Hi, I am now over 4 years down the line from the end of my breast cancer treatment. A breakdown in my marriage means that I am now solely liable for my mortgage, but am struggling to get any life insurance to cover this that is not prohibitively expensive. Any advice or other options available to me?
I'm not the expert but I have had to take out life insurance
Once the guide has responded I will share my experiences
looking forward to extra advice !
real life success stories to remind you that people do survive breast cancer
Dr Peter Harvey
Thank you for your message. Sorry to hear about your situation – I hope that this new chapter of your life will be happy and healthy.
Although it is usually advisable, it is no longer compulsory to have life cover to support a mortgage. So, if you are unable to get cover at the moment, it won’t prevent you from taking out a new mortgage, or from continuing with a mortgage which is now in your sole name.
As you already know, getting life insurance or critical illness insurance is more difficult after a cancer diagnosis as the insurance companies will be assessing the risk of a claim being made during the policy term – an existing or previous health condition like cancer increases this risk. You may find that the underwriting process is more rigorous than any pre-cancer application you might have made, or that a person without a health problem might have experienced.
If the company thinks the risk is too high, they may either decline to offer cover, or decline now but say they’ll look at it again at a later date. If they do accept, they may increase the monthly payment they ask for, as you’ve already discovered.
If you’re struggling to find affordable cover or you’re being refused, you may find it useful to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser who can search the whole of the insurance market. If you do this, make sure they and the company they work for are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, you can do that here.
Also, consider any cover you may already have in place such as death-in-service benefit through your work, or which might be part of an active pension scheme.
There’s more information available here about life cover but we’d be happy to speak to you on the phone if you want to talk further. Or respond to this message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
The Financial Guides are available for calls 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday although the Macmillan Support Line remains open for other services 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm.
Good luck with everything and come back to us if you need anything else.
Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.
I'd be interested to hear your experiences and how you got on.
hi Ray Bargi
in case you haven't done a background check on me, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.
I needed to take out life cover but also felt it was prudent to look at health cover as my oncologist told me she'd have many more options if my cancer, Her2++, came back, which was deemed quite likely. NICE approve drugs for use within the NHS and they only tend to keep a minimal amount on the list at any one time and, as you probably know, cancers might respond for a few weeks, a few months or a few years but once they stop responding you will need another option.
My private health cover was pretty reasonable but the breast cancer wasn't covered until I'd achieved two years symptom free.
I've now achieved that.
So for around £80 per month I'm covered for private health care including breast cancer. I would tell anyone that can afford that to take out private cover. OF course money doesn't solve everything, if it did the super rich wouldn't die of cancer and they still do. But in the average case you simply have access to more time with the consultants and a wider range of drug therapies.
I also had a dedicated sales rep who seemed extremely focused on selling me my healthcare plan via AXA PPP.
Life cover was time consuming and frustrating and I didn't have anyone step up to the sales task in the same way until I'd been searching around for more than a year but once I found someone to take up the challenge it did happen reasonably quickly. I'd spoken to at least a dozen who either declined immediately or failed to return calls.
A typical individual might expect to pay around £20 per £100,000 of like cover per month. I can check my email trail to see specifics but that rings a bell.
That's your baseline then for each adverse factor you add zeros.
For each year you achieve the 'no symptoms' and 'no investigations' you deduct whatever you can negotiate.
The key seems to be getting an insurance sales agent who is willing to work quite hard for their commission. A lot of them cherry pick easy options, young couples with their first mortgage are usually low risk and captive in their financial commitments, older people with health issues are more complicated and usually clued up on the fine print.
The health cover is un-tested because I actually have no idea how to activate it, the typical example we use is a 'dodgy knee' and my knees are holding up well enough not to pursue a quality of life op.
If I do suddenly suffer some of the symptoms I've been told to look out for, blinding headaches, stomach ache, nausea/vomiting, weight loss etc I'm sure I will be straight round to the GP and flicking the switch to 'private'. Fingers crossed nothing seems sufficiently sinister so far.
Life cover this year I managed to negotiate an almost 50% reduction HURRAH !!!
But it does also quiz you on fresh symptoms so if I do pursue any minor symptom it will count against me.
financially penalised if you do, dead if you don't
Also with life cover you can claim if you're deemed to have 12 months or less to live. There's a challenge. There is an exclusion clause on some that that won't activate in the final year of the term, in my case I went for 10 years and that's also a fine line between how long you'll live versus how likely you are to die, ie the older you get the more likely death will get you, just shoot me for stating the obvious but that is how life insurance works.
If you look at a ten year plan versus a twenty year plan, yes it's a bit cheaper because they're going to take more monthly premiums off you but actually you're not really tied in for 10 years, you can shop around each year, just like your car insurance.
But for each year that goes by you are actually more likely to die, even if it's just from old age.
I could bore you for hours with this ...
am I helping ???
Yes you're helping! I didn't realise you'd be able to get health care or life cover so soon after.
More information the better if there's anything else you think is relevant that'd be great.
I’m interested in life cover, I am now nearly a year from diagnosis, I am 5 months post chemo, 3 months post radiotherapy, treatment is now finished apart from anti hormone tablets.
The big life insurers are Legal & General, AIG and Aviva but there are many more.
For the first year I got cover with Legal & General but it was expensive. You can go direct but you don't actually seem to save anything over the brokers who take a commission.
• I would imagine any local broker will do the job for you with that in mind.
This year I had a broker work a deal where I think he sacrificed a bit of his commission to seal the deal. It's half the monthly premiums and now with AIG.
Although you sign up for 10 or 15 or 20 years you can cancel at any time, therefore you can renegotiate year on year.
But as you get older you become a greater risk in any case.
Commissions seem to be pretty good, if you're a hardened sales pro.
Check out local insurance brokers.
Safe payments by:
We're here to provide physical, financial and emotional support. So whatever cancer throws your way, we're right there with you.
© Macmillan Cancer Support
© Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man
(604). Also operating in Northern Ireland. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company
number 2400969. Isle of Man company number 4694F. Registered office: 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ. VAT no: