The Best Life Insurance Companies in Canada 2022 (Rated + Reviewed)

Looking for the best life insurance in Canada? We've rated and reviewed the top 14 life insurance companies in Canada, from Sun Life to RBC to Canada Life and PolicyMe.

Here's how we evaluate each of these top life insurance providers:

  • How affordable their policies are
  • How reputable the company is
  • How easy it is to apply

Read on and rest easy about finding the best life insurance in Canada for you and your family's specific needs.

Best life insurance companies in Canada by price

Looking for pricing highlights from the top life insurance companies in Canada?

Life insurance premiums vary depending on your age, smoking status, gender and the type of policy you buy.

Still, here's a quick summary how much life insurance can cost per month for a 30-year-old non-smoking man, from some of the biggest names in life insurance in Canada.

Average cost of life insurance rates table
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of February 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

Life insurance is more affordable than you think. Get an instant quote from PolicyMe and see how much you can save.

How does life insurance work in Canada?

What is life insurance? Life insurance is for anyone who has people, like young kids, who rely on them financially. You can get individual life insurance or buy plans as a couple, depending on your needs. 

This means that if your monthly income helps support your family's expenses (anything from groceries to debt payments to monthly retirement savings contributions, etc.), you're probably someone who needs life insurance.

Life insurance is an agreement with an insurance company. You pay a monthly fee and in return, your insurance company agrees to pay out a lump sum of cash to your beneficiaries if you pass away during the time that your insurance policy is active.

So how does it work? The structure of a life insurance policy is simple — you pay premiums each month to an insurance company over an agreed period of time. Some companies have annual premiums.

If you pass away when the policy is active (while you are still paying premiums), the insurance company promises to give your beneficiaries a tax-free lump sum cash payment (the "death benefit") if anything happens to you.

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.

As the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada explains further:

“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”

You deserve to feel confident that your policy is exactly what you need for your unique situation and your budget. You deserve peace of mind.

PolicyMe reduces the cost barriers to getting life insurance through technology, delivering high-quality policies at a better price. See for yourself by getting a no-obligation quote below.

Get your quote in seconds, apply online in minutes, and do it all on your terms. About half of eligible applicants get instant approval.

What are the different types of life insurance?

There is no one-size-fits-all life insurance policy. The type of life insurance that works best for you depends primarily on a few factors:

  • Your age: The best time to invest in a life insurance policy is when you’re young, because your premiums will be lower and you’re less likely to have medical issues.
  • Your financial situation: Ask yourself, do you have a mortgage or hold any debt? In that case, your policy should cover those debts, on top of other expenses you want to provide your dependents.
  • How you want to protect your dependents: Your policy can cover anything from mortgage payments, to tuition, living expenses, funeral expenses and beyond.

Broadly speaking, there are two main categories of life insurance that most policies fall under: permanent life insurance and term life insurance. We'll get into a breakdown of each of these below.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance works by paying out a tax-free death benefit to your loved ones only if you die within a specified number of years (usually 10, 20, or 30 years). 

Term life is the right option if you want protection for the years that matter most (when you still have a mortgage and children in the house).

what is term life insurance

For most Canadians, the term life insurance company they choose is the one that offers them the best rate. Check out some sample life insurance quotes for a healthy-woman applying for $500,000 of 20-year term life insurance coverage.

For reference, the average life insurance protection per household in Canada is $442,000, as noted by the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association

Company 35-Year-Old Male 35-Year-Old Female
PolicyMe Life Insurance* $31.29/month $23.44/month
RBC Life Insurance $32.63 / month $24.26 / month
BMO Life Insurance $33.30 / month $26.10 / month
Wawanesa Life $36.00/month $28.80/month
Canada Protection Plan** $53.55 / month $41.40 / month

* Policies sold by PolicyMe are underwritten by Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company and other life insurance carriers **rate for applicants with health risks, as CPP is the top recommended choice.

Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of February 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance pays out a benefit to your beneficiaries no matter when you die (hence why it is called permanent insurance). Permanent life insurance has a few different forms, including whole life insurance, universal life insurance, or variable life insurance.

49 per cent of Canadians that bought life insurance through a financial advisor (i.e. not through their work) bought a permanent policy. However, brokers are incentivized to sell you permanent coverage instead of term coverage because they typically receive 5-10x more commission.

