Life Insurance for Seniors in Canada: Best Policies and Companies (2023)

Erik Heidebrecht
Licensed Life Insurance Advisor
In This Article

Key takeaways

The best life insurance for seniors is generally:

  • Term life insurance if you want flexible coverage.
  • Whole life insurance if you have complex estate planning needs.
  • No medical or guaranteed life insurance as a last resort if you’ve been denied coverage by traditional life insurance providers.

What is senior life insurance?

Senior life insurance isn't a separate type of life insurance. It refers to the policies seniors are eligible for. Though you're not a senior at 50, providers often group people over 50 in the "seniors" category. That's because there's a large jump in premiums at this age due to becoming higher risk as you age.

Not sure if life insurance is worth it for seniors? Here’s when you might need it.

  • Final expenses:  Money to cover medical and burial costs, as well as other expenses required to settle your estate
  • Income replacement:  Funds for a spouse or dependent who relies on your salary, pension or annuity for daily expenses.
  • Special needs child: Money to start a trust for a dependent who will need financial support for their lifetime.
  • Debts:  Money to pay off significant debts such as a mortgage or loan. 
  • Estate taxes: Funds to cover any possible estate taxes liability for your heirs.
  • Inheritance: A tax-free financial death benefit to your beneficiaries after you pass
  • Liquidity: A cash payout for an estate with non-cash assets, such as real estate or locked-in investments. 
  • Charitable bequest: A one-time donation to support a non-profit that’s near and dear to your heart.

The best life insurance policies for seniors in Canada

The best type of life insurance policy for seniors will depend on coverage priorities. It's best to apply for a fully risk-assessed policy first, even if you're worried you'll be denied coverage. You might still be able to get a reasonable policy at a decent price.

Read on to learn about the best life insurance for seniors, with pointers on whether a certain type of life insurance might be right for you.

Term life insurance for seniors: best for flexible coverage

Term life insurance provides coverage over a set period of time based on your specific needs. You can choose how long you want your policy to last, but the most popular term length to get is 15 years. 

Term is usually the cheapest life insurance choice for seniors. But there may be some age restrictions around the term you can qualify for. 

PolicyMe has some of the most affordable term premiums in Canada and licensed advisors available  seven days a week.

Afraid you won't be approved? A customer recently told us in this review: "I never thought I would ever get insurance at my age, but this company made it amazingly easy and affordable."

Whole life insurance for seniors: best for complex estate planning

Whole life insurance provides coverage for your lifetime; as long as you continue paying the premiums, it’ll remain active. 

A percentage of these payments are set aside in a savings or investment portion, so these plans can have a cash value component. But whole life insurance for seniors can be expensive and restrictive — there are a lot of rules when it comes to accessing the cash portion. 

No medical life insurance for seniors: best used as a “Plan B” 

No medical life insurance, also known as simplified issue life insurance provides coverage without a medical examination. You may be asked a few short medical questions about your health, but that’s about the extent of it. 

However, you’ll pay for this convenience – premiums for no medical life insurance for seniors in Canada can be very high.

Guaranteed issue life insurance for seniors: best used as a last resort

Guaranteed issue life insurance (also called "guaranteed acceptance life insurance") is a type of no medical policy that provides coverage to almost everyone, regardless of age or health.

But because approval is guaranteed, premiums for guaranteed life insurance for seniors are the most expensive and provide the least amount of coverage. 

Below is a quick summary of how term, no medical and guaranteed issue life insurance policies stack up.

Best Life Insurance for Seniors: Table comparing no medical life insurance vs term life insurance

How much does life insurance for seniors in Canada cost by age?

The cost of Canadian life insurance for seniors and elderly parents will vary based on your age, gender, term length and health.

We’ll walk you through how age influences life insurance cost. As you can see, premiums go up as we grow up, so it’s wise to lock in your rate sooner than later.

Over 50s life insurance in Canada

Over 50 and looking for life insurance? Luckily for you, you're not technically a senior yet. But since you're probably prepping for retirement, it's essential to have a financial cushion for your loved ones to fall back on before your life insurance rates really start to climb.

