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Life Insurance And Bladder Cancer

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Thousands of Americans battle cancer of every kind each year. Cancer can impact families in many, many ways, including financially, both now and into the future. Unfortunately, cancer affects life insurance rates, too.

The good news is, many can still get affordable rates, especially when they’ve beaten the cancer and it hasn’t come back. Even those who are still battling the cancer have options for coverage, though it will be more restricted and come at a higher overall cost.

Affordable Life Insurance And Bladder Cancer

life insurance and bladder cancerToday we’re going to discuss how bladder cancer impacts life insurance. It’s one of many different kinds of cancer, and each will require it’s own specific set of underwriting guidelines. The overall process of searching for life insurance and applying is similar for all higher risk health conditions, but the information required is not.

Even within the realm of bladder cancer, specifically, there are several different outcomes stemming from several different situations. Some who experienced a bladder cancer might be eligible for as good as Standard rates with traditional underwriting, some may need a graded or guaranteed policy because of the severity.

Let’s discuss the differences.

First, your agent is going to require lots of information from you before you even get a quote. With this information, they should be able to more accurately estimate what kind of policy you may be eligible for, as well as at what cost. This isn’t a final determination, as getting life insurance with bladder cancer has more variables than the cancer itself.

Here’s a list of questions you’ll need to have detailed information on before requesting a quote:

  • What was the date of the original diagnosis? Date of recurring diagnosis, if applicable?
  • What stage was the cancer at diagnosis? At its worst?
  • How was the cancer treated?
    – Endoscopic resection
    – Endoscopic resection and chemotherapy
    – Radical cystectomy (removal)
    – Radiation
    – Other/Combination
  • Date and findings of most recent crystoscopy and/or urine cytology?
  • Does your family have a history of cancer of any kind? (usually just held to biological mother and father, brothers and sisters)
  • Do you smoke, or have you smoked previously?

These will give both the agent and the underwriters they’re working with a much more clear and concise snap shot of your history with the bladder cancer and life insurance type they should aim to apply for. Remember, don’t sign and application until you are confident you have a chance of approval.

A good independent agent or agency should be taking the time to pre-qualify you from several different carriers before any determination of applying is made.

Potential Outcomes

There are, essentially, 3 possible outcomes.

  1. Approval
  2. Postpone
  3. Decline/Alternative

Under the possible approvals, there are different levels of acceptance which coincide with different ratings. This means you can be accepted, but your premium can vary depending on what rate you’re approved at.

The best case scenario is probably Standard by most carriers. These approvals are seen for those who had benign tumors,  adenocarcinoma, small cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, sarcoma and transitional cell carcinoma. There are several other risk factors to consider, of course, including non-cancer medical concerns, but these types are the least likely to return, which mean favorable ratings.

Those who were diagnosed with malignant tumors of a width less than 3 cm, less than 5 occurrences of a first or second grade papillary urothelial carcinoma, or cases of 3 lesions or less of the same size may result in Standard qualification with a mild table rating increase.

Situations where tumors or lesions are bigger, have progressed to higher grades, or those which have occurred multiple times are subject to higher table ratings.

When an underwriter from the issuing life insurance company feels they don’t have enough information from your doctor’s records (called Attending Physician’s Statements), or if not enough time has passed since the last date of treatment has passed, you will be postponed until the information is complete or time frame is significant enough.

The worst case scenario is a decline.

A decline doesn’t mean you can’t get insurance at all, it simply means the carrier you applied to won’t accept the risk at this time. The first step after a decline would be to talk to your agent to see if there is another carrier who might accept the risk, especially since more information is now available.

The agent should be able to send a more detailed preliminary evaluation request to several carriers on your behalf without you having to do any more tests or applications first.


If you were postponed or declined and still seek some amount of coverage, you’re not out of options. There are two kinds of life insurance you may still qualify for, and you can also wait out your postponement period and reapply for reconsideration.

The first option is a graded policy. A graded policy is a viable life insurance option for bladder cancer patients because it’s a limited underwriting contract. In other words, no medicals are required, few medical questions are asked, and coverage is approved or denied quickly without complicated ratings.

The downsides, however, are lesser maximum face amounts, or death benefits, and a higher cost per thousand dollars of benefit. In addition to both of these, expect the policy to pay out a portion or percentage for the first two to three years before the full benefit kicks in. The full benefit is only paid during the first few years if the insured dies in an accident.

The second option, the guaranteed policy, is similar to the graded policy with few differences. Instead of limited underwriting, there is none; if you meet the basic criteria, which is age, gender and face amount, you are approved. However, it works in the same way such that the benefit is not fully paid in the first few years, and the costs of a guaranteed policy are the highest per thousand of any type of coverage.

You’ll also have the least amount of death benefit made available to you at this tier. This should be your last resort.


You may still qualify for life insurance with bladder cancer, but expect a more strict process and plenty of waiting. Always use an independent agent who is well versed in the subject matter, or you may go through this entire process with no success.

If you need more information or you’re ready to get started, begin by getting a quote in the sidebar using the “Regular” health grade.


Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.