Permanent life insurance policies are much more expensive than term life insurance policies because the policy also acts as an investment account. Your premiums are designed to build cash value over your life. But don't be fooled — this is NOT a cost-free financial investment, and it turns out to be much more expensive and inflexible than other ways of investing.

Permanent life insurance policies tend to be less straightforward than term life policies. You'll want to understand all the fine print and details before buying this kind of policy. 

For example, be sure to know the terms of the cash value component. Every permanent life policy has a guaranteed interest rate so you should understand how these differ by company.

What is the best type of life insurance? 

The best type of life insurance is the one that fits with your unique situation. That said, each type of life insurance policy does have an ideal use case.

Here are a few quick scenarios that you can use as a benchmark to see what might work best for you.

  • 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 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 much life insurance coverage do I need?

The answer to this question is different for everyone. As a general thought-starter, you can use these questions to help clarify your coverage needs (spoiler: everyone will answer these differently!).

In your absence, would you want your mortgage covered? Do you have other debts, loans, etc. to cover? 

If you have kids, how many years of income do you want to provide them with? What about their tuition? What about child care costs? 

How long does your partner have until retirement? How much income would they need supplemented? 

Do you want your policy to cover funeral costs and other end-of-life expenses? 

Life can add up, especially when an income is lost. Think about your coverage amount within these parameters, as well as what your "nice-to-haves" and "need-to-haves" are.

Choosing an amount of life insurance coverage: example scenario

Janice is a 35-year-old high school math teacher living in Brampton, Ontario. She has a spouse and a mortgage and two rambunctious boys who are constantly destroying the house her mortgage pays for.

life insurance coverage example

She buys a 20 year term life insurance policy with $1,000,000 of coverage at $25.44 per month. This means that her family receives a payout if she passes away within the next 20 years. 

For the duration of her 20 year term, her monthly premiums will remain the same ($25.44).

Janice will likely outlive her 20-year life insurance coverage, at which point her policy will expire.

How much does life insurance cost?

Every life insurance provider will calculate a policy's premiums differently. The monthly premiums will vary, depending on the life insurance company’s expenses and historical claims experience. On top of that, your age, gender, coverage needs and medical history will all have an impact of the cost of your life insurance policy.

Generally speaking, if you are a man you can expect your premiums to be higher. Women tend to live longer than men, so insuring a man is more of a risk for the life insurance company. The same goes for age, the older you are, the more you can expect your premiums to be. On this, Senior life insurance advisor, Tobin Tuff, told MoneyWise

“I would recommend everyone to consider this: Who would have a need for your income if you weren’t there? If there is someone — anyone — it’s best to get started sooner than later."

Now let’s dive into reviews of individual life insurance companies in Canada. We’ll look at ease of application, trustworthiness and everything else you need to know about the top life insurance providers in Canada so you can make an informed decision.

best life insurance canada

How to evaluate Canadian life insurance providers

When you're signing an agreement that can last decades, it's important to take the time to weigh your options.

But what factors should you be considering? Some of the factors you'll want to consider include: 

  • Price: How much will your policy cost?
  • Time: How long does it take to get approved?
  • Process: Can you do everything online or do you have to make numerous trips to see somebody? 
  • Trustworthiness: What do other Canadians say about this life insurance company? How long have they been in business and is a reputable company backing them so claims are sure to be paid out?
  • Coverage: Does the insurer only offer small payouts or are there options to buy over $1M in coverage?

With all of this in mind, let’s look at some of the best and most well-known life insurance companies in Canada and whether they’re right for your specific needs.

top rated life insurance companies in canada

The best life insurance companies in Canada 2022

Here are some recommendations to help you avoid getting caught in the weeds trying to choose an individual life insurance provider.

Before we get into the reviews, our criteria of life insurance providers are the following: 

  • Who has the most affordable rate? 
  • Who has the easiest application process?
  • What kind of coverage do they have for the whole family (joint applications, child riders, etc.)?

And note that there's no third party site that reviews every life insurance company in Canada, so we've included ratings where available. All companies are scored by customers on a scale of 0 to 5!

