The key to financial success is more than just working hard and saving. One of the most important vehicles to financial independence is life insurance.
Life insurance is a vital part of any financial plan as it helps you provide financial security. This a coverage for your loved ones should anything happen to you.
This provides financial support to replace income and household expenses. It could also cover education and retirement expenses.
Also, a life insurance policy can help pay off debts and cover funeral expenses. It provides funds for any other needs your family may have in the event of your death. The benefits are numerous.
Unfortunately, according to TD Insurance and Environics Research Group research.. about one-third of Canadians lack the protection life insurance provides.
This implies that when they die, their loved ones may be in a financial lurch.
This article explains what life insurance is, why you need it and how much coverage you need. It also explains how to buy a life insurance policy.
Therefore, at the end of this post, you should be confident that you’ve all the information you need to make an informed decision… on buying perfect life insurance.
Let’s get started!
What is Insurance?
Insurance is a risk management tool. When you buy premiums, you are buying cover against unforeseen financial risks.
When something unfortunate happens to you, the insurance covers you. If you do not have insurance and an injury or something occurs to you or your family… you will be liable for all the costs.
The insurance policy specifies the coverage: the events are insured, the cost, and the duration. Exclusions are provisions in the policy that inform you of what is not covered in insurance.
That’s why it is important to read the terms and conditions of any insurance before buying. This will help you understand what protections you have. Buying the appropriate insurance will make a significant difference in your life.
Hence, you need to make the right choice among the different types of insurance.
4 Common Types of Insurance?
There are many types of insurance. Each provides a range of products to protect you against financial problems. However, due to the nature of these products, they are not one size fits all. So you need to understand what’s right for you.
Here is an overview of the four major types of insurance in Canada:
Health insurance is an insurance policy that covers expenses for illness or injury.
These services can include outpatient visits, doctor’s office visits, dental care emergency room visits and diagnostic tests. They also include hospital care, mental health services, hospital inpatient stays, and prescription drug coverage.
Even if you’re healthy, you have to be sure that thousands of dollars in medical bills… wouldn’t be a problem if you are sick.
But health insurance is more than just paying your medical bills. It’s about peace of mind and knowing that you have health coverage.
As a Canadian, you may need private health insurance besides having universal health coverage. This will help you extend your medical coverage beyond public health insurance coverage.
One of the major types of private health insurance in Canada is extended health insurance. This insurance covers:
- Dental care
- Prescription eyeglasses
- Prescription medications
- Ambulance services
You can basically get extended health insurance from your workplace or buy it yourself.
Auto insurance helps protect you against losses. This may arise from damage or theft of your car or injuries and other losses.
Driving without insurance is risky. This is because you and your car are not safe in the event of an accident. You are not also safe in the event of fire, robbery and vandalism.
Auto insurance is one of the most important types of insurance in Canada. It is a legal requirement across every state in the country.
If you plan to buy a vehicle or already have one and drive in Canada… it’s necessary to have auto insurance. This is to avoid legal consequences.
Home insurance is an insurance policy that protects your home against a range of risks. This includes fire, theft and natural disasters. As a homeowner, you need home insurance to protect yourself from the high cost of disasters and repairs.
Even when you pay off your mortgage, having home insurance is wise. It protects you from liabilities for injury and guest property damage. This is regardless of whether you, your family or pets cause it
Home insurance can also fund extra living costs if the house is uninhabitable. It can also compensate for rebuilding or restoring demolished buildings destroyed by a covered claim, such as your shed and fence.
Most financial experts believe that life insurance is an essential component of a solid financial plan. It is a contract between you and an insurance company.
With this insurance policy, you pay a premium to a company. In return, the company promises your beneficiary benefits if you die during the period of coverage.
Death can be costly, and the resulting expenses can quickly add up. But a life insurance policy can remove the financial pressure on a living partner and dependents.
As you will learn shortly, there are different types of life insurance available. Consider your individual needs to choose the type that best suits your situation.
Why Life Insurance?
As pointed earlier, about one-quarter of Canadians don’t have life insurance.
Some believe that it’s simply not a necessary expense for their budget. While others are under the impression that they don’t need it. Why? because they have no one to leave behind when they die. But research has shown this is not always true.
