

LightbulbAs an example, if you’re a female and your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45, this will have a negative impact on your premiums.

Now let’s say you’re a male instead in this example. Since breast cancer is rare in men, the effect of this family cancer history should be much less significant.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. If you’re a female applying for life insurance and your father had prostate cancer, the impact this has on what rates you qualify for should be negligible.

Which Companies Do Not Consider Family History of Cancer?

As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple reputable life insurance companies that are known for handing out affordable premiums despite family cancer history.

ING Insurance company logo

Banner life insurance company logo blue and white colored



Both of these companies place more of an emphasis on cardiovascular health than family history when assessing an applicant’s risk to insure.

If you have been getting dinged with higher rates from other insurers due to your family cancer history, you should make getting quotes from both ING and Banner a priority.

Keep in mind that companies do change underwriting guidelines often. This list could change. Consult a trusted independent insurance professional for the most up to date information.

Assuming you are in otherwise good health, you are more likely to receive a preferred or preferred plus rate compared with other life insurance companies.

warningWith that said, be aware that these companies may still consider a family cancer history that has strong evidence of a hereditary link.

Even if you find yourself in this situation, any negative impact should be less with ING and Banner compared to most other life insurance companies.

Give Yourself Plenty of Options

LightbulbEven though ING and Banner tend to offer the most affordable rates to individuals with a family history of cancer, it is crucial that you consider other companies as well.

Your complete picture must be taken into account. There may be another item(s) in your health, occupation, or lifestyle that will make a different insurer the right fit for you.

The world of life insurance is constantly changing and evolving. There is no telling when a particular company may switch their stance regarding family cancer history.

All the more reason to go out and get as many quotes as you possibly can. You may find another company can offer better premiums for the coverage you want.

Always remember that premiums can vary widely between companies.

That’s why it’s SO important that you understand how the different carriers might view your personal situation. Shopping around will result in you getting the best life insurance coverage for your needs at an affordable premium.

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.

The truth is while the quote engine is a great place to get a start, if you are applying for life insurance with cancer in your family, you absolutely must with a broker who understands the complicated guidelines and will fight on your behalf to get the lowest rate for your situation.

We are one of the rare independent brokers that ONLY sells life insurance so we’ve gotten pretty darn good at it.

If you are ready to get started, please fill out a quote request or always feel free to contact us with any questions.

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

At Simple Life Insurance, we make the process of getting quotes to compare as easy as pie.

Don’t let your family cancer history prevent you from getting quality and affordable life insurance coverage.

You and your loved ones deserve it.


  • 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.