After reading a few blog posts, browsing some insurance websites, and chatting with some friends who seem to have life figured out, you’ve decided to buy term life insurance.

But now that you’ve made this all-important decision, you’re not really sure where to start. How do you actually buy term life insurance in Canada?

Well, we’ve got great news! Below, we break down how to easily find, compare, and finalize term life insurance quotes in Canada so that you can protect your loved ones financially.

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is the simplest and most affordable form of life insurance. It pays out a benefit to your beneficiaries only if you die within a specified time frame, usually 10, 20, or 30 years.

Once the term expires, you can either renew it for another term, convert the policy to permanent coverage, or allow the policy to terminate.

How to get a term life insurance quote?

The first step to buying life insurance is to get quotes for a policy. In Canada, there are 3 ways to get life insurance quotes:

1. Directly on an insurance company’s website

One option is to visit the website of a particular insurance company (like PolictyMe) and get a quote directly from the company online. This is like going to the Air Canada website and looking for the price of an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Paris.

2. Through a local independent insurance agent

A second option is to get quotes from a local independent insurance agent in your city or town. This is like going to your local travel agent office and having an agent help you find options for a Toronto–Paris flight.

The advantage of working with a local independent insurance agent is that you’ll be able to get quotes from multiple insurance companies. This will let you compare quotes to find the best one. You’ll also get to talk to an actual insurance agent who can answer your questions and provide advice, even if you just communicate remotely.

However, because you’ll work with an actual person to get a quote, you’ll have to get in touch with them, wait for them to respond, give them the info they need to get you some quotes, and then wait again to receive the quotes.

3. From an online independent broker

Your third option is to get quotes from an online independent broker, like PolicyMe. This is like using an online travel website, such as Expedia or Travelocity, to find options for a Toronto–Paris flight.

When you use an online independent broker, you can get and compare several life insurance quotes in just a matter of minutes. You won’t have to wait for insurance agent Bob to read your email or online request form and get back to you.

How to get your final quote?

Initial term life insurance quotes are based on your age, gender, and smoking status. But to get a final quote, your insurer will need a few more pieces of information from you to complete their underwriting process.

Specifically, they’ll need to know about your health history to find out how risky it is for them to insure you. Most insurers do this by having applicants complete a quick, at-home medical exam. A nurse will come to your home to collect vitals (like your weight, height, and blood pressure) and draw blood. Some might ask for a urine sample too. Alternatively, your insurer might just have you do a 20-minute phone call with a healthcare professional. During the call, you’ll be asked about your personal and family medical history.

Your insurer will also collect information about your lifestyle and financial status. Why do they need to know if you go rock climbing or scuba diving on the regular? It’s not because they’re fascinated by your exciting life. Instead, risky hobbies increase your risk of dying at an early age. And insurance companies are very interested in knowing anything that could raise the chances that they’ll have to pay out your death benefit.

Once your insurer has all the info they need from you, they’ll use it to determine whether they can approve your application and provide your final quote. Your final quote (the premiums you’ll pay each month for the entire duration of your term policy), might be higher, lower, or the same as your initial quote from that insurer.

How much does term life insurance cost in Canada?

So here’s the million dollar question: how much will you actually need to pay for term life insurance in Canada?

As we just mentioned, the exact amount that you’ll pay for term life insurance will depend on your personal characteristics, coverage amount, policy length, and insurer.

In any case, though, term life insurance is the cheapest type of insurance on the market. This is because term insurance gives you coverage for a fixed period of time rather than the rest of your life. For this reason, it’s the most affordable way to protect your family financially when you’re young and may have mortgage debt, student debt, financially dependent kids, and other expenses that make your back account bleed every month.

Just how affordable is term life insurance in Canada? If you’re a non-smoker in your 20s or 30s with no pre-existing health issues, you could pay as little as $20/month for life insurance. Not bad, right?

See the table below for more information about typical term life insurance rates in Canada.

comparison of term life insurance prices

Keep in mind that getting a quote and even completing a medical exam doesn’t make you obligated to buy a policy. You don’t have to commit until your application is approved and you accept the policy. So you really have nothing to lose by getting some quotes for a term life insurance policy.

Ready to find out how much you’d pay for term life insurance?  

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

Laura brings 7 years of experience working in insurance & strategic operations as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, after experiences at Manulife and Munich Re. In 2017, she launched a successful initiative for the World Economic Forum focused on innovation in insurance, working closely with insurers, tech pioneers, and policy-makers.

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