Best Term Life Insurance in Canada: Top Companies and Policies (2022)

Key takeways

  • Term life insurance is the best choice for most Canadians, especially those with minor children or large debts, like a mortgage.
  • The best term life insurance companies in Canada are Bank of Montreal, Canada Life, PolicyMe, Sun Life and Wawanesa in terms of the range of term lengths and coverage options they provide, affordability, customer service and features.

Best term life insurance companies in Canada

The best term life insurance providers in Canada are BMO Insurance, Canada Life, PolicyMe, Sun Life and Wawanesa Life.

To create this list, we looked at each company’s rates, approval times, application process, customer reviews and quality of customer service vis-a-vis their term life insurance options.

Each company has advantages and weaknesses, so consider them carefully against your life insurance needs.

The insurer that worked for your friend or family member won’t necessarily be the best choice for you.

1. PolicyMe: most affordable term life insurance in Canada

Company bio: PolicyMe is an online insurance solution based in Toronto, Ontario. It was founded in 2018 and in early 2021, PolicyMe launched its own digital life insurance and critical illness product with Canadian Premier's backing and announced $18M in funding in 2022. PolicyMe now has $5B in coverage in force in Canada.

Rates

  • Starts at $23.44 per month for a 35-year-old woman
  • Starts at $31.29 per month for a 35-year-old man

Pros

  • Couples who apply together get a 10% discount in their first year
  • Every policy has free child coverage ($10,000 per child)
  • Get from $100,000 to $5M in coverage
  • Applying online takes 20 minutes or less; get an instant decision
  • Policies are extra-secure, backed by Canadian Premier and a global reinsurance company
  • Fully-underwritten term life insurance, so you can get a better rate
  • Licensed Canadian advisors are available seven days a week via phone or email
  • Advisors don't get commission, so you don't have to worry about pressure or upselling
  • You can extend or upgrade your policy within the first five years
  • Option to add critical illness insurance at the same time

Cons

  • Online only, no brick-and-mortar locations
  • Policies are not renewable
  • No option to convert to a permanent policy
  • No rider options, except for free child coverage
  • Not available in Quebec, New Brunswick or Newfoundland

Customer review

“The process was quick, support was top notch and the price was competitive.” – Verified customer on Reviews.io.

2. BMO Insurance: best traditional term life insurance

Company bio: The Bank of Montreal (BMO) is a multinational investment bank that now operates in Toronto. It's the oldest bank in Canada. BMO has standard term life insurance options: 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 year terms, from $100,000 to $5M in coverage.

Rates

  • Term life insurance starts at $26.10 per month for a woman, on average
  • $33.30 per month for a man, on average

Pros

  • Best for those looking to buy life insurance from the oldest bank in Canada
  • Financial strength rating: A
  • Option to convert your term policy to whole life insurance (no medical exam needed)
  • Getting a quote from them online is easy; but these rates are just estimates
  • Coverage can be renewed at the end of the term

Cons

  • 25 and 30 year term options can't be renewed
  • More medical requirements if you want to buy without an in-person meeting
  • Application is more pen-and-paper than online
  • BMO policies must be purchased through a commissioned advisor with the bank
  • Customers have reported issues with cancellations

Customer review

"Culture of foot-dragging when you want to cancel [...]" – Customer on Insureye.

Read the full BMO Life Insurance review here.

3. Canada Life: best term life insurance for term length options

Company bio: Canada Life is the second largest insurer in Canada. It has a financial strength rating of A+ and $220 million in assets. Canada Life offers a range of term life insurance plans and offers a wide variety of term lengths: from five to 50 years.

Rates

  • $29.25 per month for a 35-year-old woman, on average
  • $36.45 per month for a 35-year-old man, on average

Pros

  • Choose any number of years between 5 to 50 for your term length
  • Your premium is the same for your entire term length
  • Option to renew a term policy
  • Option to convert a term policy into a permanent policy
  • Multiple rider options for both single and joint policies, like child coverage
  • Advisors can meet virtually and by phone

Cons

  • Automatic renewal after initial term, with gradual price increases
  • Phone wait times and claim processing times, according to Insureye reviews (for all Canada Life products)
  • You must get your quote through an advisor
  • You have to search online through a list of advisors in your area to get a quote, there is no one central number to contact
  • The approval process is long, up to 6 to 10 weeks
  • High average premium costs compared to other Canadian life insurance companies

Customer review

"It's been a month since putting in an application. Haven't heard from anyone." – Customer on Insureye

Read full review of Canada Life insurance here.

