Best Life Insurance for Cancer in Canada (Patients and Survivors 2022)

Peer reviewed by Tobin Tuff, Certified Life Insurance Advisor

Key takeaways:

  • The best life insurance for most cancer patients is a guaranteed issue policy.
  • Guaranteed issue policies are what they sound like; a policy that is guaranteed to be approved. But these policies are definitely some of the most costly.
  • The best life insurance for cancer survivors will vary on a case by case basis; but most survivors will be able to get an affordable term life insurance policy.
  • Depending on the type of cancer you have or how long you’ve been in remission, you can qualify for other types of life insurance that are more affordable.
  • The bottom line is that you can get a life insurance policy with cancer.

Best life insurance for cancer patients

The best type of life insurance for cancer patients is guaranteed issue policies. Insurers will approve this type of policy without any of your medical information.

But this comes at a cost because life insurance companies treat these applicants like they're all equally risky to cover.

Life insurance advisor, Tobin Tuff says,

“Guaranteed issue policies are more expensive than a traditional life insurance policy, with smaller payout options.”

“And, like with most life insurance, there is a two-year waiting period. So if you pass before then, your loved ones will only get a return of premiums, not a payout.”

Here’s what Tobin says about other life insurance options if you have cancer:

  • No medical life insurance (also known as simplified issue life insurance) will not be a good option here because there is still a medical questionnaire as a part of the application
  • Generally, you need to be cancer-free for three years to apply for a "regular" term life insurance policy
  • There are some rare exceptions to this, for example, with malignant melanoma, where you can apply for a (more affordable!) term policy immediately after having it removed

Here is a breakdown of how these types of life insurance compare: 

best life insurance for cancer - comparison between no medical life insurance vs term life insurance

Best life insurance for cancer survivors

The best type of life insurance for cancer survivors depends on how recently you went into remission. 

Three in four Canadians diagnosed with cancer are expected to recover, says the Canadian Cancer Society. So if you waited to get life insurance, you still have options!

Here are some of your life insurance choices as a cancer survivor:

  • If you just recently went into remission, you may still only qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance.
  • You may qualify for no medical life insurance as well, but note that they will likely still ask you questions about your health history and premiums will be high
  • You may qualify for a traditional term life insurance or permanent life insurance policy if you’ve been in remission for a few years or more. The number of years you’ve been in remission depends on each company’s policy rules

Have you been in remission for three or more years? You can qualify for term life insurance with PolicyMe.

We offer some of the best term policy rates in Canada (up to 20% more affordable).

Best life insurance companies for cancer

The best life insurance companies for cancer patients are Canada Protection Plan, Assumption Life and CIBC Life Insurance.

We review companies that offer guaranteed issue policies, which is a type of life insurance that doesn't require without a medical questionnaire or exam.

But don't forget: these policies are pricey, have smaller payouts and are only for very specific life situations. Each option offers different coverage amounts.

If you’re not sure how much coverage you need, you can use our life insurance calculator.

1. Canada Protection Plan: Guaranteed Acceptance Life

Canada Protection Plan offers a life insurance policy called Guaranteed Acceptance Life. No matter your current health condition, you will be accepted.

Coverage: Up to $50K

Eligibility: Ages 18–75

Pros: 

  • Includes terminal illness benefit; if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, this pays up to 75% of the death benefit (maximum $250K) to the policy owner
  • Includes transportation benefit; this helps with the cost of transportation if you (the policyholder) pass away more than 200km from your principal residence
  • Optional accidental death benefit of up to 5x your death benefit; eligibility depends on age. But note that this will increase your monthly premiums
  • In the fifth policy year, it will start to accumulate a cash value; if you cancel your policy, you (the policy owner) will get any cash value back

Cons

  • Two-year waiting period and if you pass away before then by non-accidental means, your beneficiaries only get a refund of premiums

2. Assumption Life: Bronze Protection Life Insurance

Assumption Life offers term life and permanent life insurance options with fewer medical requirements. Their guaranteed issue life insurance is called Bronze Protection. Below are more details about it.