PolicyMe

Reviews.io score: 4.83

Key takeaway: PolicyMe's data-driven underwriting process means that you're getting the best price without unnecessary medical exams, medical interviews or tedious paperwork.

PolicyMe started out as a life insurance broker, seeing firsthand how inefficient the current life insurance process was. This inefficiency caused increased prices and application times for traditional insurers.

With this knowledge, PolicyMe launched Canada's first fully digital life insurance product. 

This eliminated unnecessary administrative and distribution costs, passing the savings down to policyholders. Canadians applying for a new policy can expect the lowest premiums in Canada with PolicyMe, when compared to the rest of the industry.

Most of PolicyMe's policies are issued by Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company, a federally-regulated life insurance company that's been operating in Canada for over 60 years, with over $300M in assets and $40M in claims paid (across all product lines) in 2020.

Price: For a 35-year old woman, PolicyMe life insurance costs $23.44/month. For a 35-year old man, it costs $31.29/month.

Read full PolicyMe review here.

At PolicyMe, we’ve cut unnecessary steps and expenses to offer you the most affordable product in Canada, with the same quality of coverage. The result? You get the protection you need and at a price that you can afford.

Want to see for yourself? Get a quote in seconds and apply in 20 minutes or less, all online and without the hassle.

Wawanesa Life Insurance

InsurEye score:  3.3

Key takeaway:  If you have pre-existing health conditions, you may not want to buy a Wawanesa policy.

Founded in 1896, Wawanesa is one of the oldest insurers in Canada. Its headquarters sits in Manitoba, but they are licensed in all provinces across the country.

Price: You're looking at $36.66/month or $439.9/year for coverage as a man, and $28.80/month or $320.00/year for a woman.

Sun Life Financial Life Insurance

InsurEye score: 2.6

Key takeaway: With their full range of different term life products, you’re likely to find something that fits your needs. However, their customer service is lacking.

Price: For a woman, the Sun Life term life insurance cost would fall in the $23 to $33 per month range. The same plan would cost $29 to $41 monthly for a man.

RBC Life Insurance

InsurEye score: 1.8

Key takeaway: RBC’s rates can be categorized as average across the board. 

Price: Premiums start at an average of $24.26 per month for a woman, or $32.63 per month for a man.

Read full RBC Life Insurance review here.

BMO Life Insurance

InsurEye score: 2.4

Key takeaway: BMO prices are typically 2% more affordable than other competitor premiums which makes them a viable option for Canadians looking to buy term life insurance. 

Price: Premiums start at an average of $26.10 monthly premiums for a woman, or $33.30 monthly premiums for a man.

Read full BMO Life Insurance review here.

TD Life Insurance

InsurEye score: 1.8

Key takeaway: TD term life insurance is more expensive than the rest of the life insurance market. At an average of 18% more expensive with differentiators or benefits, we can’t recommend purchasing from this provider.

Price: At the lowest range, the rates start at approximately $28 per month for a woman, or starting at $37 per month for a man.

Read full TD Life Insurance Review here.

Emma Life Insurance

Google Reviews score: 4.9

Key takeaway: Emma Insurance offers yearly renewable  policies. This means that every year, you can expect your premiums to cost more than the year prior. This type of life insurance is best suited for coverage for extremely short term loans. Otherwise, a term life insurance policy from another policy might work better.

Founded in Quebec City, QC in 2017, Emma Insurance focuses primarily on providing life insurance options to young Canadian families with a maximum coverage amount of $1,000,000.

The best life insurance for couples in Canada

The best life insurance companies for couples

Life insurance for couples may not seem like the most romantic purchase, but it's definitely one of the most important ones.

There are also some major benefits of buying life insurance as a couple, including:

  1. Lower policy fees: When you buy both of your policies together, some insurance companies may offer you a discounted rate, as they save on administrative costs by processing two applications as one.
  2. Only managing one contract: There are less paperwork and contracts to keep track of, which makes it even easier to manage

It's important to note, while these are great perks, they don't apply to every life insurance provider. Not every company provides joint discounts and you also both have to be approved for coverage. 

If one partner applying is declined, it impacts both applicants. 

On top of this, you must make sure that both parties are sharing one death benefit. In the scenario that you share this benefit, the payout will be lower than if you had two separate policies.

