We Compared the 30 Best Life Insurance Companies in Canada (2024)

Peer reviewed by
Erik Heidebrecht
Certified Life Insurance Advisor

PolicyMe content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn more about our editorial guidelines.

In This Article

What is the best life insurance in Canada?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer for what is the best life insurance in Canada. It really depends on what you're looking for and your personal situation. That said, here are our recommendations based on our research and analysis:

  • Best for the hard to insure: Assumption
  • Best for the self-employed: Blue Cross
  • Best for universal life insurance: BMO
  • Best for participating life insurance: Canada Life
  • Best for seniors: CPP
  • Best for children: Desjardins
  • Best for smokers: Empire Life

  • Best for combo life/disability insurance: Humania
  • Best for business owners: Ivari
  • Best for lifelong coverage: Manulife
  • Best term life insurance: PolicyMe
  • Runner-up for term life: RBC
  • Best for estate planning: Sun Life

Summary chart: best life Insurance in Canada by specialty

a graph comparing the best life insurance companies Canada
Methodology: how we chose the best life insurance companies in Canada. To find the best life insurance in Canada, we reviewed both term life and permanent life insurance for each company. Term life insurance analysis: We used data provided by WinQuote, an independent online life insurance quote comparison service that's owned by Equisoft, a privately-held company that's been in business since 1994.We do not receive compensation for our company reviews and follow a comprehensive rubric of criteria that encompasses policy details, pricing, financial stability, ratings from reputable third parties like AM Best and overall customer experience. These objective measures enable us to assign unbiased ratings, represented by five stars. Our recommendations are based on the combined insights of internal and external experts. Our ratings and reviews serve as valuable guidance in finding an insurer you can trust for your family's financial security. However, the ultimate choice of the top life insurance company for you depends on various individual factors. At PolicyMe, our non-commissioned, licensed agents are ready to assist you throughout the application process, ensuring you receive honest advice without the upsell. How much life insurance do I need?

Video summary: what to consider when choosing life insurance policies

Life insurance advisors Stephanie and Erik walk you through the best life insurance in Canada in this video primer:

Best life insurance company for parents and homeowners

Parents and homeowners often need term life insurance to provide financial security for their families and protect their homes. For parents, this makes sure that if they were to unexpectedly die, their children's education and living expenses are covered. Homeowners benefit as the death benefit can help pay off mortgage debts, preventing the family from losing their home.

Best term life insurance overall: PolicyMe

Company profile: PolicyMe is an online insurance solution based in Toronto, ON. Founded in 2018, PolicyMe secured $18M in Series A funding, with an additional $8.5M from Securian Canada. They added critical illness insurance in 2022 and now have $5B in coverage in force across Canada.

PolicyMe customer review: "Very easy way to shop and apply for life insurance. PolicyMe got me a way cheaper policy than I had before. [...] I was very impressed and highly recommend them." – Customer on Google


  • Same quality coverage + fewer operating costs = you benefit from the savings.
  • 10 per cent discount for couples in the first year when they apply together.
  • Free $10,000 in child coverage for every policy.
  • $100,000 to $5M in coverage.
  • Online applications take 20 minutes or less, on average. Instant decision on your application.
  • Backed by insurance giant Securian Financial (A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating of A+).
  • Licensed Canadian advisors who don’t upsell, pressure or oversell.
  • Term policies are renewable annually.
  • Policies can be extended or upgraded within the first five years.


  • No permanent life insurance.
  • Term life insurance is not convertible to permanent (coming in October 2023).
  • No first-to-die or last-to-die policies for joint life insurance.
  • Online only, no brick-and-mortar locations.

Best for decreasing term coverage: Beneva

Company profile:  Beneva is a newer insurer coming from the merger of SSQ and La Capitale in December 2022. It is the largest mutual insurance company in Canada with 3.5M clients and members.


  • Offers an Extreme Disability Benefit for free with select policies. You can get 50 per cent of the death benefit up to a maximum of $250,000.
  • Competitive on term life prices, less competitive on whole life.
  • Their decreasing term coverage option means you get less coverage, but it doesn't appear as if your premiums decrease too.
  • Many optional riders you can add to your policy (for a fee) such as critical illness insurance, a child rider and an accidental death rider.


  • Being locked into decreasing term coverage means you can't access your full coverage if your circumstances change.
  • Most standard term policies let you decrease your coverage, and monthly price, at any time anyway.
  • 40 year term option is probably excessive. If you need coverage for that long, you probably need a permanent policy instead.

» Read the full Beneva life insurance review

Runner-up for best term life insurance: RBC

Company profile: The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is the largest bank in Canada by revenue. They have an A.M. Best financial strength rating of A+.


