Best Life Insurance in Canada: Company Reviews (2022)

Peer reviewed by Tobin Tuff, Certified Life Insurance Advisor

The best life insurance in Canada is provided by RBC, Wawanesa, Empire Life, Canada Life and PolicyMe, if you’re looking strictly at which companies offer the most affordable life insurance.

Here's how to evaluate what life insurance company in Canada is best for you:

  • Price: How does the company's prices compare to other providers?
  • Time: How long does it take to get approved, days or weeks?
  • Product: Do they specialize in the type of life insurance you want: term, whole, universal, no medical etc.
  • Process: Is the process simple or does it involve unnecessary paperwork, phone calls or meetings?
  • Trustworthiness: What do Canadian customers say about this life insurance company? Is a reputable company backing them so claims are sure to be paid out?
  • Customer Service: Can you get unbiased advice? Is it easy to get someone on the phone? Are complaints resolved quickly?

Click one of the life insurance companies below to jump ahead, or keep scrolling to see a quick price comparison chart.

Best Canadian life insurance companies: by price

The chart below shows how much term life insurance might cost you per month, from some of the biggest companies in Canadian life insurance.

Term life insurance is the best and more affordable option for most Canadians, which is why we show term prices below. Whole life insurance tends to cost five to 10 times more than term life policies.

best life insurance canada - company reviews - cost comparison
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of July 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

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.

Keep reading to get full reviews of Canada’s best-known life insurance companies for 2022.

PolicyMe: best term life insurance for couples and parents

Reviews.io score: ★★★★★ (4.83)

Key takeaway: PolicyMe offers some of the lowest term life insurance rates in Canada coupled with the secure backing of two insurance giants. PolicyMe offers features like discounts on couples coverage, a streamlined online application process and easy access to non-commissioned advisors.

Company profile:  PolicyMe is an online Canadian life insurance provider based in Toronto, Ontario and backed by Canadian Premier. It was founded in 2018. PolicyMe secured $3.3M in seed funding in 2020 and $18M in Series A funding in 2022. PolicyMe now has $5B in coverage in force in Canada.

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. 

Pros

  • Couples get a discount of 10% off their premiums on their first year when they apply together.
  • Free child coverage ($10,000 per child) for every policy.
  • Get up to $5M in coverage.
  • Online applications take 20 minutes or less on average.
  • Get an instant decision: find out if you’re approved right away.
  • Backed by Canadian Premier and a global reinsurance company, for extra layers of protection.
  • Fully-underwritten term life insurance. Your risk is properly assessed, which means you could get a better rate.
  • Licensed Canadian advisors are available seven days a week to give customized advice.
  • PolicyMe advisors don’t work on commission, so there’s no pressure or upselling. 
  • Policies can be extended or upgraded within the first five years.

Cons

  • Does not offer first-to-die or last-to-die policies for joint life insurance. 
  • Only offers term life insurance, not permanent life insurance.
  • No brick-and-mortar locations, online only.
  • Policies are not renewable. 
  • Not available in Quebec, New Brunswick or Newfoundland.

Customer review

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

Manulife: best for permanent life insurance

InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (2.4)

Key takeaway: Manulife is known for permanent life insurance; they have a long history of experience with these products. They have a wide variety of permanent policies and even have their own mutual and segregated funds.

Manulife has the widest variety of insurance products in Canada, along with Sun Life, as they offer critical illness, disability, travel and other types of insurance.

Customers complain of difficulty with cancellations and long processing times.

Company profile: Founded in 1887, Manulife is one of the biggest insurers in Canada with $200 billion in assets. Manulife offers a wide range of life and health insurance products, plus group life insurance plans. Manulife made $31.6 billion in payments to their customers between 2020 and 2021.

Price

  • For the average whole life policy, a 30-year-old woman would pay around $121/month
  • A man of the same age would pay $135/month
  • These estimates are for $250,000 in coverage

Pros

  • Manulife cut their term rates by 13 per cent for 10 and 20 year terms (for select plans) in late 2021.
  • One of the most experienced insurers in terms of participating whole life insurance.
  • Two whole life insurance options: Manulife Par, which has guaranteed cash values, and Performax Gold, with guaranteed lifetime protection.
  • Two universal life insurance options: InnoVision for estate planning and Manulife UL for a more cost-effective universal life plan.
  • Manulife's Combined Family Term life insurance policy covers both you and your partner. It operates like having two separate policies with two death benefits, but there is a discount for combining them.
  • Extra three per cent savings when couples select the same coverage amount and policy length.
  • Manulife Vitality: a health and wellness program that lets customers save on their insurance premiums.