Here are our reviews:

PolicyMe

Reviews.io score: 4.83

Key takeaway: Clients can  expect  the lowest premium rates in Canada when compared to the rest of the industry.

Price: For a 35-year old woman, PolicyMe life insurance costs $23.44/month. For a 35- year old man, it costs $31.29/month. When couples apply together, they get 5% off their policies, saving them time and money. The entire application process takes less than 20 minutes per application.

With our streamlined process, you can select your coverage and length without the hassle of upselling or pressure. And by bundling the two applications together, we are able to cut down on inefficient administration costs and pass the savings back to you.

How PolicyMe Couples Coverage works: 

  • Couples who apply together save 5% off of their premiums for life insurance.
  • Both the primary user and the secondary user save 5% off of their respective policies.
  • If either of you were to pass away during your term, your coverage amount is paid out to your beneficiary.
  • If both of you were to pass away during your term, both coverage amounts are paid out to your respective beneficiaries.
  • Choose your own coverage amount and term length, so you can get the right kind of life insurance to protect your dependents.

    Manulife

    InsurEye score: 2.4

    Key takeaway: Manulife offers one of the most affordable options for couples applying together. However, customers complain of difficulty with cancellation and long processing times.

    Founded in 1887, Manulife is one of the biggest insurers in Canada, with over 30 million customers worldwide. Manulife offers a wide range of life and health insurance products as well as group life insurance plans. Canadians with health coverage through work will likely recognize the brand.

    Price: Assuming a man and woman apply together, your life insurance would cost $60.55/month to cover both of you. If you're both men, you're looking at $69.68/ month. If you're both women, your monthly rate would sit at around $51.10/month.

    Read full Manulife Life Insurance review here.

    Assumption Life Insurance

    BBB score: 4

    Key takeaway: They offer very flexible coverage types. But your life insurance policy will only be provided in paper form. 

    Price: If you choose Assumption Life, you would be looking at $73.80 per month for a joint life insurance policy.

    Canada Life Term Life Insurance

    InsurEye score: 1.5

    Key takeaway: With all of this flexibility available as part of their joint policies, it's no wonder they're worth investigating if you're looking for life insurance as a couple.

    Price: Priced out separately, a Canada Life insurance plan would cost $27.45/month or $305.00/year for a man and $26.55/month or $295.00 year for a woman.

    Read full review of Canada Life insurance here.

    The best no medical (simplified issue) life insurance in Canada

    No medical life insurance is convenient (and sometimes necessary) for some, but there are drawbacks. The first being that it's quite pricey, because life insurance companies need to have higher premiums to account for taking on a higher risk.

    The average Canadian often doesn’t need a no medical or simplified issue policy. If you're a relatively healthy parent, a term life insurance policy would be a better fit. It saves you money, provides the right amount of coverage and gives you extra spending money for enjoying your time with those you love in the here and now.

    However, if you’ve already had a health crisis, you know how important it is to protect and provide for your loved ones. But a pre-existing condition or a family history of serious medical issues may also make it harder to secure coverage at all.

    But there are still options out there! You can find some great providers who don't require any type of medical tests beforehand.

    Here is our top recommendation.

    Canada Protection Plan Life Insurance

    InsurEye score: 1.5

    Canada Protection Plan is a leading provider of No Medical & Simplified Issue Life Insurance in Canada. That means that they do not require the extensive medical telephone exams needed with the other insurers in Canada.

    However, this isn't a good option if you're just avoiding a nurse visit. You'll end up paying a lot more, because their coverage is for people who are typically seen as 'high risk'.

    Key takeaway: Canada Protection Plan is a great option if you want to avoid going through medicals knowing that you already have a health condition that makes coverage expensive - you may as well avoid the headache! 

    Price: For a man, coverage would cost you $85.95/month, and coverage for a woman would cost you $60.30/month.

    Read full Canada Protection Plan Insurance review here. 

    The best life insurance for smokers in Canada

    It’s no surprise that tobacco products create higher risks for health issues. Because of this, life insurance for smokers tends to be priced at higher rates.

    And for certain life insurance providers, it's not just about cigarettes.

