What is whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. It’s called whole life insurance because it covers you for your whole life. It gives your beneficiaries a tax-free payment after you die. Some plans can build cash value over time.

How does whole life insurance work?

Whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire life. 

With most whole life plans, your premiums (monthly or annual fees) remain the same, regardless of changes to your health. And, your beneficiaries get a tax-free death benefit after you die. 

The death benefit refers to the amount of money your beneficiaries get when you die. You can name your family or anyone you want as your beneficiaries. 

Beneficiaries are the people or person you want to financially protect. The exact amount of money they get after you die depends on: 

  • how much life insurance coverage you buy and 
  • the type of policy you have.

Your beneficiaries can use the death benefit to cover a variety of costs, like:

Child care and tuition

Mortgage or rent, Estate or legal fees

Outstanding debts

Bill payments and any other expenses

How does cash value work in a whole life insurance policy?

Most whole life insurance policies also include a feature called cash value. 

Cash value is a savings component that can grow over time. You can borrow against it or use it as collateral for a loan. You may also withdraw your cash value, but this may reduce your policy’s death benefit. There can also be tax consequences if you access your policy cash value.

How can whole life insurance help you?

As you age, or if your health deteriorates, purchasing a new insurance plan becomes much more costly. But with most whole life insurance, the premium is guaranteed to stay the same for the life of the policy. 

Plus, when you buy a whole life insurance policy, the benefit is guaranteed for the rest of your life. 

Whole life insurance can provide you with the security of knowing your loved ones will have lasting, stable financial protection. It can offer peace of mind early, leaving you free to enjoy your life now.

Compare our products and find out what’s right for you

  Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance SunSpectrum Permanent Life II
How much coverage can I get? Up to $25,000 Up to $10 million
Can I get a quote online? Yes An advisor can get you a quote
Will my coverage last the rest of my life?

Yes Coverage is provided for a person’s lifetime as long as their premiums are paid. For Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance, your monthly payments will stay the same until you turn 95. At that age, you stop paying, but your life insurance will cover you for the rest of your life.

Yes Coverage is provided for a person’s lifetime as long as their premiums are paid.
Will my premiums remain the same as I age? Yes Yes
Will I have to answer questions about my health? No Yes
Can I choose my beneficiaries? Yes Yes
Can I change my beneficiaries at any time? Yes
Here's how.
Here's how.
What ages are eligible for coverage? Ages 30 to 74 Ages 0 to 85
Will I have to go through underwriting when I apply? No. Yes. 
Here's what it means
Where can I learn more? Learn more about Sun Life Go Guaranteed Learn more about SunSpectrum Permanent Life II
Downloadable brochure    

Frequently Asked Questions

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance.

Both term and whole life insurance offer a tax-free death benefit to your beneficiaries after you die. But under a term policy, you’re covered only for a set amount of time (e.g. 5, 10 or 15 years). So if you died after this time, your beneficiaries won’t get the proceeds because there’s no death benefit to be paid. You can renew the policy when your term ends, but your premiums may be higher after renewal. 

Yes, there are various types of permanent life insurance policies such as participating life insurance and universal life insurance. You can look through all your options with an advisor. An advisor can help you build life insurance into your overall plan.

Why Canadians choose Sun Life

We’ve been paying claims in Canada for more than 155 years. And today we’re there for millions of Canadians during the most important moments of their lives. We’re committed to helping Canadians achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives.  

Get whole life insurance from Sun Life Canada

Protect what matters most with Whole Life Insurance from Sun Life. 

  • Apply online

    You can find a new plan in 3 easy steps:

    1. Tell us about yourself.

    2. Select your coverage.

    3. Get a quote.

    Get started

  • Speak with an advisor

    Sun Life advisors look carefully at your specific needs to help you develop a personalized plan. They'll work with you to understand your goals and what you want to achieve.

To find an advisor near you, enter your postal code:

Want to learn more about Whole Life insurance from Sun Life?
  • Get more protection with critical illness insurance

    Backing up your permanent life insurance policy with critical illness insurance gives you and your family more protection, whatever your future holds.

    Learn more about critical illness insurance