While all life insurance plans are designed to pay an amount of money when someone dies (called a “death benefit”), there are two basic types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is designed to provide affordable life insurance protection for a specific period of time, or “term” as the name indicates. The term may be a fixed number of years (eg. 10 or 20 years) or to a set age (eg. age 75). If you die during the term, your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit. If you don’t die during the term, no one gets the death benefit and the insurance ends. However, some term life insurance policies can renew at the end of each term for a further term, which lets you keep your insurance for a longer period of time if you need it.
Premiums, or the price you pay for your insurance, typically stay the same during the initial term, but increase each time the policy renews for another term, and the renewal premiums may or may not be guaranteed.
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance is designed to provide insurance protection for your entire life, no matter how long that is. This means you can keep your life insurance coverage as long as you live, provided you pay your premiums when they are due. And if you die while your insurance is in effect, a death benefit is paid to your beneficiaries.
Permanent insurance typically accumulates a cash value over time, and under certain circumstances, you can borrow money from the insurance company, which is secured against the value of your policy. If you choose to cancel your insurance, you receive the cash value of your policy at the time of cancellation, minus any amount you owe to the insurance company.
Premiums for permanent insurance are often guaranteed not to increase as long as your insurance is in effect.
Term Life Insurance and Permanent Life Insurance
It is important to note that both term life insurance and permanent life insurance may have additional features or variations that can allow you to tailor your life insurance based on your needs, and the specific terms of your life insurance are set out in your insurance contract. Each type of life insurance has benefits, but the reality is most Canadians will have the need for both (for example, many consumers have permanent life insurance coverage to pay for funeral expenses when they die, as well as term life insurance coverage for shorter term needs such as paying off their mortgage and other debts if they die before those debts have been paid in full).
It is important to get the information and advice you need before purchasing life insurance. An insurance advisor can provide invaluable advice and can help you find the right life insurance product to meet your needs.
The information in this document is for general information purposes only. It may not contain all the information you need to make a decision about life insurance and it is not meant to provide advice about which type of insurance is right for you. The Empire Life Insurance Company assumes no responsibility if you choose to rely on the information contained on this page as it may not be sufficient for your particular circumstances. We recommend you seek professional advice before making a decision about life insurance.