Why You Need a Life Insurance Policy
Here are some of the reasons why it pays to have life insurance.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency, death benefits are not subject to income tax. Therefore, life insurance in Canada is a smart choice that allows you to protect your family’s financial future.
If you have a life insurance policy and die when active, the beneficiaries will collect a lump sum death payout.
Life insurance payouts are not income on taxation. The beneficiaries are not to disclose the money on their tax returns.
Financial Planning Tool
Life insurance in Canada is a necessity if you want to create a sound financial plan.
Inadequate coverage can have serious implications for many families. A good insurance policy will help you care for your loved ones’ long-term survival. This will give you peace of mind knowing that they are financially secure.
The money from your insurance death payout will assist your family in meeting various critical financial needs. This includes funeral expenses, living expenses, and education funding.
Permanent life insurance can also be a good investment and help you protect your wealth. It provides a monetary value or cash surrender value. This ensures that you will accumulate cash value and a death payout to the beneficiaries.
Like most retirement and tuition savings accounts, cash values grow tax-free. They can be used for different purposes in the future. This includes downpayment on a home, education expenses, or even retirement income.
This can be a safe choice since interest costs are typically low, and there are no credit checks or other limitations.
However, you need to bear in mind that you are solely responsible for repaying every debt for your beneficiaries to collect the death benefit you intended for them.
Maximize Your Retirement
Whether you’re a retiree or planning on retiring, buying a life insurance policy can help you maximize your retirement savings.
Life insurance can be a pension replacement strategy for those who may not have workplace pensions. In some cases, it may provide additional retirement protection.
When properly structured, it can provide an additional retirement income through policy loans and withdrawals, as well as opportunities for long-term care coverage.
It may also be used to supplement the benefit of a surviving spouse’s pension or set up in a life insurance trust to enable you to transfer over to your beneficiaries outside of your assets (to escape estate and income taxes).
What Are The Types of Life Insurance?
There are two major types of life insurance. Each of these types of insurance also has different types:
a. Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is a low-cost form of life insurance that offers coverage over a set amount of time. It is typically purchased to cover a person’s dependents during periods of serious financial liability (such as a mortgage, for instance).
Assume you have a $400,000 mortgage. Holding a half-million-dollar term life insurance policy for a given period will help keep your family from facing serious financial difficulties if you die.
They can use the insurance death payout to pay part or the complete mortgage. However, not all term insurance policies are the same. Let’s now take a look at the various types of term insurance in the market.
4 Common Types of Term Life Insurance
1. Level Term Policies
A level-term life insurance policy ensures that the death payout is the same throughout the policy’s duration. Level term life insurance policies provide coverage over a set amount of time-varying from 10 to 30 years. The death benefit and premium are all set.
Since actuaries determine the rising insurance costs over the duration of the policy, the premium is higher compared to a yearly renewable term life insurance.
2. Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) Policies
Yearly renewable term (YRT) term insurance policies have no set term. However, they can be renewed annually without having proof of insurability.
The premiums vary year after year, and as the covered individual gets older, the premiums increase. Since there is no set term, premiums can be so expensive as the insured person grows older, making the insurance unappealing to many.
3. Decreasing Term Policies
Decreasing term policies have a death payout that decreases on a fixed schedule. The insured person is expected to pay a fixed, level premium for the timeframe of the policy.
Premiums are normally fixed during the contract, with coverage decreases occurring monthly or yearly. Decreasing term policies are often used in conjunction with mortgages to balance coverage with the diminishing capital of the home loan.
4. Convertible Term Life Insurance
This is a type of term life insurance with an option for conversion. It allows you to convert any or all of your term life insurance policies to a permanent life policy, ensuring that you have coverage for the rest of your life.
When you purchase convertible term life insurance, it covers your family throughout the years you specified on your policy. When your policy is about to expire and you want permanent insurance, you can let it expire and then apply for permanent coverage.
b. Permanent Life Insurance
Unlike term life insurance, which guarantees coverage of a predetermined death payout for a specified number of years…
Permanent life insurance is guaranteed to last the insured’s lifetime until the policy lapses due to nonpayment premiums.
Permanent life insurance premiums are used to preserve the policy’s death payout and enable the policy to accumulate cash value.
