DRAFT: 20 Best Life Insurance Companies for Canadians (2023)

Peer reviewed by Erik Heidebrecht, Certified Life Insurance Advisor

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In This Article

Key Takeaways:

  • The best life insurance in Canada is provided by Desjardins, Empire Life, PolicyMe, Foresters and RBC if you’re looking for the most affordable life insurance.
  • 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 RateHub.
  • Choosing the right policy can be confusing. That's why our life insurance reviews categorize each company as “best for” a specific need or type of life insurance.

The best life insurance companies in Canada

  • BMO – Best for Stability
  • Canada Life – Best for Customization
  • Desjardins – Best for Children
  • Empire Life – Best for Smokers
  • Foresters – Best for Diabetics
  • Humania – Best for Pre-existing Conditions
  • Manulife – Best for Permanent Life Insurance
  • PolicyMe – Best for Parents/Couples
  • Sun Life – Best for Whole Life Insurance with Cash Value


How much are these life insurance policies going to cost you? Our chart below runs the numbers on term life insurance. Whole life insurance tends to cost five to 10 times more.

Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of February 2023. Terms and conditions may apply.

Keep reading to get full reviews of Canada’s best life insurance companies for 2023.

Assumption Life Insurance: runner up for no-medical life insurance

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


  • $26.10 per month or $290.00 per year for 35 year-old woman.
  • $34.65 per month or $385.00 per year for a 35 year-old man.


Competitive pricing for no medical life insurance.

Policies with no medical exam, no blood tests or no medical questions at all.

FlexTerm lets you get up to $999,999 in coverage without a medical exam (up to age 45).

Term, permanent and participating no medical life insurance policies.

Term and whole life policies for kids.

Optional riders such as critical illness and long-term disability.


Can’t get a quote or apply online. You must go through an agent.

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 term to permanent policies.

BMO Insurance: best life insurance for stability

Company profile: The Bank of Montreal (BMO) is a multinational investment bank founded in Montreal, Quebec, but now operates in Toronto. Their products are focused on a range of personal banking services. In 2022, BMO announced it was working to close a UD$16.3-billion dollar deal to buy California's Bank of the West.


  • $22.95 per month or $245.00 per year for a woman.
  • $31.32 per month or $348.00 per year for a man. 


Term life product will cover you for 10 to 30 years, from $100,000 to $5M.

Easy to get a quote online for their term and T100 products.

Term policies are renewable, as well as convertible to permanent policies.

Optional riders including critical illness insurance and waiver of premium.

Whole and universal life coverage available up to $20M.


A medical exam is required for all applicants for their term life insurance plan.

You can only apply over the phone, not online. BMO says it can take as little as 15 minutes.

Customer Experiences:

In 2018, an 82-year-old woman was allegedly told by BMO that if she cancelled her policy she'd get nothing. A CBC investigation found that she should actually get some cash back.

The woman had already paid $3,780 into her $3,200 policy, $580 over its value. The plan required she make payments until she turned 95, even though the death benefit would stay at $3,200. Which is why she wanted to cancel!

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

» Read the full BMO Life Insurance review here.

Canada Life Insurance: best customizable life insurance

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


  • $25.17 per month or $279.72 per year for a woman.
  • $33.27 per month or $369.63 per year for a man.


Large range of term lengths: five to 50 years.

Price is set for the entire duration of your term.

Term and permanent life insurance specifically for business owners.

Multiple rider options for both single and joint policies.

Optional riders include Child Coverage, Business Protection, and Accidental Death (additional fees will apply).

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.

Option to convert your term policy into a permanent one.

One Insureye review says their life insurance claim was paid within the month.


Phone wait times and claim processing times are the subject of most complaints on Insureye (about all Canada Life products).

$100,000 minimum in coverage.

Online life insurance quotes are not available.

Must get your quote and apply through an advisor.

It can take up to 6 to 10 weeks for applications to be approved.

Customer Experiences:

"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.

Canada Protection Plan: best life insurance for seniors

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


  • $80.37 per month or $893.00 per year for a woman.*
  • $115.11 per month or $1,279.00 per year for a man.*

*For a 55 year old, 20-year-term policy, $200,000 in coverage


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.

