Canada Life Insurance Review: Updated for 2022

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Canada Life is a well-known life insurance provider. But you may have wondered whether they’re the right option for you. How does it compare to other life insurance companies for Canadians? What do Canada Life reviews say?

Keep reading for an in-depth look at their features and pricing with this Canada Life’s life insurance review.

 Our rating: 2/5

Our Canada Life insurance review

Canada Life offers both permanent and term life insurance products that have higher rates on average than similar plans available elsewhere. Their coverage is pretty standard and you won’t be missing out on any must-have features by going with them. 

And there’s no way to apply online or obtain a quote without going through one of their advisors, so shopping for life insurance with them will take up more of your time.

We’ve put together a review of the top life insurance companies if you’re looking for the best life insurance in Canada.   

In a rush? Skip down to compare Canada Life’s monthly life insurance premiums to their competitors.

Canada Life life insurance reviews

Positive Canada Life Insurance reviews:

  • “When my mother passed away from ALS, Canada Life was very easy to deal with and accommodating. They worked with my brother and me to get an advanced payment based on her diagnoses and the expected time left. She ended up passing away before we received the advance payment but their representative helped us get full payment instead of the advanced payment when the time came.”
  • “They were very nice and helped me throughout and they paid the life insurance within a month...I would recommend this company.”

Negative Canada Life Insurance reviews:

  • “Don't even try to phone them. Unbelievable wait time... gave up. With non-service like this, think again about buying life insurance with them.”
  • “I have been trying to change the beneficiary on my life insurance policy. I have tried to talk to two different advisors (this has taken so long that my advisor has changed). Only get answering machines. Leave messages, no one ever calls me back. Now it’s been SEVEN months - still no results!”
  • “With a wait of more than 2-3 hours to get to any representative, if you are lucky. No reply to emails or escalations. They have no accountability.”

Canada Life insurance rates for 2022

You may be wondering, what are Canada Life term insurance rates like? 

For applicants of Canada Life’s term life insurance life, the average rate for a non-smoker for a 20-year term with $500,000 coverage is:

  • $36.45/month for a 35-year-old man 
  • $29.25/month for a 35-year-old woman

Here’s how Canada Life’s insurance premiums stacks up against other providers:

Life insurance solution Monthly premium
PolicyMe $31.42
Desjardins Financial $31.95
Empire Life $32.63
RBC $32.85
Equitable Life $35.05
Canada Life $36.45
*Premiums pulled April 2022 for a 35-year old, non-smoking man for $500,000 over a 20-year term.

But if you’re concerned about the monthly cost of maintaining life insurance coverage, there are better options than Canada Life. For example, PolicyMe offers comparable coverage for about $5 less every month. This would save you over $60 a year for the same protection. 

Canada Life insurance: pros and cons

Canada Life has a comprehensive line of life insurance products. But do their offerings work for your needs? 

Pros of Canada Life insurance: 

  • Like many other life insurance companies, you can choose the length of your term and coverage amount. Their Canada Life My Term™ products range from 5 to 50 years of coverage. 
  • You can add additional benefits (called life insurance riders) to include coverage for your children, increase your death benefit, protect your business, etc. 
  • When the term of your insurance plan expires, you can choose to end, renew or convert it to a permanent plan

Cons of Canada Life insurance: 

  • There’s no online quote or application option - you have go through one of their insurance advisors to get started, or even just get more information on their plans
  • It can take a long time to get approved - up to 6-10 weeks!
  • Canada Life policies are more costly than similar plans from their competitors
  • Their policies require either a minimum of $100,000 coverage or yearly premiums of $500. Depending on your age and risk factors, your premiums could be significantly lower with life insurance through another provider.

Who is Canada Life insurance?

You might be wondering: Is Canada Life a good company?

Canada Life has been around for well over a century. Originally based out of Toronto, it opened its doors under the name The Canada Life Assurance Company and was the country’s first domestic life insurance provider.

Canada Life has a network of over 23,000 advisors and consultants available if you’re interested in purchasing one of their products or learning more about their services. They provide personal insurance options and investment, retirement and mortgage products. 

Canada Life quick facts:

  • Canada Life has been in business for over 170 years.
  • They offer a comprehensive suite of insurance products, including permanent, term, disability and medical insurance.
  • Originally, three separate insurance companies, Great West Life, London Life, and Canada Life, have merged under the Canada Life banner.

Who owns Canada Life?

Canada Life is owned by Great West Lifeco.

Canada Life was originally founded in Toronto in 1847 and currently provides insurance and investment products for millions of Canadians across the country. 

In 2003, Great West Lifeco, another Canadian insurer, bought out Canada Life and their operations for $7.3 billion. Great West Life had previously acquired London Life back in 1997 as well. 

Initially, each of the companies continued operating under their own names even after the mergers. But since January 2020, all three have combined their operations under the Canada Life brand, which is now the second-largest insurance company in Canada.  

