Skin cancer is the most common cancer among both men and women in the US. Life insurance underwriters have shown a lot of movement on their underwriting guidelines for skin cancer over the past several years. Unfortunately, until recently, it didn’t seem to be in any clear direction.

Probably the best news has been in the risk evaluation of low stage melanoma. Melanoma is the least common skin cancer but accounts for 75% of skin cancer deaths. But, what we’ve seen recently especially in stage 1 and 2 melanoma , is a tendency to get back to standard rates quicker after surgical removal of the cancer. While higher stages may incur a flat extra for a longer period, lower stages can generally be seen within a year with no recurrence.

The other significant shift in skin cancer underwriting has come in basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. In the past these two generally flew under the underwriting radar because of the relatively low mortality risk. A few years ago a study indicated people with multiple basal cell carcinomas were at increased risk of acquiring melanoma. This led to an underwriting swing away from ignoring basal cell to offering no better than standard for people with multiple instances. This stance has also softened somewhat with further studies showing the connection to be more vague than first thought.

Bottom line. Once again, this is not an area where your car insurance agent is going to shine, and I wouldn’t depend on large internet agencies to really dig in deep and get the job done as it should be. A knowledgeable independent agent should be able to ferret out the best opportunities for low rates with your particular history of skin cancer.