Sun Life Insurance Review: 2024 Guide for Canadians

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Key takeaways:

  • Sun Life has lots of experience in participating whole life insurance or any policy with an investment component.
  • Their whole and universal policies are expensive, but they have the largest dividend scale in Canada.
  • Sun Life life insurance is a good option for high-net-worth individuals, offering extra perks like succession planning.
  • Sun Life term life insurance prices aren't very competitive.

Our Sun Life life insurance review

To help you determine whether Sun Life Insurance is right for you, we reviewed their different products, prices, features and customer feedback.

Our rating for Sun Life life insurance: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

Sun Life is probably your best bet if you're looking for whole life insurance with cash value for investment purposes. They offer a wide range of permanent policies that offer investment components. For example, their SunPar Protector II product lets you build cash value over a long term. 

Sun Life also specializes in universal life insurance, but most Canadians don't need it. The costs go up quickly; expect to pay hundreds of dollars in premiums per month.

Who is Sun Life Canada?

Sun Life Financial is an international financial services company founded 150 years ago.

It is the third largest insurer in Canada and is primarily known for its individual insurance products and group benefits. It has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Sun Life quick facts:

  1. Sun Life was the first insurance company in Canada to offer group benefits through employers in 1919.
  2. Sun Life has over 2,700 advisors in over 1,100 Canadian communities.
  3. Sun Life's Vitality Program rewards policyholders for healthy living habits with discounts or points that can be redeemed for lifestyle rewards like shopping vouchers or travel discounts.
  4. Based on their BBB Business Profile, they have a Better Business rating of A+. Still, they are not accredited as of April 2023.

Sun Life life insurance rates for 2023

Sun Life Canada offers a wide range of individual (i.e. not group) life insurance products from term to whole and universal life insurance. Let's dive into some coverage options that might suit your financial needs.

Note: Prices have increased across the board for Sun Life policies between April 2023 and July 2023.

Coverage options Monthly payments*
Sun Permanent Life $83.88
SunSpectrum Permanent Life II $83.88
SunSpectrum Term 10 $12.42
SunSpectrum Term 20 $24.93
SunSpectrum Term 30 $20.16
Sun Universal Life II $76.17
Sun Permanent Life - 20 Pay $149.04

*Rates are based on a 35-year-old man seeking $100,000 in Sun Life life insurance coverage. Pricing is based on publicly available rates as of July 2023. Terms and conditions may apply.

Sun Life life insurance: pros and cons

Read up on some of the pros and cons of Sun Life life insurance based on their different products.

Sun Life term insurance products

Read more on Sun Life's types of life insurance below.

1. Sun Life Go Term

  • You can choose from 10 or 20 policy term, with customizable face amounts and optional riders for added protection.
  • Sun Life Go Term life insurance coverage ranges from $100,000 to $1,000,000 for ages 18 to 69. 
  • If you're looking for temporary coverage, be aware that Sun Life's lifetime coverage for term policies is lower than the industry standard for a higher price.
  • There are no fees for converting to another policy type should your needs change during the term length and you also have optional benefits like terminal illness benefit but no optional riders.

2. Sun Life Go Simplified Term Life Insurance

  • A term life policy without medical underwriting. An ideal option for those looking for quick and easy coverage without extensive health questions and examinations.
  • Choose from three-level premium amounts: $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000
  • The catch is you can only get this Sun Life term life insurance coverage for a 10-year policy term.

Because you're skipping out on the typical application interview with some specific health questions, this product is pricey. You're paying for not sharing possible health risks that might make it hard for you to get ensured.

The bottom line: Because it's very limited in coverage options and has high insurance costs, we don't suggest Sun Life Go Simplified Term.

3. SunSpectrum Term

  • Sun Life's Sun Spectrum Term products offer flexible term life options for those up to the age of 85.
  • Provide term life insurance coverage for up to 30 years from $50,000 - $1,000,000 and the option to convert the policy until age 75.
  • Sun Spectrum Term also offers optional riders, like accidental death benefit and critical illness insurance, that can be added for additional protection unlike Sun Life Go Term.
  • SunSpectrum Term 10 and 15 are exchangeable for a longer term like a 20 or 30-year term.
  • Best for those unsure of how much coverage and for how long they might need a term policy.

The bottom line: The flexibility and convertibility options make their term policies attractive, but comparing the monthly premiums of a standard Sun Life individual policy to the industry, the price is much higher. 

See how Sun Life's term life insurance prices stack up against the prices of products offered by other term life insurance companies in Canada.