The insured may borrow against the cash value or, in some cases, withdraw cash directly from it to help satisfy specific needs, such as paying for a child’s college tuition or settling medical expenses.
Just like term life insurance, permanent life insurance also comes in different forms. To this, we now turn.
3 Common Types of Permanent Life Insurance
1. Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is the most popular type of permanent insurance. It has a death payout in addition to a savings account. By selecting this form of life insurance, you choose to pay a fixed sum of premiums monthly in exchange for a specified death payout.
The savings component will rise in proportion to the dividends paid to you by the insurance company.
2. Participating in Life Insurance
Participating in life insurance, also known as permanent life insurance, provides you with lifetime benefits as long as you continue to pay your premiums.
With participating life insurance, the premiums you pay for your coverage, along with those paid by all participating life insurance policyholders, are deposited in a participating account.
This policy is managed by the insurance company’s management team, which invests to maximize its worth.
Your death benefit and any future dividends are paid from this account.
Although dividends are not guaranteed, they can be used to purchase extra coverage, reduce your monthly premium charges, or be cashed out (some cash values may be taxed).
3. Universal Life Insurance
Just as participating life insurance, universal life insurance is lifelong, which means it will cover you for the whole of your life – provided you’re consistent in paying the premiums.
Universal life insurance is public health insurance that blends the benefits of a permanent, lifetime policy with an investment component with a tax benefit.
What can make universal life insurance an attractive option for you? Flexibility is the simple answer.
Usually, this type of insurance allows you to choose your desired premium schedule, the money you want to pay, and an investment combination that corresponds to your particular risk profile.
Term Life Insurance vs. Permanent Life Insurance
Individuals have varying insurance needs. While term life insurance is common and very popular due to its low costs, it typically expires long before the policyholder’s life.
Since the goal is to pay off the large part of mortgages plus other financial obligations, it can still help in amassing ample savings to eliminate the need for large life insurance.
Certain individuals will discover that they will like continuing coverage and savings opportunities and therefore need a permanent policy.
As a result, some term policies can switch to permanent policies later, often without the requirement to re-qualify medically or otherwise.
This aspect will make the conversion more attractive for anyone with medical problems that will make a new policy prohibitively costly or has chronic illnesses that include recurring costs that could be deducted from the savings part.
Although permanent life insurance premiums are far higher than those for term insurance, those who enroll in such plans often have gained enough money to pay them.
Permanent life insurance can also be used as a tax-advantaged investment fund for estate planning purposes.
How to Choose The Right Type of Life Insurance?
One of the biggest financial decisions Canadians have to make in their lives is the type of insurance policy purchase.
With significant differences between them, purchasing life insurance can confuse even the most seasoned consumers. Here are two scenarios that will help you decide the type of life insurance you need:
You need term life insurance if…
You need life insurance for a particular time frame. Term life insurance allows you to adjust the duration of the policy to meet the duration of your need.
For instance, if you have small children and want to guarantee that there are funds available to cover the cost of their college tuition, you can purchase a 20-year term life insurance.
Also, if you need funds to cover a mortgage that cannot be repaid within a given timeframe, buy term insurance covering that period.
You also need term insurance if you require big life insurance but are on a tight budget.
Since this sort of insurance covers only when you pass within the policy’s lifetime, the cost per thousand of death payout is smaller than permanent life insurance.
If you are alive at the expiration of the term, compensation may terminate until the policy is renewed or a new one is purchased.
Unlike permanent insurance, you usually cannot create wealth through cash savings with term insurance. If you believe your financial circumstances can change, you may want to consider convertible term insurance.
These policies allow you to convert to a permanent policy without undergoing a medical test in return for paying higher premiums. Remember that with term insurance, premiums are lowest when you are young but increase as you grow older.
If a term insurance contract expires, some can be renewed, although the premium may usually rise. Certain policies require a medical test to apply for the lowest rates at renewal.
You need permanent life insurance if…
You require life insurance for your entire lifespan. Permanent insurance provides a death payout regardless of whether you die tomorrow or live for more than 100 years.
You need this type of insurance if you want to build a savings component that grows tax-free and can be used to borrow money for several purposes.