  • Their T100 product is good value for the money, if you want a permanent life insurance policy. Prices are especially good for coverage over $500,000 and for those age 40 and up.
  • Get up to $25M in coverage from several of their term and permanent policies.
  • RBC has a Buy Sell business life insurance policy specifically for business owners.
  • Competitive prices for term life insurance in Canada.


  • If you answer "yes" to any medical questions in RBC's online portal, you'll need to continue your application over the phone.
  • InsurEye reviews mention difficulty getting in touch with agents to cancel a policy or to process a claim.
  • If you're a smoker, you'll be rated even higher than if you applied elsewhere.

» Read full RBC life insurance review

Second runner up for best term life insurance: Wawanesa

Company profile: Founded in 1896, Wawanesa is one of the oldest insurers in Canada. Headquartered in Manitoba, they are licensed in all provinces. Wawanesa has a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best.


  • Wawanesa has a large range of term lengths, from 10 to 30 years, and lifetime terms to age 80 and 100. Wawanesa is one of very few providers who sells T80.
  • Their Lifetime Term to Age 80 plan has premiums that stay the same (level) to age 80, with renewal possible to age 100.
  • No fluids required for ages 18 to 45, up to $1,000,000 in coverage. No fluids required for ages 18 to 50 and up to $499,999 in coverage.


  • It may be challenging for individuals with pre-existing health conditions to get approved at their lower prices.
  • A T80 or 100 plan will likely cost you hundreds, not dozens of dollars per month. Also, you probably either want a term plan that ends at retirement, or a permanent policy, not a T80.
  • If you're going through an independent advisor (broker), many don't carry Wawanesa.

» Read the full Wawanesa life insurance review

Best life insurance provider for estate planning

Permanent life insurance (such as whole and universal) is ideal for estate planning because heirs receive a tax-free inheritance, which can be crucial for covering estate taxes and settling an individual's affairs, especially for high-net-worth individuals.

Best for universal life insurance: BMO

Company profile:  BMO is a multinational investment bank founded in Montreal, Quebec, operating in Toronto. In 2022, BMO announced it was working to close a $16.3B USD deal to buy California's Bank of the West.


  • BMO's Life Dimensions universal life insurance product has over 400 mutual fund-linked investment options from leading money managers.
  • BMO's LifeProvider universal life insurance product is easier to manage, but you may want a whole life policy in that case. Compare prices and features with their whole life products.
  • Exclusive joint-last-to-die feature called the Special Death Benefit that pays on the first death, too. Add it to your universal or whole life policy.
  • Whole and universal life coverage available up to $20M, which is more than average.


  • Folks aged 16 to 50 can get coverage up to $2M with no medical exam, but they must do a tele-interview.
  • You can only apply over the phone. BMO says it can take as little as 15 minutes.
  • No special perks with their term product and their prices aren't very competitive, at least for the ages and term lengths we checked.

» Read the full BMO life insurance review

Best participating life insurance: Canada Life

Company profile: Canada Life is Canada's second largest insurer with a financial strength rating of A+ and $220B in assets. Canada Life was founded in 1846 and is headquartered in Toronto. Great-West Life acquired Canada Life in 2003.


  • Large range of term lengths: five to 50 years, though you likely don't want more than 20 year terms except in specific cases.
  • They offer term and permanent life insurance specifically for business owners.
  • Largest open participating (par) fund in Canada, at over $50B as of 2023. Business owners may want to withdraw from accumulated cash value on a policy.
  • Canada Life My Term™ renews at the end of your term on a yearly basis, at a lower initial rate than other term products in Canada.


  • Dividend scale for participating whole life is not currently the highest in Canada at 5 percent (as of 2023). Sun Life is at 6.25 per cent.
  • Phone wait times and claim processing times are the subject of most complaints on Insureye about all Canada Life products.
  • Must get your quote and apply through an advisor.
  • It can take six to 10 weeks for applications to be approved.

» Read the full Canada Life insurance review

Best for permanent life insurance: Manulife

Company profile: Founded in 1887, Manulife is one of the biggest life insurance companies in Canada, with $200B in assets. Manulife made $31.6 billion in customer payments between 2020 and 2021. The company has an A+ financial strength rating from S&P as of 2022.


  • One of the most experienced insurers in terms of participating whole life insurance.
  • Two whole life insurance options: Manulife Par aand Performax Gold®. Two universal life options.
  • Single life or joint last-to-die (couples) coverage options.
  • Applications can be fast-tracked if no risks, like pre-existing conditions, are flagged. Otherwise, you're looking at possibly six weeks and up for a decision.
  • Manulife Vitality is a lifestyle program that can give you five to 10 per cent off your premiums for making healthy choices.
  • Synergy is a unique policy that combines life, critical illness and disability insurance.


