Equitable Life Insurance Canada Review: Get the Facts (2024 Update)


PolicyMe content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn more about our editorial guidelines.

In This Article

Key takeaways:

  • Equitable Life's best known product is child insurance, specifically whole life policies. They are also known for their unique participating life insurance coverage.
  • Their Equimax Wealth Accumulator and Estate Builder policies offers some of the most competitive rates for whole life child insurance in Canada.
  • Equitable Life is not an ideal fit for the average Canadian family who are looking for term life insurance.

Our Equitable Life of Canada insurance review

To help you determine whether Equitable Life insurance is right for you, we reviewed their different products, insurance prices, features and customer feedback.

Our rating for Equitable Life of Canada's life insurance: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

Equitable Life's products offer a wide range of options and flexibility to your policy so you can customize your policy to your financial needs. But, their permanent life policy fees are pricey, and complicated. We only recommend their Equimax Life product if you're seeking life insurance for children because they offer wealth transfer opportunities from guardians to the kids.

Who is Equitable Life of Canada?

Founded in 1920, Equitable Life of Canada is one of Canada's largest mutual life insurance companies.

A mutual company is owned by participating policyholders — meaning you become a shareholder, have the right to vote and are eligible to receive dividends.

Equitable Life of Canada quick facts:

  • The company offers a unique term life insurance product that's specifically designed for small business owners, allowing them to protect their business interests while also providing for their families.
  • The company has more than 800,000 policyholders, with assets under management totaling $20 billion.
  • In 2017, Equitable Life launched the world’s first blockchain-based life insurance policy.

Equitable life insurance rates for 2023

Core Products Monthly Premiums
Equimax Wealth Accumulator $172.13*
Equimax Estate Builder $164.24*
10 year renewable and convertible term $24.25**
20 year renewable and convertible term $33.25**
Term 30/65 $45.20**
Equation Generation IV $166.27**
Equiliving Critical Illness Insurance (Level to 100) $280.85**

*Prices based on a 10-year-old male seeking $500,000 coverage
**Prices based on an 18-year-old man seeking $500,000 coverage

Most Canadian couples actually save more when opting for a term life insurance policy.

Plus with PolicyMe, children get $10,000 in free life insurance that way both you and your little one are covered! (Talk about a deal!)

Equimax Estate Builder versus competitors

See how Equitable Life’s term life insurance prices stack up against the prices of products offered by other life insurance providers in Canada.

We compared the best whole life insurance policies offered to Equitable Life's Equimax Estate Builder policy:

Company Monthly Premiums
RBC Insurance $329.85*
Sun Life $127.35*
Desjardins $145.35*
Foresters Life $236.02*
Empire Life $193.55*
Equitable Life $164.24*

*Prices are based on a 10 year-old male seeking $500,000 in coverage, prices are based on publicly-available data from March 2023. Terms and conditions may apply.

Equitable Life insurance: pros and cons

Read up on some of the pros and cons of Equitable Life insurance, based on their different products.

Pros of Equitable Life insurance 

  • Equimax for Children can be paid off in 20 years.
  • Cash value built up from an Equimax plan can be withdrawn or borrowed against to fund a child's education.
  • Equimax for Children allows for additional deposits to maximize tax-advantaged growth.
  • Participating policy owners are shareholders of the company and have the right to vote.

But here's the caveat, most kids don't need life insurance and Equitable Life's Equimax Wealth Accumulator life insurance policy should be a last resort.

Cons of Equitable Life insurance 

  • Some InsurEye reviews complain of poor communication and misunderstandings with the company.
  • Must work with a broker to get Equitable Life insurance. You can't buy directly or get a quote on their website.
  • Participating policies can cost more than non-participating whole life insurance, and there's more risk.

Equitable Life insurance customer reviews

We looked through some of Equitable Life's online reviews to help get a real picture of their customers' experience.

Let's take a look:

Positive Equitable Life insurance reviews

  • "Over the years (past 20 years) we've been with all of the big Canadian companies (Sun Life, Manulife, Great West Life) and they were all ok but from a customer service standpoint, Equitable Life call centre representatives are the most knowledgeable and actually seem to care when one of my [employees'] phone's in." - InsurEye customer
  • "They also have the best (and easiest) ways to send in claims over their website and through my iPhone." - InsurEye customer
  • "Have insurance for both my son and me, have found this company to be extremely responsive to my questions and see value & growth in our policies." -  InsurEye customer

Negative Equitable Life insurance reviews

  • "Their policies are a lot worse than those of other insurance policies, for example: 90 days to submit all claims after you terminate (and who wouldn't). Their systems are archaic and when you call in, nobody knows how to direct you properly ... I lost 1500 because of their policies that they did not disclose until it was too late." - InsurEye customer on Jan 24th, 2017

Equitable Life insurance products

Equitable Life of Canada Insurance Company offers a wide range of insurance products that cater to various needs and goals.

Their product lineup includes term life insurance, universal life insurance and whole life insurance.

1. Equimax (Whole Life)

Equitable Life offers two types of permanent life insurance policies:

Equimax Estate Builder and Equimax Wealth Accumulator, are Equitable Life's flagship whole life insurance products. They are designed to offer lifetime coverage and tax-efficient wealth transfer.

The Equimax Life products are one of the most affordable options for whole life insurance for children.

They offer competitive rates for those seeking child life insurance, offering rates that can be 1.5 times cheaper than the industry average for a child. 