Alternatives to Canada Life’s term life insurance

Because Canada Life’s insurance offerings are pretty middle-of-the-road, you won’t be missing anything if you opt to go with one of their competitors. Their policies are neither the cheapest nor the most comprehensive. 

If you’re interested in just exploring your options, there’s no way to receive a life insurance quote or start an application online. And it can take up to 6-10 weeks to be approved through Canada Life for their insurance products. In Canada Life insurance company reviews, customers report long wait times both for approval and simply to speak to a customer service agent. 

PolicyMe has a quote estimator right on our website. You can find out right away how much your term policy costs without the pressure of having to go through a commissioned advisor. 

But if you need to get in touch, PolicyMe has non-commissioned advisors available 7 days a week to answer your questions via email, phone or chat. And if you need a change to your policy, we can do so within 48 hours (or less)! 

Canada Life's life insurance products

Canada Life provides both term and whole life insurance policies with different features and options. 

Term life insurance

Canada Life's term life insurance products offer optional riders (more on that below). Term life insurance is an excellent way to obtain affordable coverage for you and your family, during the years you need it the most. 

Benefits: 

  • Offers policies for 10, 20 and 30 year periods, as well as term-to-age 65
  • Both single and joint first-to-die policies are available
  • You can convert your term life insurance plan to whole or universal coverage up until you turn 70, without a medical exam
  • Between the second and sixth year of a 10-year term policy, you have the option to extend it to a 20-year one

Permanent life insurance

Canada Life has two types of permanent life insurance: participating life insurance, and universal insurance. Both types of life insurance will cover you for your lifetime, and offer options for your money to grow within the policy. 

Participating whole life insurance 

Canada Life has two participating whole life insurance products: the Estate Achiever and the Wealth Achiever.

The Wealth Achiever aims to create higher cash values early on in the plan, while the Estate Achiever focuses on providing a higher cash value and payout later on, at the cost of higher premiums. 

Benefits:

  • Your premiums remain the same for as long as you hold the policy
  • Your policy has an associated cash value
  • Your premiums are placed in an account with those of other policyholders, and professionally managed—you may receive dividend payouts from time to time

Universal Life Insurance

These policies are non-participating, which means there’s no option for a yearly dividend payout. For a universal life insurance plan, you pay a monthly premium for your coverage, and any money you contribute on top of that goes into investments. 

Benefits:

  • You have some flexibility to adjust the amount of your monthly payments
  • As long as you’ve contributed enough money to the coverage portion of your plan, you can withdraw the remainder to use as you wish
  • You can choose your investments based on your risk tolerance

Permanent life insurance may seem like a safe choice, but most Canadians don’t actually need life insurance for their entire lifetimes—only for as long as they have financial dependents and obligations such as a mortgage or debts. 

Premiums for permanent policies are also significantly higher, which eats into your monthly cash flow. And while these plans offer investment options, you could easily buy a term life insurance policy instead for cheaper and invest the difference on your own. 

This would give you more flexibility and control over your money—it wouldn’t be tied up in a life insurance account with restrictions and limitations. 

Canada Life's optional riders, explained

Insurance riders provide extra, optional coverage you can add on to the basic terms of your policy. This way, you can customize additional protection according to your needs. Here are some examples of Canada Life’s available riders.

Accidental Death Benefit
To further protect your beneficiaries, they’ll receive an additional payment on top of your standard coverage if you pass away due to an accident. 

Waiver of Premium Benefit

This benefit allows you to continue your life insurance coverage without paying premiums, if you were laid off because of injury or illness.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider

This rider gives you the option to buy more coverage in the future without underwriting.

Child’s Term Life Insurance Rider

In the unfortunate case that your child passes away, this option will provide a payment to help cover their end-of-life expenses and bills. 

Business Growth Protection Rider

This rider allows you to increase your death benefit as your business grows, without medical underwriting. 

The above riders are all available on their single life policies. However, only the Child’s Term Life Insurance and Business Growth Protection Rider are available on their joint first-to-die plans. 

How do you get a Canada Life insurance quote? 

To get a Canada Life insurance quote, you’ll have to go through one of their advisors. On their “Find an Advisor” page, you can enter the city you live in to find a representative that’s located near you. 

Alternatively, you can request to be matched with an advisor after answering a few questions about your life insurance needs.  

Unfortunately, Canada Life does not offer an online application process or an instant quote. While good advisors try to provide recommendations based on your situation, many are paid by commission. This means they may have an incentive to sell you on a plan you don’t actually need. 

If you’re interested in getting an instant, no-obligation quote online with PolicyMe, click below. No need to give us your email address—a few clicks and we can provide you with an estimated rate for your specific situation. 

In summary: Canada Life offers average plans at a higher-than-average price point

You’d likely be better off opting for a provider that’s not Canada Life if the following points are important to you:

  • Affordable rates
  • An easy online application process
  • The option to receive a no-obligation quote

Canada Life has a suite of fairly standard offerings when it comes to term life insurance, but at higher-than-average rates. 

There are better, more inexpensive choices available for the same coverage.

Want to check out more reviews of other life insurance companies in Canada? 

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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