How Much Is Life Insurance in Canada? [Average Cost for 2022]

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The average cost of life insurance per month is between $15-$100 in Canada, according to PolicyMe advisor Erik Heidebrecht.

Life insurance can cost upwards of $200+ a month if you're in your late 40s+ and/or higher risk. 

Life insurance is probably more affordable than you think, but rates do depend on your age, gender, health, type of policy and more.

We'll look at each factor in this post and show you how they can impact the price of your policy.

How much is life insurance in Canada? Average rates for 2022

The average cost of life insurance per month in Canada is about $13 for $100,000 in coverage if you're a healthy 30-year-old requesting a 10-year term life insurance policy with PolicyMe.

If you're a 60-year-old smoker, your premiums will be over $100 per month for the same amount of coverage.

How much life insurance costs in Canada depends largely on your age. Monthly rates increase as you get older, as your risk to the insurer increases.

If you're of average health for your age and your risk factor is low, your monthly premiums will be lower, too.

The chart below looks at the average cost of term life insurance by age from five leading Canadian life insurance solutions.

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost: Term life insurance price comparison chart
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of March 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

How insurers calculate the cost of your monthly premiums

Usually, Canadian life insurance companies will give you a quote based on your age, gender and smoking status.

Your quoted rate may change based on additional information you provide in your application, such as your family's medical history.

All in all, Canadian insurers use the following factors to calculate the cost of your monthly premiums.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Smoking status
  • Health
  • Family health history
  • Risky job or lifestyle (yes: a sky diving habit will raise your rates)
  • The company's expenses and number of past claims
  • The type of policy you buy (term or permanent)
  • How much you're covered for ($100,000, $1M etc.)
  • Term length (10, 20, 30 years etc.)

Every life insurance company in Canada weighs these factors differently. This is why you can get different rates from different providers.

How much should your life insurance policy cost monthly?

A term life insurance policy should cost $38.84 a month on average in Canada for a 40-year-old non-smoking woman with $500,000 in coverage for 20 years.*

The same policy should cost $51.79 a month on average in Canada for a 40-year-old non-smoking man.**

For example, a whole life insurance policy will be a lot more expensive than a term policy.

Still, your life insurance rates in Canada will be higher or lower than the average based on factors such as:

  • Gender. Men pay more. Statistically, women live longer and are less risky to insure.
  • Age. The older you are, the more you'll pay.
  • Smokers pay more due to the potential impact on your health.
  • Physical condition. The poorer your health, the more you'll pay.
  • Medical history can impact your rates depending on the status of your condition and how well its being managed.

In short, if you're more likely to pass away prematurely, you're more risky to insure and you'll pay more for your term life insurance.

The good news: PolicyMe has some of the most affordable term life insurance rates in Canada.

Why? Because we're a digital provider with less overhead costs, while still being backed by insurance giant Canadian Premier.

What affects the cost of life insurance?

Let's take a look at how average life insurance costs in Canada vary based on policy type, age, gender identity, smoking status and lifestyle.

1. Policy type: average life insurance cost

There are two main types of life insurance policies you can buy in Canada: permanent and term life insurance. 

Term life insurance tends to be more affordable than permanent life insurance (also called whole or universal life insurance). 

In fact, permanent life insurance policies typically cost 5 to 10 times more than term life insurance in Canada.

  • Permanent life insurance covers you for your entire life and sometimes collect cash value through investments, but the premiums are much pricier.
  • Term life insurance covers you for you during the years you really need it, like when the kids are young or while you’re paying off debt. Terms typically come in the 10, 20, 30 year time frame. It doesn't have an investment component.

This table stacks up typical term versus whole life insurance rates in Canada.

$250,000 20-year term life insurance $250,000 whole life insurance
Male, aged 30 $18/month $135/month
Female, aged 30 $15/month $121/month
Male, aged 40 $28/month $204/month
Female, aged 40 $22/month $178/month
Male, aged 50 $72/month $327/month
Female, aged 50 $51/month $279/month


Here's our take on term versus permanent life insurance: life insurance is best used to replace your income if you pass away. It's not necessarily the best way to help you invest your money.

There are many more profitable ways to invest your money other than through a whole life insurance policy. Investment options like RRSPs and TFSAs will make more money for your loved ones if you pass early.

2. Age: average life insurance cost per month

Life insurance companies provide rates based on life expectancy and risk. As you age, the likelihood of your insurer having to pay out your policy increases, so your rates will also increase. That’s why it’s always more beneficial to get life insurance when you’re young.

The chart below shows how your age influences your monthly life insurance rates.

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost: Average cost of life insurance by age chart
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of March 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

Generally, the cost of term life insurance will increase every year you get older, so the younger you are, the less your monthly premium will be.

Even though term life insurance has a fixed cost per month once you start your coverage, the cost of life insurance substantially increases during your late 40s, so the earlier you start, the better.

3. Gender: average life insurance cost per month

Your gender identity plays a small but important role, too.

According to a study by Harvard Medical School, women statistically live longer than men. Because of this, women pay less for their life insurance premiums.

Usually, typical policies are based on your self-identified gender instead of your gender at birth.