Coverage: Up to $50K

Eligibility: Ages 18–80

Pros: 

  • Includes living benefit of 50% of coverage amount if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • Includes transportation benefit of up to $2K if you pass away 200km away from your home
  • Includes accidental death benefit
  • After the fifth policy year, you can get cash values
  • After the fifth policy year, you can get reduced paid-up. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association explains that this means you don’t pay any more premiums and your policy will continue but for a reduced coverage amount

Cons

  • No death benefit if you pass away in the first two years of the policy
  • Coverage for ages 71–80 is less (between $2,500 and $25,000)

3. CIBC: Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

CIBC’s Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance product is not as robust as other companies but it can be a good last resort option. You can still get some coverage with it to help cover funeral and other expenses after your passing.

Coverage: Increments of $5K, up to $25K

Eligibility: Canadian resident aged 40–74

Pros: 

  • Locked in premiums if your smoker status stays the same
  • Lower rates for non-smokers
  • You can get coverage for your spouse as well
  • Accidental death coverage of up to 5x your coverage, if you pass away before age 80 (maximum $125K)
  • Optional living benefit if after two years you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and have two years or less to live. You can receive up to 50% of your coverage amount
  • 30-day review period where you can cancel your policy and get a full refund

Cons

  • If you pass away before two years, no death benefit; only your premiums will be returned
  • After your policy becomes active, you cannot add a spouse to it
  • You can’t change the coverage amount of your policy; if you want to increase coverage, you need to buy a new policy

Cancer life insurance quotes

To get a life insurance quote for cancer patients, many companies have an online tool you can use to get an estimate.

But you can be eligible for a few different types of policies depending on your unique situation and type of cancer; so it might be a good idea to contact an insurance advisor at the company.

They can give you a quote and help answer your questions in more detail.

But tread carefully: many life insurance advisors are commissioned and incentivized to sell customers more coverage than they might require.

If you’ve been cancer-free for three years, you can get a life insurance quote with PolicyMe in just a few clicks. No commitment necessary.

Next steps: 

  1. Know that you absolutely do have options for keeping your family financially secure if you pass. 
  2. Keep in mind that guaranteed issue life insurance is much more expensive than traditional types of coverage. And the payout amounts are much smaller, too. 
  3. You can get life insurance quotes online to start shopping around for rates. You can also ask a life insurance advisor, but many of them are commissioned. 
  4. If you’re a cancer survivor, you can shop around for other options like term life insurance, which is considerably more affordable and for much bigger payouts. 
  5. Caution: there is a two-year waiting period for most life insurance. If you pass away before then, your beneficiaries just get your premiums paid back, not the full payout.

FAQ: best life insurance for cancer patients and survivors Canada 

Can I get whole life insurance if I have cancer?

No, if you have cancer, you cannot get traditional whole life insurance. However, you can get a guaranteed issue life insurance policy which can last your whole life, but coverage amounts will be much smaller than a typical life insurance policy.

Can cancer patients get life insurance?

Yes, cancer patients can get life insurance in Canada. 

But some companies will deny you for certain policies if you have cancer, which is considered a critical illness. So, your best option is a guaranteed issue policy which does not require any medical screening.

Can you get life insurance for Stage 4 cancer?

Yes, if you have stage 4 cancer, you can get guaranteed issue life insurance. 

Note that most policies will only give your beneficiaries the full death benefit after two years of the policy being signed. So, if you pass away before then, your loved ones will only receive a return on the premiums you already paid.

How much is life insurance if you have cancer?

If you have cancer, term life insurance will cost you more than it will for a healthy person. This is because you will likely need to get a guaranteed issue life insurance policy which is more expensive than traditional policies. 

Shop around with different insurers who offer guaranteed issue life insurance to see your pricing options.

How long after cancer can you get life insurance?

You can get life insurance while you have cancer or you can wait until you’ve been in remission for a few years. Each company has different policies so while some may require you to be in remission for at least three years to qualify, others might require ten. 

If you are worried about leaving your family financially insecure in the event of your passing, it’s best to consider life insurance options sooner than later.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

What to read next

No items found.