4. Wawanesa Life: best life insurance for longer term lengths

Company bio: Wawanesa was founded in 1896 but they only started offering life insurance recently. Credit rating agency, AM Best, awarded Wawanesa a rating of A (Excellent) for the financial strength of their Life/Health subsidiary.

Rates

  • Costs around $28.80 per month for a woman
  • And $36.66 per month for a man

Pros

  • You can be insured up to age 100.
  • Offer term lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and to age 80.
  • Term to age 80 means your premiums are the same until that age, then renewable to age 100.
  • Term policies can be renewed.
  • Can be converted to a permanent policy before age 70.
  • Known for some competitive rates, mainly for healthier individuals
  • Optional riders, like a disability waiver (additional fees apply)
  • They offer healthy lifestyle rewards (i.e., lower premiums for healthy lifestyle choices)
  • Flexible payment options. For example, you can pay premiums via credit card and you can pay an annual premium instead of monthly

Cons

  • Can be difficult for individuals with pre-existing health conditions to get approved at these prices
  • Approval rates aren't as high as other companies, but only by a small margin
  • Must fill out a manual application, no online application
  • Child protection rider is $6 per $1,000 of rider insurance, when you can get it free with providers like PolicyMe
  • Many independent advisors (brokers) don't carry Wawanesa (Reddit)
  • There are no medical term policies but they're more expensive and have lower coverage options.

Customer review 

“We had a fine experience with them, but it was a small policy. When we decided to take out a bigger policy we went with a company that offered a better package.”  – Customer on Insureye.

5. Sun Life: best for term life policy options

Company bio: Sun Life is the third largest insurer in Canada. Sun Life has four distinct term life products for sale. This can be a good choice for someone who is unsure about their options and wants a package deal. For example, Sun life Go Term Life Insurance offers $100,000 to $1M in coverage for 10 or 20 years.

Rates

  • $23 to $33 per month on average for a woman
  • $29 to $41 per month on average for a man

Pros

  • Instant temporary coverage when you apply, up to 90 days.
  • Monthly premiums stay the same throughout your term
  • You can get a quote and apply online for their Go Simplified and Go Term products
  • Get up to $25M in coverage with SunSpectrum Term Life Insurance, the most we've seen in Canada
  • SunSpectrum and SunTerm give you the option to convert your term policy to a permanent policy, up until age 75.
  • Must talk to an advisor to get a quote and apply for the two above term policies
  • Term life policies are convertible up until age 75, most companies set the limit at age 70

Cons

  • Their no medical plan, Go Simplified, only offers a 10 year term and coverage of $50,000 to $100,000
  • Their simplest plans have limited term length options and coverage amounts
  • Many optional riders to choose from, but they cost more
  • Based on customer reviews, they have poor customer service
  • Not necessarily the best prices for what you get, especially compared to other providers

Customer review 

“Waiting 5 months on a claim decision.” – Customer on Insureye.

Next steps

  1. Decide how much coverage you need to replace your income and for how long. Use our life insurance calculator if you're not sure. Our calculator will even tell you if you don't need term life insurance at all!
  2. Decide if you value optional riders or conversion to a permanent policy.
  3. Shop around for the best rate. Then check whether these policies have the term lengths, coverage amounts and optional features you want.
  4. You can get quotes online, or find a licensed broker. Caveat: brokers are commissioned.
  5. Apply and get a decision. If you're denied, you may want to look at no medical options.
  6. Read your policy closely before signing.
  7. Sign your policy and add your payment information.

Not sure what a rider is? CLHIA defines it as something you add to your insurance policy that changes your policy’s coverage or benefits.

When we asked about riders, our former certified life insurance advisor, Tobin Tuff said:

“The bang is typically not worth the buck. For example, a disability rider makes your policy free while disabled. However, to be considered disabled means you can’t do any job on earth. There’s also a very low chance you’ll ever claim it. So why pay extra every single month for it?”

FAQ: top term life insurance companies in Canada

What are the top 5 term life insurance companies in Canada?

The top five term life insurance companies in Canada are PolicyMe, BMO Insurance, Canada Life, Sun Life and Wawanesa Life. 

We identified these companies based on policy options, premium prices, customer reviews and more. Note that each insurer has different pros and cons so do your research before settling on one.

What are the best term life insurance rates in Canada?

PolicyMe has one of the best term life insurance rates in Canada. For example, PolicyMe term life insurance costs a 35-year-old woman around $23.44 per month and $31.29 per month for a 35- year-old man.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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