Life Insurance With Glioblastoma in Canada

Talk to one of our experienced advisors, today!

18 Minute read

Originally published: May 23, 2023

glioblastoma Life Insurance in Canada

Talk to one of our experienced advisors today!

18 Minute read
Originally published: May 22, 2023

glioblastoma Life Insurance in Canada

Living with a severe illness like glioblastoma can be challenging and fraught with uncertainties. One of these uncertainties, often overlooked in the initial shock of diagnosis, is the question of life insurance. How does a glioblastoma diagnosis impact your chances of securing a life insurance policy? What kind of coverage can you expect, and how might the premiums be affected? This blog aims to answer these questions and provide an understanding of life insurance with glioblastoma.

Whether you or a loved one are grappling with a similar situation or simply want to be informed, this blog seeks to provide the insights and knowledge you need. Let’s dive in.

Overview of Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma (also known as GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor in adults, and it is notorious for its poor prognosis and challenging treatment.

Classification: Glioblastoma is classified as a Grade IV astrocytoma. Astrocytomas are a type of glioma, which originate from astrocytes, the star-shaped cells that make up the supportive tissue of the brain. Grade IV is the most malignant classification of these tumors.

Epidemiology: It affects approximately 3 per 100,000 people per year and tends to occur in older individuals (average age of diagnosis is about 64 years old). Both men and women can be affected, although it is slightly more common in men.

Causes and Risk Factors: The exact cause of glioblastoma is unclear. Some risk factors have been identified, such as ionizing radiation exposure. There are also certain inherited genetic conditions (such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Turcot syndrome, or neurofibromatosis) that increase the risk, but these are uncommon. Most cases seem to occur spontaneously without any clear risk factors.

Symptoms: Symptoms vary depending on the tumor’s size, location, and rate of growth. They can include new onset or change in pattern of headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred or double vision, loss of appetite, changes in mood or personality, changes in ability to think and learn, new onset of seizures, or neurological symptoms such as weakness on one side of the body, speech difficulties, or sensory changes.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis typically involves imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and often requires a biopsy or surgical removal of the tumor to confirm the diagnosis under a microscope and to perform molecular testing.

Treatment: Treatment is multimodal and usually includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without causing significant harm. Radiation therapy is typically used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy, especially with a drug called temozolomide, is often used in conjunction with radiation therapy.

Despite the challenges posed by this disease, advancements in understanding and treatment of glioblastoma provide hope for improved outcomes in the future.

Case Study: Jameson Reed – A Journey through Glioblastoma and Life Insurance

glioblastoma life insurance case study

In 2023, Jameson Reed, a 39-year-old chemical engineer, received a life-altering diagnosis – glioblastoma. He was in the prime of his life, with a successful career, a loving wife, and two young children. Despite the shock and fear that came with such a serious diagnosis, Jameson was determined to do everything in his power to secure his family’s future.

Even before his diagnosis, Jameson understood the importance of life insurance. He had a term life insurance policy, which he had taken out when his first child was born. However, now faced with the uncertainty of glioblastoma, he was concerned about his family’s financial stability should the worst happen.

Jameson decided to explore options for additional life insurance. Given his pre-existing condition, he anticipated that obtaining new coverage might be challenging.

He started by discussing his situation with a professional insurance advisor. As expected, traditional insurers were reluctant to offer him a new policy because of his recent diagnosis and the poor prognosis associated with glioblastoma. The insurance advisor explained that due to the high risk associated with glioblastoma, many insurance companies would either decline coverage or significantly increase premiums.

Undeterred, Jameson explored alternative options. He discovered guaranteed issue life insurance, a type of policy that does not require a medical exam and offers acceptance to any applicant within a certain age range, regardless of health conditions. These policies typically have higher premiums and lower coverage amounts, but they offered Jameson a solution.

He decided to apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. He understood that if he passed away within the first two years after the policy was issued (the waiting period), his beneficiaries would not receive the full death benefit. However, they would receive a refund of all premiums paid, often with interest.

Though the premium was higher than he would have liked, the guaranteed issue policy gave Jameson peace of mind. He knew he had done everything possible to ensure that his family would have financial support in the future.

