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Getting life insurance in Ottawa: the basics.

No matter where you live in Canada, when it comes to life insurance, one thing is constant: nothing influences the amount you pay for life insurance more than your age and health status.

The life insurance application itself is the same in every province or territory, as well.

That said, the city you live in may have an impact on how much life insurance you buy.

We take a look at how different factors specific to Ottawa — where the housing market is heating up but average debts remain some of the lowest among major Canadian metropolitan areas — influence the cost of life insurance for consumers living there.

Your questions about life insurance in Ottawa, answered.

What factors could influence life insurance premiums in Ottawa?

High property values: Average housing prices in Ottawa currently sit just below $500,000. However, this average has increased by almost 12% since last year. Furthermore, a typical household in Ottawa would need to dedicate 41.1% of its income to cover homeownership costs, compared to a national average of 51.4%.

Debt levels: In addition to property values, the amount of non-mortgage debt you carry will also influence how much life insurance coverage you buy, as the payout should ideally be enough to repay any outstanding balances. On average, debt levels in Ottawa are in the middle-range compared to other Canadian cities. According to data from Statistics Canada, debt-to-income levels hit 149% relative to after-tax income in 2016, while the average in Toronto and Moncton is 210% and 106%, respectively.

Average income and occupation: As of Sept. 2019, the average annual salary in Ottawa sits at about $54,000 and the median annual household income for the Ottawa-Gatineau region is $105,050. Average hourly wages in Ottawa skew high at just under $20 an hour, which makes sense given that a good portion of Ottawa’s workforce is comprised of well-paid employees in the tech and government sectors. Looking at housing costs relative to salaries, Ottawa residents are in better shape financially than residents of other major Canadian cities.

What are the different types of life insurance?

Term life insurance: Term insurance is the most popular form of life insurance because you pay less when you’re younger and more as you age. It’s a contract that guarantees coverage for a predetermined amount of years and is renewable once the term expires. Your rate does increase at renewal, but not to the same degree as if you were buying insurance for the first time. If you don’t renew with your insurance company, you lose your coverage, and you have to apply for a new life insurance insurance policy all over again.

These are the terms available:

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

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance offers coverage that lasts your entire life: buy it once and you’re set. The premiums for a permanent life insurance policy are higher than what you’ll pay on a term policy, but they stay level as long as the policy’s active. In addition, they provide a number of investment opportunities that you can take advantage of before you die.

There are two types of permanent life insurance:

Whole life: With this product, you pay premiums for as long as you’re alive (or for as long as you keep the policy — you can always cancel it, but you lose your coverage). This is in contrast to universal life insurance, which allows you to speed up payments in order to ‘pay off’ the policy and own it in full, kind of like the way a mortgage works. Whole life policies have both a cash value and an investment component. The rate at which your cash accrues value is fully guaranteed — the insurance company is not allowed to change the terms.

Universal life: Premiums are flexible and customers are able to take breaks from making payments. However, skipped payments will be taken out of the policy’s cash value. Universal life insurance gives policyholders some latitude to choose where and how they want to invest their policy’s cash value. Also, interest is adjusted monthly to ensure that the cash value will accumulate value faster when interest rates are rising. However, interest rates and stocks are forever in flux, so universal life insurance doesn’t come with the same guarantees as whole life. That’s why it’s considered a higher-risk product as far as life insurance goes.

Term 100: While its name might lead you to believe otherwise, term 100 insurance is actually one kind of 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 contribute to your life insurance premium.

  • 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 policyholder lied on their application about not having a preexisting health condition.
  • Smoking: Smokers tend to pay hefty life insurance premiums because they’re considered higher risk for developing cancer.
  • Age: The older you are, the more life insurance costs. When you apply for life insurance in middle age, for example, the insurance company assumes they’ll have to pay your beneficiaries your death benefit sooner than they would with a twenty-something customer. Basically, the horizon is shorter.
  • Family history: If you're at high risk of inheriting a health condition, you may pay a higher life insurance premium.
  • Gender: Women often pay less than men when it comes to life insurance because, statistically, they have a longer life expectancy.
  • Weight: Being overweight is believed to increase your risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and more. 
  • Drinking: Insurers charge heavy drinkers higher premiums. 

How much does life insurance cost in Ottawa?

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

Male, 30, non-smoker

Location: Ontario

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: $40 - $83 / month

Whole life: $222 - $338 / month

Female, 30, non-smoker

Location: Ontario

Coverage amount: $400,000

Term 30: Term 30: $29 - $68 / month

Whole life: $198 - $332 / month

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