    If you have had a cigarette, cigar, e-cigarette product (including vapes and juuls), or any other tobacco product within the last 12 months, you can expect to pay a higher rate.

    If you’re a smoker, remember: you're already within a higher price range (up to 200% higher than the average price), so finding the most affordable option is key.

    Here are our top recommendations:

    PolicyMe

    Reviews.io score: 4.83

    Key takeaway: PolicyMe removes cost barriers to life insurance. We deliver the same high-quality coverage but at a lower price. Because of this, even if smokers pay more on their premiums than the average applicant, our policies are still the most affordable.


    iA Financial Life Insurance

    InsurEye score: 2.6

    Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management groups in Canada, with operations in the United States.

    Key takeaway: As far as plans for smokers, their prices are pretty reasonable. However, there are only paper policies available (versus receiving your policy online). It means more paper to keep track of.

    Price: As a smoker, a man would be looking at $89.10/month or $990.00/year. For a woman with the same coverage, you would be looking at $67.05/month or $745.00/year.

    ivari Life

    InsurEye score: 2.1

    Key takeaway: ivari has a wide variety of coverage options and terms available. That said, their prices trend towards the higher end of the scale. 

    Price: For the same term, ivari would cost $72.00/month or $800/year for a woman and $96.75/month or $1,075.00/year for a male smoker.

    Foresters Life Insurance

    InsurEye score: 3

    Key takeaway: Foresters have a decent amount of restrictions for their online presence. There are no digital or e-policy upon approvals, only paper policies available. There is also no online access to policy details, so you would have to call to get any details.

    Price: Foresters would cost $109.80/month or $1,220.00/year for a man and $80.55/month or $895.00/year for a man smoker.

    How to select a life insurance policy

    Armed with these reviews and personalized quotes on the best life insurance in Canada, you’ll be able to sign up with the confidence you’re making the right choice.

    To get the right policy for you:

    • Evaluate your coverage needs (length, amount, etc.)
    • Check out the top life insurance providers in Canada
    • Comb through reviews for these life insurance companies
    • Compare different life insurance quotes
    • Select the policy that works for you, when you need it the most!

    PolicyMe empowers you with genuine advice that’s specific to your real-life financial needs. No jargon and no industry terms that could confuse you into buying more than you actually need.

    Instead, we help you proceed with confidence and provide you with resources that guide you towards getting just the right amount of life insurance for you and for the financial security of your family.

    With our streamlined, online process, you can select your own coverage amount and term length without the hassle of upselling or pressure.

    FAQ: Choosing a life insurance provider in Canada

    What is the most trusted life insurance company? 

    When you’re looking for a reliable life insurance company, trust is an imperative. Canadians have traditionally felt more comfortable with one of the big life insurance companies, such as Manulife or Sun Life. Still others form a relationship with a licensed advisor or broker and grow to trust them.

    Another indicator of insurer trust are the customer reviews. PolicyMe is a trusted insurer by Canadians, with consistently positive reviews. Whatever direction you choose to go, do your homework!

    How do I choose the best life insurance policy? 

    There are three factors to choosing the best life insurance policy: price, time, and process. 

    Get several quotes for a point of comparison and analyze them for competitive pricing, how responsive the company is to policyholders and whether they support digital or electronic documents. It’s a good idea to consider the stability of the insurer as well, especially when it comes to a life insurance policy with a longer term.

    Which company is best for a term plan? 

    Manulife, Sun Life and Canada Life may be the biggest providers of term life insurance in Canada, but size isn’t everything. When it comes to competitive pricing, streamlined application processes and reliable coverage, PolicyMe offers the best package.

    Who is the number one life insurance company in Canada?

    Manulife may be the largest life insurance company in Canada, perhaps even in the world. 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 $60 billion in revenue.

    What is the oldest life insurance company in Canada? 

    Canada Life may be 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?  

    According to the CLHIA, there are more than 150 life and health insurance providers in Canada. This offers a lot of choice to Canadians looking for coverage, with a wide range of products available. The three largest include Manulife, Sun Life and Canada Life, but Canadians can secure coverage from smaller independent and insurtech carriers as well.

    PolicyMe provides life insurance in Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and 8 other Canadian provinces and territories.

    Laura McKay

    COO & Co-Founder

    About the Author

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