Last updated: August 14, 2023

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a policy or contract between you and a life insurance company that can last for the rest of your life or for a specific time period. This contract guarantees that your beneficiaries will get a tax-free cash payment (also called the death benefit) when you die. The exact amount they’ll get depends on how much insurance you purchase and the type of policy you select. It’s important to note that the death benefit is guaranteed only if you pay the required premiums  This applies to most permanent life insurance policies. It does not apply to term life insurance policies.  and meet all the policy requirements.

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Benefits of life insurance

Your beneficiaries can use the death benefit any way they want.

Certain policies offer a cash value Some permanent life insurance plans come with a savings portion called a cash value, which can help you grow your money over time. You can use cash value to pay for the cost of insurance as you age, or you can borrow from it as a loan or withdraw funds from it. Some of these options may have tax implications. Please connect with an advisor for more detailed information. option.

You have the option to get lifelong protection where your premiums never increase. This applies to most permanent life insurance policies. It does not apply to term life insurance policies. 

Types of life insurance

Term life insurance

It’s temporary coverage that can last 10, 15, 20 or more years. It’s initially a cheaper option. But your premiums typically rise if you decide to renew your policy at the end of your term.

Some term plans let you convert to permanent life insurance. Permanent insurance is more expensive than term, but most plans offer premiums that remain the same for the rest of your life.

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Permanent life insurance

It’s insurance coverage that lasts forever and never expires. There are three types of permanent life insurance: whole life, participating, and universal life.

Some plans may also offer tax-preferred growth in your cash value and ways to increase the death benefit.

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How to get life insurance

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Not sure what’s right for you? An advisor can explain all your insurance options and help you figure out which products meet your needs and goals.

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Get a quote online

Answer a few quick questions to get a quote for coverage up to $1,000,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much life insurance do I need?

It depends on your personal situation and how much money your beneficiaries will need when you die. Try our free life insurance calculator to find out how much you might need to financially protect your loved ones.

How much does the average Canadian pay for life insurance?

Your premiums depend on your age, health and lifestyle habits (e.g. smoker, non-smoker, etc.) when you purchase life insurance.

For example, if you’re a healthy 30-year old, your premiums may be as little as $12/month for $100,000 of coverage.

Try our free life insurance calculator to see how much your premiums could be

At what age is life insurance worth it?

Life insurance can be a huge financial asset at any age. Generally, life insurance is cheaper to buy when you’re young and healthy. 

Is it cheaper to pay for life insurance monthly or annually?

It depends on your financial situation. You'll often pay less for life insurance with annual payments compared to monthly payments. However, many people find it easier to have monthly premiums factored into their budget.

At what age can you no longer buy life insurance in Canada? 

You can’t apply for most Sun Life insurance products if you’re age 85 or older. Some products may have other age limitations. Connect with an advisor for more detailed information.

What type of life insurance do I need?

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” type of life insurance. The kind your parents have, or that your friend just bought, may not be the best kind for you. To help choose the right type of life insurance, you need to look at:

  •  your personal needs and current situation,
  • the stage of life you’re at, and
  • what you can afford.

The cost of life insurance can vary based on your age, assigned sex at birth, health, lifestyle, and medical history. The best solution could even be having more than one type of policy. Connect with an advisor to find out which insurance products are best for your specific situation.

Got more questions?

A Sun Life advisor can address all your questions and help you figure out which insurance product best meets your financial needs.

Enter your postal code to find an advisor near you.