Cons

  • Customers largely complain on Insureye about processing time for claims; some customers have to wait before receiving a payout.
  • Some customers also highlight a negative cancellation experience, mostly that it's hard to get a hold of customer service to cancel.
  • There are limited options for term life insurance products.
  • The premium rates are above average for term life insurance products.

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

BMO Insurance: best life insurance for trustworthiness

InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (2.4)

Key takeaway: BMO is a long-established Canadian provider of life insurance products and they have many different options for both term and permanent life insurance. Best suited for a customer that wants lots of options when choosing their policy. 

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.

Price

  • Premiums for term life insurance start at an average of $26.10 monthly premiums for a woman.
  • Or $33.30 monthly for a man. 
  • Permanent life insurance tends to cost about 10-15x more. 

Pros

  • Their products are well-suited for someone that feels more comfortable buying life insurance from the oldest bank in Canada.
  • Financial strength rating: A.
  • Many life insurance products are available under the term life insurance and permanent life insurance category. 
  • Getting a quote from them online is easy, however, these rates will be just estimates of your monthly cost. 

Cons

  • BMO has more medical requirements for those looking to buy without an in-person meeting. 
  • In general, the life insurance application is reliant on pen-and-paper, rather than online. 
  • A BMO policy can only be purchased through a commissioned advisor with the bank. 
  • There are fewer options available for term life insurance, from coverage amount to term lengths.
  • 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!

Customer review

"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

InsurEye score:  ★★☆☆☆ (1.5)

Key takeaway: Canada Life insurance does not have many differentiators when compared to other life insurance companies on the market. One of the biggest benefits of Canada Life is its extensive add-ons and rider options. 

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

Price

  • $27.45/month or $305.00/year for a man.
  • $26.55/month or $295.00/year for a woman.

Pros

  • Large range of term life plans at different lengths
  • Multiple rider options for both single and joint policies.
  • Optional riders include Child Coverage, Business Protection, and Accidental Death (additional fees will apply).
  • You're able to renew term policies or convert it into a permanent policy.
  • One Insureye review says their life insurance claim was paid within the month.
  • Another review said that the prices were good for their age and health condition.

Cons

  • 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. You must get your quote through an advisor.
  • It can take a long time to get approved for your application (up to 6 to 10 weeks).
  • Average premium costs are higher than 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.

Wawanesa Life Insurance: best life insurance for healthy individuals

InsurEye score:  ★★★☆☆ (3.3)

Key takeaway: If you have a very specific term length in mind, Wawanesa might be a good choice because they offer a big range of term options. And they are known for having lower prices than average. May not be best for healthy anymore. Manulife vitality; Apple Watch track. Wawanesa had rate hike.

Company profile: Founded in 1896, Wawanesa is one of the oldest insurers in Canada, though they only started offering life insurance more recently. Its headquarters are in Manitoba, but they are licensed in all provinces across the country. Credit rating agency, AM Best, awarded Wawanesa a rating of A (Excellent) for the financial strength of their Life/Health subsidiary.

Price

  • $36.66/month or $439.9/year for coverage for a man.
  • $28.80/month or $320.00/year for a woman.

Pros

  • Wawanesa has a large range of term lengths available, more so than some of their competitors.
  • Wawanesa is known for some pretty competitive rates for their term life insurance plans, largely for healthier individuals.
  • They offer healthy lifestyle rewards (i.e.: lower premiums for healthy lifestyle choices).
  • They have flexible payment options. For example, you can pay for your premiums with a credit card and you can pay an annual premium instead of monthly. 

Cons

  • It may be challenging for many individuals with pre-existing health conditions to actually get approved at these prices. 
  • Approval rates aren't as high as other. insurers, but not by much.
  • Only a couple riders available to add on, but, in general, riders may not be worth the extra cost.
  • There is no online application process, so customers will have to fill out a manual application.
  • If you're going through an independent advisor (broker), many don't carry Wawanesa.

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

InsurEye score:  ★★★☆☆ (2.6)

Key takeaway: Sun Life is a good life insurance company in Canada if you’re looking for a full range of different term products. You're likely to find something that fits your needs. Unfortunately, their customer service is lacking.

Company profile: Sun Life is an international financial services company, founded 150 years ago. They are the third largest insurer in Canada and are primarily known for their individual insurance products and group benefits. They have over $170 billion in assets.

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.

