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Universal life insurance

Insurance as adaptable as you are

Flexible protection that lets you choose your investments and payment schedule. 

  • Flexible

    Adjust the amount you pay.

  • Power to choose

    Decide where to invest your money.

  • Build your wealth

    Achieve your goals with funds in your account.

What is universal life insurance?

It’s guaranteed, lifelong protection that lets you invest and build your wealth. And it’s one of the most flexible and affordable products available that covers you for life.

There are two parts to a universal life insurance policy: insurance and investment. You choose your investments and wealth can accumulate tax-free, within limits set by the government. You can withdraw or borrow from your policy, with certain tax implications. You can also choose who to leave your money to. 

How does it work?

  • You pay a premium for your insurance coverage.
  • After you’ve covered the insurance costs, the rest of the money goes to the policy’s investment part. 
  • The money goes toward investments of your choice.  
  • You can access the money in your account to use however you want, as long as there’s enough left to cover the insurance costs. 
  • You choose who receives the money from your insurance protection when you die. 

Let’s build a plan that works for you.

Our experts can help you figure out an insurance approach that works for your unique needs.

Already have an advisor? Get in touch.

Access your money when you need it

Universal life insurance gives you access to money you’ve earned in your policy.

You can access the money as long as there’s enough remaining to cover your monthly insurance cost, as well as any cancellation charges, policy loans and market value adjustments.


  • You can make a partial withdrawal at any time.
  • Withdrawals decrease your policy’s cash value as well as your beneficiary’s payment. 
  • The minimum withdrawal is $500. 
  • The maximum depends on your policy. You pay income tax on any withdrawals you make from your policy. 

Policy loans

  • Borrow with interest from your policy’s cash value – as long as there’s enough money to cover the cost of cancelling your insurance – and eventually pay it back. 
  • Your cash value continues to grow as if you hadn’t taken out the money. 
  • The minimum loan is $500 and may be taxable. You can repay your loan at any time. 
  • The loan will be subject to a loan interest rate set by Canada Life on each policy anniversary. 

Cancelling your policy

  • You’ll receive the balance in your account, which is called the cash surrender value.
  • During the first nine years, there’s a penalty for cancelling your policy, called a surrender charge.
  • Some policies have no surrender charge.
  • You may pay income tax on what you receive, in the year you cancel your policy.

How much insurance coverage do you need?

Ideally, you want to make sure your debts are covered, so you don’t leave major expenses behind for your loved ones.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Your income
  • Net worth
  • Family needs
  • Debt
  • Other insurance you have 

How much does it cost?

Participating life insurance can be more expensive than term and universal life insurance because of the policy’s guarantees. 

There are several variables that determine the cost of your policy. Here are a few of the main factors: 

  • Age

    Generally, insurance is less expensive when you’re younger.

  • Health

    Family history, chronic diseases and lifestyle can increase costs.

  • Gender

    Women live longer than men on average, so insurance may cost less.

  • Occupation

    If you have a dangerous job, your insurance costs can be higher.

Rates, values and performance

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