  • Customers complain on Insureye about the processing time for claims; some customers have to wait before receiving a payout.
  • Some customers have flagged that it's hard to get a hold of customer service and that when you do, you can be transferred many times.
  • Synergy product isn't very flexible and only offers coverage up to $500,000. You can't buy it from Manulife directly, only via a broker.

» Read the full Manulife life insurance review

Best whole life insurance for cash value: Sun Life

Company profile: Sun Life is a financial services company, founded 150 years ago. They are the third largest insurer in Canada and are known for its individual insurance products and group benefits. They have a financial strength rating of A+.


  • Sun Life has very experienced advisors, some with 30+ years of experience.
  • Three participating life insurance products that allow you to grow cash value and dividends.
  • Highest dividend scale in Canada at 6.25 per cent (for participating life insurance).
  • Single and joint participating policies are available.
  • Variety of investment funds to choose from for universal life insurance, including their own, so you can find the best-performing fund with the lowest fees.


  • Their premiums tend to be more expensive than their competitors.
  • Their funds are expensive, and their investment options are limited based on their available funds. ETFs tend to be their most cost-effective option.
  • Check their MERs (management fees) against other providers.

» Read the full Sun Life life insurance review

Best for simplified and guaranteed life insurance: UV Insurance

Company profile: UV Insurance has been in business for over 130 years. It's based out of Drummondville, Quebec. UV offers both individual and group life insurance. It is a mutual insurance company (like Foresters) which means that it is owned by its policyholders, kind of like a co-operative.


  • $15 multi-contract discount, plus refunds of up to $100 when a family member buys another UV insurance contract within 12 months.
  • No blood samples or health exam needed for up to $500,000 in term life and $150,000 in permanent life insurance coverage.
  • Their Whole Life High Values policy lets you access the policy's cash value after 10 years, but only if you're 65 or older. Otherwise you have to wait 20 years. The prices look competitive, but do your own research too.


  • Only available in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.
  • Prices for their simplified whole life pay policies appear to come out behind CPP, IA Financial and Beneva.

» Read the full UV life insurance review

Best life insurance policy for business owners and the self-employed

Business owners should have life insurance to safeguard their businesses and provide financial protection for their families in case of unexpected events. Life insurance can cover key persons within the company whose expertise is vital for its operations, making sure the business can continue on if they were to pass away. The self-employed may especially need life insurance since they won't have access to group benefits.

Best life insurance for the self-employed: Blue Cross life insurance

Company profile: Blue Cross Canada is a leading provider of health and travel insurance services in Canada. They also provide group benefits and life insurance.


  • Blue Cross specializes in health insurance so if that's what you need, you may want to get your life insurance there too.
  • Tangible hybrid protection product merges two products: the choice between life, disability, critical illness or loss of autonomy coverage and a lump sum payment if you become physically disabled.
  • Get up to $1M in coverage, plus the plan converts to a permanent one at age 56.
  • Self-employed Canadians can add a life insurance rider to another plan, such as health insurance, or add riders like health, dental and disability to your life insurance policy.


  • The only term lengths available are 10, 20 or 25 years.
  • Whole life insurance coverage only available up to $500,000 for ages 18 to 70.
  • Blue Cross doesn't specialize in life insurance, so their options are limited.
  • No standalone critical illness insurance, it must be added as a rider to your life insurance policy.

» Read the full Blue Cross life insurance review

Best for joint policies for business owners: Ivari

Company profile:  Ivari is a life insurance company headquartered in Toronto. It serves about 700,000 policyholders, according to Advisor’s Edge. It was acquired by Barbados-based Sagicor Financial Company in 2022, causing AM Best to downgrade its Financial Strength rating from A+ (Superior) to A (Excellent).


  • Option to add up to five people on one joint policy, with first-to-die and last-to-die options.
  • Their business insurance covers multiple people and includes a severance option and flexibility to change the plan as your business does.
  • Term30 plan lets you decrease your coverage and stop paying premiums around year 15 to 20 of your policy.


  • Can only choose a 10, 20 or 30-year term (nothing in between).
  • Cannot get a quote or apply online, must contact an advisor via phone.
  • Ivari’s only permanent offering is universal life insurance.
  • Does not accept credit cards for premium payments.

Best life insurance company for seniors

Seniors may need life insurance to help cover funeral expenses, medical bills and outstanding debts, ensuring that these financial burdens don't fall on their loved ones. It can also serve as a way to leave a legacy or provide an inheritance for their children and grandchildren. Additionally, some seniors may use life insurance to offset estate taxes or to supplement retirement income, especially if they have a policy with cash value that can be accessed during their lifetime. Find more reviews of Life Insurance companies for Seniors in Canada here.