Company Monthly premiums*
Sun Life $22.50
PolicyMe $15.82
RBC Insurance $16.74
Desjardins $17.10
Canada Life $17.35
Beneva Insurance $17.55
BMO Insurance $19.35
Manulife $19.41
CIBC Life $23.99

*Prices are based on a 35-year-old woman seeking $500,000 in Sun Life SunSpectrum term life insurance coverage for a 10-year term. Terms and conditions may apply.

Sun Life permanent life insurance options

1. Sun Par Accelerator

  • Offers one level premium for payment: 8 Pay
  • They are designed to help individuals save for their long-term financial goals, such as retirement while protecting them against unexpected events like illness or death.
  • Offers a guaranteed minimum interest rate on the savings component and the potential for non-guaranteed dividends based on the performance of the company's participating account.
  • Also offers additional payments to increase their savings and the potential for non-guaranteed dividends.
  • Best for those with a high net worth willing to give up some growth for the quickest pay product Sun Life can offer.

2. Sun Spectrum Permanent Life

Sun Life's Permanent Life product operates like any typical whole life policy. 

Offers a variety of features and benefits, including:

  • Flexible premiums.
  • Cash value accumulation.
  • And the potential to receive dividends during your policy term.

Coverage can range from $250,000 to $10,000,000, which is a larger range than the industry average but the reality is most Canadians don't need to take out $10M in life insurance.

3. Sun Universal Life II

Sun Universal Life II is Sun Life's most extensive universal life insurance policy with investment features.

Like their permanent life policy, Sun Life Universal II also features guaranteed lifetime protection with coverage from $250,000 to $10,000,000. 

4. Sun Par Protector II

Sun Par Protector II is a whole life policy that operates as any other permanent policy Sun Life Financial offers but with an additional element of cash value accumulation.

  • Offers one level premium for payment: 10 Pay, 20 Pay and Life Pay.
  • Includes an Investment Account option that allows individuals to invest and track the performance of their investments within a tax-preferred growth environment.
  • Giving policyholders maximum control over the growth of their investments.
  • Best for those who want to provide a financial foundation for their children or grandchildren or estate protection.

For those looking for a policy with a higher cash value growth rate, Sun Par Accumulator II offers a higher rate but only in the most recent periods of your policy. After a while, the cash value growth settles. 

Other Sun Life insurance products

1. Express Critical Illness Insurance

  • Express Critical Illness Insurance helps cover expenses if you become seriously ill.
  • You can choose from three plans that offer coverage for one to seven common life-threatening illnesses or conditions.
  • The basic plan only covers cancer.
  • If you're diagnosed with one of these conditions and survive 30 days, you'll receive a tax-free lump-sum payment that you can use any way you wish.
  • $25,000 or $50,000 in coverage.
  • Instant online approval with no medical exam or blood work required.
  • Cancel anytime and get a full refund if you do it within the first 30 days of your policy.

2. Sun Critical Illness Insurance

  • Sun Critical Illness Insurance offers coverage from $25,000 up to $3,000,000 for adults and coverage from $25,000 up to $1,000,000 for children.
  • The policy covers illnesses such as cancer, dementia, organ transplant, heart attack, stroke, paralysis and multiple sclerosis.
  • You won't receive a payout if you're diagnosed with a disease that's not listed in your policy.
  • There are 26 full-payout illnesses covered under Sun Critical Illness Insurance for adults, along with 8 partial-payout illnesses.
  • Child plans cover the same 26 full-payout illnesses and the same 8 partial-payout illnesses along with 5 additional childhood illnesses.
  • To get insurance quotes online, you'll need to connect with an advisor.

3. Disability insurance

  • There are many types of disability insurance available from Sun Life, from individual to group plans.
  • There aren't many details on Sun Life's website about their disability insurance.
  • They offer short-term disability insurance, which covers the first 120 days of a disability.
  • There's also long-term disability insurance, which covers you from the 120 day mark (or another waiting period) to age 65.
  • You must speak to a Sun Life advisor in person, over Zoom or on the phone to discuss your options, get a quote and apply.

4. Personal health insurance

  • Sun Life offers three personal health insurance plans.
  • The Basic plan is the cheapest
  • The Standard plan gives you more coverage for prescription drugs, plus emergency medical coverage and optional additional dental coverage.
  • The Enhanced plan has more coverage for prescription drugs than the Standard plan, plus optional additional dental coverage.
  • To get a Sun Life health insurance quote, you can go on their website. You apply online for all three plans. There's also the option to talk to one of their advisors over the phone at 1-866-292-2517.

Sun Life insurance customer reviews

Although Sun Life Canada has an excellent range of products, their customer service seems lacking. They have a score of 1.2/5 on Trustpilot and 2.3/5 on InsurEye. 

