What is the Best Life Insurance in BC for 2023?

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Did you know that BC residents have the least life insurance in Canada? Nationally around 70% of Canadians have life insurance, but in British Columbia, it is closer to 60%. Are you one of the 40% without a plan in place to protect your dependents?

If this is you, or if you are looking for a better deal than your current plan, look no further! Our guide below breaks down the basics, explains what to look for and helps you find a great life insurance deal that suits your needs.

What are the top life insurance providers in BC?

There are dozens of life insurance providers available in British Columbia. Most life insurance providers are available nationally, so the life insurance giants are a solid choice if you’re in Vancouver or buying life insurance in Ontario.

Canada Life life insurance: Comprehensive options from one of the country’s largest insurers

Founded in 1847, The Canada Life Assurance Company was Canada’s first domestic life insurance company. In 2013, the company merged with Great-West Life insurance and London Life insurance. As one of the largest insurance companies in Canada, it collects over $36 billion in insurance premiums each year and employs over ten thousand people.

TypesTerm Life InsuranceWhole Life InsuranceUniversal Life InsuranceParticipating Life Insurance
From 5 to 50 yearsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Guaranteed burial insurance
Debt repayment
Inheritance transfer for beneficiaries
Value growth in your life insurance
Increases your savings (non-taxable)
Participation in investment results (in the form of dividends)
Canada Life life insurance coverage types

Sun Life life insurance: A great option for families

Sun Life has been providing insurance since 1871. Originally headquartered in Quebec, the group now provides insurance over the whole American continent as well as in India, the Philippines, the UK and North Africa.

Sun Life offers term, permanent and whole life insurance. Let's take a look at what Sun Life offers for its term life customers.

TypesTerm Life
10, 15, 20, 30 years
  • Term 10: 0 - 75
  • Term 15: 0 - 70
  • Term 20: 0 - 65
  • Term 30: 0 - 55
Between $26 and $107 per month depending on age, term, and the amount of coverage
Coverage Amount
$50,000 and up
How Sun Life term life insurance works

Sun Life has a range of policies to suit every individual need. Take a look at the table below to see what other types of life insurance they offer.

Participatory permanent life insurance
  • generates short-term cash value
  • covers you until death
  • generates long-term cash value
  • seeks to increase death benefit through investment
Non-participatory permanent life insurance
  • covers you until death
  • death benefits of $5,000 to $10 million
  • generates long-term cash value
  • seeks to increase death benefit through investment
Universal life insurance
  • wide variety of death benefit options
  • covers you until death
  • option to cease payments after 70 and remain covered
SunLife insurance offers

Manulife - Manulife life insurance: Synergy plans combine life insurance with disability and critical illness coverage

With over 33 million customers Manulife is one of the most popular insurance companies in Canada. They recently announced a net zero carbon policy and work to keep investments green.

Manulife offers term, whole and universal life policies. Under each type, they have a number of plans. Here is a table showing the difference in each life insurance option available:

TypeTerm LifeWhole LifeUniversal LifeGauranteed Issue
10-year incrementsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Coverage plans
  • Family Term with Vitality Plus
  • Family Term
  • CoverMe Term Life
  • CoverMe Easy Issue
  • Manulife Par whole life insurance
  • Performax Gold whole life insurance
  • Manulife UL with Vitality Plus
  • Manulife UL
  • InnoVision
  • Guaranteed Issue up to $25,000
Manulife insurance plan

BCAA Life Insurance: Coverage through a BC institution

British Columbia Automobile Association offers Manulife plans. It is a good life insurance choice from a trusted brand that is backed by one of Canada’s largest financial institutions. Some plans and benefits are exclusive to BCAA members.