If you are unable to purchase “regular” term insurance, a simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance policy could be an excellent way to get some life insurance coverage and a small death benefit for your family.

Known for fast processing times, with some applicants receiving approval within 24 hours.

Option to get a no-obligation quote online or by phone, which makes it easier for you to compare rates.


CPP’s policies for those with health risks are much more expensive than traditional term life insurance.

There is usually a cap on the amount of coverage you can get, especially if you go with a guaranteed issue plan.

For most of their life insurance products, you will need to complete a medical questionnaire of about 20 questions. This is standard in the industry, though.

Coverage is offered up until age 80, which is lower than some competitors that go up to age 85.

Customer Review:

"Thank you [CPP] for helping my client that couldn't get approved with a regular plan because of heart problems." – Broker on Google Reviews.

» Read full Canada Protection Plan Insurance review

CIBC Life Insurance: best life insurance for cancer survivors

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


  • $38.99 per month or $467.83 per year for a woman.
  • $47.65 per month or $571.78 per year for a man.


CIBC offers guaranteed acceptance life insurance, term life insurance and critical illness insurance.

Option to convert a 10-year term to 20 years up to age 75, convertible to Term-100 until age 65.

Get a quote and apply online, see your approval status instantly.

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.

Premiums don’t change during each term length. A renewed term may have higher premiums, but those premiums will remain the same for the entire term.

Add spousal coverage to their Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance product, 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).

They lack variety in the term lengths available, applicants can only choose from 10 or 20 years.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance offers coverage up to $25,000, which is lower than CPP’s offering of $50,000.

To qualify for their guaranteed product, you must be a Canadian resident aged 40 to 74.

No details online regarding add-ons such as riders, child coverage, spousal coverage etc.

Cover Direct Life Insurance: runner up for short-term life insurance

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


  • Premiums start at $9.28 per month.


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.

Worldwide coverage provided, so you’re covered wherever you are.

Optional children's coverage ($30,000) and critical illness insurance for a fee.


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.

You can only get up to $300,000 in coverage if you’re 61 to 65 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.

Other reviewers say that the pricing is hard to understand or more expensive than what they've seen with other insurers.

Can only buy coverage through them, not through brokers or agents.

Customer Experiences:

"There where nice to talk to but always trying to start higher, even though only want to for small premium package, other then that every good service!"

Desjardins: best whole life insurance for children

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


  • $67.14 per month or $746.00 per year for a five-year old child.
  • $122.50 per month or $1,470.00 per year for a woman.*
  • $147.78 per month or $1,642.00 per year for a man.*‍

*Parameters: 35 year-old, Whole Life Guaranteed to 100 policy, for $200,000 coverage.


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.

One-stop-shop for coverage. Add on critical illness insurance, disability insurance or long-term care coverage. Get multi-policy discounts, too.

One-stop-shop for coverage. Add on critical illness insurance, disability insurance and permanent life insurance and get multi-policy discounts.

“Premium holiday” if you become disabled.


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.

Their term lengths are only 10, 20 or 30 years and you can only buy up to age 65.

No option to get a quote or apply online, you must speak to an advisor on the phone.

Emma Life Insurance: best short-term life insurance

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


  • $13.95 per month or $167.40 per year for a woman.*
  • $17.91 per month or $214.90 per year for a man.*

*Prices based on monthly and yearly quotes. Your premiums will go up yearly.


100% online quote and application process.

Prices start at $6 per month for yearly renewable life insurance.

Broker for whole life insurance products; they sell other companies’ policies.

Term life can be converted to a whole life policy until age 55 without a medical exam.

Term life can be renewed until age 65.

No medical exams. May make qualifying or getting a lower rate difficult.


You must create an online account to get a quote.

You can't get a quick quote online, you need to answer multiple questions about your lifestyle and health before you get a price.

$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 may increase, with no cap to this increase according to Emma's sample policy.

Only available in Ontario and Quebec.

Maximum coverage amount of $1,000,000 for term life insurance.

