Insurance When You Have a Terminal Illness

Updated: August 30, 2023

Other than life and health insurance, there are other forms of insurance to investigate that may provide additional financial assistance for care and other expenses. Unlike health and life insurance that will almost always get used, this is ‘what if’ insurance and may never be used. It is only there to protect you under certain specific circumstances, which could include terminal illness.

When purchased as stand-alone policies, these insurances could be helpful and appropriate if you have a terminal illness, but usually need to be purchased when you are well. The initial premiums are based on age and increase as you get older. Some will have other factors that will contribute to the premium costs, such as health status, the amount of coverage desired, or what is being protected against.

Most coverage is available as riders on your life or health insurance. These cost much less, but costs are subject to the same factors as stand-alone policies. Some riders may be added after you have been diagnosed.

When deciding on whether or not to purchase any of the other insurance types covered below there are considerations, aside from the high risk of spending a lot on premiums without ever getting the benefits, that will help you decide.

  • You will not need stand-alone policies if these benefits are already covered in your health or life insurance, or can be added as a rider.
  • You may consider stand-alone policies if you:
      • Have any risk factors, such as heavy smoking, a dangerous job, or family history of a specific illness, that increase the chance of using one or more of the insurance types;
      • Can afford the premiums on your budget, as they increase with age for the duration of the policy; and
      • Don’t have any conditions that will make the insurance prohibitively expensive or possibly prohibit you from receiving coverage.