The coverage amount of Equimax Wealth Accumulator can range from $25,000 to $10,000,000, depending on the client's needs and eligibility.

One of the most significant cons of both Equimax products are their costs. Whole life insurance is typically more expensive than term life insurance due to its lifetime coverage and investment features.

2. Equitable Generations (Universal Life)

Equitable Generations has a savings component, which accumulates cash value over time. This cash value can be borrowed against, surrendered for cash, or used to increase the policy's death benefit.

Equitable Generations also lets you adjust the death benefit or the premium payment amounts to meet your current financial needs.

But, like any other universal life insurance product, it's monthly premiums are pricy and plans can get overly complicated.

3. Equitable Life's Term Life Insurance product

They have three policy lengths:

  • 10- year term: Available to renew every 10 years until age 85.
  • 20-year term: A term life insurance policy that covers for a longer initial premium payment period with premiums renewing every 20 years to age 85.
  • 30-year term: Offers affordable cost for 30 years of coverage. The monthly premiums are payable to the later end of 30 years or age 65, with no premium increases.

Additional product features

Equitable Life Insurance offers the option to add living benefit provisions to many of their policies.

Here are some of the best benefits you can get:

EquiLiving Critical Illness Insurance:

Equitable Life also offers critical illness coverage as part of a benefit plan for those with increased risk of pre-existing health conditions.

For those seeking additional coverage on their individual insurance, EquiLiving provides a lump sum if the policyholder is diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses specified in the policy, such as cancer, stroke or heart attack.

The benefit amount is paid regardless of whether the policyholder survives the illness or not. It can help cover medical expenses, supplement income or allow for unexpected expenses.

Disability Waiver of Premium:

The disability waiver provision can waive the policyholder's premiums if they become totally disabled and unable to work for a specified period of time.

This can help the policyholder avoid falling behind on payments, which could lead to the policy lapsing.

Accelerated Death Benefit:

This provision allows policyholders who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a life expectancy of 12 months or less to receive a portion of their death benefit while they're still alive.

This can help provide financial support for medical treatment, living expenses, or other needs during a difficult time.

How do you get Equitable Life insurance quotes?

Equitable Life does not have in-house financial advisors to answer questions about coverage details. 

Their customer service systems operate in a way that you must already have a life insurance plan with them. Otherwise they cannot provide a personalized service or to inform you of how much coverage you need.

Their on-call customer service is mainly equipped to help advisors with certain issues policyholders might have like payment details, policy fees. 

If you would like to learn more about Equitable Life's quotes before purchasing a life insurance plan, you have to go through out-of-house financial advisors. 

Bottom line: Equitable Life is best for whole life insurance for children

Equitable Life's Equimax Wealth Accumulator is the best product they offer, based on its customizability, maximum coverage options and monthly premiums and is best for children. But if you're looking for the most affordable and customzable whole life insurance for children, look into Desjardins first.

Child insurance only makes sense as a financial protection decision if your child has pre-existing and additional childhood conditions that typical policies cannot cover.

Policy premiums typically go up as you get older, so if you know your child will have difficulty getting a policy when they become an adult, the Equimax permanent policy offers some of the most affordable protection out there for child riders.

Get the best seniors insurance and Canadian life insurance quotes on PolicyMe. Use PolicyMe to figure out your life insurance needs calculator.

FAQ: Equitable Life insurance

Is Equitable Life Insurance legitimate?

Yes, Equitable Life of Canada is a legitimate and reputable company.

Equitable Life is licensed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the federal regulator that supervises all federally regulated financial institutions in Canada, which include banks, trust and loan companies, insurance companies, and pension plans.

Equitable Life also maintains a strong financial strength rating, which is determined by the ratings agency A.M. Best, meaning that it has a strong financial foundation to meet future claim obligations.

Who owns Equitable Life of Canada?

Equitable Life of Canada is owned by the insurance firm AXA ever since 1991. But the interesting part of Equitable Life is that each policyholder owns a small stake in the life insurance company.

Does Equitable Life offer child insurance?

Yes, Equitable Life of Canada offers child life insurance policies. These policies are designed to provide life insurance coverage for newborns and children up to age 17.

Parents or guardians can also opt to pay the policy premiums on behalf of their children, but it is crucial to keep in mind that the policy and the death benefit will only be paid out when the insured child passes away.

As parents you may even want to look into combined life insurance for your children.

Does Equitable Life of Canada have in-house independent advisors?

Equitable Life does not have in-house financial and independent advisors.

If you would like to seek information about Equimax Wealth Accumulator or other permanent insurance products, you have to go through a separate financial services company.

The advisors can only help you if you have been an individual client of Equitable Life.

You must be an Equitable Life policyholder to get assistance on anything from investment components, life insurance riders and benefits plans.

What is the rate of return for Equitable Life's permanent life insurance products? 

Permanent life insurance products in Canada offer the potential for a rate of return of up to 7 per cent, depending on the specific policy chosen and the performance of the funds within it.

This rate depending on many factors, such as market conditions, investment decisions, and individual risk tolerance.

The typical rate of return for whole life insurance (3.5 per cent) are much lower compared to average rate of return of and RRSP account (19 per cent).

So if you're looking into whole life policies as an investment option, whole life might not be worth it.

Want to learn more about other life insurance options? Here are more reviews of Canadian life insurance companies:

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder
About the Author

What to read next