Learn what you can qualify for, how much it will cost, the underwriting criteria, and the best companies.


How Does Final Expense Insurance Work?

Burial insurance, which can also be referred to as final expense or funeral insurance, is a no-exam whole life policy to help pay for your funeral costs.

Generally, final expense insurance companies offer these policies to seniors aged 50-85. However, some companies provide coverage to people lower than 50 and higher than 85.

Most providers will issue up to $50,000 in coverage, but some might offer more or less.

Ultimately, the policy pays an immediate cash benefit to your beneficiaries or funeral home.

If the money is paid to your loved ones rather than the funeral home, they can spend it on anything.

That includes medical bills, funeral costs, debts, or anything else.

Also, they get to keep what’s left over if they don’t spend all the money.

As these are a type of whole life insurance, the coverage lasts a lifetime, and the payments never increase.

In addition, cash value will accrue over time that you can withdraw and use as you see fit.


Burial Insurance Options With A History Of Cancer

There are two main types of final expense insurance for seniors.

One type has health questions where your eligibility depends on your prior health conditions.

The other type has no health questions because your acceptance is guaranteed.

Plans with health questions, if approved, can offer no waiting or a partial waiting period.

You don’t have to take a medical exam to qualify for immediate coverage. However, you must, at minimum, answer health questions.

However, plans without a health questionnaire always have a two-year waiting period.

Death in the waiting period will constitute a refund of your premiums plus about 10% interest.

Regarding cancer, which plans you can qualify for depends on the following factors:

  • Type
  • Staging
  • Treatment dates
  • When you were declared cancer free (if so)
  • If there is a history of a recurrence of a previous cancer
  • If there is a history of having more than one type of cancer
  • If there is a history of cancer spreading to another part of the body (metastatic)
  • Any ongoing medications specifically for cancer


Basal or squamous cell skin cancer

Those who have basal or squamous cell skin cancer will not have issues getting coverage.

Every final expense insurance application will expressly exclude those when cancer is mentioned.

For example, Mutual of Omaha’s burial insurance application reads as follows:

“In the past 4 years, has the Proposed Insured: (a) received care or treatment for, or (b) been advised by a physician or health care provider to seek treatment for: Cancer, Leukemia, Melanoma, or any other internal cancer (except basal or squamous cell skin cancer)?”

The rest of this article’s dialogue specifically excludes these two types of cancer because they are irrelevant.

You currently have cancer

If you currently have cancer, you might still be eligible for a no-waiting period policy if it’s stage one or less.

Assuming there has not been a previous instance of cancer or metastatic cancer, the following cancers are eligible for immediate coverage if you have stage 0-1:

  • Breast
  • Cervical
  • Colon
  • Endometrial
  • Kidney or Ureter
  • Melanoma
  • Prostate
  • Testicular
  • Thyroid

Unfortunately, if you have any type of cancer (except basal or squamous cell) that is stage II or greater, you will have to endure a two-year waiting period.

In that circumstance, you need a guaranteed life policy with no health questions.

If you apply for a policy with health questions, the result will either be a decline (most common) or a waiting period plan with a much higher cost.


You are cancer free now

First, if you no longer have cancer, the compelling date you need to pinpoint is when you last had cancer or received treatment.

Whichever date is most recent is the date that determines your options.

That’s because the application questions will always say something to the effect of:

“Within the last two years (the time varies by company), have you had or been treated for cancer?”

Below is a breakdown of your options based on various timelines:

  • < 12 months: Cancer or treatment for it within the last year will result in a two-year waiting period and a higher price.
  • ≥ 24 months: Multiple companies offer no waiting period coverage and their lowest rate at this point.


You’ve had metastatic cancer

Metastatic cancer is any cancer that has spread to another part of the body.

Unfortunately, the long-term outlook for those who’ve had metastatic cancer is not good.

For that reason, nearly every life insurance company will outright decline anyone who has ever had this terrible affliction.

However, some final expense life insurance companies will entertain a policy with no waiting period, even with a history of metastatic cancer.