Jameson’s journey highlights the challenges and potential solutions for individuals diagnosed with severe illnesses like glioblastoma when seeking life insurance coverage. Despite facing a high-risk health condition, options are available, but they often require careful research, persistence, and professional guidance.

Remember, regulations and insurance offerings can vary by region and over time. Always consult with a professional to understand your options fully.

The Importance of Life Insurance in the Face of Glioblastoma

Life insurance serves as a crucial financial safety net, offering protection for your loved ones in the event of your untimely demise. This importance is particularly magnified for those diagnosed with severe illnesses such as glioblastoma, a notoriously aggressive type of brain cancer.

The diagnosis and subsequent treatment of glioblastoma can pose significant financial burdens. These costs can arise from medical expenses, including surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and palliative care. In addition to the treatment costs, patients often face indirect expenses such as loss of income due to inability to work, travel costs to and from treatment centers, and costs for additional help or care at home.

Life insurance can provide the necessary financial support to cover these expenses. A robust life insurance policy can ensure that medical bills, funeral costs, and other debts do not add to your family’s stress during an already challenging time. Furthermore, the payout from a life insurance policy can also help provide for your family’s future needs, such as your children’s education or spouse’s retirement.

However, obtaining life insurance after a glioblastoma diagnosis can be challenging due to the illness’s severity and poor prognosis. It is, therefore, advisable to secure life insurance coverage earlier in life, if possible.

In the event of a pre-existing glioblastoma diagnosis, some insurance options are still available, such as guaranteed issue life insurance, although these often come with higher premiums and lower coverage amounts. Additional riders like critical illness or accelerated death benefits can also provide financial aid during the policyholder’s lifetime.

While the topic of life insurance can be a difficult one to contemplate, it is a vital consideration for individuals diagnosed with severe illnesses like glioblastoma. The financial support provided by a life insurance policy can offer much-needed peace of mind during a time of significant health challenges.

Life Insurance Eligibility with a Glioblastoma Diagnosis

Securing life insurance after a glioblastoma diagnosis can be challenging, as insurance companies typically consider this condition a high-risk factor. Generally, insurers evaluate applicants based on their risk profile, which includes factors such as age, overall health, and medical history. Glioblastoma, as a serious and often rapidly progressing disease, could significantly affect this evaluation process.

Traditional Life Insurance: With traditional life insurance policies, including term and whole life, the application process involves a medical examination and a detailed review of medical records. Due to the severe prognosis associated with glioblastoma, it’s likely that a traditional policy application would be declined.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: One alternative may be a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. These policies do not require a medical exam and ask only minimal health questions. They’re often used by individuals who have serious medical conditions. However, there are some cons. The death benefits on these policies are usually lower, and the premiums are typically higher than traditional life insurance policies. Additionally, many guaranteed issue policies have a graded benefit period, typically two to three years. This means that if the policyholder passes away within this period (excluding accidental death), the policy would only pay out the amount of the premiums paid to date, possibly with some interest.

Group Life Insurance through Employers: If an individual with a glioblastoma diagnosis is still working and their employer offers group life insurance, they may be eligible for coverage. Generally, group life insurance doesn’t require medical examinations and could provide at least some coverage.

Living Benefits Riders: Some insurance policies offer additional riders that can provide financial benefits during the policyholder’s lifetime. For instance, an accelerated death benefit rider may allow the policyholder to receive a portion of the death benefit early if they’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.

While glioblastoma patients may face more significant challenges when seeking life insurance, it’s not entirely impossible. Consulting with an experienced insurance professional could help explore available options and identify the best strategy to provide financial security for the individual and their loved ones.

How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Premium Rates and Coverage Options in Life Insurance Policies?

When it comes to insurance coverage, pre-existing conditions play a substantial role in determining an individual’s eligibility, premium costs, and the type of policies they can acquire.

A pre-existing condition is any health condition for which a person has received a diagnosis or treatment before applying for a health or life insurance policy. These conditions can range from relatively minor issues like allergies or asthma to more serious illnesses like cancer or heart disease. In the context of this discussion, glioblastoma would be considered a serious pre-existing condition due to its aggressive nature and poor prognosis.