Pros

  • Sun Life Financial has lots of options if you're struggling to figure out what fits your needs the best. They offer four different term life insurance plans. 
  • Lots of experience in participating whole life insurance, or any policies with an investment component. Best option for permanent life insurance. You pay a bit more and gets lots of bells and whistles. The Cadillac option. Very good for high-net worth individuals. Offer extra perks like succession planning.
  • On the pricier side.
  • Very experienced advisors, some with 30+ years of experience.
  • Online quotes available.
  • Financial strength rating: A+.
  • Their simplest plan has fixed coverage amounts, taking the guesswork out of amounts needed. If you want a specific amount, you can look at one of their more complicated plans.
  • Their term life insurance policies are convertible up until the age of 75 (most companies have a limit of the age of 70 for converting your policy). 
  • They also offer no medical life insurance, if you wish to avoid a medical exam. Note that these policies tend to be on the pricier side. 
  • A long list of available riders to choose from, however these will add a charge to your monthly premium. 

Cons

  • Their funds are expensive, check investment options are limited based on the funds they have available. ETFs are the most cost-effective option. Check MERs against other providers.
  • Based on customer reviews, their customer experience is lacking. If you have questions about your coverage or wish to make a claim, you might run into difficulties connecting with customer service.
  • Not the best option for most Canadians, otherwise you're likely overpaying tor what you get.
  • There is limited policy information available online. That might indicate an issue with transparency.

Canada Protection Plan: best life insurance for seniors

Google Reviews score: ★★★★☆ (4)

Key takeaway: Canada Protection Plan is a great option if you want to avoid going through a medical, knowing that you already have a health condition that makes coverage expensive. This is what makes it a good option for seniors, or anyone with a pre-existing condition.

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, an international financial services provider that operates in Canada, the US and the UK. They are an accredited Better Business Bureau member with an A+ rating.

Note: it’s usually best to apply for fully underwritten life insurance before a no medical option.

Price

  • For a man, coverage would cost you $85.95/month.
  • Coverage for a woman would cost you $60.30/month.

Pros

  • Canada Protection Plan’s simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance products do not require Canadians to take a medical exam to qualify.
  • Their new 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.
  • They are known for fast processing times, with some applicants receiving approval within 24 hours. 
  • You have the option to get a no-obligation quote online or by phone, which makes it easier for you to compare rates.

Cons

  • Canada Protection Plan’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 still need to complete a medical questionnaire of about 20 questions. This is very standard for life insurance companies, but it is worth noting. 
  • 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.

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

BBB score: ★★★★☆ (4)

Key takeaway: Assumption Life has five promising options with fewer medical requirements, making it a good “no medical” option for applicants. But your life insurance policy will only be provided in paper form, so it’s a good option if you’re the type of person that values the tactile experience.

Company profile: Founded in Massachusetts by the Acadian community, Assumption Mutual Life is now based in Moncton, New Brunswick. Assumption Mutual Life is a Canadian life insurance and asset management company. In 2021, credit rating agency AM Best gave Assumption Life an A- (excellent) credit rating for the 22nd consecutive year.

Price

  •  If you choose Assumption Life for their no medical options, you’ll pay higher premiums. 
  • The base estimate for a 35-year-old non-smoker woman is $32.40 and man is $41.40.

Pros

  • Assumption Life has five very promising simplified issue, no medical life insurance options. These are great for use as a “plan B” if you are denied coverage from a traditional provider.
  • Their FlexTerm and FlexOption plans are cheaper than their other options that don't require any type of medical screening.
  • Assumption Life also makes it easy for you to get policies that cover you and your partner at the same time.
  • The application process is pretty straightforward and can be done online.

Cons

  • You can access your account online, but your policy will be issued by print only.
  • No medical options will still be pricier than a traditional life insurance policy, to account for the unknown risks in providing you coverage. 
  • Fees for additional riders and add-ons are comparatively expensive. 
  • The wide range of options available may be confusing for consumers at-a-glance.

CIBC Life Insurance: best life insurance for cancer survivors

InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (2.2)

Key takeaway: CIBC’s term life insurance has amounts of coverage ranging from $50,000 to $5 million, but their offerings here are pretty bare-bones. However, they do have a guaranteed acceptance product for those unable to get approval elsewhere. 

Company profile: The Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada, also known as CIBC, is a multinational banking corporation founded in the 1960s in Toronto after a merger between two established companies.  Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings mentions that CIBC has a strong business profile and is the fifth largest bank in Canada by loans, deposits and market capitalization.

