How do I know how much life insurance I need?
How about we say “10 times your income and you’re good to go?” Just kidding—we’re not that kind of a broker. There are no one-size-fits-all answers to this question. Life insurance needs are best figured out based on your individual circumstances: your mortgage and other debts, your number of dependents and their individual needs, what you want to leave behind after you pass away, your assets and savings, plus other such factors.
You can certainly make an educated guess, but luckily we know of an easier way. Our online life insurance needs calculator is a free and easy-to-use tool that allows you to plug in information like your income, mortgage, dependents, debts and more to give you an informed estimate of your insurance needs. Go ahead and try it out—no strings attached.
Why should I shop for life insurance online?
The obvious answer is shopping online for life insurance can save you money. It’s just like when you visit any of your favourite shopping or comparison sites: When you see all the products available and how much they cost, you can make a decision based on price. And, hey—why pay more if you don’t have to?
That said, there are usually several considerations other than just price when you compare policies amongst the largest Canadian insurance companies. Whether it be different term lengths, features and policy add-ons (such as coverage for your children or a critical illness rider), or simply checking out the financial health of a certain insurer, when you compare quotes online, you have more choice and transparency than if you worked with a traditional broker beholden to a select few companies.
The other reason to shop for life insurance online is even more relatable—you save time. By starting your search online and entering the details of exactly what kind of protection you’re looking for, you jump-start your search and skip over the mundane acts of stalking yelp reviews for insurance agents, booking meetings with them at your neighbourhood coffee shop and combing through hundreds of company brochures, which are not always in PDF form. What may have taken weeks or months before can now be accomplished in minutes.
Do I need life insurance if I already have mortgage insurance from my bank?
Now we’re getting to the interesting stuff. In our opinion, the answer is: absolutely! Your banker won’t tell you this, but most people are better served by protecting their mortgage with simple term life insurance.
Mortgage insurance offered by your lender offers inadequate financial protection. It’s expensive and, worse still, gets more expensive as you age. It’s not portable, which means the price is reset every time you refinance or switch your lender. You pay a fixed fee with your mortgage payment while your coverage (the amount of your mortgage debt) shrinks. And it does everything to protect your lender ahead of you.
There are certain circumstances where lender-offered mortgage insurance makes some sense, such as in cases where you can’t obtain underwritten life insurance for yourself for some reason. But for most situations, it doesn’t make sense to pay more for a product with limited, inflexible coverage when term life insurance fulfills your needs and offers you more protection. And did we mention at a lower cost?
Do I really need to do a health exam to get life insurance?
Yes, there are non-medical options when it comes to life insurance, and any insurance agent would be happy to sell you such a policy—because they can be quite lucrative from the perspective of the commission the agent will pocket!
But the truth is, you can save yourself a lot of money in the long run by undergoing medical underwriting, a process that allows an insurance company to determine how much risk they would take on by insuring you. If an insurance company can determine there is less risk involved in insuring your life, they’ll happily pass some of those savings on to you.
There can, however, be good reasons to go for non-medical policies—like when you are not a fan of needles, short on time, or have some health considerations. If any of those reasons apply to you, then choosing the simplified, non-medical policy options may be the right approach. Whenever in doubt, ask an independent insurance expert. Luckily we know someone….
READ MORE: Learn how to buy life insurance online*
Jiten Puri is the CEO of PolicyAdvisor.com*, a Canadian insurance broker providing a digital solution to an archaic industry, combining modern technology, intuitive design and human expertise to make insurance buying simpler, straightforward and stress-free.
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