Best life insurance for seniors and no medical: Canada Protection Plan

Company profile: Canada Protection Plan (CPP) is a leading provider of no medical and simplified issue life insurance. In 2020, CPP merged with Foresters. CPP is an accredited Better Business Bureau member with an A+ rating. CPP says their claims paid rate is 98%.


  • CPP’s simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance products don't need a medical exam to qualify.
  • CPP’s simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance products don't need a medical exam to qualify.
  • Express Elite Term product lets select Canadians get up to $500,000 in coverage with no medical exams, all within a few days.
  • Known for fast processing times, with some applicants receiving approval within 24 hours.


  • CPP’s policies for those with health risks are much more expensive than traditional term life insurance.
  • Coverage is offered up until age 80, which is lower than some competitors that go up to age 85.
  • Some plans are deferred by two years, meaning no death benefit if you pass away within that period.

» Read full Canada Protection Plan life insurance review

Best life insurance policy for those with health issues

Those with health issues often find it challenging to get life insurance due to the increased risk they pose to insurance companies. As a result, insurance companies may either deny coverage or offer policies at significantly higher premiums to compensate.

Runner-up for no medical coverage: Assumption Life Insurance

Company profile: Assumption Life is a Canadian insurance and asset management company. In 2021, credit rating agency A.M. Best gave Assumption Life an A- (excellent) rating for the 22nd consecutive year.


  • Competitive pricing for no medical life insurance.
  • Policies with no medical exam or blood tests.
  • FlexTerm lets you get up to $999,999 in coverage without a medical exam (up to age 45).
  • Term, permanent and participating no medical policies.
  • Holders of study permits and work permits can qualify.
  • Optional riders like critical illness and long-term disability.


  • Can get a quote and apply online but only via an agent, not on Assumption's website.
  • Term renewals are in 20-year increments instead of yearly or 5-year premium increases.
  • No medical options are pricier than a traditional life insurance policy.
  • Limited options to convert to permanent policies.

» Read the full Assumption Life life insurance review

Best life insurance for cancer survivors: CIBC

Company profile: The Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada (CIBC) is a bank founded in the 1960s in Toronto. CIBC has a strong business profile according to the rating agency Fitch Ratings. CIBC is the fifth largest bank in Canada by loans, deposits and market capitalization.


  • CIBC offers guaranteed acceptance life insurance, term life insurance and critical illness insurance, making it a good option for cancer survivors.
  • Option to get 50 per cent of your coverage amount up to $250,000 if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live.
  • Add spousal coverage to Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance up to $25,000.


  • Only 10 and 20 year terms are available for their term product; usually you can get up to 30 years.
  • Guaranteed acceptance life insurance is very expensive. Apply for a no medical policy first at a company like Canada Protection Plan (CPP).
  • Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance offers coverage up to $25,000, which is lower than CPP’s offering of $50,000.

Best life/disability insurance for the hard to insure: Humania

Company profile: Humania is a mutual insurance company based in Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec. They're one of the oldest Canadian life insurance companies. They seek to make insurance accessible through their web-based offerings.


  • Insurance Without Medical Exam includes life insurance, critical illness and disability insurance. Sign up for one policy, or five total.
  • Get covered even if you're not currently working.
  • Get $5,000 to $300,000 in no medical life insurance coverage for 10, 20 or 100 years.


  • Humania will not pay out a death benefit for a pre-existing condition for 12 to 24 months (depending on the policy purchased) after the policy is in force.
  • Limited options in terms of preferred pricing for healthier individuals.
  • Canada Protection Plan (CPP) has more no medical and simplified life insurance products. Check Humania's prices against CPP's.

» Read the full Humania life insurance review

Best life insurance provider for smokers

Insurance companies often categorize smokers as higher-risk individuals, leading to higher premiums. Some insurers might even decline coverage for heavy smokers or offer limited coverage options. Quitting smoking can lead to improved chances of securing more affordable life insurance rates over time. Find more reviews of Life Insurance companies for smokers in Canada here.

Best life insurance for smokers: Empire Life

Company profile: Empire Life is a Canadian life insurance company that was founded in the 1920s. They offer a range of financial products, including life, critical illness insurance and investment options. 

Empire Life customer review: "The service was fast and courteous; zero problems on my claims." – Customer on Google Reviews


  • Preferred smoker rates for those with above average health and a lower risk lifestyle, but only for those who buy over $1M in term coverage.
  • Marijuana use may be considered with non-smoker rates.
  • Get up to $10,000,000 in coverage, which is more than the average.


  • Must provide fluid tests to qualify for Preferred smoker status.
  • Reports say that their agents encourage people to buy permanent policies over term.
  • Premium rates are just mid-range when compared to other companies.

» Read the full Empire Life life insurance review

Runner-up for best life insurance for smokers: iA Financial

Company profile: Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of Canada's largest insurance and wealth management groups, with operations in the United States. It's based in Quebec City.


