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Qualifying for life insurance with Skin Cancer

Researcher & Writer
September 02, 2017

Nowadays, you don’t need to be a “California kid” or spend your whole life in Florida to have been diagnosed with skin cancer.  In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more that 3.3 million people each and every year will be diagnosed with “nonmelanoma” skin cancer which means that nearly 1 in 5 Americans will develop some type of skin cancer of the course of their lifetime.

This is why we chose to write this article so that we could “shed” some light on what it will be like for those applying for life insurance with a pre-existing medical history of skin cancer.  And discuss, some of the factors that may come into play during the underwriting of the application.

Types of Skin Cancer.

The three main types of skin cancer that one we’ll frequently encounter here at TermLife2Go are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma.
  • And melanoma.

And depending on which type of skin cancer that you’ve been diagnosed with, will go a long way in determining how “difficult” it will be for you to qualify for a life insurance policy.

Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinomas are the most common form of skin cancers found in the United States and account for over 4 million cases each and every year.  Fortunately, basal cell carcinomas, will rarely metastasize beyond the original tumor site and will usually be “cured” by simply having a local incision made to remove the tumor.

Generally speaking, basal cell carcinomas are also considered the least dangerous of all skin cancers and rarely become life threatening, and if treated promptly will usually not create many “long” lasting health issues or complications.

Common characteristics of a basal cell carcinoma will include:

  • A red lesion on the surface of the skin.
  • Loss of pigmentation on a lesion on the skin
  • Swollen blood vessel in the skin.
  • Or an ulcer located on the surface of the skin.

The main takeaway when it comes to being diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, is that most basal cell carcinomas will only affect the surface of an individual’s skin, which is why they are generally less dangerous and less invasive than other types of skin cancer.

The good news is that…

In addition to being less dangerous that other types skin cancers, insurance companies are also going to acknowledge that as long as your basal cell carcinoma has been discovered early on and doesn’t show any signs of metastasis you shouldn’t necessarily have an issue qualifying for a tradition term life insurance or whole life insurance policy, and may even qualify for a Preferred or Preferred Plus rate.

Additionally, individuals with only one or two incidences of being diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma may also want to consider applying for a simplified issue life insurance policy which would potentially allow one to qualify for coverage in less than 48 hours!

But before we get too excited…

It should also be noted that those who seem to have an increased risk for basal cell carcinoma, or have had more than 3 lesions removed, insurance underwriters may request copies of your medical records prior to offering an applicant coverage simply due to the potential risk that may be present.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer and will usually account for over 1 million cases each and every year.  Typical cases will usually present themselves as flat reddish or brownish patches in the skin may also have a rough, scaly or crusted surface to the touch.


Most squamous cell carcinomas tend to grow slowly and are usually visible in sun-exposed areas of the body which makes discovering them much more likely.

As a result, “most” squamous cell carcinomas will typically be diagnosed and treated at an early stage, where they can be removed or destroyed with relative ease.

In rare cases, squamous cell carcinomas can spread metastasize or spread to ones’ lymph nodes or other distant parts of the body which can significantly increase the severity of ones’ condition and could possibly lead to a denial or postponement of ones’ life insurance application.

Squamous cell carcinoma and life insurance.

Squamous cell carcinomas will generally be treated the same way that basal cell carcinomas are treated in that, provided that you have had your carcinoma removed or destroyed, you should still be eligible for a Preferred or Preferred plus rate class when applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.


If you’re squamous cell carcinoma has spread to a lymph node or has metastasized to another part of your body, all bets are off as to whether or not you will currently be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

In order for us to know what type of life insurance policy these folks will be eligible for, we’ll typically need to have an insurance underwriter review their medical records, in full, to get a “complete” picture of their current health.

That being said however…

As a general “rule of thumb”, individuals who have been diagnosed with a metastasizing carcinoma/cancer will typically need to wait anywhere from 5-10 years prior to being eligible for a tradition life insurance policy and may instead need to decide between simplified issue vs guaranteed issue life insurance.


Melanomas are the most serious type of skin cancer which develop from melanocytes with ones’ skin, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, with the United States, someone will die from melanoma every 54 minutes!

The good news is that…

Melanomas only account for less than 1% of all skin cancer cases, however they will also account for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths in the United States so this statistic isn’t all that encouraging for those who have been diagnosed with a melanoma.

That being said however…

The estimated 5 year survival rate for those who detect their melanoma early on is about 98% which is great!  And is just another reason why it’s so important to be frequently be checked by your primary care physician for any unusual moles or lesions.

This impressive survival rate is…

Also recognized by the life insurance industry which is why you’ll see, that when it comes to applying for life insurance with a pre-existing medical history of a melanoma, as long as the melanoma has only affected the surface are of the skin (insitu) and has not invaded any other skin layers or metastasized, you should still “theoretically” be eligible for a Preferred or Preferred Plus rate class.

It should noted however…

That the insurance companies will definitely view melanomas more seriously than basal or squamous cell carcinomas which is why we’ll rarely quote a Preferred or Preferred Plus rate class for these individuals simply because at the end of the day, the insurance companies are the ones who will ultimately determine what rate class you will or won’t qualify for.

So we don’t want to create any false hope by simply quoting the best possible rate someone may be able to qualify for.

Now we’ll be the first…

To admit that we’ve gone over quite a bit of information here in this article and we certainly don’t expect you to become an expert on any of this.  But we do hope that you’ll at least leave here with a better understanding that when it comes to purchasing life insurance after being diagnosed with skin cancer, you should still have plenty of options out there.

And there is always final expense burial insurance policies offered by some of the best final expense and burial insurance companies. These policies are easy to apply for and you can stack policies to get more coverage.

And we would also hope…

That if you do decide that you want to move forward and apply for life insurance, you’d give us chance to earn your business!

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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