Does life insurance cover cancer?

The statistics for cancer are staggering: According to World Cancer Day (WCD), currently around 8.2 million people die of cancer each year worldwide, and the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) reports that more than 100 000 South Africans are diagnosed with the disease each year. So it’s not surprising that a commonly asked question about life insurance is ‘Does it cover cancer?’.

The short answer is yes. Generally, life insurance policies cover accidental death and death from natural causes – and cancer would be considered a natural cause. So if you already have a life insurance policy in place and are subsequently diagnosed and die of cancer, your insurance provider should pay the benefit to your beneficiaries.

Bear in mind though that most insurance providers will only cover cancer death if you don’t have cancer at the time that you take out your life insurance policy. It’s very important to be honest with your insurer and disclose your full medical history when applying for life insurance, as factors such as whether you’ve ever sought medical advice for cancer-related symptoms, have family who have been diagnosed with cancer or have had a previous cancer diagnosis yourself, can all affect your cover. 

Can you get life insurance if you’ve had cancer?
It is possible to get life insurance after a cancer diagnosis, although the policy you qualify for is likely to be determined by factors like the date of your diagnosis, the type of cancer, and the severity of the cancer. 

The bottom line?
While life insurance may not be at the top of your priority list when you’re young and healthy, this is probably the best time to take out a policy to ensure that your cover is as comprehensive as possible. It can be more difficult to get life insurance if you have a pre-existing condition or have been diagnosed with a serious illness – and if you do qualify for cover, it may include certain exclusions related to your illness. 

What about serious illness cover?
Serious illness cover differs from life insurance in that it is a living benefit that pays you a cash lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a specific serious illness like cancer. You can use the money as you see fit, whether you use it to help pay for additional medical bills, pay off existing debt or to cover day-to-day expenses. Depending on the extent of cover you feel you need, it may be a good idea to explore a combination of both life insurance and serious illness cover.

If you’d like to know more about Life Cover and Serious Illness Cover from Standard Bank Direct life insurance services, get a quote or request that a customer service agent call you back.


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