  • More lenient high and weight requirements. A 5'8" person at 270 pounds gets standard rates, whereas you'd have to pay a lot more with another provider.
  • iA tends to have the second best rates for smokers compared to other life insurance companies in Canada. Prices can flucutate.
  • Their Access Life term and permanent life insurance product doesn't require a medical exam, with coverage up to $500,000. This product might benefit a smoker with pre-existing conditions.
  • They have a good universal loan policy which can cover your mortgage or other loans if you become disabled. Buy your life insurance at iA or elsewhere, then get this product, too if you need it.


  • iA still says that life insurance costs are around 35 to 50 per cent higher for smokers than for non-smokers.
  • Can’t get your policy online.
  • Policies are not competitively priced if you are a non-smoking, relatively healthy applicant, compared to other providers.

» Read the full iA Financial life insurance review

Best life insurance company for children

We don't recommend buying life insurance for kids; read our post on life insurance for children for more information. That said, Desjardins, Empire and Wawanesa are the most affordable options in Canada.

Best whole life insurance for children: Desjardins

Company profile: Founded in Quebec in 1900, Desjardins is the largest federation of credit unions in North America. Desjardins is often listed as one of the world’s top 50 safest banks and financiers. 


  • Desjardins' Whole Life Guaranteed to 100 policy has a fixed lifetime premium and guaranteed cash surrender values available as of the fifth year.
  • A number of riders such as children’s accidental fracture and guaranteed insurability can be added on, for a fee.
  • Desjardins has a strong brick-and-mortar presence in Ontario and Quebec, in both cities and smaller towns.


  • Sun Life has a higher interest rate (DSIR) at 6.25 per cent on whole life plans compared to Desjardins' 5.75 per cent, but Sun Life's premiums start way higher.
  • A Children’s Life Protection policy that can be converted into a permanent plan, though coverage only goes up to $20,000.
  • Desjardins’ presence outside Ontario and Quebec is limited.

» Read the full Desjardins life insurance review

Best for wealth transfer to children: Equitable Life

Company profile: Founded in 1920, Equitable Life is one of Canada's largest mutual life insurance companies. A mutual company is owned by participating policyholders—meaning you become a shareholder, have voting rights and are eligible for dividends.


  • Equimax for Children can be paid off in 20 years.
  • Cash value built up from a Equimax plan can be withdrawn or borrowed against to fund a child's education.
  • Equimax for Children allows for additional deposits to maximize tax-advantaged growth.


  • Some InsurEye reviews complain of poor communication and misunderstandings with the company.
  • Must work with a broker to get Equitable life insurance. You can't buy directly or get a quote on their website.
  • Participating policies can cost more than non-participating whole life insurance, and there's more risk.

» Read the full Equitable Life review

Second runner-up for best life insurance for children: Foresters Financial

Company profile: Foresters Financial is a 150-year-old insurance company based in Toronto. They merged with CPP in 2020. Foresters is a fraternal benefit society, meaning you get benefits with your insurance policy. Their BBB rating is A+ (Excellent).


  • Built-in insurance for kids in their whole life product.
  • Term life prices are 10 per cent lower for coverage over $500,000 from May 1 to October 31, 2023.
  • Smokers can get lower rates for the first two years on whole life plans as part of their Quit Smoking Incentive Plan.
  • Lots of options for couples: joint policies and spousal term riders.
  • For those age 50+, pricing for whole life plans is fairly competitive.


  • No way to get a life insurance quote online.
  • Need to find an advisor before applying for one of their policies.
  • No option to get your policy delivered online.
  • Claims are only processed by mail-in.

» Read the full Foresters life insurance review

Best life insurance policy provider for short-term needs

If you're taking out a mortgage or a business loan that you expect to pay off in a few years, short-term life insurance can provide coverage during that loan period, ensuring that if something happens to you, the debt can be repaid. It can also be useful for covering specific life events like a child's education, a short-term business partnership, or to bridge the gap until a more comprehensive long-term life insurance policy is in place.

Best for short-term life insurance with low coverage: Co-operators

Company profile: Co-operators is a Canadian insurance and financial services cooperative that provide a wide range of insurance products, investment solutions and advisory services.


  • Get insured in minutes online with Term Life 1, their yearly renewable term life insurance. Best to cover short-term risks, like business loans.
  • Get up to $475,000 in coverage from Term Life 1, or as little as $50,000.
  • Versatile Term lets you convert to a variety of permanent plans including whole and universal life insurance.


  • Yearly renewable product only available to those 18 to 49 years old.
  • Their term ife insurance prices are not very competitive.