Chart outlining life insurance rates by age for seniors in Canada over 50

PolicyMe also doesn't require a medical exam if you're under 60 years old and applying for $500,000 or less in coverage, so that's one less thing on your to-do list!

Life insurance for seniors over 60

Life insurance for seniors over 60 years old is a good idea for those looking to take care of smaller outstanding debts. In your 60s, you're (hopefully!) entering your retirement, which also means you likely won't have an active income.

But like in your 50s, you may still have debts (like the final years of your mortgage) to pay. Having a life insurance policy in place means that if something were to happen, your loved ones can stay in your family home.

Chart outlining life insurance rates by age for seniors in Canada over 60

Life insurance for seniors over 70

For seniors over 70, life insurance becomes quite pricey. At this age, you might be looking for life insurance to cover final expenses or to leave something behind for your beneficiaries.

Chart outlining life insurance rates by age for seniors in Canada over 70

While prices do increase dramatically at this age, there's good news. As a senior, you might not need as much coverage or a long policy term compared to someone younger. This means your monthly life insurance premiums could be comparable to those in their 30s or 40s looking for a longer-term length. 

Some types of life insurance and term lengths may be restricted to those under a certain age. For instance, most life insurance providers, including PolicyMe, won't issue term policies once you're over 75 years old.

Because the risk of insuring you in your 70s is much higher, chances are you'll have to complete a medical exam if you're applying for a term life insurance policy. With PolicyMe, if you're between the ages of 70 to 74, this medical exam will include:

  • Vitals
  • Fluids
  • Attending Physician Statement (APS)
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)

What determines life insurance rates for seniors in Canada?

Life insurance rates for seniors are determined by your age, coverage amount, smoking status and health. These are the key characteristics that factor into the cost of your monthly premium. 

Hint: they’re the same factors that determine life insurance rates when you’re younger, too.

1. Age 

You become higher risk the older you get. So you might have to shell out more for a life insurance policy if you buy it when you’re 60 instead of when you’re 40.

2. Gender

Women have a longer life expectancy than men, according to Harvard Medical School. That means men will find themselves paying higher rates for the same policy.

3. Coverage amount

Having a higher coverage amount means that your insurer will have to give your beneficiary more money if you pass. Not sure how much coverage you need? Our life insurance calculator gives you an estimate in minutes. 

4. Smoking status

Being a smoker automatically makes you riskier to insure in the eyes of your insurance company. Be prepared to pay higher premiums if you’re looking for smoker life insurance

5. Health

If you have pre-existing medical conditions or illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or heart disease, you’re riskier to insure. As a result, your insurer will charge you more for coverage and may even deny your application. 

Best life insurance companies for seniors in Canada

Have a better idea about what type of life insurance you need, but still not sure where to start looking? Here are a few of the top insurers out there based on the type of policy you’re looking for.

Life insurance type Company Rating Recommended reading
Term PolicyMe Google Reviews rating: ★★★★★ (5) PolicyMe reviews
Whole/ permanent Manulife InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (2.4) Manulife life insurance review
No medical Canada Protection Plan InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (1.5) Canada Protection Plan review
Guaranteed issue Canada Protection Plan InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (1.5) Best no medical life insurance reviews

Worried you won't be approved for a term policy now that you’re over 60? Or that you'll need to pay a hefty price? You don’t have to be. PolicyMe offers some of the best prices in Canada.

Get a no-obligation quote online from PolicyMe, then call us at +1 (866) 999-7457 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, seven days a week if you want us to help walk you through the application process or answer questions about your quote.

How to get the best life insurance for seniors

To get the best life insurance as a senior, you’ll need to do some research. Here are some things to consider:

1. The cost of a life insurance policy in Canada. 

Finding the right balance between your coverage needs and the cost of your monthly premiums. Your policy term, amount of coverage and other features, like convertibility or guaranteed issue, will all impact the cost of life insurance.

2. The amount of life insurance coverage you need. 

Generally, your need for life insurance decreases as you get older. If everything has gone according to plan, you’ve paid off your biggest debts while your assets have had a chance to grow. But if you’re likely to leave behind debts or have family members dependent on your income for their daily expenses, then it’s necessary to have a life insurance policy in place for their protection.

