It doesn’t have to be hard to find life insurance, even if you’ve had a potential medical condition, like colon polyps.
You may be declined by some life insurance companies, but we know the best way to find ones who will work with you.
Read on to find out how to make your experience purchasing life insurance after colon polyps as straightforward as possible.
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Colon polyps can appear at any age, though most people who get them are older than 50. For this reason, regular colonoscopies are recommended once you turn 50.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, colon polyps are tumors which grow on the lining of your colon, which is the main part of your large intestine. They may also grow on the lining of your rectum.
Colon polyps are not necessarily a risk, and may be benign. If colon polyps are found, further tests are often recommended. The results of those tests will determine your risk for developing conditions like colon or rectal cancer.
Eventually, polyps could become dangerous, if left untreated. Polyp removal is one way to prevent associated cancers.
Many people who have colon polyps don’t have any symptoms. For the majority of individuals, the only way to diagnose the polyps is with a colonoscopy. If polyps are found, they can often be removed during the procedure. After they are removed, the polyps are typically tested for cancer, just as a cautionary measure.
If you are wondering whether you can prevent colon polyps, there are things you can do to give yourself better odds of not developing them.
Although the following methods can’t guarantee you won’t develop colon polyps, they reduce your chances of getting these types of growths.
You can try to prevent polyps by:
- Eating fresh, minimally processed foods
- Getting more vitamin D
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting exposure to cigarette smoke
- Avoiding alcohol
- Maintaining a healthy weight
The American Cancer Society views colon cancer as highly preventable and treatable. That’s because you can be screened for polyps and they can be removed before they have a chance to become dangerous.
In fact, the number of deaths from colon cancer has been diminishing. Experts believe the reason for this is the increase in colon polyp screenings.
Your diagnosis of colon polyps shouldn’t automatically eliminate your chances of getting life insurance, because actuaries understand these facts.
But, your life insurance agent will need to know more about your medical history to provide you with an accurate insurance quote.
Statistics show the survival rate for people with colorectal cancer is 65% after five years. Because colon polyps don’t always lead to cancer, your risk of mortality may be much lower, especially if the polyps have been removed.
When you apply for life insurance, you will be assigned a rating based on your medical status and lifestyle. A lifestyle and health history indicating a greater mortality risk will lead to worse ratings. The higher your life insurance rating, the more you’ll pay in premiums.
You can expect to answer application questions such as the following if you have colon polyps:
- When were your colon polyps first detected?
- Was further testing conducted on the polyps?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with colorectal cancer?
- How often do you undergo screenings for polyps?
- Have polyps been found more than once?
- Have any family members been diagnosed with colorectal cancer?
- Do you have any symptoms associated with intestinal concerns, such as diarrhea, blood in your stool, bleeding from the anus, abnormal stools, or abdominal pain?
Underwriters want to see you are in control of your medical condition and you are working to prevent further medical problems.
Someone who is managing his or her health well:
- Sees a health professional regularly
- Follows the treatment plan recommended to them by a doctor
- Eats well and exercises regularly
- Takes measures to reduce stress
If your colon polyps were discovered during a routine procedure and were confirmed to not be cancerous, you may receive a Standard rating.
This is the rating assigned to people who have an average life expectancy. If you have never had any other health problems or symptoms of polyps or colorectal cancer, you may even qualify for a Preferred rating, which is better than Standard.
However, the older you are and the more polyps you’ve had, the lower your rating may be. Every time polyps are found, your risk for developing more increases. You can still maintain a standard rating if your polyps are removed and are not cancerous, but continued polyp discovery can raise a flag with some insurance companies.
Even if you have been diagnosed with stage 0 colorectal cancer, you may qualify for a Standard rating in some instances. People with stage 0 colon cancer have had a cancerous polyp, but the polyp was removed in time to prevent further cancer. Stage 0 cancer has not spread to any other parts of the body.
Other Rating Considerations
People with colorectal cancer who have progressed past stage 0 are usually given a table rating or flat extra fee based on their current medical status and prognosis. Table ratings and flat extra fees add a certain percentage to the standard premium. When cancer has spread to more organs or lymph nodes, you’ll receive a higher table rating.
If you have stage 3 or 4 colorectal cancer, you may be declined for life insurance. This doesn’t mean you can’t get some type of alternative life insurance.
A graded death benefit may be an option for people between 50 and 80 years old. This type of life insurance usually pays out a lower death benefit, but the amount goes up the longer you hold the policy.
However, if you don’t live past the policy’s two year minimum, your premiums will be returned, usually with a stated interest rate. This may be the only option for people who are current colon cancer patients.
Colon polyps won’t automatically put you in a high risk life insurance category, but getting the best policy and rates could take some time.
As long as you work with an independent insurance agent who is familiar with the condition, you can explain whether or not the polyps have progressed to a more serious condition, such as cancer.
An experienced agent will help you compare life insurance companies to find the lowest premium and highest coverage available.