The savings component may be used to fund your life insurance premiums if you cannot pay them, or it may be used for some other reason.
Even if your credit is trembling, you can borrow from there.
The death payout serves as collateral for the debt. If you die before the loan is settled, the insurance provider retains the balance owed before deciding what is given to your beneficiary.
3 Things You Need to Do Before Buying Life Insurance?
If you’re considering purchasing life insurance, you will be concerned about the information you’ll need to gather and the types of questions you’ll face.
However, since everyone’s preferences are different, purchasing life insurance is different for each individual. However, a little planning will help ensure you have a customized policy for your specific needs.
Here are three things you should do before purchasing life insurance:
Estimate how much insurance you need
Perhaps the most critical thing about planning to purchase life insurance is determining the amount of insurance coverage you need.
While a financial advisor can assist you in making this decision, understanding your needs in advance will save you time.
Begin by assessing your current financial condition and future objectives. To succeed in doing so, ask yourself these three questions:
- What is my current debt? (Such as a mortgage, student loans, lines of credit, car loans etc.).
- What are my future expenses? (Such as the cost of children’s upbringing, college tuition, and retirement savings etc.).
- What are my other financial expenses? (Such as legal fees, estate taxes, funeral expenses, capital gains and cash gifts etc.).
By adding this up, you’ll have a better sense of the type of insurance that might be appropriate for you — and you’ll be better prepared to meet a financial advisor.
Find the Right Insurance Advisor
The next step is to locate an insurance advisor that you have confidence in.
Life insurance is a critical component of financial security, ensuring that financial goals are met even when the unexpected occurs. That is why it is important to choose an advisor who is a good match for your family, your circumstance, and your priorities.
What qualities does an insurance advisor possess? The ideal advisor is one who:
- Effectively communicates: You and your family should feel at ease asking your advisor questions and getting detailed answers from him/her.
- Is aligned with your interest: Your advisor should take the time to become acquainted with you and establish the confidence necessary for a fruitful relationship.
- Have all the qualifications: Your advisor is there to assist you in understanding the various types of policies, weighing your coverage choices, and determining which policy best meets your needs. He/she must be qualified to succeed in that.
Prepare Answers for Application Questions
When you purchase life insurance, the coverage can be customized to your specific needs, considering considerations such as your health, activities and lifestyle.
This suggests that you’ll be asked about your health, your work, and your hobbies, in addition to financial questions. These questions include:
- Do you smoke? (even if it’s tobacco or nicotine)
- What sorts of activities does your job require?
- Are you vulnerable to any risks in your workplace?
- What activities do you do in your spare time?
- Do you engage in potentially dangerous sports such as snowboarding or scuba diving?
Besides answering these questions, your general health will almost certainly be evaluated.
This information is used to ensure that you get an appropriate insurance quote for your health and verify that the information is correct.
How to Buy Life Insurance in Canada?
Life insurance is not just for people who have dependents but for anyone that wants long-term financial security. If you want your family to have what they need when you pass away, then follow these three simple steps to buy life insurance in Canada:
Step 1: Know Why You Need Life Insurance
Buying life insurance can be one of the most important decisions in your entire lifetime. You must make a careful decision by knowing why you need a policy before purchasing.
If you have a spouse, children, or someone else that financially relies on you, life insurance is definitely a good idea for you.
Most Canadians purchase life protection policy to:
- Replace a source of income as a result of death.
- Pay their estate taxes.
- Settle their children’s education expenses.
- Insure their mortgage or other debts.
- Save for their retirement.
- Purchase a share of a business.
This ensures there will be money available when needed, allowing your loved ones to spend more time assisting one another during a tough time and spending less time worrying about paying the bills.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide exactly why you need to buy life insurance.
Step 2: Know Your Risk Class
The insurance industry categorizes clients based on four risk classes: preferred, super-preferred, standard, and substandard.
For instance, if you have sound health with a low body mass index (BMI) and do not have any other risk factors (such as smoking, risky habits, or a poor driving record), you may qualify for the super-preferred class.
In comparison, someone who is obese and has high blood pressure may only qualify for the standard class and pay a higher premium for the same insurance.
Although life insurance classes offer guidelines on what to anticipate in payment terms, each insurer operates differently.
