Cancer Insurance

Life-threatening medical conditions, such as cancer, put a huge strain on families emotionally as well as financially.

At a difficult time, most people want to concentrate on their or their loved one’s recovery, not worry about how they will make ends meet.

This post will explain cancer insurance and how it works and how it may help ease the burden on families. 

What is Cancer Insurance?

This is a specialised medical insurance product designed to help you meet the costs of private cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Conditions such as cancer are not covered by many conventional private health insurance policies. This is because they carry a greater risk to insurers than acute (short-term, curable) illnesses.

Cancer cover, however, differs from insurer to insurer. Some will only insure you for certain types and stages of the disease. It is, therefore, vital that you check your policy carefully to make sure it is adequate for your needs.

Many plans work by providing you with a cash lump sum upon diagnosis. Depending on the level of cover you opt for, you may be able to receive a pay-out of anything from £15,000 up to £60,000 for treatment.

If you would like to find out more about the different types of Private Medical Insurance available, take a look at this guide.

Why Should I Consider Cancer Insurance?

  • Many medical insurance plans do not cover you for long-term illnesses. A specialist policy with cancer cover can help you meet the private treatments costs.
  • Costs for treatments, especially those exclusively available in the private medical sector, can run into the thousands. For families struggling to make ends meet in times of illness, a policy of this type can keep you afloat in your finances. Whilst still giving you access to expensive treatments.
  • If you live in a remote area (policy permitting) you may be able to receive treatment, like chemotherapy, from the comfort of your own home.
  • If you have a family with young children under the age of 18, you may also be able to insure them for free, or for an extra charge on your premiums.

Let’s Look at a Cancer Insurance Example:

Mary has a family history of cancer. 15 years ago, she took out a cancer insurance policy but unfortunately, she then was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Mary received a pay-out of £10,000 upon diagnosis, which she can use over the course of a year to pay for her chemotherapy treatment at home.

What are the Benefits of Cancer Insurance?

  • Fast Diagnosis and Treatment – NHS waiting lists for cancer treatment can be long, in some instances. By going private you may be treated faster.
  • Medical Innovations Access – Certain drugs and treatments for cancers are not covered by the NHS. By taking out a private policy, you may be able to access NICE-approved drugs which are not yet available through the national health service.
  • NHS treatments – You can still receive treatment on the NHS for cancer. Taking this insurance will not exempt you from national healthcare services.
  • Increased Choice – As well as access to the latest treatments and technologies, you can choose where you are treated (if you go through one of your insurer’s approved medical centre networks). With the condition, you may have to spend a lot of time in hospital. With a private plan, you can choose a centre which is comfortable and more relaxing. This may help you feel more at ease. Further, some plans can send a nurse to your home to conduct chemotherapy treatment. For many patients, this would be ideal.
  • Counselling –Private Cancer Insurance policies can also include counselling services for patients. This can help people psychologically, as well as physically, deal with their serious illness.
  • Palliative Care – Should the worst happen and your condition cannot be cured, some private cancer plans can also provide support for palliative care. At the most difficult time in a family’s life, this extra bit of support can mean a lot.
  • Care When You Need it – Many cancer plans will look after you through your conditition. This means there may be little risk of you running out of cover halfway through treatment. These plans are designed to look after you throughout the diagnosis and treatment process.
  • Other Costs – Some plans can help you pay towards the care of your children, or transport costs, whilst you are going through treatment. This can offer families great comfort through difficult periods.

What are the Pitfalls of Cancer Insurance?

  • Cancer Only – This cover will not extend to treatments for other acute conditions. Therefore, it may be wise to also consider buying conventional private medical insurance.
  • Not All Costs – These policies are designed to help you supplement the costs of diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, not all costs can be covered by all policies on the market.
  • Not All Cancers – Not all insurers can cover you for all types and stages of cancer. This is why it is vital to carefully check your policy for what will be covered.
  • One Pay-Out Per Person – With some of these plans, the policy may only pay-out once, per named person on the plan. This may mean that if the disease were to return, you may not receive a second pay-out.
  • Waiting Periods – Some plans have a waiting period. For example, you may not be able to claim within the first six months of taking out the policy. This means that you should not be diagnosed, experience symptoms or receive diagnostic tests which could lead to a cancer diagnosis at a later date.

What are the Alternatives to Cancer Insurance?

  • NHS Care - You may still seek NHS treatment with a private healthcare insurance policy.
  • Comprehensive Private Healthcare Insurance – As well as cancer care you may also want to look at conventional private health insurance options. Cancer cover can also be added as a supplementary product to your existing private healthcare plan. See more on private health insurance in our Private Medical Insurance FAQs.
  • Health Cash Plans – Some health cash plans allow you to add protection for some types and stages of cancer. These plans allow you to claim back the money you have spent for private treatment, or a certain percentage of the money back. If you have some savings, this may be an option for you. See more information in our Health Cash Plan article.
  • Critical Illness Insurance – This gives you a certain amount of coverage for serious conditions (including cancers, on some policies). These policies may also help you contribute towards the cost of private care for other serious conditions, like a stroke or heart attack. These policies can also help you meet your normal living expenses through times of illness, where you are unable to work. See more in our Guide to Critical Illness Insurance.

If you would like to find out more about Cancer Insurance and how it could help you protect you and your family through cancer treatment, get in touch with an insurance advisor. They can offer you a free, no-obligation quote to suit your personal circumstances.

Quick friendly service. I was quite confused about what my family and I required but the policy options were quickly clarified and I got a great price and top service. Emily Thompson, Bath

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