World Cancer Day 2019 is themed “I am and I will,” a statement that emphasizes the ways that people with a family history of cancer, loved ones with cancer, previous diagnoses and current diagnoses can all benefit from healthy lifestyle choices.

In honor of World Cancer Day, we’ve compiled some tips for how cancer survivors who choose a healthy lifestyle can get the lowest rates possible for life insurance.

Being diagnosed with cancer often comes with so many new considerations it can be overwhelming. Most people assume — falsely — that a current or past cancer diagnosis or even a family history of cancer guarantees a very high rate. However, this is not always the case. Someone brave enough to tackle cancer and recovery with improved diet, weight loss, increased physical activity and stress management deserves a fantastic rate.

Can Cancer Patients and Survivors Always Get a Life Insurance Policy?

It’s rare that a cancer survivor can’t get a policy at all. Even people with terminal cancer can purchase what is known as a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

The majority of cancer survivors or patients with low-grade diagnoses often qualify for the standard or even preferred rates of regular policies. In rare cases they may qualify for preferred plus, but it all depends on each company’s specific rules. This is why consulting an independent life insurance agent can help a cancer survivor or patient get the best rate.

Does A Family History of Cancer Affect My Rates?

Family history is usually — though not always — taken into account by life insurance companies. However, Health IQ is committed to emphasizing personal healthy lifestyle choices over family history so that someone’s hard work exercising and maintaining a good diet can be showed off in an insurance application, even if he or she may have a family history of cancer.

For those with a family history of cancer, the medical exam becomes a key way to distinguish yourself from your family history and prove you have a much lower chance of developing the disease.

What Factors Affect a Cancer Survivor’s Life Insurance Policy?

Factors outside the cancer survivor’s control, such as time since diagnosis, stage of cancer, family history and rate of progression of cancer will affect rates. However, living a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward lowering rates and absolutely is taken into account in the underwriting process.

Survivors of cancer deserve great respect for their strength and dignity in dealing with a debilitating health condition. Often, a cancer diagnosis in the family will set someone on the path of health consciousness for life, which can be used to an advantage if it is highlighted in the life insurance application.

What Life Insurance Classification Can Cancer Survivors Qualify For?

The policy most cancer survivors should aim to qualify for is known as the preferred category. For more on how life insurance classification works, check out this article about the categories.

Preferred rates are the second-highest classification at most life insurance companies, and deliver low premiums with good coverage. Many cancer survivors actually do qualify for these preferred rates, in some cases with a special condition, such as a better rate after a certain number of years of treatment.

For more severe cases, some companies allow standard rates with what is known as a “flat extra.” This means the customer pays the standard rate plus a temporary higher rate for a given number of years, such as during treatment.

Does Type of Cancer Matter to Life Insurance Classification as a Cancer Survivor?

Type of cancer, how long it’s been in remission and how far it progressed when diagnosed all affect policy rates. Non-melanoma skin cancers, cervical cancers, stage 1 seminoma testicular cancers and papillary thyroid cancers are likely to result in higher classifications and lower rates.

Testicular cancers at a later stage, thyroid cancers, uterine cancers, and prostate cancers are also potentially still eligible for higher classifications though it will depend more on the specifics.

For most other types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and leukemia, standard classification is typically the highest one can qualify for.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Getting the Best Rate As A Cancer Survivor?

Working with an independent life insurance agent is recommended by financial experts since it takes several applications to different companies to get the best coverage. Each company is a bit different in its policies and may grant different exceptions depending on the specifics.

A medical exam to clear a cancer survivor of other health conditions and to prove the cancer is no longer impacting him for her—except for in cases where the cancer is still actively progressing—usually lowers the rate as well, so it is usually in a cancer survivor’s interest to get a medical exam.

What Should I Expect From a Medical Exam As a Former or Current Cancer Patient?

Healthy lifestyle choices will always show up as a positive following a medical exam, since a cancer diagnosis doesn’t impact many of the other health parameters measured in the exam. This will go a long way toward painting a picture of an overall healthy individual and take the focus off the cancer diagnosis.

The best way to ensure great blood work is to have a good diet and a progression of weight loss or weight management. There is lots of evidence that self-management of one’s health conditions and lower stress levels positively affect blood work as well.

For cancer patients and survivors who are athletes, a medical exam can make an especially huge difference in improving rates because exercise can actively lower risk of recurrence for all types of cancer. Between the positive score for cardiovascular health regular exercise guarantees and proven commitment to a lifestyle that will minimize chances of another diagnosis, physical activity is one of the best ways to improve one’s life insurance rate. Learn some tips for acing a medical exam as an athlete here.