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Can I Get Critical Illness Cover after Breast Cancer?

According to the Marie Keating Foundation, around 3,200 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland each year.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Ireland, after skin cancer.

1 in 10 women in Ireland develops breast cancer during their lifetime.

So it’s no surprise that we advise a lot of women who have had breast cancer or who have a family history of breast cancer.

Their main concern is being protected should they fall ill again so often wonder about their chances of serious illness cover after beating cancer.

Is breast cancer covered by insurance?

Yes, you can protect yourself in three ways.

  1. Serious illness cover – pays out a tax free lump sum on diagnosis of breast cancer
  2. Cancer only cover – as above but as it only pays out for cancer, the premiums are lower than for full serious illness cover
  3. Income protection – pays you a replacement income if you can’t do your job due to any illness (including cancer)

Finally,  and I think this goes without saying but just in case – life insurance will pay out a lump sum if you pass away as a result of cancer.

Can you get serious illness cover if you already had breast cancer?

The answer is yes, you can get serious illness cover, but the insurer will exclude cancer. 

This means the insurer will cover you for all the illnesses on the policy (heart attack, stroke, MS, etc.) but they won’t cover you for cancer.

Serious illness cover excluding cancer illnesses covered chart

I know it seems unfair, but they’re not just targetting people who have had cancer.

People with pre-existing conditions like MS or Diabetes – they’re not eligible for any serious illness cover, even with exclusions.

Can you get critical illness cover (including breast cancer) if you had a benign breast lump (fibroadenoma)?

A fibroadenoma is a benign breast lump.

Fibroadenomas often develop during puberty so are mostly found in young women, but they can occur in women of any age.

Once the fibroadenoma has been excised, you will get the normal price for life insurance.

Depending on the type of fibroadenoma (complex, juvenile, giant or Phyllodes tumour) you may be able to get serious illness cover for breast cancer but you are likely to pay more.

Can you get serious illness cover if you have a family history of breast cancer?

If your mother had breast cancer, most insurers will offer you critical illness cover. However, they won’t pay out if you get breast cancer.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – one insurer will cover you for breast cancer depending on your answers to the following questions:

Have you ever had, or been advised to have any blood test or scan (e.g. ultrasound/mammogram) due to your family history? If yes, was the result normal?

If you’ve had a blood test with an abnormal result, then you won’t get critical illness cover including breast cancer.

How many of your biological family members (sister(s) or mother) have been diagnosed with breast cancer?

If you have more than one family member with breast cancer, you won’t get critical illness cover for breast cancer.

How old was your mother at the onset of the disease?

If your mother was 35 or under at the onset of the disease, then you won’t get critical illness cover for breast cancer.

Case study:

My client’s mother was 37, no other family members had breast cancer, and she had a regular blood test result.

Based on this she was offered full critical illness cover including breast cancer but the insurer added a loading/premium increase of +50%

Is cancer insurance worth getting?

Cancer is cruel.

It stops you working so you will face a drop in income. The average income drop is €18,323 per annum.

And then it hits you with a sucker punch of additional outgoings (medicines, consultants, parking) with an average additional cost of €756 per month according to the Irish Cancer Society. This adds up to additional expenses of €9072 per year.

Adding the loss of income plus to the new expenses together makes a total cost of €27,395 per year.

That’s why we recommend at least €30,000 in serious illness cover so you can cover the drop in income and the additional expenses without financial worries.

the real cost of cancer

Further Reading:

Life insurance after cancer

Over to you…

If you’re reading this and are worried about your family history of breast cancer affecting your life insurance, please call me on 05793 20836 before you do anything else.

Or complete this short form

We know the best insurer to speak with, and we’ll save you a lot of time and hassle.

Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier


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