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Life insurance in Calgary: the basics.

So, you live in Calgary and you’re thinking of purchasing life insurance.

We have some good news: it doesn’t have to be a daunting process.

We cover some of the most commonly-asked questions Calgary consumers have about buying life insurance on this page.

Once you have a better working knowledge about life insurance, you can apply for a free quote. We’ll show you rates from 20+ companies. Just like that.

Your questions about life insurance in Calgary, answered.

What affects life insurance premiums in Calgary?

The biggest factors that determine how much you pay for life insurance are your age and health status. Bottom line, if you’re young and healthy, you’ll pay less than someone who waited until middle age to purchase life insurance.

However, there are other variables that also influence the cost — one of them being the city you live in, albeit in an indirect way.

Here’s how it works: insurance companies require applicants to take inventory of their finances to determine how much coverage they need to buy. In other words, this is the stage where you’re determining the size of your death benefit — the tax-free lump sum that will be paid to your beneficiaries when you die.

The death benefit should be large enough to ensure your beneficiaries can live off it. Your benefit should be roughly 10 times your salary.

Where you live can greatly shape your earning potential and the amount of debt you carry. A $1.5-million life insurance policy will cost more than a $400,000 policy.

Here are some of the categories that you and your broker or agent will review when determining how large your death benefit should be.

Your income: The death benefit should be large enough to provide for your beneficiaries — it should be enough to cover the loss of your income. The average individual income in Calgary before taxes is $66,311 and the average household income before taxes is $113,152.

The size of your mortgage: Your death benefit should be large enough to help your beneficiaries make mortgage payments if you owe money on your house when you die. Unlike much of the country, the average price of a home in Calgary slipped slightly between 2018 to 2019. A detached home in Calgary sold for $535,422 as of August 2019 — a 5% decrease from the August 2018 average of $563,704.

Your household debt: The death benefit should be large enough to cover any debts you’ve incurred with your beneficiary. Calgarians carry an average of $29,905 in non-mortgage debt.

Your monthly living expenses: The death benefit should be large enough to help your beneficiaries maintain their standard of living in the immediate aftermath of your death. In Calgary, the cost of living for a single person is between $1585-$2195 per month for a single adult and between $3795-$4705 per month for two adults and a child.

What kind of life insurance policy do you need in Calgary?

There are two main types of life insurance available in Calgary, and across Canada, as well. They are term and permanent insurance and there are advantages to each depending on your financial goals.

Term life insurance: Term life insurance is the most popular form of life insurance in Canada, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. The policy is essentially a contract that guarantees coverage for a predetermined amount of years. If you don’t renew your policy at the end of the term, you will lose your coverage.

These are the terms available:

  • Term 10
  • Term 15
  • Term 20
  • Term 30
  • Term to 65
  • Term to 70
  • Term to 75

Term insurance allows you to pay less when you’re younger and more as you age. For example, if you purchase a Term 10 policy, your policy automatically renews for another 10 years after it expires, but at a higher rate.

Permanent life insurance: Permanent life insurance guarantees coverage for life — you never have to worry about renewing a policy.

However, the premiums for a permanent policy are higher than what you’d pay on a term policy, sometimes substantially so. On the other hand, you have the peace of mind that they will never change.

In addition to that, permanent policies have what’s known as a cash value. With permanent insurance, part of your premiums goes into a savings account that you can access while you’re still alive. That is the cash value. There’s also an investment component to the cash value, so it will increase during the life of the policy.

There are three types of permanent life insurance:

Universal life: Premiums are flexible with this product, meaning policyholders are able to take breaks from making payments. However, skipped payments will be taken out of the policy’s cash value.

In addition, the cash value is invested in equity markets, which can help the value of your policy grow even faster. Universal life policies give policyholders some latitude to choose where and how they want to invest their cash value.

Interest is also adjusted monthly to ensure that the cash value will accumulate value faster when interest rates are rising. However, interest rates and the stock market are always in flux — that’s why universal life is considered to be a higher-risk product in comparison to other life insurance products.

Whole life: Unlike universal life, premiums cannot be increased or decreased. On the flip side, they’ll always be level. This policy also has a cash value and investment component, but unlike universal life, the rate at which your cash account accumulates value is guaranteed and not influenced by equity markets.

Term 100: While its name might lead you to believe otherwise term 100 insurance is actually a permanent insurance policy. When you purchase term 100 life insurance your coverage is permanent, and you must pay premiums until you turn 100.

This kind of policy is usually less expensive than universal or whole life insurance but is more expensive than term insurance. Many candidates who purchase term 100 insurance want their coverage to last as long as they are alive, but do not want to pay as much as they normally would with other permanent life insurance products.

Other things that affect your life insurance premium in Calgary.

There are other factors that impact your life insurance premiums — more so than the city you live in.

  • Age: A middle-aged person will pay more than a person in their twenties.
  • Gender: Women often pay slightly less than men in life insurance premiums because, statistically, they have a longer life expectancy.
  • Smoking: Smokers tend to pay hefty life insurance premiums because they’re considered at a higher risk for a number of diseases.
  • Drinking: Insurers charge higher premiums for heavy drinkers, but only slightly more for those who have an occasional drink.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Some preexisting conditions could cause your life insurance premiums to increase. Insurers can deny claim requests if it can be proven that the policy-holder lied on their application.
  • Family history: If a hereditary illness runs in your family, you may pay a higher life insurance premium.
  • Weight: Being overweight often increases your risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.

How much does life insurance cost in Calgary?

Here’s an estimate of how much life insurance could cost in Alberta. Apply for a personalized quote to get a better idea of how much you’d pay.

Male, 30, non-smoker

Location: Alberta

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $40 - $80 / month

Whole life: $220 - $340 / month

Female, 30, non-smoker

Location: Alberta

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $29 - $68 / month

Whole life: $195 - $330 / month

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