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  • Could living in a cancer cluster raise my insurance rates?
  • February 22, 2013
  • Since radon gas is so prevalent, you may wonder if your home insurance rates will increase if your home has elevated levels of radon. Holly Anderson, spokesperson for State Farm, says it’s not a factor.

    “We don’t ask about radon in the underwriting process, so it’s unlikely that it will affect a homeowners policy or its eligibility,” said Anderson.

    Underwriters use a number of tools to determine the cost of life insurance, but according to Kim McKeown, spokesperson for the Society of Actuaries (SOA), group insurers may look at overall mortality by geographical region, but it’s unlikely that they will single out incidents of cancer based on environmental factors.

    Top Cancer Risks

    • Aging
    • Tobacco products
    • Sunlight, ultraviolet light
    • Ionizing radiation
    • Chemicals
    • Viruses and bacteria
    • Hormones
    • Cancer in medical family history
    • Alcohol use
    • Poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise
    • Free radicals


    Source: American Cancer Society

    Life insurance companies look at a number of medical conditions and other factors when they price life insurance applications. According to McKeown, someone living in a known cancer cluster cannot be excluded from getting life insurance or be charged more for a policy.

    “Individual life insurance applicants with cancer are underwritten on an individual by individual basis,” says McKeown. “Life underwriters are not allowed to price individual life premiums based on cancer clusters.”

    Cancer Clusters

    The American Cancer Society reports that there are at least 100 suspected cancer clusters in the United States. The National Cancer Institute loosely defines a cancer cluster as an abnormally high number of cancers diagnosed in a small geographic area over a period of time.  Those clusters often produce rare cancers or occur in people who generally shouldn’t be subject to cancer — like children.

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