Permanent coverage only available up to $100,000.

Customer review

"Premiums changing every year until age 65 but without any estimate on how much it will cost you down the road... too risky for me!" – Customer on Google Reviews.

Empire Life Insurance: best life insurance for smokers

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 insurance, critical illness insurance and investment options. 


  • $59.40 per month or $660.00 per year for a woman.*
  • $80.55 per month or $895.00 per year for a man*

*Parameters: smoking, 35 year-old, 20-year term, $500,000 in coverage.


Preferred smoker rates for those with above average health and a lower risk lifestyle.

Preferred smokers rates are only for those who purchase over $1M in coverage, for term products.

Health and lifestyle is evaluated based on blood pressure, cholesterol, family health history, driving record and more.

Marijuana use may be considered with non-smoker rates.

Get up to $10,000,000 in coverage, which is more than the average.

The approval times are quicker-than-average for the life insurance industry.

Many riders to choose from, including child riders and accidental death.

Overall individual life claims-paying rate for 2020 was 99.6%.


Must provide fluid tests to qualify for Preferred smoker status.

Reports say that their agents encourage people to buy permanent policies over term.

The investment components of their permanent policies are difficult to understand.

One Insureye review said that a customer's yearly price increased 18% after he turned 75.

Premium rates are just mid-range when compared to other companies. 

There are no options to get a quote easily online. 

Customer review

"The service was fast and courteous; zero problems on my claims." – Customer on Google Reviews.

Foresters Life Insurance: best life insurance for diabetics

Company profile: Foresters Financial is a 150-year-old life insurance company based in Toronto. They merged with Canada Protection Plan in 2020. Foresters Financial is a fraternal benefit society, meaning you get member benefits along with your life insurance policy. Their Better Business Bureau rating is A+ (Excellent).


  • $26.10 per month or $290.00 per year for a woman.
  • $34.65 per month or $385.00 per year for a man.


Foresters policyholders get access to member benefits like academic scholarships, discounted legal services and discounted legal services.

Earn rewards for making healthy choices with their Foresters GO app.

More lenient no medical options for diabetic applicants.

Lots of options for couples: joint policies and spousal term riders.

Pays 1% of death benefits to the eligible charity of your choice (up to $100,000).

Option to convert your term policy to a whole life policy up to age 71.

Extensive list of riders, including a child rider and disability waiver of premium rider.


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.

Humania: best life insurance for pre-existing conditions

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. 


  • $24.75 per month or $305.00 per year for a woman
  • $32.40 per month or $360.00 per year for a man.


Insurance Without Medical Exam includes life insurance, critical illness and disability insurance. Sign up for one policy, or five total.

Available to those 18 to 70 years old. 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.

Term policies can be converted to a permanent plan up until age 65.

Renewal guaranteed up to age 80.


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.

Humania has limited options in terms of preferred pricing for healthier individuals.

Canada Protection Plan has more no medical and simplified life insurance products. Check prices against their offerings.

iA Financial Life Insurance: runner-up life insurance for smokers

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.


  • $66.60 per month or $740.00 per year for a woman.*
  • $86.40 per month or $960.00 per year for a man.*

*Parameters: 35 year-old, smoker, 20 year-term policy, for $200,000


iA tends to have the second best rates for smokers compared to other life insurance companies in Canada

Prices can fluctuate, so compare Empire, iA and ivari’s rates for the best deal.

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.

Their Pick-A-Term product lets you choose any term from 10 to 40 years, which is higher than average.

Pick-A-Term offers coverage up to $10,000,000, which is higher than average.

Convert term policies to permanent life insurance up to age 71.


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.

Not many other differentiators which would make the premium rates worth it for a non-smoker.

Customer review

"My claim was actually pretty fast and done smoothly." – Customer on Insureye.

» Read the full iA Financial review.

ivari Life: best for multiple life policies

Company profile: Ivari is a life insurance company headquartered in Toronto. It serves about 700,000 policyholders in Canada, according to Advisor’s Edge. It was acquired by Barbados-based Sagicor Financial Company Ltd. in 2022, which caused Fitch Ratings to downgrade its financial strength rating from "A" to "A-".


