Whole life insurance is able to provide protection for the entire life of the insured, rather than just for limited period of time. This policy usually has a growing cash surrender value, which you can access in the future. The death benefit, premiums, cash values are guaranteed under this policy. As long as your premiums are paid, your beneficiary will receive the benefit amount without tax.
As distinct from Term Life Insurance, in most instances, permanent policies are designed with a level premium payment for the lifetime of the policy, providing lifelong protection at a predictable cost (Illustration). Cost of insurance depends on the insured's age, gender, health, smoker/non-smoker, and the sum insured (amount of coverage).
Permanent (Whole) Life insurance policy may be issued for the applicants who are from 0 to 85 years old at the moment of application for the policy. Men pay more than women, and rates for smokers are higher than for non-smokers, which results from more favourable statistics for women and non-smokers.
Some companies offer different levels of premiums depending on the insured's health, lifestyle and family history: usually, three levels for non-smokers and two levels for smokers. However, medical evidence is required to categorize the insured into the appropriate premium level.
Cash Surrender Value (CSV)
Permanent (Whole) Life Insurance policy may build up a Cash Surrender Value (CSV), which makes this policy an attractive investment tool. Should a policy owner decide to terminate a permanent policy, the insurance company will return to the policy owner the policy's cash surrender value. By that, the owner gets back a part or entire amount of premiums paid to the company. CSVs are guaranteed and stated in the policy at issue, and normally increase from year to year.
CSV, or at least a high percentage of it, is available to the policy owner as a loan during the lifetime of the policy.
This is a life insurance policy in which all required premiums for the entire policy period have been paid. The most typical paid-up policies are following:
► Some policies require premium payments for a limited number of years, for example for the first 10 years, 15 years, 20 years or to age 65 (10 Pay, 15 Pay, 20 Pay or Pay to 65). If all premium payments have been made over those years the policy is considered paid-up and remains in force until the insured person dies or cancels the policy.
► The owner of the whole life insurance policy may stop premium payments and maintain a reduced death benefit for the life of the insured. A new policy with the reduced death benefit is considered paid in full and requires no more premiums payment. Such a policy remains in force until the insured person dies or cancels the policy. As with the CSV, this paid-up insurance with reduced coverage is guaranteed by the contract.
Customizing your policy with extra benefits
It is recommended a yearly review of your insurance policy to make sure it continues to meet your changing needs. And, if your needs change, it’s good to know that you have several options to change your current amount of insurance or type of coverage.
With your Whole Life Insurance policy, you can choose a number of “riders” or extra benefits. These extra cost options help customize your policy. Some examples include:
• Term Insurance Rider: If more protection is required to cover temporary needs, like mortgages or loans, term insurance riders can easily be added to your policy.
• Critical Illness rider
You can choose whole life insurance from the Canada's top insurance companies: Manulife Financial, Empire Life, BMO Insurance, Equitable Life of Canada, RBC Insurance, Industrial Alliance, Canada Life and other.
For more information, consultation and to get a quote, please call at
416-493-0101, 1-877-443-0101 or Ask Your Question Online
Revised: February 21, 2021.