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Getting life insurance in Manitoba: the basics.

Starting to look for life insurance quotes in Manitoba? It’s important to have an understanding of when you need life insurance, how it works, and what kind of life insurance you need.

Life insurance is there to protect you and your loved ones should something ever happen to you. If you have people that depend on you financially and would struggle when you’re gone, life insurance is a must-have. It’s also a good idea if you have debts that might get passed on to others (the co-signer on your mortgage, for instance).

Life insurance premiums are calculated based on a variety of factors including your age, occupation, health status, and how long you’ve had a policy for, among other things. It’s also important to understand what impacts your life insurance rates, and what you can do to get better prices (we’ll get into that below).

More than half of the 1.35 million people who live in Manitoba have life insurance coverage, according to a survey by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Out of those 720,000 people, the average value of a Manitoban’s policy is $234,000.

Your questions about life insurance in Manitoba, answered.

What type of life insurance is available in Manitoba?

There are two main types of life insurance in Manitoba: term and permanent. It’s important to know the difference between the two to help you determine which policy is right for you.

Term life insurance:

Term life insurance means you’re “renting” policy for a certain period of time, essentially. There are a variety of term lengths available from various providers: generally, 10 or 20-year terms are the most popular.

The benefit of term policies is that you can buy them for the period of time you believe you may require life insurance. At the end of a term, you can choose to renew your policy — or not to renew. Your premium will likely change upon renewal, as you’ll be older and there may be changes to your health.

However, life insurance doesn't work like car insurance. If you choose not to renew your policy, you'll have to reapply for life insurance with a different company. And since you're older, your premiums will be much higher. It's usually cheaper to stick with your original insurer.

Term policies are cheaper if you buy them at a younger age; you will also have lower rates if you hold a term policy continuously (e.g. you renew your term policy instead of having a policy expire only to get a new one a year later). The best time to price shop for insurance is when you're young and buying insurance for the first time. 

Term policies are also a form of protection and income replacement if anything ever happens to you. For example, you may want to get a 30-year policy when your child is born to ensure their coverage continues until they are old enough to provide for themselves.

Permanent life insurance:

Unlike term, this form of life insurance is designed to be paid into and cover you for your entire life (hence “permanent”). There are two main types of permanent life insurance and they have some important differences:

  • Whole life: With whole life, you make fixed payments for the lifespan of the policy. Payments can’t be increased or decreased. Whole life policies have a cash value and that cash is invested by the insurer. This cash value can be paid out at death, or used by you while you’re still alive in a variety of ways, including as extra income during retirement.
  • Universal life: Like whole life, the policy has a cash value, but premiums are more flexible. You can pause payments if needed, though the premium is then deducted from the cash value of your policy. Universal life also allows policyholders to have input on how their benefit is invested.
  • Term 100: While its name might lead you to believe otherwise, term 100 insurance is actually a kind of permanent insurance policy. When you purchase a 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.

All of the major life insurance companies in Canada offer policies in Manitoba, including Manulife, RBC Insurance, BMO and Canada Life. As well, the province is home to a number of brokers who help those in the province get insurance. You can compare all these providers easily on

How much life insurance do you need in Manitoba?

You won’t be paying more or less for life insurance just because you live in Manitoba. Location doesn’t impact your rates: your own personal circumstances do, such as your age, health and whether you’ve had life insurance previously.

However, where you live in the province may factor into how big of a benefit you decide to get. For instance, if you’re carrying a mortgage and hope that your benefit will help your loved ones pay it off if you pass, you’ll have different decisions to make depending on whether you’re in Winnipeg (where the average home price in 2019 was $312,655) versus Brandon (where the average home price was $244,900 in 2019).

Your salary is something you also want to take into consideration when you’re buying life insurance. A general rule of thumb is you want 10 times your average salary. According to Statistics Canada, the median salary in Manitoba is $35,700. Someone with that salary following the aforementioned rule would be looking at a benefit of $357,000. Of course, this is a general guideline: everyone’s circumstances are different. You may have some coverage through your employer’s benefits package, too. In that case, you might want a smaller benefit.

According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, the average individual life insurance policy in Manitoba is worth $234,000, while the average household policy is $441,000. The benefit paid from a death benefit is not taxable, which is another thing to consider when you’re planning.

How much does life insurance cost in Manitoba?

Again, what you’ll be paying for life insurance will largely depend on your age, health and how big of a benefit you want. A 24-year-old making $40,000 a year looking for a $400,000 benefit will pay far less than a 40-year-old making $115,000 a year looking for a $1.2-million benefit.

Because there are so many variables, the first step is to fill out a form and get a life insurance quote. That will give you a ballpark of what you’ll be paying monthly. From there, you can adjust your benefit accordingly.

Holding a policy over a longer period of time can open up lower rates for you (for instance, a 32-year-old who got a 10-year term policy at 22 and renews it will likely pay less than a 32-year-old who has never had life insurance before).

Nevertheless, we’ve assembled a sample quote to show you what insurance could cost:

Male, 30, non-smoker

Location: Manitoba

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $40 - $83 / month

Whole life: $220 - $340 / month

Female, 30, non-smoker

Location: Manitoba

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $29 - $70 / month

Whole life: $200 - $330 / month

What other factors might impact my life insurance rate in Manitoba?

The type of policy you get will affect your rates. Term premiums tend to be cheaper than permanent premiums because you’re essentially “renting” the policy. If you don’t die during the term, and you decide not to renew, you receive no benefit. However, with permanent policies, your own your policy.

Your occupation can also affect your life insurance rates. High-risk jobs such as chemical workers, firefighters or those in the military can all command higher rates. But it’s not just physically demanding jobs that are a risk to some insurers: even politicians or entertainers can cost more to insure or may need special insurance. It’s important to ask your insurer if your occupation falls into a special-risk category and ensure you have the right coverage.

Manitoba is a province full of gorgeous waterways and abundant nature, which means you may enjoy outdoor activities that your insurer considers high-risk, like skydiving or rock climbing. If so, it’s important to tell your insurer. They may decline to pay out your benefit if you die doing one of these more adventurous activities and you haven’t disclosed them ahead of time.

How is life insurance regulated in Manitoba?

The Insurance Council of Manitoba is responsible for licencing and disciplining insurance agents, brokers and adjusters in the province, but it does not have the authority to adjudicate disputes between insurance companies and consumers. That power lies with the Financial Institutions Regulation Branch, which regulates cooperatives, credit unions and the insurance industry in the province.

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