Thinking of buying whole life insurance but aren’t sure which company to choose?
A recent survey by Insurance Business Magazine revealed that around 48% of Canadians have a life insurance policy. Life insurance is one of the best ways to ensure your family’s financial security if you fall victim to a deadly accident, disease, or illness.
Whole life insurance policies offer added benefits and security, as they can also be used as investment vehicles. Below, I’ll outline some of the best whole life insurance companies in Canada, so you can find the policy that’s best for you.
Put simply, life insurance is designed to insure the financial value of your life. Although life is priceless, there is a certain monetary value to your life based on the amount of money you earn and your ability to pay your bills.
If you unexpectedly pass away, your life insurance policy will provide your beneficiaries with the financial support they need to maintain their lifestyle without having to make hard decisions.
There are three types of life insurance:
- Term life insurance
- Whole life insurance
- Universal life insurance
Today, we’ll be talking about whole life insurance, which is also referred to as permanent life insurance.
Whole life insurance policies typically incur higher monthly premiums, but they also come with more benefits and perks. Unlike term policies (which only provide coverage for a set term), whole life insurance provides coverage from the day you sign up until the day you die.
In addition to providing your family with a payout on your death, whole-life insurance policies can also be used as investment vehicles. As you pay your premiums, your policy will accumulate a cash value.
The cash value of your policy can be used for several things, including:
- Purchasing additional life insurance
- Reducing your monthly premium payments
- Investing into the market, so that the cash value can continue growing
Your policy’s cash value can also be borrowed against if you ever need a short-term loan to cover emergency expenses, home repairs, and more.
Are you ready to start your first life insurance policy?
Before you get too excited, I encourage you to do a bit of research. There are a plethora of whole life insurance companies in Canada, all of which offer slightly different plans and benefits for their customers.
To help you with your research, I’ve compiled a list of the best whole life insurance providers in Canada, along with some of the key features, benefits, and plans offered by each insurer.
- Learn More: Start searching with PolicyAdvisor
- Good For: Finding the best deals on whole life insurance
PolicyAdvisor itself is not an insurance company. Rather, it’s an online marketplace designed to help pair Canadians with the best life insurance policies on the market.
If you’re just getting started, you’ll need to provide PolicyAdvisor with some basic details about yourself and the type of policy that you’re looking for, including:
- Your age
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Whether you’re looking for term or whole life insurance
- The amount of coverage you’re looking for
PolicyAdvisor will then use this information to pair you with the most competitive rates from its network of over 30 insurance providers.
Wondering what the benefit of using a marketplace like PolicyAdvisor has over directly contacting insurance agencies?
Simple – because it’s a competitive marketplace, insurers know that shoppers are being presented with numerous other offers. This, of course, incentivizes insurance companies to offer their best rates in an effort to get your business.
Often, you’ll be able to find more coverage at a better rate with PolicyAdvisor compared to directly contacting insurers or working through a third-party agent.
PolicyAdvisor’s advisors are real human beings, and you’ll be able to contact the company directly if you have any questions or need help trying to figure out exact policy details.
Since the platform’s advisors aren’t paid on commission, you can be sure that you’re getting honest advice, as there’s no commission paid to them for recommending one company over another.
In addition to whole life insurance policies, you can also use the PolicyAdvisor platform to search for the best rates on:
- Mortgage insurance
- Children’s insurance
- No-medical insurance
- Disability insurance
- Critical illness insurance
- Term life insurance
Simply put, PolicyAdvisor is one of the best online insurance marketplaces in Canada. The service is 100% free to use, so there’s no risk to you.
Want to learn more? Read my full PolicyAdvisor review here!
- Learn More: manulife.ca
- Good For: Growing your policy’s cash value
Manulife offers both participating and non-participating whole life insurance policies. Manulife Par is the company’s flagship plan.
While it comes with higher monthly premiums compared to Manulife’s non-participating whole-life policy, the plan pays out dividends directly to policyholders. These dividends can be contributed to the plan or kept as profit.
Manulife allows each policyholder to choose a flexible plan that works for them, allowing them to set their own premiums and dividend plans and even make additional payments on their policy. This allows your policy to grow as your income grows, making it a great long-term choice.
- Learn More: cpp.ca
- Good For: Affordable non-participating whole life insurance
The Canada Protection Plan is one of the more affordable whole life insurance policies in Canada and offers policy amounts with as little as $10,000 worth of coverage.
CPP isn’t the best insurer for those who want to build equity in the form of cash value or use their plan as an investment vehicle. However, the company does offer great deals for smaller policies.
Many of CPP’s customers purchase these lower-value policies to help cover funeral expenses or to leave a small nest egg to their immediate family.
CPP allows anybody between the ages of 18 and 80 to apply as well, which makes purchasing a policy very accessible, even to older or retired applicants.
- Learn More: bmo.com
- Good For: Flexible whole-life policy
The Bank of Montreal’s non-participating whole life insurance policy is one of the more flexible plans on the market.
While the plan doesn’t offer dividend payments, policyholders will get to take advantage of policy bonuses at the end of each year, such as premium deferment or the ability to increase their premium payments to build their cash value faster.
As a policyholder, you’ll also be given free access to BMO’s Insurance Health Advocate Plan, which provides you with comprehensive assistance services related to your healthcare.
