Last updated: July 20th, 2022

What is whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance policy that gives your beneficiaries Beneficiaries are the people or person you want to financially protect. You can name your family or anyone you want as your beneficiaries. a tax-free payment after you die (called a death benefit). While some life insurance plans offer coverage for a specific amount of time, whole life insurance has no time limit because it covers you all throughout your life. So you don’t have to worry about your coverage expiring or renewing your policy.

What are the benefits of whole life insurance? 

There are some key perks to having whole life insurance, such as: 

  • Your beneficiaries get a tax-free death benefit after you die. The amount of money they’ll get depends on how much insurance coverage you buy. They can use the death benefit as they wish, including covering any costs like child care, mortgage or rent, outstanding debts, bill payments and any other expenses. 
  • Your premiums (monthly or annual fees) stay the same. With some insurance plans, your fees and rates may go up over time. But with most whole life plans, your premiums remain the same, regardless of changes to your health. 
  • Your cash value may grow over time. Along with the death benefit, some whole life plans also include a savings portion called the “cash value” which can grow over time. You can use it as a loan or even withdraw funds from it*. Your cash value can grow on a tax-preferred basis. This means you won’t have to pay tax on any cash value growth unless you start withdrawing funds. (*Please note that withdrawing from your cash value may reduce your policy’s death benefit.)

How much whole life insurance coverage can you get?

We have two whole life insurance products available for Canadians and those living in Canada. The amount of coverage you can get depends on which product you choose. 

  • Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance: Coverage ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.
  • SunSpectrum Permanent Life II: Coverage ranges from $10,000 to $25 million.

Our whole life insurance products

Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance

  • Get coverage up to $25,000.
  • Policy covers one person. 
  • Lifelong protection.
  • Guaranteed life insurance with no medical questions asked. 
  • You’re guaranteed to qualify even if you have existing health conditions.

SunSpectrum Permanent Life II

  • Get coverage up to $25 million.
  • Policy can cover up to two people.
  • Lifelong protection with cash value. 
  • You’ll need to provide medical information. 

How to buy whole life insurance

Buy online

If you’re looking for coverage up to $25,000, then you can get a quote and apply online for Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance.

Get advice

Not sure what type of insurance you need? A Sun Life advisor can help you figure it out and get you a customized quote.

Can I get a quote online for whole life insurance?

You can get a quote online for one of our whole life insurance products: Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance, which offers up to $25,000 in coverage. 

If you’re interested in a policy that provides more than $25,000 in coverage, you can apply for our other whole life insurance product: SunSpectrum Permanent Life II. To buy this product, you’ll have to connect with an advisor to get a quote

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Is whole life insurance the same thing as permanent life insurance? 

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. In addition to whole life insurance, there are two other types of permanent life insurance policies: participating life insurance and universal life insurance

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What’s the difference between whole and term life insurance? 

The main difference between whole life insurance and term life insurance is that whole life covers you all throughout your life, whereas term covers you only for a set amount of time (e.g., 10, 15 or 20 years). 

Both term and whole life insurance offer a tax-free death benefit to your beneficiaries after you die. But with a term policy, your beneficiaries won’t receive a death benefit if you die after your term expires. You can renew a term policy when your term ends, but your premiums may be higher after renewal. With whole life insurance, however, your premiums are usually guaranteed to remain the same all throughout your life. 

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

Cash value is a savings component within a whole life insurance policy that can grow over time. You can borrow from it and use it as a loan. You can 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’s cash value. Connect with an advisor to learn more about your options.

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Is whole life insurance taxable?

The death benefit from a whole life insurance policy is tax-free. However, some whole life policies come with a cash value component. The cash value in a policy can grow on a tax-preferred basis. This means you won’t have to pay tax on the cash value growth unless you start withdrawing funds from the cash value. 

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Is whole life insurance an asset?

The death benefit in a whole life policy is not considered an asset, because it’s not money you’ll receive – it’s money for your beneficiaries. But some whole life policies come with cash value. The cash value component is considered an asset, because you’re able to borrow and withdraw from it while you’re alive. 

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How much can I borrow from a whole life insurance policy?

If your whole life insurance policy comes with a cash value component, you may borrow a portion of the value. Talk to an advisor for more information.

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How long does a whole life insurance policy last?

A whole life insurance policy will last your entire life (as long as you pay the premiums on time).

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Will my premiums remain the same as I age?

Yes. With our whole life insurance products, your premiums are guaranteed to remain the same throughout your life. 

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Will I have to answer questions about my health when I apply for whole life insurance? 

It depends on the whole life insurance product you’re applying for. Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance is no medical life insurance, so you won’t have to answer any health questions. However, SunSpectrum Permanent Life II, which offers coverage up to $25 million, requires you to answer and provide medical information when you apply. 

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At what age am I eligible to apply for whole life insurance? 

It depends on the whole life insurance product you select. Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance provides coverage for people who fall within ages 30 to 74. SunSpectrum Permanent Life II provides coverage for people any age until 85 years old.

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Will I have to go through underwriting when I apply for whole life insurance?

It depends on which whole life insurance product you’re applying for. You won’t have to go through underwriting if you’re applying online for Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance. But you will have to go through the underwriting process if you’re applying for SunSpectrum Permanent Life II.  

Underwriting is the process of assessing the risk you present when you apply for insurance. This risk assessment can affect how much coverage you’re eligible for and how much you’ll have to pay for your premiums. Learn more about insurance underwriting.

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Where can I learn more about whole life insurance? 

Here’s where you can find more detailed information about our whole life insurance products: 

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Buy online

If you’re looking for coverage up to $25,000, then you can get a quote and apply online for Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance.

Get a quote and apply online.

Get advice

Not sure what type of insurance you need? A Sun Life advisor can help you figure it out and get you a customized quote.