  • $30.60 per month or $340.00 per year for a woman.
  • $39.60 per month or $440.00 per year for a man.


Option to add up to five people on one joint policy, with first-to-die and last-to-die options.

Add-ons to joint policies include children's insurance and waiver of premium.

Term30 plan lets you decrease your coverage and stop paying premiums around year 15 to 20 of your policy.

Term30 is renewable, with premiums staying the same until age 100, though premiums will go up.

T10 and T20 plans are renewable to age 80 and convertible to a permanent plan until age 71.


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.

$50 per year policy fee.

Ivari’s only permanent offering is universal life insurance or T100.

Does not accept credit cards for premium payments.

Ivari denied a widow's $12,000 life insurance claim in spring 2022, Global News reported. The denial paperwork said the answers to health questions in her husband's original application weren't accurate.

Manulife: best for permanent life insurance

Company profile: Founded in 1887, Manulife is one of the biggest insurers 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.


  • $108.17 per month or $1,298.04 per year for a woman.*
  • $113.47 per month or $1,361.64 per year for a man.*

*For a 30-year-old, $200,000 in coverage, for Manulife UL Level to 100 with Vitality Plus.


One of the most experienced insurers in terms of participating whole life insurance.

Two whole life insurance options: Manulife Par, with guaranteed cash values, and Performax Gold®, with guaranteed lifetime protection.

Single life or joint last-to-die (couples) coverage options.

Two universal life insurance options: InnoVision for estate planning and Manulife UL for a more cost-effective universal life plan.

Manulife Vitality: a lifestyle program that delivers benefits like gift cards and savings on premiums to customers for making healthy choices.


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 to cancel their policy.

No couples discount for joint policies.

CoverMe® Guaranteed Issue life insurance’s coverage is capped at $25,000.

Customer review

"Customer support [is] unhelpful, lacking either the competency or will to help clarify claims statements or process-related questions." – Customer on Insureye.

» Read the full review here: Manulife Life Insurance review

PolicyMe: best term life insurance for couples and parents

Company profile: PolicyMe is an online Canadian insurance solution based in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 2018, PolicyMe secured $18M in Series A funding and in 2023, received $8.5M in further funding from Securian Canada. In late 2022, they added critical illness insurance and now have $5B in coverage in force across Canada.


  • $16.74 per month or $200.88 per year for a woman. 
  • $22.23 per month or $266.76 per year for a man.


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.

Policies can be extended or upgraded within the first five years.


No permanent life insurance (coming in 2023).

Term life insurance is not renewable or convertible (coming in 2023).

No first-to-die or last-to-die policies for joint life insurance.

Online only, no brick-and-mortar locations.

Not available in Quebec, New Brunswick or Newfoundland.

Customer review

"Easy sign-up and process with competitive rates." – Verified customer on Reviews.io

RBC Life Insurance: best for term life options

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


  • $22.95 per month or $255.00 per year for a woman.
  • $32.32 per month or $348.00 per year for a man.


Select any term lengths from 10 to 40 years.

Up to $25M in coverage from RBC YourTerm Life Insurance. It typically requires a medical exam.

From $50,000 to $1M in coverage through RBC Simplified® Term Life Insurance. May not require a medical exam.

Premium cost is level i.e. the same over the term.

Terms are renewable. Prices are likely to go up after renewal, but premiums stay level after the fact.

Term policies are convertible to permanent without an additional medical exam until age 71.


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.

CTV News reported that a widow who thought she was getting a $10,000 payout from her husband's life insurance only received $1,385 because of a clause in his contract. RBC responded that a two year waiting period is standard for these types of no medical policies.

Customer review

"Wanted to make a change to my policy ... it is just so difficult to get in touch with anyone on the phone with RBC insurance!!" – Customer on Trustpilot.

» Read full RBC Life Insurance review.

Sun Life Life Insurance: best whole life insurance for cash value

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


  • $271.13 per month or $3,253.56 per year for a woman.*
  • $285.75 per month or $3,429.00 per year for a man.*

*For 30 year-old, $250,00 in coverage with a SunPar Protector II policy.


