September 2022 – 15 min read
People often buy life insurance when they’re getting married, having a child, buying a home or starting a business
You can think of life insurance as a financial safety net for those you leave behind.
Life insurance provides whomever you choose with a one-time, tax-free payment (also known as a death benefit) when you die, as long as you continue to pay your premiums.
There are different types of life insurance. It not only protects your family, it can also be part of your financial plan, as you may be able to access money in your policy while you’re alive.
There are often life events that motivate people to consider getting life insurance.
Life insurance can help provide for your child and your family if something happens to you. You may also consider buying life insurance for your child.
With life insurance coverage you can help make sure your family can pay off the mortgage and other expenses if the unexpected happens.
When 2 or more partners start a business, having life insurance can provide funds to allow surviving partners to run the company. Business-owned insurance provides a one-time payout to your company if you, your business partner or key employees die. It can help cover business debt, overhead expenses or a partner buy-out.
That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t buy life insurance if you’re single. Being young and healthy are good reasons to get life insurance because generally you’ll pay less for your life insurance when you’re younger.
The amount of insurance you need will depend on what you’re using it for – replacing your income, paying off your mortgage, funding education, etc.
According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance AssociationOpens a new website in a new window, the average life insurance protection per household in Canada is $442,000.
Experts recommend purchasing at least 5 times your annual income in life insurance coverage, although every person’s situation is unique. A 2021 Canada Life General Financial Knowledge Survey determined that only 27% of Canadians knew the recommended life insurance coverage.
Trevor is in his mid-30s and makes $70,000 a year, wants to add $50,000 to his 2 children’s registered education savings plans (RESPs), pay off a $400,000 mortgage and provide $10,000 for funeral and final expenses.
|5 times annual income ($70,000)
|RESPs ($50,000 x 2 children)
That means his policy should payout $860,000. And because he’s married and his partner makes the same income, they should both have policies for this amount.
An advisor can help you determine the amount of life insurance that’s right for your situation.
The above example is for illustrative purposes only. Situations will vary according to specific circumstances.
Term life insurance protects you for a set period of time, like 5 or 50 years. When that time’s up, your coverage is renewed at a higher cost if you don’t cancel your coverage. You can also convert it to permanent life insurance without having to answer questions about your health.
It often has a lower initial cost than permanent life insurance, and it’s a popular way for those starting out to protect themselves and their families. Term life insurance is usually less expensive than permanent life insurance, so you may be able to purchase more coverage.
Permanent life insurance gives you lifelong insurance coverage as long as you pay your premiums.
The premiums you pay for your coverage, along with premiums from other participating life insurance policyowners, go into an account. The insurance company’s professional investment team manages this account, investing to increase its value.
It’s from this account that your death benefit and any potential dividends are paid. While dividends are not guaranteed, any you may receive can be used to buy additional coverage, reduce your annual premium payments or be taken out as cash (though any cash values withdrawn from the policy may be taxed). If you borrow or withdraw money from your policy, it will reduce the policy’s cash value and how much money the person (or people) you’ve designated will receive (called a death benefit).
Critical illness insurance can give you a tax-free payment if you’re diagnosed with a serious condition. Your contract will define which conditions you’re covered for, but some examples include cancer, heart attack or stroke.
Disability insurance can give you a tax-free monthly payment to help replace your income and cover your expenses if an illness or injury keeps you from working.
While a disability can often be visible to the naked eye, not all disabilities are so easily recognized. Chronic pain or a mental health issue can also qualify as a disability.
Now that you understand more how much life insurance you need, you may want to contact your advisor to:
The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.