» Read the full Co-operators life insurance review

Runner-up for short-term life insurance: Cover Direct

Company profile: Cover Direct is a newer insurance provider that specializes in quick-issue and no medical life insurance, headquartered in Alberta. Cover Direct is underwritten by Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company.


  • No medical exams or blood tests are needed to get insured. You will have to answer a few health and lifestyle questions.
  • Get up to $1.5M in life insurance coverage, up to age 45 according to their sample policy.
  • Terminal illness coverage. If you’re diagnosed, you’ll get the payout upfront.


  • Their permanent life insurance premiums increase every year. A 35-year-old female non-smoker would pay about $17 per month for $500,000 in coverage. Rates would be about $89.45 per month by the time she is 55 years old.
  • Can’t get a quote or apply online; you must do it over the phone with an advisor.
  • Some Trustpilot reviews say the advisors are pushy.

» Read the full Cover Direct life insurance review

Best short-term life insurance: Emma

Company profile: Founded in Quebec City, QC in 2017, Emma Insurance provides life insurance geared toward young families. They're underwritten by Humania Assurance. In April 2022, Emma announced that they had secured $6M in financing.


  • 100% online quote and application process.
  • Prices start at $6 per month for yearly renewable life insurance.
  • Term life can be converted to a whole life policy until age 55 without a medical exam.


  • >$15,000 or $25,000 in child coverage is not free. There’s a fee to add it on.
  • 10- to 20-year fixed rate terms can come with higher than average monthly prices.
  • Premium amounts increase yearly, with no cap according to Emma's sample policy.
  • Only available in Ontario and Quebec.

» Read the full Emma life insurance review

Best for free terminal illness rider: American Income Life Insurance

Company profile: American Income Life is an American company that most Canadians may not be aware of. They have an A+ A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating, which is the highest rating.


  • Terminal Illness Rider comes with each policy at no cost.
  • Get 50 per cent of your death benefit if a qualified doctor says that you have 12 months or less to live.
  • Financially strong company; anecdotal evidence says they have no problem paying out claims.
  • They do have some unique (paid) add-ons, like an accidental living benefit that pays out while you're in hospital.
  • Their cash value whole life insurance is good value for the price.


  • Must do your application with an agent face to face, either over Zoom or in person. The agent may go over your policy quickly, and not fully explain everything you're paying for.
  • Agents may add on additional riders in your "package" that jack up the cost.
  • Their term life insurance is really expensive, which is why agents may try to sell you lower coverage amounts like $100,000.
  • Option to have death benefit payout in lummp sum or in monthly payments, but this can hinder the beneficiary from paying off big debts, like a mortgage, upfront.

» Read the full American Income life insurance review

Not recommended: Costco Life Insurance

Company profile: Costco life insurance is actually provided by Protective Life, a U.S. company that was founded in 1907 and who services 8.6 million contracts and policies. Protective Life has been supplying term life insurance to Costco members since 2014.


  • A- Better Business Bureau Rating.
  • Costco Gold Star or Business memberships get a discount on their premiums in the first five years.
  • Extra savings for Costco Executive Members.


  • Only 10 and 20 year terms available, which is pretty limited.
  • Member Advantage Life Term gives you a discount in the first five years, but prices increase in year six. They then stay the same for the rest of the term.
  • Lack of transparency online about how much the price increases in year six.
  • Must do a medical history phone interview.

» Read the full Costco life insurance review

Best life insurance for credit union members: CUMIS

Company profile: CUMIS (credit union members insurance society) is a leading insurance provider specializing in the credit union and cooperative sector. They've been in business for over 80 years and work with 230 credit unions and over five million members. CUMIS whole life policies are backed by Co-operators Life Insurance Company.


  • A variety of add-ons available including disability and critical illness insurance riders (for an extra fee).
  • Get up to $10 million in coverage.
  • A wide variety of life insurance products from term to whole to universal as well as children's coverage.
  • Preferred rates for eligible Canadians.


  • Only available through credit unions and cooperatives.
  • Not many life insurance products on offer, especially compared to larger insurers.
  • Term life insurance prices come in around the middle of the pack of its competitors.

» Read the full CUMIS life insurance review

Not recommended: National Bank of Canada

Company profile: National Bank of Canada is the sixth biggest commercial bank in Canada. It has in-person branches in most provinces in Canada and 2.4 million clients. It was founded in 1979 in Montreal.


  • Get 10 per cent of your death benefit if you're diagnosed with any of these critical illnesses: cancer, stroke or heart attack.
  • Your death benefit is doubled if the cause of death is accidental, which is a unique perk.
  • Coverage up to $750,000 means a simplified application process.


  • Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible.
  • Only 10 and 20 year terms are available.
  • Prices seem significantly higher than the average, sometimes double the lowest price.

