Life Insurance after Thyroid Cancer

The last thing anybody what’s to hear is that they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, with modern medicine, more and more people are surviving cancer and going on to live happy, healthy lives.  So much so that many life insurance companies have been having to “re-think” what it means to be diagnosed with cancer.


Whether simply being diagnosed with cancer in the past is reason enough to simply “automatically” decline these folks from being able to purchase a traditional term or whole life insurance policy in the future.

And while…

We would love to say that “any” cancer survivor will ultimately be able to qualify for insurance at some point, the fact remains that having been diagnosed with cancer including thyroid cancer is going to make it more difficult for you to qualify for a traditional term life insurance or whole life insurance policy.

More difficult…

But not necessarily impossible.  Which is why we wanted to take a moment and describe what the process of applying for life insurance will look like after you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and hopefully shed some light on what you can do to better improve your chances at qualify for a great life insurance policy.  So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Now the first thing…

That we want to make clear is that we’re not medical professionals and we’re certainly not doctors so while we’re going to be talking about what thyroid cancer is and how it is often treated, by no means should anything we say be “viewed” as medical advice.

All we want…

To do is just discuss of few factors about thyroid cancer so that you the reader can get a better idea about what a life insurance underwriter is going to be looking for and what he or she may be concerned about.

So, what is a “Thyroid” and what is thyroid cancer?

The thyroid helps to regulate growth by releasing hormones into the system. The thyroid can have many problems such as hypothyroid or hyperthyroid – both of these are more common than thyroid cancer. However, in rare cases, people do get cancer of the thyroid. When cancerous cells start to appear in the thyroid you may see a lump in the neck which prompts you to visit a doctor and discover it is cancer.

Detection of Thyroid Cancer.

Fortunately, thyroid cancer is usually detected earlier than most other types of cancers simply because it can become visible early on.   And… early detection is one of the keys to any kind of recovery.

Early detection of cancer is also important once it comes time to buy life insurance after begin diagnosed with thyroid cancer because life insurance companies tend to like to see that someone only suffered from a cancer that was detected early and treated promptly.

Types of thyroid cancer:

Papillary: This is the most common kind, accounting for about 80% of all thyroid cancer cases. Chances of survival from this “type” of thyroid cancer are generally pretty good.

Follicular: This is the second most common type, but only accounts for about 15% of all thyroid cancer cases. This is a more advanced cancer and more aggressive. Long-term survival is not as great as papillary, but with early detection and treatment, survival rates remain high.

The remaining 5% of cancer types fall into one of two categories:

Medullary: Seems “sporadic” when investigated. This kind of cancer can be difficult to treat and unless diagnosed early, most life insurance companies will tend to shy away from insuring anyone diagnosed with “medullary” thyroid cancer.

Anaplastic:  Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the most serious type of thyroid cancer and is very hard to recover from.  Insurance companies are particularly hesitant about insuring anyone that has been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer.  In cases like these, we will often suggest clients consider a guaranteed issue life insurance policy (more on that later).

Qualifying for Life Insurance with Thyroid Cancer

Best chance at qualifying:

As a general rule of thumb, we like to use the following guidelines on how to quote an individual for insurance, so that they can get a general idea on what they may or may not be able to qualify for prior to actually submitting an application to an insurance company.

General guidelines:

Diagnosed before 45 years of age.

  • With a tumor between 0-4 cm it may be possible to qualify for a Standard life insurance rate after you’ve been declared cancer free for at least 12 months.
  • Tumor size between 4-8 cm, it may be possible for you to qualify for a Table C or Table D, however the extent to which your tumor has extended into neighboring tissues will play a role in determining eligibility. Most applications will also require a minimum of 12 months in remission.

Diagnosed between ages 46-49.

  • With a tumor between 0-2 cm it may be possible to qualify for a Standard life insurance rate after you’ve been declared cancer free for at least 12 months.
  • Tumor size between 2-4 cm, it may be possible for you to qualify for a Table D. These applicants will need to demonstrate that they have been cancer free for a minimum of 12 months.
  • Tumor size 4-8 cm, will also be able to potentially qualify for a Table B-C rating. Again however, each applicant will be viewed based on how large their tumor is and how invasive it has become in relation to other parts of the body.

Diagnosed after age 60.

  • Individuals diagnosed after age 60 will typically not be able to qualify for a Standard rate and will usually only be able to qualify for a Table B at best. Additionally, these applicants will also usually have to wait a minimum of 5 years before becoming eligible for coverage.

Table Rates.

Now since we’ve already begun discussing table rates, we want to take a moment and describe exactly what a table rate is.  Table rates are life insurance rates that fall just below Standard or normal rates.  In total, there are 10 possible Table Rates an individual can qualify for ranging from Table A (the best or least expensive) to Table J (the worst or most expensive table rate).

The trick for anyone…

Diagnosed with thyroid cancer will be to find those life insurance companies that will approve them at a “Preferred” Table Rate, and then look to see which one of those companies have the “best” rates for those categories.

It’s important to remember…

That up until this point, all we’ve really discussed is that fact that you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  It’s quite possible that your thyroid cancer isn’t going to be what keeps you from being able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy!

You see…

While having been diagnosed with thyroid cancer is going to play a role in the outcome of our life insurance application, it’s not the only thing that’s going to play a role in your approval.

“You are more than just a thyroid cancer survivor!”

Which means…

That insurance companies are also going to be interested in a whole range of other factors such as your:

  • Height and weight,
  • Family medical history,
  • Diving record,
  • Prescription medication history
  • Etc, etc…

So… what to you do if you can’t qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?

Thyroid cancer survivors who can’t qualify for term or whole life insurance can still pursue guaranteed issue life insurance options.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policies.

Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are life insurance policies that aren’t going to require you to be able to “medically” qualify.  Which means that it doesn’t matter how healthy you are as long as you:

  • Are a US citizen,
  • Live in a state where guaranteed issue life insurance policies are offered,
  • And you meet the minimum age requirements,

You should be able to qualify for coverage.

But just because you…

Can qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy doesn’t mean that you should run out and buy one.  You see, these “types” of life insurance policies are going to come with their disadvantages.  Disadvantage such as:

  • Low policy limits,
  • Higher “dollar for dollar” premiums vs more traditional types of life insurance policies,
  • And guaranteed issue life insurance policies will contain a Graded Death Benefit, which will limit when your guaranteed issue life insurance policy will begin covering your for “natural” causes of death.

Finally… it’s important to remember that…

The life insurance company that you choose to apply with matters as well!  You see, not all life insurance companies are the same – and some may do a better job at underwriting a policy for a thyroid cancer patient or survivor than another one will.


We can’t simply list out the best life insurance companies for thyroid cancer survivors because the other factors (see above) could change the answer for you. We don’t want to misguide anyone by saying “hey, here are the top three life insurance companies for thyroid cancer survivors” – because what if that person takes our advice, but another health factor he/she has makes that life insurance company a less than ideal choice for them?

Personalized Recommendations are the Only Way.

Instead of offering up generic life insurance advice, we realize that all thyroid cancer survivors are not the same. That’s why we like to make personalized life insurance recommendations. That way we know that we really are guiding people to the right life insurance – the best coverage at the most affordable price.

If two people with thyroid cancer come to us at the same time, it’s very possible that we may recommend each of them a different life insurance company and policy. That’s because all of the other factors play an important part in the whole underwriting process.

So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today or visit our Life Insurance Quotes page and see what we can do for you!

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