Price

  • Premiums for the maximum coverage are $64.50/month for a non-smoking woman
  • $90/month for a non-smoking man

Pros

  • CIBC offers guaranteed acceptance life insurance, term life insurance and critical illness insurance to customers.
  • Their 10-year term policy can be converted to a 20-year term. 
  • Applicants can apply directly for a policy online, without having a call with an advisor.
  • Their guaranteed acceptance product guarantees coverage for $25,000.
  • This option is good as the last resort for people that have been previously denied.

Cons

  • In general, guaranteed acceptance life insurance is very expensive. Apply for a no medical policy before you apply for a product like this.
  • CIBC’s premiums will increase after each term has officially ended so make sure your budget is prepared for those higher premiums when you renew.
  • They lack variety in the term lengths available, applicants can only choose from 10 or 20 years. 
  • There are no clear differentiators for their life insurance offering, compared to the rest of the market.
  • There are few options for additional life insurance coverage (ex: riders, child coverage, spouse coverage). 

RBC Life Insurance: best convertible life insurance

InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (1.8)

Key takeaway: RBC's term life insurance policies feature guaranteed renewability and can be converted to permanent life insurance. Rates can be categorized as average across the board.

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. While not for their insurance products, RBC were awarded the JD Power Canada award for "Best in Customer Satisfaction" for their mobile banking app.

Price

  • Premiums start at an average of $24.26 per month for a woman
  • Or $32.63 per month for a man.

Pros

  • Level premiums: premium cost is the same over the duration of the term.
  • Guaranteed renewability. 
  • Term life insurance policies are convertible to permanent life insurance without an additional medical exam.
  • Choice to convert from a term policy to a universal life insurance policy.
  • Option to convert your policy until you are 71 years of age.
  • Flexible range of term lengths: 10, 15, 20 or 40 years (and anything in between).

Cons

  • Insureye reviews talk of poor customer service with difficulty getting in touch with agents to cancel their policy or to process a claim.
  • Premium rates range from average to above average compared to the rest of the industry.
  • If you’re a smoker, you’ll be rated even higher than if you applied elsewhere. 
  • No online application available. 
  • 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 replied that a two year waiting period is standard for these type of no medical policies, so check the fine print before you commit to any policy, RBC or not.

Customer review

"This is a basic policy; small [amount of] coverage, but it's inexpensive." – Customer on Insureye.

Read full RBC Life Insurance review.

TD Life Insurance: runner-up for convertible life insurance

InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (1.8)

Key takeaway: TD term life insurance is more expensive than the rest of the life insurance market, but they do indeed have convertible options for their policies. But at an average of 18% more expensive with differentiators or benefits, we recommend starting elsewhere. 

Company profile: Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is a Canadian financial services company that serves over 10 million customers. They are most known for their banking and mortgage products. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives the company an F, which is a score of: "opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers."

Price

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

Pros

  • Your premiums will be level, which means your premium stays at the same price throughout the policy’s term.
  • Their plans are convertible; you can convert a term life insurance policy to a permanent one without undergoing a medical review.
  • They offer coverage up to $10M, which is higher than most. 
  • Applicants get 10% off a bundled quote with other kinds of insurance, like home or car insurance.

Cons

  • The price point is not competitive with the rest of the industry, with often quite above-average rates. 
  • They do not boast any benefits that differentiate their offerings from others in the life insurance industry. 
  • No additional benefits provided on top of a regular policy.
  • Term coverage expires when the policyholder turns 80 (for most providers, policies are active until age 85)

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

iA Financial Life Insurance: best life insurance for smokers

InsurEye score: ★★★☆☆ (2.6)

Key takeaway: Smoker/tobacco rates can be up to 2x to 3x more than non-smoker rates.  iA Financial has reasonable life insurance rates for smokers compared to other providers. But there are only paper policies available (versus receiving your policy online). 

Company profile: Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management groups in Canada, with operations in the United States. It's based in Quebec City. iA Financial reported a Q1 loss in 2022, partly because volatile markets hit its universal life insurance policies, creating a $16M loss for their individual insurance business.

You should know: marijuana use is treated differently by life insurance providers than tabacco use.

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.

Pros

  • iA tends to have the best rates for smokers compared to other life insurance companies in Canada
  • You can choose any term length you want, rather than having to pick from a selection of term lengths. 
  • Access to an online portal to see your customer account (post-application). 
  • Option to apply for joint coverage with a partner (for first-to-die and last-to-die policies).
  • Life insurance policies available up to $10,000,000, which is higher than average. 