Not recommended: Primerica Life Insurance Company of Canada

Company profile: Primerica Life Insurance Company of Canada provides financial services. It has been called a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. Overall, it insures 5.7 million people and pays an average of $5.3 million in benefit claims every day, according to its website.


  • A+ (Excellent) Financial Strength rating from A.M. Best
  • Their website claims that 91 per cent of claims are paid within 14 days.
  • Term life insurance up to 35 years, which is longer than the usual max of 30 years.
  • Terminal illness benefit and child rider available.


  • Their website offers few details about their term life insurance i.e. lack of transparency.
  • Primerica life insurance is sold through commmissioned contractors.
  • Contractors get recruited by other contractors and commission can reportedly be divided up to 11 tiers of recruitment.
  • You may find contractors are more interested in selling you Primerica products then getting you the right policy for your needs.
  • Not the most affordable term product in Canada.

» Read the full Primerica life insurance review

Best for Scotiabank customers: ScotiaLife

Company profile: The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) is the third-largest bank in Canada (by deposits and market capitalization). Scotia Insurance is Scotiabank's insurance arm. Their term life insurance is actually underwritten (risk assessed) and issued by Empire Life.


  • Get up to $10,000 in free accidental death insurance if you're a Scotiabank customer.
  • Apply online for Term 10 and 20 life insurance, with no medical exam with coverage up to $1 million.
  • Convert to permanent life insurance up to age 75.
  • Highest dividend scale in Canada at 6.25 per cent (for participating life insurance).
  • Get as little as $10,000 in coverage, or as much as $10 million.
  • Term life insurance rates are very competitive.


  • The free accidental death insurance is $5,000 per spouse, and you must be a Canadian resident.
  • Must speak to an advisor to get Scotia Term 10, 15, 20, 25 of 30, with coverage up to $10 million.
  • Must be a Scotiabank customer to buy their life insurance.

» Read the full Scotiabank life insurance review

Key takeaways: best life insurance in Canada

  • The best life insurance in Canada is from Beneva, Desjardins, Empire Life, PolicyMe and RBC for term life insurance.
  • The best life insurance in Canada for permanent policies is from BMO, Canada Life, Manulife and Sun Life.
  • Picking the right company and policy can be tricky. That's why our life insurance reviews tell you what company is best for your situation, whether you're a parent, business owner, have health issues, are a senior etc.

How much life insurance do I need?

The Government of Canada recommends getting seven to 10 times your income in life insurance coverage.

This number is a starting place; it may leave you overinsured or underinsured. Your specific needs should consider your financial obligations, future expenses and existing resources.

To determine the right coverage amount for you:

  1. Use an online life insurance calculator that will add up your current and future expenses, plus account for inflation.
  2. Contact a licensed financial professional like an insurance broker, financial planner or PolicyMe's non-commissioned advisors.

How much does life insurance cost?

To get an idea of how much life insurance costs, here are some sample rates for a 40-year-old non-smoker for a 20-year term policy with coverage of $500,000.

  • $39.40 per month for a woman
  • $51.78 per month for a man 

And take note: the cost of life insurance is set by the provider. Remember that every insurance provider calculates premiums differently.

Factors affecting your premium include the insurer's expenses and past claims experience, your age, coverage amount, policy type, and medical history. How do these life insurance policies cost? Here's a look at the numbers for term life insurance. Take note that whole life insurance usually costs five to 10 times more.

How much does term life insurance cost in Canada?

graphic that compares term life insurance prices between the best life insurance companies in canada: policyme, rbc, bmo, sun life and canada life.

Which life insurance company should I choose?

The life insurance market in Canada is crowded, with a mix of established insurers and online "insurtech" companies that either sell their own policies, like PolicyMe, or act as a broker, like PolicyAdvisor or RateHub.

And here's the order of operations for comparing life insurance options:

  1. Consider what type of life insurance you need: term, permanent, etc.
  2. Find life insurance providers that specialize in the policy you need. This blog is a good place to start!
  3. Is there anything else you need: a joint life insurance policy, child coverage, bundling with disability/critical illness insurance?
  4. Read customer reviews for these life insurance companies on Google, Trustpilot, InsurEye, etc.
  5. Check insurance company ratings in Canada: the Better Business Bureau is a good place to start.
  6. Get life insurance quotes from these companies from their websites or through a licensed financial professional
  7. Select the policy that works for you in terms of both price and features.

FAQ: Best Life insurance in Canada

Who benefits from life insurance?

Life insurance is a safety net for your loved ones, offering financial protection and peace of mind. This is why getting coverage is a smart move for many Canadians.

Here's who likely needs life insurance:

  • Parents
  • Spouses and partners
  • Breadwinners

  • Homeowners
  • Business owners
  • Anyone with dependents

On the other hand, here's a look at who probably doesn't need life insurance: retirees, individuals with ample savings and young, single individuals.