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.

SunPar Protector II lets you build cash value over the long term. This is their most affordable option and has guaranteed cash values.

Sun Par Accumulator II and Sun Par Accelerator deliver higher cash values over the short term. Guaranteed cash values usually start at the end of year one.

Single and joint participating policies are available.

Big range of optional benefits, including those specifically for business owners.


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. You should also check their MERs (management fees) against other providers.

Check their MERs (management fees) against other providers.

You may have trouble connecting with customer service if you have questions or need to make a claim, according to reviews.

TD Life Insurance: best for TD customers

Company profile: Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is a Canadian financial services company founded in 1955 and serves over 10 million customers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives the company an F based on its "opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers."


  • $27.90 per month or $315.00 per year for a woman.*
  • $33.56 per month or $385.54 per year for a man.*

*Parameters: 30 year-old, 20 year term policy for $500,000 with TD customer discount.


TD customers get 10 per cent off their premiums. This can mean being a TD Wealth customer or bundling with home or auto insurance.

Five per cent discount for eligible university graduates or members of professional organizations.

Term policies are renewable, with no medical questions or exams needed.

Convertible to a Term 100 policy before the age of 69.

They offer coverage up to $10M, higher than other companies.

Option to get a quote and apply online.


Their rates are generally more expensive compared to the rest of the industry.

They only have 10, 20 and 100 year terms.

T100 is expensive; a 39-year-old non-smoking woman would pay over $500 a month.

No child coverage or additional rider options.

» Read the full reviews here: TD Life Insurance Review and TD mortgage life insurance review

Wawanesa Life Insurance: runner-up for term life options

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


  • $28.80 per month or $320.00 per year for a woman.
  • $36.66 per month or $439.90 per year for a man.


Wawanesa has a large range of term lengths, from 10 to 30 years, and lifetime terms to age 80 and 100.

Their Lifetime Term to Age 80 plan has premiums that stay the same (level) to age 80, with renewal possible to age 100.

No blood and urinalysis underwriting requirements for ages 18 to 45, up to $1,000,000 in coverage.

Five rider options, including a child rider and mortgage protection.

Can pay premiums with a credit card either annually or monthly.


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.

You must call their customer service line to get a quote and apply.

If you're going through an independent advisor (broker), many don't carry Wawanesa.

How do I choose the best life insurance for me?

To choose the best life insurance for you, look for a life insurance company with offers and policies that best align with your specific needs.

To get the right life insurance policy for you:

  1. Decide what type of life insurance you need: term, permanent etc.
  2. Evaluate your coverage needs (length, amount, etc.)
  3. Check out the top life insurance providers in Canada
  4. Comb through reviews for these life insurance companies
  5. Compare different life insurance quotes
  6. Select the policy that works for you, when you need it the most!

Here's how to decide what type of life insurance you need:

  • Term life insurance is best if: you need coverage during a temporary time frame (ex: while paying off debt, while the kids are young), so you never pay for something that you don't need.
  • Whole life insurance is best if: you have a very high income and are looking for some of the tax-deferred benefits of a life insurance payout.
  • Universal life insurance is best if: you're within a high tax bracket and have already maxed out their regular TFSA and RRSP investments that want the flexibility to decide where the investment portion of their premiums go.
  • No medical life insurance is best if: you've already been denied by a traditional life insurance provider and must use this policy as a plan B, as the traditional policy with a medical is often more affordable.

How does life insurance work in Canada?

Here's how life insurance works: it's for anyone who has people, like young kids, who rely on them financially, though some people use life insurance as an investment vehicle or for estate planning.

You can get individual life insurance or buy plans as a couple, depending on your needs.

Fundamentally, life insurance is an agreement with an insurance company. The way it works is:

  1. You pay a monthly fee to receive life insurance coverage.
  2. In exchange, your insurance company agrees to pay out a lump sum of cash (called a death benefit) to your beneficiaries if you pass away during the time that your insurance policy is active. 
  3. This death benefit will help your loved ones pay monthly bills and ensure their overall financial security, even if your paycheck isn't coming in to help support them.

