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Life insurance in Ontario: the basics.

The purpose of life insurance is to help your beneficiaries — which could mean your spouse, children, or other dependents — maintain their standard of living after you die. If there are people who depend on your income, life insurance will grant your family financial stability. The death benefit can be used to cover your mortgage or other debt payments, cover funeral expenses, and contribute to your estate.

While life insurance is generally recommended for people who have spouses and children, there are times when single people should consider buying life insurance. For instance, if you have a co-signer on any debts (student loans, for example), life insurance ensures your co-signers won’t have to pay out of their own pockets.

According to recent statistics, 22 million Canadians collectively own $4.8 trillion in life insurance. Last year, companies paid out about $98 billion in benefits for those making claims from their health and life insurance policies. Of those claims, $7.7 billion was granted to Canadian families for death benefits. In Ontario, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association found that the average age of insured Ontarians was 41 and they were covered for $440,000.

Term insurance is one of the most popular types of life insurance policies. In a nutshell, it’s temporary, cost-effective life insurance that covers an individual within a specific period (term policies can be purchased in increments of 10, 20, or 30 years) or up to a certain age (term 65 life insurance, for example). Factors that will affect a person’s premium include things like their age, gender, whether they’re a smoker, their current health status, their family’s health history, and the amount of insurance they want to purchase.

Applying for a no-obligation quote can provide a rough estimate of what you might pay for life insurance.

Your questions about life insurance in Ontario, answered.

What type of life insurance is available in Ontario?

Term insurance: This type of life insurance is a temporary plan that tends to be more affordable for adults just starting out: newlyweds and young families. Term insurance allows customers to purchase coverage for a set period — a term — ranging from 10 to 75 years. Once your term runs out, your policy can be renewed at a higher rate. If your death occurs when your policy’s still active, your family receives the full death benefit but owners of this type of policy need be careful: if the term ends and the policy is not renewed, you lose your coverage and your beneficiaries won’t receive a financial payout. For those buying life insurance for the first time, term insurance generally offers the cheapest premiums.

Permanent: This kind of policy covers you for your entire life. Your spouse and kids will receive financial backing from your provider if you pass at any time once your policy is activated. While premiums are initially higher than those paid by term insurance policyholders, premiums for permanent insurance will never increase. One attractive feature of a permanent policy is that it offers a cash value, which belongs to you — even if you cancel the policy.

Major providers of life insurance in Ontario:

There are more than 160 life and health insurers operating in Canada. When shopping for life insurance quotes, make sure that the provider you’re considering is approved by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

Below are some major providers in Ontario:

  • BMO Life Insurance
  • Assumption Mutual Life Insurance Company
  • Canada Life Insurance Company
  • CIBC Life Insurance
  • Desjardin
  • Manulife
  • RBC
  • Scotia Life Insurance Company
  • Sun Life Insurance

How much life insurance do you need in Ontario?

Age plays a much more important role than geography. For example, the younger you are and the more financial responsibilities you have, the more insurance you’ll need. Many experts recommend getting a death benefit that’s five times your annual income. If your kids are still young, you may even want to increase that amount. Some experts recommend getting up to 10 times your income if your kids are younger than 10.

You’ll want to cover your family to maintain their standard of living they’ve become accustomed to. That includes things like mortgage payments and educational costs. Consider, for example, the following data points:

  • The average property in Ontario costs $553,638 as of 2018.
  • The average salary in Ontario is $74,287 according to 2015 data.
  • The average household debt in Ontario was $154,000 in 2016.
  • The average amount of life insurance policies in Ontario is $440,000.

How much does life insurance cost in Ontario?

Until you actually apply for insurance — or at very least, a life insurance quote — you won’t know how much your life insurance is going to cost. Age, gender, health, current debt and family health history all factor into your rate. Since Ontario is a well-populated province with lots of insurers in the marketplace, lack of competition isn’t a factor. However, you won’t actually know until you check with a provider who can weigh all the factors specific to you.

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

Male, 30, non-smoker

Location: Ontario

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $40 - $83 / month

Whole life: $220 - $340 / month

Female, 30, non-smoker

Location: Ontario

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $29 - $70 / month

Whole life: $200 - $330 / month

What other factors might impact my premium?

Generally speaking, the premiums for term life insurance are lower than the ones for permanent policies.

Also, if you’re considering buying a permanent policy, buying a policy while you’re young can save you a lot of money later on.

Working in an occupation that is hazardous (like construction, mining, arboriculture, firefighting, etc.) can increase premiums.

Participation in extreme sports that are popular in Ontario — rock climbing, skiing, boating or rafting — may also result in a premium hike.

How is life insurance regulated in Ontario?

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) regulates insurance providers in the province. When researching potential policy providers in Ontario, make sure they’re on the FSCO-approved list.

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