The bottom line? It's essential to consider your unique situation. Talking to a financial advisor can help you decide what's best for you.

Who is the number one life insurance company in Canada?

Manulife could be considered the number one life insurance company in Canada, as it's the largest life insurance company in Canada. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Manulife operates in Asia and Europe, as well as in Canada and the United States. The company was established in 1887 and brings in more than $60B in revenue.

How does life insurance work in Canada?

Life insurance is designed for those with financial dependents, like young kids or a partner, though some use it as an investment vehicle or for estate planning.

In a nutshell, life insurance is an agreement with an insurer. Here's how it works:

  1. You pay a monthly or yearly fee for coverage.
  2. If you pass while the policy is active, the insurer pays a tax-free lump sum (death benefit) to your beneficiaries.
  3. This money helps them cover things like bills and secure their financial future.

The death benefit can be used to do things like replace income, pay for childcare, cover funeral expenses and take care of outstanding debts, explains the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Where is the best place to buy life insurance in Canada?

You can buy life insurance in Canada through a licensed broker (online or not) or directly through an insurance company or through an online life insurance solution. Good to know: whether you go with a broker or you go direct, you'll get the same rates.

You can reach out to the bank for a quote, but do your research online, compare insurance company ratings on Better Business Bureau and compare prices. You should also be aware that brokers work on commission and may try to upsell you or push you to sign your policy.

With PolicyMe, you can purchase online directly or speak to our non-commissioned advisors.

Based in Toronto, we provide life insurance in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and 8 other Canadian provinces and territories including Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We'll be operating in Newfoundland by mid-2023.

What is the best type of life insurance for me?

Here's how to decide what type of life insurance is best for you:

  • Benefits of term life insurance: you need coverage for a temporary period (ex: while paying off debt, while the kids are young), so you never pay for something that you don't need.
  • Benefits of whole life insurance: you have a high net worth and are looking for some of the tax-deferred benefits of a life insurance payout.
  • Benefits of universal life insurance: you're within a high tax bracket and have maxed out your TFSA and RRSP investments. And you want to decide where the investment portion of your premiums go.
  • Benefits of no medical life insurance: you've been denied by a traditional life insurance provider and must use this policy as a plan B, as a traditional policy is often more affordable.

Term is recommended as the best type of life insurance for most Canadians because it covers you for the years you need it the most.

Here are more reviews of Canadian life insurance companies:

Next steps: ready to start looking for life insurance?

Need more pointers on what the best life insurance policy is for you? The Canadian government has a great guide for finding reputable agent or broker. Just be aware that they work on commission and may try to upsell you.

PolicyMe has friendly non-commissioned advisors are ready to chat about your insurance needs; our many 5-star Google ratings sing their praises. Get genuine advice, without pushy sales tactics. We'll even tell you if you don't need life insurance at all!

At PolicyMe, we are dedicated to providing unbiased ratings and information to our readers. We don't earn commission from the life insurance companies we review, nor are we compensated in any way. To understand our evaluation process, please refer to our methodology for the ratings below, as well as our editorial guidelines. While we strive for accuracy, the dynamic nature of the life insurance industry may mean there are changes to policies, companies, or otherwise that are not yet reflected in this post.


Assumption Life reports best results ever. Insurance Portal. https://insurance-portal.ca/life/assumption-life-reports-best-results-ever/

Canadian Health and Life Insurance Facts. CHLIA-ACCAP. clhia.uberflip.com/i/1478447-canadian-life-and-health-insurance-facts-2022-edition

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Fitch Ratings. https://www.fitchratings.com/research/banks/

Celebrating the Reader’s Digest 2023 Trusted Brand™ Winners as Voted by Canadians! Readers Digest. https://www.readersdigest.ca/trusted-brands/trusted-brand-winners/

Foresters, Canada Protection Plan amalgamate. Investment Executive. https://www.investmentexecutive.com/news

Harriss, S. (n.d.). 82-year-old great-grandmother takes on BMO for suspect life insurance advice. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/ella-beck-bmo-life-insurance-1.4532351

Life Insurance. Financial Consumer Agency. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/insurance/life.html

Nova Scotia widow blasts bank for denied life insurance claim. CTV News. https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/nova-scotia-widow-blasts-bank-for-denied-life-insurance-claim-1.5816170

Revealed – Canada's 10 largest life insurance providers. Insurance Business. https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news

Sagicor buys insurer Ivari for $325 million. Advisor's Edge. https://www.advisor.ca/insurance/life/sagicor-buys-insurer-ivari-for-325-million/

S. O. Canadian insurance company denies death claim, says form was inaccurate. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/9088188/ivari-insurance-company-denies-death-claim/

Sun Life Financial. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/companies/sun-life-financial/

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder
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