According to Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, “The death benefit paid from a life insurance policy is a tax-free, lump-sum amount that can be used to:

  • replace your income so your family can maintain their standard of living
  • provide for your children or dependents
  • pay for funeral expenses
  • pay off outstanding debt
  • make a gift to charity”

What is the best type of life insurance?

We recommend term life insurance as the best type of life insurance for most Canadians, because it covers you for the years you need it the most. You don't need to pay for it when you don't need it. And because permanent life insurance is generally 5-10x more expensive, you can invest the difference in premiums instead of sinking it into a permanent policy.

However, permanent life insurance can work for those with huge net worth ($10M+) who have complex estate planning needs.

How much does life insurance cost?

The cost of a life insurance policy will be dictated by the life insurance provider. Remember that every life insurance provider will calculate a policy's premiums differently.

Let's look at some sample rates. Suppose you get a term policy of 20 years with coverage valued at $500,000 over the lifetime of your plan. The premiums would break down as follows based on gender and other health variables:

  • You can expect to pay $39.40 per month if you’re a 40 year old non-smoking woman
  • You can expect to pay $51.78 per month if you’re a 40 year old non-smoking man 

Variables like the life insurance company's expenses and historical claims experience dictate how premiums are charged; as well as things like your age, coverage needs, and medical history that all have an impact on the cost of your life insurance policy.

FAQ: best life insurance in Canada

What is the most trusted life insurance company?

Sun Life Financial is the most trusted life insurance company in Canada, according to a 2022 poll by Reader's Digest of 4,000 Canadians.

BMO is another of the most trusted life insurance companies in Canada with 15 reviews and a 2.6 star rating, if you go by customer reviews on Insureye. BMO is also one of the largest life insurance companies in Canada, with $2B in annual premiums.

Some Canadians feel more comfortable going with a big bank for their life insurance, either directly or through a broker.

It's also possible to go with an online insurer, like PolicyMe and PolicyAdvisor, which both have 5-star or almost 5-star customer ratings on Reviews.io.

PolicyMe is also backed by insurance giant Canadian Premier, for an extra layer of security.

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.

What is the oldest life insurance company in Canada?

Canada Life is the oldest life insurance company in Canada. Nearly 200 years of experience exist between the three companies that make up today's organization: The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company and The Canada Life Assurance Company.

How many life insurance companies are in Canada?

There are more than 150 life and health insurance providers in Canada, according to the CLHIA. The three largest life insurers include Manulife, Sun Life and Canada Life.

What is the best life insurance for diabetics in Canada?

The best life insurance for diabetics is Foresters as they have more lenient no medical options for Canadians with diabetes.

That said, diabetics should apply for traditional (i.e. fully risk-assessed) life insurance first. If you're approved, you'll save on premiums. If you’re managing your condition well, you have a higher chance of being approved and netting a better rate.

If you're denied coverage, then you should look at no medical life insurance. Foresters, Canada Protection Plan and Humania are all known for their no medical or quick issue life insurance in Canada.

What is the best high-risk life insurance company in Canada? 

Canada Protection Plan and Humania are two of the best high-risk life insurance companies in Canada, as their life insurance products are designed for individuals with pre-existing conditions or who are otherwise high risk. They don't require much medical information or a health exam and have higher acceptance rates. In exchange, you pay higher premiums.

We recommend you apply for traditional life insurance first. If you're approved, you'll net lower rates. PolicyMe is a great option. Whether you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or HIV, you'll be able to apply in just a few clicks. With an online application process that can be completed in around 20-minutes, you’ll be able to find out if you’re approved right away. 

In contrast, most fully underwritten life insurance policies require an extensive application process, including a 45-minute medical interview with a nurse. And you may only get an official decision in weeks. 

Where do I 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 you currently have for a quote, but do your research online 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 and 8 other Canadian provinces and territories including Manitoba and Saskatchewan. (Don't worry Quebec we didn't forget about you! We're currently working on providing the best term life insurance possible for you).

Andrew Ostro

CEO & Co-Founder
About the Author

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