For instance, suppose you have a high-risk hobby, such as rock climbing or flying a plane. Certain insurance providers will categorize you as a lower class and charge you more for participating in these “high-risk” activities.
Another insurance provider will cover you in a higher class, but the coverage may have exclusions, which means you will not get a payout if you die due to such activities.
Step 3: Get Life Insurance Quotes
The best way to determine your cost is to get life insurance quotes through a few providers. Quotes are given for free. A knowledgeable insurance agent would know which providers offer perfect prices for your age, health, and preferred level of coverage.
For this purpose, you should anticipate questions about your age, health, driving record, family medical records, and any risky job or hobbies.
How to Apply for Life Insurance Policy?
Here are the four steps you need to follow to apply for your life insurance:
1. Submit Your Application
After obtaining the most competitive quote, you’re now qualified to apply for a life insurance policy. This procedure may take several weeks.
The time required to approve an application differs considerably between businesses and policy types. Applying for life insurance may involve highly personal details, documentation, and a medical examination.
2. Verify Your Application
Subsequently, you’ll talk with an agent via phone who will check some of the details you submitted online and ensure that the quote you chose is the right policy for you.
After that, the agent will provide you with documents to sign and forward your application to the insurance provider.
3. Schedule Your Medical Exam
If the insurance provider needs a medical exam (which the majority do), you will be contacted to arrange the exam by a contractor referred to as a paramedical professional.
The paramedical specialist, like a nurse, is qualified to do a physical examination. However, some insurance companies provide life insurance without a medical exam.
All you need to do is answer a few questions and speak on the phone with their representative. This greatly accelerates the underwriting process, allowing you to obtain life insurance as quickly as in three or four days instead of weeks or months.
Even better, this would not increase the premiums associated with no-medical-exam insurance.
4. Complete Your Exam and Wait
The examiner will conduct a formal medical examination to verify the information included in your application.
He/she will measure your blood pressure and draw a blood sample, which will be sent to a lab to be tested for tobacco, cholesterol and glucose levels, drug use and diseases. The results will be mailed to you.
Honesty is critical when applying for life insurance: do not be surprised if you are asked the same question about your health records or tobacco consumption up to five times. Please, respond honestly.
Since insurance providers share information, misrepresenting information can result in you being rejected by more than one insurer. Even worse, it can provide the insurer with legitimate reasons to dismiss your family’s claim if you pass away.
The role of the insurance underwriter is to record all of the information from your application and medical exam to determine whether or not to cover you and what you should pay.
What to Expect After You Apply for Life Insurance?
When the application is approved, it goes into effect, and you will be notified and get a complete copy of the policy. If you haven’t already paid a deposit to your agent, you’ll be required to make a payment on the first premium.
Some insurance providers can permit you to make your first payment to bind your policy immediately after submitting your application (before your medical exam).
However, if the exam shows previously unknown medical issues, the insurer retains the right to void the offer or raise the premium.
In any case, make sure to inquire when the proposal goes into effect – particularly if you’re changing an existing policy. Don’t cancel the old life insurance policy until you’re certain the new one is effective!
The policy will be mailed to you by the agent. Make a copy of this policy, keep the original and the copy separate for safety, and inform your partner where you keep them.
Finally, you can be proud knowing that one of the most critical components of a sound financial plan is in motion for you and your family.
That’s it! While it might seem daunting, purchasing life insurance is now simpler than you expect.
10 Best Life Insurance Companies in Canada?
Now that you know what type of life insurance you need and how to go about buying it, the next question is where can you get the best policies in Canada.
Here are the top ten life insurance companies in Canada:
RBC Insurance is the brand name for the Royal Bank of Canada’s insurance company. The Royal Bank of Canada is one of the largest financial services firms in North America.
Additionally, RBC insurance is one of the largest bank-owned insurance companies in Canada. It is a powerhouse in the insurance market, with more than 4 million customers worldwide and more than 2000 workers.
RBC Insurance has options for life, auto, travel, home, and business insurance. It is one of the few firms that offer a straightforward application procedure for term life insurance coverage of up to $500,000.
La Capitale is a Quebec-based insurer that has been in business for more than 70 years and is now expanding nationally.
The firm has a range of insurance product offerings, including term, universal life, health insurance, among others.
