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Qualifying for Life Insurance with Ovarian Cancer

Researcher & Writer
September 07, 2017

If you’ve already been “shopping” for a traditional term life insurance policy or a whole life insurance policy then  you already probably know that if you’ve been diagnosed with a pre-existing medical condition like ovarian cancer in the past, things are going to be a bit more difficult for you.

But don’t fret…

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you’re looking to purchase a life insurance policy, we are here to help.  It’s why we wrote this article and its why we want you to have a complete understanding of what the “process” of applying for life insurance after you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer will look like and what steps you can take to improve your chances at qualifying for the “best” life insurance policy for you!

And to best accomplish our goals…

We always like to start from the beginning by first answering the question:

"What is Ovarian Cancer and Who is at Risk?"

Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries: the glands in women where eggs are produced for reproduction.  The main difficulty in treating individuals who suffer from ovarian cancer is that because there are very few in any symptoms associated with early stages of ovarian cancer, often times people will go undiagnosed until the cancer has spread into one’s pelvis and stomach areas.

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Breast Cancer & Ovarian Cancer

Before we dive into the underwriting guidelines for those who been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we do want to take a moment and acknowledge the fact that breast cancer survivors have been found to have an increased risk of also developing ovarian cancer.


In cases like these where an insurance applicant may be applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after beating both breast cancer and ovarian cancer, we simply aren’t aware of any life insurance companies that would be willing to insure, that individual.

Now it’s…

Possible that in both cases your cancer was diagnosed very early (stage zero) in which case an insurance company may make an exception however exceptions like these would be few and far between at best.  That said… we here at TermLife2Go are not afraid to take on a challenging application so if you’ve been diagnosed with both breast and ovarian cancer and are currently in remission on both… First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!  Secondly, give us a call and we’ll do our best to find a traditional term or whole life insurance policy that may be willing to accept you.

For all other cases…

Where you have been diagnosed with later stages of both breast or ovarian cancer most individuals will need to pursue an “alternative” life insurance product such as a guaranteed issue life insurance policy if they wish to purchase a life insurance policy on themselves.

Qualifying for Life Insurance with Ovarian Cancer

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

In general, most cancers are categorized by stages; the lower the stage, the less invasive the cancer as become. The same is true for ovarian cancer – Stage one is a much more “manageable” than say a stage four ovarian tumor.  Lower “stages” will also be much easier to insure as well now get into.

Stage One Ovarian Cancer

This is when the cancer has not spread beyond the fallopian tubes (the tubes connected to the ovaries which are for the eggs to travel through) and may only be in the ovaries.


If you have recovered from Stage One Ovarian cancer, you should “theoretically” be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy assuming that you are otherwise pretty healthy.


Nothing is ever that easy because you see, there are different types of Stage one ovarian cancer which will play a role in the outcome of your life insurance application:

Stage 1A: this is when it is only in one ovary

Rate: Possible Table A

Stage 1B: this is when the cancer is in both ovaries but nowhere else

Rate: Possible Table B

Stage 1C: Cancerous cells are seen outside of the ovaries – perhaps in fluid in the abdomen or when the ovary actually bursts. Bursting may happen while the ovary is being surgically removed.

Rate: Possible Table C

Now we just mentioned…

A Table A, a Table B, and a Table C like everyone is supposed to know what that means so let’s take a moment and actually describe exactly what a “Table Rating” is and what that will mean to you when applying for life insurance.

Life Insurance Ratings

In totally you have about 16 different life insurance “ratings” that one can qualify for.  The start at Preferred Plus which is the best, and the drop down to a Table J which would be the worst.

Table rates…

Are life insurance rates that fall below what would be considered a Standard or “Normal” individual.  There are 10 table rates in all, and they are usually reserved for higher risk applicants.  The “best” possible Table rate one can qualify for is a Table A (which will be the least expensive), while Table J will be the worst, or most expensive table rate.

For those who…

Have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we usually like to try and secure at Table A rate, and find the company that is currently offering the “best” or most affordable rates at that rate class.

Qualifying for Life Insurance with a More Invasive Ovarian Cancer

Stage two, three and four ovarian cancer are much more invasive. With each stage, the cancerous cells have spread further and further beyond the ovaries. When the cancer is still in the ovaries (stage one) it is much more contained and a lot more likely to remain so. When it is stage one, surgery can be very successful. However, the more the cancer spreads, the harder it’s going to be to get rid of the cancer entirely.

Further, the chance of five-year survival drastically reduces with each stage. Because of this, most life insurance companies will generally not underwrite/approve a candidate for a traditional term or whole life insurance for people who have survived ovarian cancer of any kind after stage one (Now there are exceptions to every rule, we just don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up!  Or over promise anything.)

That said, you may still have options out there.

Just because you have had ovarian cancer doesn’t mean you are totally out of life insurance options. You can still offer your family and loved ones with some basic coverage to help offset your final expenses.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance.

Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are life insurance policies that will be available to all cancer patients and survivors regardless of your current health. Heck, you may even be able to qualify if you have ovarian cancer at this very moment!

This is because...

Guaranteed issue life insurance policies aren’t going to require you to answer any health-related questions or take a medical exam in order to be able to qualify for them.  All they are going to require is that you:

  • Are a US citizen,
  • Live in a state where they are offered,
  • And you meet the minimum age requirements.

And that’s it.

But just because…

You can qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy doesn’t mean that you should purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy!  You see, guaranteed issue life insurance policies are going to have some pretty significant disadvantages to them.

Disadvantages such as:

  • Low policy limits (usually $25,000 or less).
  • Higher premiums “dollar for dollar” compared to other more traditional types of life insurance.
  • And guaranteed issue life insurance policies will contain a graded death benefit.

Graded Death Benefits

Graded death benefits a “clauses” written into guaranteed issue life insurance policies which will place limitations on when your guaranteed issue life insurance policy will begin covering your for “natural” causes of death.  Graded death benefits usually last 2 to 3 years depending on which policy you choose and are necessary so that individuals don’t purchase these “type” so policies just days before they pass away from natural causes.


Guaranteed issue life insurance policies aren’t going to ask you about your health so in theory, you can be really sick and still purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.  The only problem is that guaranteed issue life insurance policies won’t provide coverage for natural causes of death until you’ve out lived the graded death benefit waiting period.

But despite these drawbacks, guaranteed issue life insurance policies can still be a great option for those who simply can’t qualify for any other type of life insurance!


We know that we’ve covered a ton of information here in this article and by no means do we expect you to retain all of it.  All we really hope that you get out of this article is that if you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you’re looking to purchase a life insurance policy on yourself, you should have options provided you know where to look.

And that’s why…

You should give us a call here at TermLife2Go!  Here at TermLife2Go, we operate as an independent life insurance brokerage that has access to dozens of different life insurance companies products so what that when it comes time to helping you find the “best” life insurance policy that you can qualify for, we should have plenty of options!

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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We are a team of life insurance experts with the simple mission of helping you find the best coverage for your unique situation. We research, review, and rank life insurance companies to make that process easier.