Cons

  • There isn’t an online option for receiving your policy online. That means more admin and more paperwork for you.
  • 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: runner-up life insurance for smokers 

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.

Company profile: ivari is a life insurance company headquartered in Toronto. In 2015, they were acquired by life re-insurance company, Wilton Re. 

Price

  • $72.00/month or $800/year for a woman.
  • $96.75/month or $1,075.00/year for a male smoker.

Pros

  • ivari offers a range of life insurance products, both based on coverage and terms available. They offer plans with 10, 20, or 30 year terms as well as a handful of extra coverage options (these come at an additional cost). 
  • With so many options, it's easy to customize your plan and meet your needs, even if you are a smoker.
  • They have the unique option of a joint policy with up to five people. In most other cases, joint policies are reserved for couples only.
  • ivari is owned by the Canada Pension Plan, which can help customers feel secure knowing that they are backed by an established institution. 
  • 99 percent payout rate in2022, according to ivari.

Cons

  • Compared to other insurers, the price tends to be a little higher. 
  • There is also a lack of flexibility with ivari, as you do not get to choose your term. For some, this may be a pro, since it will take some of the guesswork out of choosing.
  • There are also no permanent life insurance options.
  • Policies are not available online; applicants receive their policy in paper form. 
  • 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.

Foresters Life Insurance: best life insurance for diabetics

InsurEye score: ★★★☆☆ (3)

Key takeaway: Foresters has no medical life insurance that's more lenient for diabetic applicants. It also has a unique member program that helps families give back to their communities. However, they are not very digital forward.

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).

Price

  • Premiums start at $28.62/month for a non-smoking 35-year-old man.
  • $21.78/month for a non-smoking 35-year-old woman.

Pros

  • Foresters policy holders get access to member benefits like academic scholarships, discounted legal services and financial counselling.
  • Every year, Foresters donates millions towards local scholarship funds, care packages etc.
  • Can convert your term policy to a longer term after two years
  • 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 without providing evidence of insurability.
  • More lenient no medical options for diabetic applicants.
  • Extensive list of riders you can add to your policy, at cost. 

Cons

  • Less online-friendly. You will not be able to access policy information through an online portal.
  • Can't get your policy delivered online.
  • Claims are only processed by mail-in, which is inconvenient. 
  • Limited ways to get in touch with customer service. Currently, the only option available is to call in. 
  • No way to get a life insurance quote online. 
  • There are a number of customer complaints on Better Business Bureau that remain unresolved and unresponded to by Foresters.

Empire Life Insurance: best life insurance for bundling

Google Reviews rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.3)

Key takeaway: Empire Life offers life insurance to individuals, families, and small business owners. Because of their range of term and permanent life insurance options, on top of critical illness insurance, they are a good option for bundling policies. 

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. They currently only have one unanswered customer complaint on the Better Business Bureau website.

Price

  • Empire Life term coverage starts at $32.85/month for a man
  • $24.75/month for a woman. 
  • Parameters: non-smoking, 20-year term, $500,000 in coverage.

Pros

  • Looking for whole life insurance for children? Empire's Solution 100 product is one of the most affordable on the market.
  • Good range of term life insurance policies, including 10, 20, 25, and even 30 years of coverage.
  • Up to $10,000,000, which is more than the average.
  • The approval times are quicker-than-average for the life insurance industry.
  • In some cases, instant approval is possible.  
  • Comprehensive list of life insurance riders including child riders and accidental death. 
  • You can access your policy contract online, as opposed to getting a copy mailed to you. 
  • Their range of options makes it a full-service choice for some applicants, depending on their needs. 

Cons

  • There are reports that Empire Life encourages people to buy permanent life insurance policies over term.
  • The investment components of Empire Life’s permanent life insurance policies are over-complicated and 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. 
  • There is no universal life insurance policy available. 

Customer review

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

Desjardins: best whole life insurance for children

Key takeaway: Desjardins Group offers one of the most affordable whole life insurance policies for children in Canada. Desjardins has a variety of riders and products you can add on, like disability insurance. And you can get multi-policy discounts if you get those additional products with them. 

We don't recommend buying whole life insurance for kids, so you should read our post on life insurance for children if you want to know why. But if that is your choice, Desjardins, Empire and Wawanesa offer some of the most affordable options in Canada.

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. 

Price

  • Desjardins' Whole Life Guaranteed to 100 policy costs $35.37 per month for a five-year old child.
  • The starter premium rate for a non-smoking, 35-year-old man is $33.30/month
  • $25.20/month for a woman.