If it’s been at least 24 months since you’ve had or received treatment for metastatic cancer, then some companies will issue you an immediate benefit policy.


You’ve had cancer more than once in your lifetime

First, if you’ve had a reoccurrence of a previous cancer, nearly every life insurance provider will flat-out decline you.

However, some will offer you coverage without a waiting period, assuming it’s been at least 24 months since you last had it or received treatment.

If you’ve had two or more different types of cancer in your lifetime, most carriers will decline you.

While it’s better than having a recurrence of a previous one (in terms of companies that will accept you), there are still options.

But it must be at least 24 months since your last treatment or having cancer.


Best Burial Insurance Companies For People With Cancer

Below are some of the best final expense insurance companies to consider if you have a history of cancer.

Which one is best for you depends on the factors mentioned above.


Mutual of Omaha

Founding Year: 1909
A.M. Best

Brochure Sample Policy Sample Application

Mutual of Omaha’s Living Promise final expense policy is excellent for people who’ve had cancer more than once in their lifetime (cannot be the same kind).

Granted, you must be free of cancer (and treatment) for at least four years to be eligible.

Also, they are the best at insuring people who have to take preventative drugs like Tamoxifen (for breast cancer survivors) or Casodex (for prostate cancer survivors).

Most funeral insurance companies consider those drugs as cancer treatment and respond with a decline or a two-year waiting period.

If you’ve been on those preventative drugs for more than four years, Mutual of Omaha will not count them against you.


Royal Neighbors Of America

Founding Year: 1895
A.M. Best
Brochure Sample Policy Sample Application

Royal Neighbors only looks back 24 months on cancer which is the shortest you’ll find in the final expense market.

Also, they do not ask about metastatic cancer or if you’ve had cancer more than once in your lifetime.


Foresters Financial

Founding Year: 1874
A.M. Best
Brochure Sample Policy Sample Application

Foresters Financial’s cancer question goes back 36 months which is on par with most companies.

Like Mutual of Omaha, they excel at accepting people who are on breast or prostate cancer preventative drugs like Tamoxifen or Casodex.

Foresters Financial will approve you for their no waiting period coverage if you’ve been on those drugs for three years or more.



Founding Year: 1919
A.M. Best
Brochure Sample Policy Sample Application

AIG offers a guaranteed issue policy which is ideal for folks who’ve had cancer within the last 12 months.

But they also offer a no waiting period plan that will accept people with certain types of stage one cancer.

They are currently the only final expense insurance company that offers immediate coverage to people with specific types of stage 0-1 cancer.


Gerber Life

Founding Year: 1967
A.M. Best
Brochure Sample Policy Sample Application

Gerber Life only offers guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance which is what you’ll need if you’ve had or been treated for cancer within the last 12 months.


How Much Does Burial Insurance With Cancer Cost?

Below is a whole life insurance rates chart by age that outlines some sample burial insurance quotes.

There are rates for plans with no waiting period and for policies that are guaranteed acceptance (have a two-year wait).

Also, keep in mind that the cost of burial insurance is based on your exact age, state of residence, gender, all your health issues, tobacco habits (if any) and how much coverage you want.

Simplified Issue
(Monthly Rates)
Guaranteed Acceptance
(Monthly Rates)
Simplified Issue
(Monthly Rates)
Guaranteed Acceptance
(Monthly Rates)


How Choice Mutual Can Help

If you need a burial life insurance policy, it’s highly advisable that you work with an independent broker.

That’s especially true if you have a history of cancer, given how many variables determine your options.

Independent agencies like Choice Mutual partner with multiple companies to match each client with whichever one will offer them the best deal.

Remember, all insurance companies have different pricing and underwriting.

So if you had cancer three years ago, we would match you with companies that only ask bout cancer within the last two years.

If you’ve had two types of cancer in your life, we will match you with companies that don’t ask about multiple instances of cancer.

Our only objective is to get you the most coverage for the dollar spent and to avoid a waiting period if possible.

Check out some actual Choice Mutual reviews to see what other clients have said about us.

Our agents are friendly and never pushy. Call us at 1-800-644-2926.