3. The life insurance provider’s background.

 Find a reliable life insurance provider that can get you approved and covered. For example, PolicyMe is backed by Canadian Premier, an insurer that covers over two million Canadians and has been in operation for more than 60 years, so you can rest assured that you’re getting trustworthy protection.

Bottom line: Canadian seniors have options for life insurance

If you’re a senior looking for life insurance, there’s no need to worry. There’s usually a way to get insured and protect your family at a reasonable cost.

Seniors can best use life insurance coverage for:

  • Outstanding debts or financial obligations that your family members will need to pay off when you pass away
  • Covering your end-of-life expenses, including medical and funeral costs
  • Living expenses for loved ones who are dependent on your income
  • Managing financial assets that you’d like to leave behind as an inheritance.

FAQ: best life insurance for seniors

Can I get a life insurance policy for my parents?

Yes, you can get a life insurance policy for your parents, but under two conditions. Firstly, if they passed, you would need to experience a negative financial impact (called insurable interest). Some insurance companies will ask you to prove this before they’ll allow you to take out a policy for your parents. A life insurance policy would help offset any losses you’d experience if your parents passed away. 

Secondly, life insurance companies will usually request medical information before extending coverage. In some cases, they may even require a medical exam. If your parents don’t agree to the process, you won’t be able to purchase coverage on their behalf.

Is life insurance worth it for seniors? 

Life insurance is worth it for seniors if you need it. Like all financial products, it serves a need - to cover outstanding debts, provide financial security for your family if you pass away, or assist with your estate planning.

If you don’t have any financial obligations and have already made other, more appropriate arrangements to leave an inheritance (if applicable), you may not need life insurance as a senior. 

Can seniors get life insurance without a medical exam?

Yes, seniors can get life insurance without a medical exam by applying for a no medical policy. This might be a good idea of you've been denied another type of policy but still need coverage.

With that said, though, premiums are usually much higher for no medical policies than a fully underwritten policy.

What is the maximum issue age for life insurance? 

In most cases, the maximum issue age for term life insurance is 75 years old. However, other types of life insurance, such as whole life or guaranteed issue policies, may cover you at 75 or above. 

You can speak with an insurance broker or representative to explore your options if you need life insurance as an older senior.

Can seniors get convertible life insurance? 

Seniors can get convertible life insurance, but there are usually some age restrictions around when you can convert. If you’re not sure what convertible life insurance is, it’s a type of policy that allows you to start off with term coverage, but exchange for permanent coverage at a later date. 

For some people, it can be a good choice – you can pay the affordable premiums of a term life plan and have the option of converting your coverage to a permanent policy in the future. In Canada, most convertible plans allow holders to convert their coverage up until 70 to 75, depending on the policy. Speak to your life insurance company if you’re interested in convertible life plans to determine their age limits. 

Is there life insurance meant specifically for seniors? 

While there are no life insurance options meant specifically for seniors (in other words, seniors can purchase the same plans as anyone else), some features may make some plans more attractive to those in the 50+ demographic. 

For example, if you’ve had trouble finding coverage in the past, a no-medical policy could be right for you. Alternatively, if you’re relatively healthy and looking for an affordable life insurance policy to help cover your remaining debts, a term life plan could be best for you. 

Is term or whole life insurance better for seniors?

Whether term or whole life insurance is better for seniors (or anyone, for that matter) depends on your situation. Traditional term life insurance is a highly affordable option and could be a good choice for seniors on a budget looking to get coverage for their debts. However, there may be age restrictions or other limitations that would prevent a senior from getting term life coverage. And you could outlive the term of your plan. 

There’s no risk of outliving your coverage with whole life insurance. With lifelong coverage, your beneficiaries will get a payout no matter when you pass away, making it a good option to cover your final expenses or leave some money behind for your loved ones. But your monthly premiums are likely to be very expensive. 

Does life insurance pay out over 80?

Yes, life insurance policies can pay out after the policyholder reaches 80 years old as long as the policy is still active and all premiums have been paid.

With that said, the specific terms and conditions of the policy will vary depending on the insurer and the type of policy purchased. Some policies may have age limits or restrictions for coverage, so it's important to review the policy carefully and speak with an advisor if you have any questions.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

What to read next