Positive Sun Life life insurance reviews:

  • "Sun Life has always been very easy to work with. I love my advisor. I have been dealing with them for over 15 years now and my investments are making money and I feel secure that my loved ones will be taken care of if anything happens to me." - Insureye review on June 1, 2018
  • "I only have a critical illness, disability and life insurance with Sunlife. When it comes to insurances, they are fast to take care of your needs. ... Fast service!!!" - Trustpilot review on February 22, 2023.

Negative Sun Life life insurance reviews:

  • "I've spent countless times on the phone trying to get my dad's life insurance. They always give me the run-around and then switch me to someone else. In what world would the dental department also look over life insurance claims? They don't! Didn't stop me from being transferred to them multiple times though." - InsurEyeH review on June 28, 2023
  • "Their website and the sign-in process are a disaster. Called [Financial advisor] to get vague instructions and have some long-drawn-out process just to set up an account to check if something is covered or not." - InsurEye review on May 6, 2022.

How do you get Sun Life Financial's life insurance quotes?

To get a Sun Life life insurance quote, you can get answer a few questions online to get a quote for coverage up to $1,000,000. For coverage over a million dollars or to get personalized advice, you can talk to an advisor to get a Sun Life life insurance quote. But be aware that many customer reviews have suggested that Sun Life advisors can get pushy.

Sun Life Canada also offers assistance through their app called Sun Life Mobile. Their website also has a life insurance calculator that lets you calculate how much life insurance coverage you might need based on your financial stability, if you have any dependents, and what expenses they might have to pay off without you. 

Bottom line: If you're looking for life insurance as an investment, Sun Life is for you

Sun Life is your best bet if you're looking for whole life insurance with cash value for investment purposes.

But the caveat here is that most Canadians don't need whole life, especially ones with cash value options.

While it seems very tempting to make some money back, the minimum coverage cost is much higher than any other permanent life insurance policy. Not to mention, the cash value growth is minimal at best.

We only recommend Sun Life for customers who have already maxed out other investment account options like their RRSP or TFSA accounts.

But the average Canadian will find that their rate of returns can be 7.5 times higher just by purchasing a term life policy and coupling it with savings in an RRSP account.

Alongside an RRSP senior life insurance may be appealing for those getting older. Use PolicyMe's insurance rate calculator to get an affordable rate.

FAQ: Sun Life life insurance

What are some of the optional benefits of Sun Life insurance?

Sun Life insurance offers a range of optional benefits that can help you protect your family's financial well-being. These include:

How long does Sun Life take to pay out your life insurance claim?

Sun Life typically pays out life insurance claims within two to four weeks from the date of claim submission. However, this timeline can be affected by various factors such as the type of policy, the amount of life insurance coverage, and any delays in obtaining necessary documentation. It's important to remember that the actual payment may take longer than expected due to administrative processing times.

How long does Sun Life take to approve a claim?

Sun Life typically approves life insurance claims within one to two weeks from the date you submit your claim form. However, this timeline can be affected by various factors including the complexity of the claim and any delays in obtaining required documents from you or other parties involved. 

Some reviews on Trustpilot have even said that after six months, they have still not received their payout from Sun Life.

Is Sun Life Canada insurance good?

Sun Life Canada is a reputable insurance provider with a long history and a strong financial standing. They offer a range of insurance products, including life, health, dental, and disability insurance.

However, whether Sun Life Canada insurance suits your needs depends on your circumstances. Most Canadian couples and parents will find that a term life policy will suit their needs and financial state better than a Sun Life whole life insurance policy.

It's essential to consider the policy details, coverage limits, premiums, and exclusions before deciding on any insurance provider.

How stable is Sun Life insurance?

Sun Life is a well-established and financially stable insurance company with a long history of providing insurance products and services. They are one of the largest insurance providers in Canada and have been in business for over 150 years.

Sun Life has consistently maintained a strong financial rating from various rating agencies regarding financial stability. For example, in 2021, Standard & Poor's (S&P) gave Sun Life a rating of AA- (Very Strong), while Moody's gave them a rating of A1 (Good). These ratings indicate that Sun Life has a strong capacity to meet its financial obligations and is financially stable.

Is Sun Life a good place to invest?

Sun Life has a long history and a solid reputation in the financial industry, which may be reassuring to some investors. They also have a team of experienced investment professionals who manage their products.

But like any investment, risks are involved, and returns are not guaranteed. Considering the fees, investment options, and risks associated with each product is essential before investing. It may also be beneficial to speak with a financial advisor to help determine if Sun Life's investment products align with your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Visit PolicyMe to get critical illness quotes.

Want to learn more about other life insurance options? Here are more reviews of Canadian life insurance companies:

Our sources:

Who we are. (n.d.). Sun Life.

AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Sun Life Financial Inc. and Its Subsidiaries. Business Wire.

Disability insurance. Sun Life.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder
About the Author

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