There isn't yet an established protocol on gender for transgender applicants. 

The following table illustrates how monthly insurance premiums vary by gender.

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost: Average cost of life insurance by gender chart
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of March 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

4. Smoking status: average life insurance cost

If you’re a smoker, your premiums will increase significantly, costing you double or triple a non-smoker’s rate.

It's no mystery that there are health concerns associated with smoking. If you're a smoker, you're at a higher risk for these health concerns.

In turn, life insurance companies will charge you more to get covered, as you can see in the chart below.

Smokers Monthly Premium Non-Smokers Monthly Premium
Male, Age 20 $29.25/month $17.33/month
Female, Age 20 $18.90/month $13.73/month
Male, Age 30 $33.30/month $18.23/month
Female, Age 30 $24.58/month $14.85/month
Male, Age 40 $72.45/month $28.13/month
Female, Age 40 $51.53/month $21.60/month
Male, Age 50 $186.30/month $72.00/month
Female, Age 50 $127.58/month $51.30/month

The chart above shows rates for a 20-year term life insurance plan valued at $250,000.

One upside: the younger you are as a smoker, the less difference there'll be from standard rates.

And finally, a caveat: marijuana usage is treated differently by insurers than tobacco smoking.

5. Your job: impact on life insurance rates

Life insurance is going to cost you more per month if you have a dangerous occupation, such as:

  • Roofer
  • Driver
  • Miner
  • Logger
  • Construction worker
  • Oil rig worker
  • Farmers and ranchers
  • Commercial fishermen
  • Steelworkers

Different Canadian life insurers have different definitions of what a dangerous job is, so shop around to get the best rate.

6. High-risk activities: impact on life insurance rates

The higher your chance of premature death, the higher your monthly life insurance rates are going to be.

The good news is that even if you are considered high-risk by a life insurance company, you won't necessarily be denied insurance.

You can be high-risk and insurable, so apply for a traditional life insurance policy before turning to even pricier options like a no medical provider.

Higher-risk hobbies include:

  • Skydiving
  • Scuba diving
  • Motorcycle racing

High-risk activities include:

  • Substance use problems, such as excessive drinking
  • Driving record, such as a number of speeding tickets

Life insurance companies calculate your premiums using industry ratings. The ratings range from A to J or 1 to 10, with A and 1 being the lowest.

Higher ratings have corresponding percentage increases to your monthly rate, as the chart shows below.

Best High Risk Life Insurance in Canada 2022: chart detailing life insurance rating system for high risk applicants

Even if you have a hobby or health condition that may cause an increase in life insurance costs, never lie about it.

If your insurer discovers that you provided inaccurate or fraudulent information, they can invalidate your coverage.

This would leave your beneficiaries without the ability to make a claim and receive your death benefit.

Other factors that affect the cost of life insurance

We're not done yet! If you haven't guessed already, insurers have very complex calculations to assess risk factors.

But it's not just about risk, it's also the type of product you buy and what adjustments you make to it.

1. Coverage amount: average life insurance cost per month

The amount that would be paid to your beneficiaries is known as your policy’s face value or death benefit.

The more coverage you have, the more you’ll pay in premiums. This applies to both term and permanent life insurance policies.


You should have the right amount to provide for your loved ones if you pass away. However, even if funds are tight, providing your family with a small policy is better than nothing at all.

Here's how life insurance rates vary as the coverage amount increases:

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost: Average cost of life insurance by coverage amount chart
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of March 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

2. Policy length: average life insurance cost per month

Term life insurance policies are typically available for a 10-, 20- or 30-year period. The shorter the policy length, the more affordable the life insurance.

When you renew at the end of your term, the cost of your annual premiums may increase

Sometimes life insurance premiums stay the same for your entire term (like with PolicyMe). Sometimes they may go up in increments, such as every year for a one-year renewable policy or five years for a five-year renewable policy.

The following chart shows how policy length can affect the monthly cost of life insurance. 

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost: Average cost of life insurance by policy length chart
Pricing based on publicly-available rates as of March 2022. Terms and conditions may apply.

3. Child riders: average cost

Life insurance plans are also available for children in Canada.

Plans work similarly to life insurance for adults and include term life insurance, whole life insurance and a child term rider.

A child term rider is a plan that adds a fee to their parent's existing plan and provides coverage until the child is an adult.

For the average Canadian family, we’d recommend against purchasing further coverage until the child is 18 and can have their own policy. Why? There are a few reasons: 

  • Kids rarely have their own dependents, so it rarely makes financial sense for them to have a “traditional” life insurance policy.
  • Most parents would be better off taking the money they’d spend on extra child coverage and investing it in other areas to benefit the child.

At PolicyMe, every term life insurance plan includes free child coverage of $10,000. We add it to all new and existing plans.

4. Joint or couples life insurance: average cost of life insurance per month

There are two main types of life insurance for couples: individual and joint life insurance.

Individual couples life insurance allows you and your partner to pick different policy lengths and coverage amounts.

It tends to be more expensive than joint life insurance but provides flexibility in your policy.

At PolicyMe, you can bundle your policy with your partners and receive a discount.

