While it may be too late for those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, wearing our sunburns with pride, using sunscreen can certainly cut down on future cases of skin cancer.
We have gone over the life insurance underwriting differences of the three types of skin cancer in previous posts, but just to re-summarize, there is basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
In general one instance of basal cell or squamous cell can still get you best rates with several companies. Multiple instances can still get you better than standard rates with a few companies, but standard rates seems to be the low spot where most companies are settling.
With melanoma it’s all about stage and grade. A very low stage and grade could bring standard rates a year after treatment. A middle of the pack stage and grade could be standard rates after 3 to 5 years. During that period the company would charge what is called a flat extra. That is a dollar cost per thousand dollars of insurance per year. For instance, on a $100,000 policy with a $7.50 flat extra for 5 years, you would pay the standard rate plus $750 for the first 5 years. After that you would pay the standard rate.
A high stage and grade, if it didn’t kill you, will likely be uninsurable for some years and then it will have a flat extra after that.
With all that said, avoiding skin cancer is really the best idea. Sunscreen really beats going to the beach in long pants and a long sleeve shirt with a hat and gloves and shoes. So, SPF 60 and you’re good to go, right?
Not according to the FDA, quoted in a New York Times article today. According to studies by the FDA, SPF 30 blocks out 97% of the harmful sun stuff. So, being the rocket scientist that I am I come up with SPF 15 blocking out 48.5% and SPF 60 blocking out an astounding 194%. Apparently they don’t use rocket scientists to make sunscreen. The study showed that SPF 15 blocked out 93% and SPF 60, which the FDA recommended be labeled SPF 30+, only blocks out 97-98%.
Bottom line. Use your sunscreen and more sunscreen is better than more SPF’s. And, if you’ve had skin cancer, don’t buy your life insurance off the shelf. Find an independent agent who can cut through all the underwriting jungle and find the best possible rate for you.
This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.