- Learn More: sunlife.ca
- Good For: Whole life insurance with outstanding customer service
Sun Life prides itself on its customer service. Whether you’re looking for a modern digital experience or you’re looking for something a bit more classical, customers will be able to choose from a variety of whole-life plans to find the one that works best for them.
The key whole-life policies offered by Sun Life include the following:
- Sun Par Accelerator
- Sun Par Protector II
- Sun Par Accumulator II
In addition to whole-life policies that pay dividends, Sun Life also offers several non-participating permanent life insurance policies as well.
With Sun Life, you’ll always be able to speak to an agent in person, which is a big perk in today’s world of automated robotic answering machines.
- Learn More: empire.ca
- Good For: Early policy payment
Empire is one of Canada’s oldest insurance providers and has been around since 1923, which makes it a century old. During this time, the company has had ample opportunity to win the trust of its customers and has built a solid reputation for itself.
Empire offers both participating and non-participating life insurance policies. The non-participating policy, named Solution 100, offers a level premium until age 100. Empires EstateMax and OptiMax plans are participating policies for those who want to steadily grow their cash value.
One of the perks of Empire’s whole-life policies is that they’re one of the only insurers that offer early payment options. Empire’s “pay-in-8” plan allows policyholders to pay their policy’s premiums off completely in 8 years if they’re willing to pay heightened premiums.
After this, all payments made to the policy will contribute directly to its cash value, which can allow it to grow far quicker than a traditional life insurance policy.
- Learn More: equitable.com
- Good For: Policy options
Equitable Life offers a wide variety of life insurance policies, including term, whole life, and universal. The Equimax Estate Builder and Equitable Wealth Accumulator are two of the company’s most popular products, and each offers a variety of dividend payment options for customers to take advantage of.
Upon signing up for a policy, you’ll be able to choose between two payment options:
- 20Pay (pay in 20 years)
- LifePay (pay over your life till 100)
- Learn More: ia.ca
- Good For: Creating a customized policy for your unique needs
Industrial Alliance offers four different payment options for its whole life insurance policies, including 10-pay, 20-pay, 65-pay, and life-pay. So, depending on your wealth-building goals and current income, you’ll be able to pay off your policy in as little as ten years or over the course of your lifetime.
One of the standout features of IA’s whole-life policies is that policyholders can change their policy at any time over the course of their life. This provides added flexibility to increase or decrease premiums, cash balance contributions, and dividend payments.
- Learn More: Search whole life policies with Emma Insurance
- Good For: Finding affordable life insurance policies
Emma Insurance is somewhat similar to PolicyAdvisor in that it’s an online insurance marketplace designed to pair customers with affordable policies that best suit their needs.
To ensure that you get the best whole life insurance quote, I recommend using both PolicyAdvisor and Emma to get paired with the maximum number of quotes from various insurance providers. The more quotes you get, the faster you’ll be able to find the right policy for you.
- Learn More: lacapitalefs.com
- Good For: Affordable whole life insurance
La Capitale Financial Services provides a number of banking and financial products to customers, including whole-life policies. The company offers both participating and non-participating plans that cater to a range of different applicants.
Some of the most popular policies offered by La Capitale include:
- La Capitale Advantage (affordable, non-participating policy)
- Horizon 50+ (affordable policy for older applicants)
With all policies, you’ll be able to choose between life-pay, pay-to-65, or 20-pay, which gives you flexible payment options.
This ultimately depends on your goals and the type of protection you’re looking for. If you’re just looking for simple protection in the event of an untimely death, then a term policy is probably your best option. In general, term policies are far more affordable and can be cancelled anytime.
By contrast, whole life insurance policies double as both a life insurance policy and a wealth-building tool. As you contribute to the policy’s premiums, you’ll also pay into the policy’s cash value, which can be used to invest in the market, paying you dividends over time.
The main drawback of whole-life policies is that they’re generally a lot more expensive and can be difficult to cancel if you ever decide that you no longer want to pay into the policy.
I personally think that in most cases, term insurance is good for coverage. I don’t like to combine both my investments and insurance together, so I don’t love whole-life insurance as a product. I used to be a life insurance advisor and mostly sold term life insurance to my clients.
To wrap things up, here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about whole life insurance in Canada.
The amount of coverage you need depends on several factors, including your mortgage value, the type of lifestyle your family lives, and how much you want to leave behind.
As a general rule of thumb, you should purchase enough life insurance to cover the remaining value of your mortgage if you were to pass away suddenly. This will ensure that your family doesn’t have to give up the house after going through the pain of losing you.
Initially, most of your premium payments will pay directly into your policy. After about ten years, though, a percentage of your premiums will go toward the policy’s cash value. As your cash value grows, you’ll be able to invest it.
Although your cash balance technically can’t be withdrawn, it can be borrowed against (albeit with interest payments). This is similar to how one might borrow against the value of their mortgage.
Yes, all whole life insurance policies require applicants to undergo an initial medical exam to prove that they’re in good health and don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions.
If you want to find the best deal on a whole life insurance policy, I recommend applying through PolicyAdvisor. PolicyAdvisor works with all the insurance providers I mentioned on this list (and more), allowing you to get the most competitive quotes from Canada’s top life insurance companies.
Keep on reading to learn more about Canada’s best life insurance providers!