La Capitale Financial Group employs over 2000 people and has surpassed companies’ solvency standards for the regulatory authorities in Quebec.
It has made a name for itself as a life insurance provider, with 1,526,000 policies in motion and about 485,000 covered.
Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a household name in the insurance industry, with roots dating back to 150 years ago.
It is without a doubt one of Canada’s largest life insurance providers, having touched the lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the entire country.
Sun Financial was named one of the World’s 2018 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations.
The biggest advisor network in Canada (nearly 4,000 advisors) provides investment and health services to Canadians to assist them in achieving financial security.
Equitable Life Insurance
Equitable Life is one of the largest mutual life insurance providers in Canada. Its life and critical illness insurance sales increased significantly, reaching over $101 million.
Equity Life is a mutual life insurance firm, which means that it is owned by participating policyholders. This makes the firm provide customized services that are focused on the well-being and security of their customers.
Manual is the largest life insurance provider in Canada and a market leader in the retirement sector, receiving almost $40 billion in annual premiums.
Manulife is very proud of its exceptional customer service, with a customer retention rate of 95%. It has a range of insurance products for security and investment purposes.
Besides life and health insurance, the firm also provides investment products, retirement plans and wealth management services. It was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2018.
Empire Life Insurance
Empire Life Insurance was established in Toronto in 1923 and is one of the largest insurance companies in Canada. Today, the company’s headquarters is based in Kingston, Ontario.
Individual insurance, wealth management products and benefits plans – are all part of the company’s product range. It offers a diverse variety of insurance in addition to critical illness insurance.
Primerica Life Insurance
Primerica Life Insurance is a financial services company that provides life insurance and other financial products. It has about 6 million clients and 100,000 employees worldwide.
The company is located in Mississauga, Ontario, and specializes in term life insurance. Primerica Insurance is a pioneer in the use of technology in the insurance industry.
It started using its own app in 2005 to allow its clients to submit life insurance applications and receive quotes electronically. In 2011, it released its own Primerica application, enabling sales representatives to deliver insurance quotes to clients without requiring internet access.
Great-West Lifeco life ranks among the largest insurance companies in Canada. Its product range includes disability insurance and mortgage insurance, among others.
Life insurance, health insurance, investment services, retirement planning, reinsurance, and asset management – are areas the company also specializes in.
It operates not only in Canada but also in Europe and the United States.
BMO Life Insurance
BMO Life Insurance is unquestionably one of the largest life insurance providers in Canada. It is a subsidiary of the BMO Financial Group, which was established in 1817.
It has established its financial strength and maintained its position by providing insurance policies with diverse coverage options, competitive pricing, robust rewards, and a track record of trustworthiness.
BMO Life Insurance is an A.M. Best Company with an A1 Financial Strength Insurer Rating, indicating its superior ability to meet its obligations.
The Co-operators Group Limited
The Co-operators Group Limited is a leading diversified, integrated, and multi-line insurance and financial service provider. It operates in three primary segments: life insurance, property, and institutional investments.
Today, the company serves about 300 credit unions with a combined membership of over 5.5 million.
How I Rated the Best Life Insurance Companies in Canada?
Here are the three major factors I consider when rating the best life insurance companies in Canada:
The strength of an insurance provider is so important because you want to ensure that they can be there in the next twenty, fifty, or even one hundred years.
The above insurance companies have a consistently good track record of meeting their obligations hence, their outstanding rating.
Variety of products
When it comes to life insurance, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Each person will have unique needs, which is why top insurance companies tailor their products to meet those needs.
These companies have a different range of life insurance options to meet different needs. Hence, you can be certain of a customized solution.
Value for money
When purchasing life insurance, it is important to consider the value. However, it is not recommended to opt for “cheap” premiums since this can imply inadequate coverage.
Value for money is measured in terms of costs and the level of customer service provided by the insurance provider.
The term “life insurance” brings with it a sense of comfort. It helps you prepare for all kinds of unfortunate events, such as a disability, unexpected illness, or death.
Asking yourself the right questions and answering them truthfully will assist with making your application process simpler.
Now that you know what life insurance entails, its types and how to apply the one that suits your situation, it is up to you to take the final step: action.