Pros

  • Desjardins has a strong brick-and-mortar presence in Ontario and Quebec: both urban centres and towns/villages.
  • One-stop-shop for coverage. Add on critical illness insurance, disability insurance and permanent life insurance and get multi-policy discounts.
  • Term life insurance products have multiple riders you can add-on to customize your policy.
  • One policy can cover an entire family.
  • Term life insurance policies can be convertible.

Cons

  • Desjardins’ presence is mainly in Ontario and Quebec.
  • There are limited term life insurance product options available. 
  • It is not often listed as an affordable option for the average applicant. 
  • They mostly rely on paper policies, though your advisor can get you a digital copy.
  • In 2021, Desjardins reached a settlement with plaintiffs after a huge data breach that happened in 2019.

Emma Life Insurance: best short-term life insurance

Google Reviews rating: ★★★★★ (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 only suited for coverage for extremely short-term loans. They recently introduced locked-in rates, as well.

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 in April 2022.

Price

  • A 35-year-old man will pay an average of $17.91.
  • A woman of the same age would pay an average of $13.95.

Take note: this is the cost for the year, but your premiums will go up yearly. 

Pros

  • 100% online purchase process.
  • Prices start at $6 per month.
  • You are able to cancel your policy at any time.
  • Offers both term and whole life insurance, as well as optional $25,000 in child coverage.
  • Term life insurance can be converted to a whole life policy.
  • Brokerage for other offerings such as car, home and pet insurance.

Cons

  • You must create an online account to get a quote.
  • You can't get a quick quote online, you need to apply to see your price.
  • Premium amounts are not guaranteed after the first 5 years, unless you choose their 10 or 20 year terms.
  • 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.
  • All documents related to a claim have to be submitted within 90 days of the date of death or the claim will not be paid.
  • Misstating your smoking status will completely void a claim (traditionally claims are still paid out).
  • Policies are only available for applicants in Ontario and Quebec.
  • Term coverage only until age 65.
  • Maximum coverage amount of $1,000,000.

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.

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

Trustpilot Score: ★★★★☆ (4.6)

Key takeaway: Cover Direct Life Insurance is yearly renewable life insurance, with no additional medical exams. The premiums are not level and increase every year that you have a policy with them.

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.

Price

  • Premiums start at $9.28/month.

Pros 

  • No medical exams, blood tests or otherwise are needed to get insured. 
  • You can get up to $1.5M in life insurance coverage (there are age restrictions according to their sample policy).
  • They state that they provide worldwide coverage, so you are covered wherever you are.
  • Optional children's coverage ($30,000) and critical illness insurance for an extra fee.

Cons

  • At first, Cover Direct may seem like an affordable option but premiums increase every year with your renewal. 
  • The entire application process needs to be done over the phone with an advisor.
  • Some Trustpilot reviews say the advisors are pushy.
  • Other reviewers that the pricing is hard to understand or more expensive than what they've seen with other insurers.
  • You will still be required to answer a range of medical questions to apply for a policy.
  • You must apply to make any changes to your existing policy. 

Humania: best life insurance for pre-existing conditions

Google Reviews rating: ★★★★☆ (3.7)

Key takeaway: Humania’s online HuGo Life Insurance product is designed to accept applications quickly with few requirements. Humania offers term insurance policies with both guaranteed and renewable premiums. 

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. 

Price

  • Humania’s pricing isn’t great compared to others in the market. 
  • A 35-year-old, non-smoking man will pay around $30.87 monthly.
  • A non-smoking woman of the same age will pay around $23.31/month.

Pros

  • The web-based HuGo Life Insurance product aims to insure more than 65% of policies instantly, with application taking less than 45 minutes.
  • It’s known for its streamlined processes and embracing online applications.
  • Term policies can be easily converted into longer terms.
  • There is a good range of no-medical options.
  • There are fixed premium term policies up to age 80 and conversion terms up to age 100.
  • They state that Humania is a “mutual insurance company” that acts in the best interest for their policyholders. 

Cons

  • Humania has limited options in terms of preferred pricing for healthier individuals.
  • There is also no preferential pricing if you’re in good health, making it not a great option for the average Canadian applicant.
  • There is a lack of transparency for their plans and policies at-a-glance online.

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 $36.90/month if you’re a 40 year old non-smoking woman
  • You can expect to pay $49.76/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

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.

Andrew Ostro

CEO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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