Insurance companies assess risk when deciding whether to offer coverage to an individual and at what premium rate. The presence of a pre-existing condition, especially a serious one like glioblastoma, significantly increases the perceived risk to the insurer. This is because the policyholder is more likely to make a claim, and potentially a large one, due to the costs associated with treating and managing the condition.

The presence of a pre-existing condition like glioblastoma often leads to higher premium rates if an insurance company is willing to offer coverage at all. This is a way for insurers to offset the increased risk associated with these conditions. In some cases, insurers may offer a policy but exclude coverage for costs related to the pre-existing condition.

However, for life insurance, a glioblastoma diagnosis may lead to a decline in coverage from many traditional life insurance companies due to its severe prognosis. Some alternatives, such as guaranteed issue life insurance, may still be available but they often come with higher premiums and lower coverage amounts.

How Can a Glioblastoma Diagnosis Influence Premium Rates?

A diagnosis of glioblastoma, or any serious illness, can significantly influence premium rates for life insurance policies if the individual is even able to secure coverage. The primary reason for this is that life insurance is calculated based on risk – the risk that the insurance company will have to pay out the death benefit.

When applying for life insurance, insurers use a process called underwriting to assess this risk. Underwriting involves evaluating an applicant’s overall health, medical history, lifestyle, and sometimes family medical history. Age and gender also play a part. Based on these factors, the insurer will categorize the applicant into a risk class which will determine their premium rates.

Glioblastoma is a particularly aggressive and fast-progressing form of brain cancer, and the prognosis is generally poor. As such, from an insurance perspective, a glioblastoma diagnosis presents a high risk. If a person with such a diagnosis is offered coverage, the premium rates will likely be much higher than for a person of the same age and gender without such a diagnosis.

It’s important to note that many traditional life insurance companies may decline to offer coverage altogether to someone with a glioblastoma diagnosis due to this high risk. However, there may be other types of life insurance available, such as guaranteed issue life insurance, although these typically come with higher premiums and lower coverage amounts.

Additionally, regulations vary by country and even within regions, so it’s always advisable to consult with an insurance professional or financial advisor to understand the options and implications fully.

What Information Will Insurance Companies Require During the Application Process?

When applying for life insurance, insurance companies typically require a range of information to evaluate the risk profile of an applicant. If the applicant has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, specific details related to this condition will also be necessary. Here’s a general overview of what insurers may ask for:

General Information:

Application requirements for Life Insurance include checking your personal details, medical history, lifestyle information, and family medical history
  1. Personal Details: Basic personal details like age, gender, and contact information.
  2. Medical History: A comprehensive history of past and present illnesses, surgeries, treatments, and medications.
  3. Lifestyle Information: Details about occupation, hobbies, smoking or drinking habits, exercise routines, and so on. Some activities are considered high risk by insurance companies and can affect your eligibility and premiums.
  4. Family Medical History: Information about medical conditions that run in your family, as some diseases have genetic links.

Specific Information related to Glioblastoma Diagnosis:

Application requirements related to glioblastoma is the date of diagnosis, stage and grade of tumor, treatment plan, current health status, and any follow up scans and test results
  1. Date of Diagnosis: When were you diagnosed with glioblastoma? This information can give the insurance company an idea about the progression of your disease.
  2. Stage and Grade of the Tumor: Glioblastoma is typically a grade IV tumor, but details about the tumor’s stage and exact grade can provide insights into its severity.
  3. Treatment Plan: What treatments have been performed or are planned (such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.)?
  4. Current Health Status: How is the disease affecting your daily life and functioning?
  5. Follow-up Scans and Test Results: Regular follow-up scans and tests provide information about the current state of your disease and whether it’s progressing or under control.

It’s crucial to provide accurate information during this process, as providing false or misleading information can lead to denial of a claim or even cancellation of the policy. Each insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines, so the specific information required can vary. Consulting with an insurance professional can provide more specific guidance based on your situation and the insurance company you’re dealing with.

Are There Any Restrictions or Limitations on Benefit Payouts for Policyholders Diagnosed With Glioblastoma?