5. Seniors: average term life insurance rates

Term life insurance rates for seniors are $240 for a non-smoking, 65 year-old-female with $250,000 of coverage over a 20-year policy with PolicyMe.

For a 65-year-old non-smoking male, it would cost $357 per month for the same policy length and coverage amount with PolicyMe.  

As you get older, your circumstances change, and so do your needs for life insurance.

Even though we’ve stated the younger you are, the cheaper the life insurance, this does not mean you cannot afford good coverage once you are older. 

You may have less debt or require a smaller coverage due to your older age. Even though your monthly rate may rise, a lower policy length and coverage amount can almost offset these costs making your coverage close to the same amount as someone half your age. 

Life insurance for seniors can often be used for funeral expenses, paying off any debts, and helping your beneficiaries once you have passed.

At PolicyMe, term life insurance can only be purchased when you are about 65. At 70, you may only get a 10 or 15-year term, while at 75 you are only eligible for 10 years of coverage. 

Whether you need to start new coverage or renew your previous term life insurance, it is never too late to get the coverage you need. 

How to get a rate for life insurance in Canada

Here are a few good rules of thumb when you're shopping for life insurance:

  • If you see a life insurance quote that is a lot lower or higher than other quotes you've found, you're probably not comparing the same type of policy.
  • Generally, if the price is off by more than 20 per cent, chances are it's a different type of policy.
  • You could be comparing a term and whole life policy, or two term policies with different features or riders.
  • Prices can also differ based on the amount of overhead costs the life insurance company has.
  • If you have a policy already, review your existing policy contract and see if you're paying for additional features and coverage riders.
  • If these features matter to you, keep your policy. If you just care about the security of a payout, go for a cheaper policy.

Recommended reading: reviews of the top life insurance companies in Canada.

Real-life examples: cost of life insurance

Mike and Samantha live in Burlington, Ontario. Like many other millennials, they balance their student loan debt with other financial commitments, including their mortgage. 

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost: Couple sitting on couch looking at each other

As they start to think about having a family, they realize the importance of taking out a life insurance policy. They want to ensure that their children will be taken care of financially if something happens to them.

Because he’s both a man and a smoker, Mike’s premiums are quoted as being over double the rate compared to Samantha’s. Even so, the couple was surprised at how affordable life insurance actually is. For a 20-year term, their monthly premiums will be less than their cell phone bill!

  • Mike’s approximate premium: $33.30*
  • Samantha’s approximate premium: $14.78*

*These premiums are based on PolicyMe rates.

They also realize that they likely won’t need the same $500,000 coverage amount upon renewal since they’ll owe less on their mortgage. This should help lower the renewal amount for their new policy term and keep it affordable for their family.

In summary: shop around to get the lowest rates on life insurance in Canada

As we said earlier, base prices for term life insurance in Canada are pretty similar between providers.

That doesn't mean you still can't save money. Make sure to call around and use an online rate comparison tool to back up your research.

And keep in mind that the quotes you'll get are estimates only, not the final price.

PolicyMe has some of the most affordable term life insurance rates in Canada.

We've used technology to streamline the application process and pass on the savings to you, meaning quality coverage at a lower price.

Use our life insurance calculator to find out your estimated monthly cost of life insurance with PolicyMe.

FAQ: the cost of life insurance in Canada

What is the average life insurance cost per month in Canada?

The average cost of life insurance is only $22 per month in Canada. Although many Canadians believe life insurance isn’t affordable, for $500,000 of coverage over 20 years, your premiums are usually cheaper than your typical cell phone bill. For younger people, rates are especially affordable.

How much does a $100,000 life insurance policy cost per month?

A $100,000 life insurance policy will cost about $13 per month on average for a 35-year-old man with a 20-year term life insurance policy.

How much is life insurance in British Columbia 

The cost of life insurance in British Columbia is about $22 per month on average. The same as any other province or territory in Canada. 

PolicyMe provides life insurance in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, B.C. and 8 other provinces and territories. Using our life insurance calculator can provide you with a monthly price for life insurance anywhere we offer our services.

Do I need to get a medical exam to get life insurance?

Some life insurance companies, like PolicyMe, offer instant approval. 

We don’t require a medical exam for most applicants. If we do request a medical exam, you will find out instantly. And the time you wait for insurance is only weeks, not months.

Read more about no medical life insurance.

How much is life insurance for a single person?

An average 30-year-old man and woman will pay $18 per month and $15 per month respectively for a $250,000 20-year term life insurance policy.

What is the cost of a one-million-dollar life insurance policy in Canada?

A million-dollar term life insurance policy will cost $82 for a 30-year-old, non-smoking male with 20 years of coverage at PolicyMe. For a 30-year-old non-smoking female with a 20-year policy length, the cost per month is about $60 at PolicyMe. Recommended reading: what is life insurance?

*This number is an average taken from 32 quotes from 22 Canadian life insurance companies using WinQuote. This data is recent as of August 17, 2022.

**This number is an average taken from 33 quotes from 22 Canadian life insurance companies using WinQuote. This data is recent as of August 17, 2022.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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