Yes, there may be certain restrictions or limitations on benefit payouts for policyholders diagnosed with glioblastoma or any other serious illness. The specifics can vary significantly based on the type of insurance policy and the terms of the contract. Here are some of the common restrictions or limitations you may encounter:

  1. Waiting Periods: Some policies, especially guaranteed issue life insurance, have waiting periods. This means that if the policyholder passes away within a certain timeframe after the policy is issued (typically two to three years), the beneficiaries will not receive the full death benefit. Instead, they might receive a refund of the premiums paid, sometimes with interest.
  2. Exclusions for Pre-existing Conditions: Some life insurance policies may specifically exclude payouts related to pre-existing conditions. This means if the policyholder dies due to complications related to a disclosed pre-existing condition such as glioblastoma, the insurer may not pay out the death benefit. However, this is less common and depends on the specific terms of the policy.
  3. Incomplete or Inaccurate Disclosures: If a policyholder failed to disclose the glioblastoma diagnosis or provided inaccurate information during the application process, the insurance company might deny a claim for the death benefit. It’s crucial to provide accurate and complete information during the application process.
  4. High-Risk Premiums or Lower Coverage: While not a direct limitation on the payout, individuals with glioblastoma might only qualify for policies with lower coverage limits or higher premiums. This can indirectly limit the amount of the benefit payout.

It’s important to note that the terms and conditions can vary significantly among insurance companies and policy types. Therefore, individuals with glioblastoma or their family members should carefully review all policy documentation.


While finding life insurance with a glioblastoma diagnosis can be daunting, understanding the landscape and knowing the right questions to ask can help patients and their families make informed decisions. The road might seem difficult with traditional insurers potentially denying coverage due to the high-risk nature of glioblastoma. Yet, alternative options like guaranteed issue life insurance provide a beacon of hope.

Our case study of Jameson Reed illustrates that despite these challenges, it is possible to secure a life insurance policy even after a glioblastoma diagnosis. It emphasizes the importance of persistence, research, and professional guidance in this process.

Remember, each person’s situation is unique, and what worked for one individual might not be the best option for another. Consult with a professional insurance advisor or financial planner who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances.

In the face of life’s uncertainties, life insurance can provide a sense of security. For those grappling with a glioblastoma diagnosis, this peace of mind can be invaluable, allowing them to focus on their health and spending quality time with loved ones.

Ultimately, the aim of this blog is to shed light on this complex topic, empowering patients and their families with the knowledge to explore their options and secure their financial future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance With Glioblastoma

Yes, but it can be challenging. Traditional life insurance companies may deny coverage due to the high-risk nature of glioblastoma. However, there are alternative options like guaranteed issue life insurance that do not require a medical exam and offer acceptance regardless of health conditions.

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of life insurance that does not require a medical exam and offers coverage to any applicant within a certain age range, regardless of health conditions. These policies often have higher premiums and lower coverage amounts.

A glioblastoma diagnosis can significantly increase life insurance premiums if you can find a company willing to offer coverage. This is due to the increased risk the insurer takes on in offering a policy to someone with a serious health condition.

If you do not disclose your glioblastoma diagnosis (or any serious health condition) during the application process and the company finds out later, they could deny a claim for the death benefit or cancel the policy. It’s crucial to provide accurate and complete information during the application process.

No, once you have a life insurance policy in place, the insurance company cannot cancel your coverage due to a health condition diagnosis like glioblastoma. As long as you continue to pay your premiums, your coverage will remain in place.

A waiting period is a span of time (usually two to three years) after the policy is issued during which the full death benefit would not be paid out if the policyholder passes away. Instead, the insurance company would typically refund all premiums paid, often with interest.

Find a solution for what you’re looking for

In the face of life’s uncertainties, especially when confronted with a serious condition like glioblastoma, securing life insurance can provide a valuable sense of financial security. At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to build the best package to give you the protection you need. 

To schedule a consultation about your income protection goals, or if you have any questions about insurance in Ontario or Canada, please contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta including areas such as Kingston, Brampton, Red Deer, and Burnaby.

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