Plan5-Year Term LifeMulti-Term LifeLifetime ProtectionGuaranteed Issue
$50,000 to $500,000$50,000 to $1 million$50,000 to $500,000$5,000 to $25,000
  • 18-55 for 20-Year Term
  • 18-60 for 15-Year Term
  • 18-65 for 10-Year Term
5 years10, 15 or 20 yearsFor lifeFor life
Up to age 75Up to age 75For lifeFor life
BCAA member benefit
Coverage increases by 2% annually for freeCoverage increases by 2% annually for free
Convert to Lifetime Protection or 20-year term
Before age 56Before age 71n/an/a
BCAA life insurance policies

Pacific Blue Cross Life Insurance: High coverage term life policies for British Columbians

Pacific Blue Cross is a Burnaby-based affiliate of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans. It is one of BC’s largest employers and most used insurers. Besides their popular individual health plans, they also offer a range of insurance products. Blue Cross Life insurance is available only as 10, 20 or 25-year term life insurance. Up to $10 million is available.$50,000 critical illness insurance rider may also be added on.

Finally, they offer no medical exam policies.

PlanBlue Cross Life Insurance
18 to 75 years of age
Note: Age maximum is 85 minus the selected term duration
$50,000 to $10 million
  • 10 years
  • 20 years
  • 25 years

Up to 90 years old
Pacific Blue Cross Life Insurance Policies

Do you need life insurance in BC?

It is not mandatory to have life insurance in BC. However, there are many good reasons to purchase a policy. Life insurance is a way of guaranteeing that your spouse and children, your dependents, will not experience financial difficulty if you die unexpectedly. It can also be a way to pass money on to children or grandchildren. Let's look at a couple of examples.

Example 1: life insurance for peace of mind

Example 2: life insurance for inheritance

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Who should buy life insurance in BC?

As seen in the examples above, life insurance buyers in BC want to ensure that money goes directly to their dependants or heirs. It helps ensure that certain money is not part of your estate and instead goes tax-free to a personally chosen beneficiary.

Besides inheritance, there are other great reasons to have life insurance. Here are a few:

  • Pay off a mortgage
  • Clear out existing debts
  • Leave money for your favourite charity
  • Pay for your funeral costs
  • Peace of mind that dependants will be financially secure

How much life insurance do you need in BC?

When choosing a life insurance policy, you have the option to purchase as little as $5,000 in coverage or as much as $10 million. This “death benefit” is the amount that will be paid out to your chosen beneficiary in the event of your death.

Because BC is one of the most expensive provinces to live in in Canada, you should consider purchasing a higher coverage.

Ask yourself if your dependents could continue paying the mortgage, enroll in university and maintain their current lifestyle in your absence. Shopping for life insurance can be morbid, but consider your family’s well-being.

Good to know

Unsure how much life insurance to buy? A nice rule of thumb is to purchase a policy worth ten times your annual income.

Weigh your existing debt, dependants’ needs, mortgage payments and family’s lifestyle. Our life insurance calculator can help you with the calculations.

Are you interested in seeing how much coverage you could get?

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How much is life insurance in BC?

Starting rates for a young buyer of term life insurance may be as little as $9 to $15 per month. On the other hand, an older buyer interested in permanent life insurance and a high death benefit may pay hundreds. The reality is that life insurance in BC encompasses a wide range of policy types and amounts. An individual's personal situation makes a tremendous difference in how much they will pay.

Here are some real-life quotes from a leading BC life insurance provider to give a concrete example. Prices are for 20-year term life insurance policies with $250,000 and $1 million benefits:

Male, Non-smokerPremium/ month
Premium/ month
($1 million)
30 years old
45 years old
60 years old
Men's term life insurance quotes BC
Female, Non-smokerPremium/ month
Premium/ month
($1 million)
30 years old
45 years old
60 years old
Women's term life insurance quotes BC

Here are a few pricing rules to keep in mind:

  • The younger and healthier the buyer, the more financially accessible the policy will be.
  • Women often pay less than men.
  • Older buyers and those with pre-existing health issues will have fewer options.
  • Higher coverage costs more.
  • Term life policies trend cheaper than whole life insurance options
  • Policies with an investment component offer greater flexibility in paying premiums

Here at some of the life factors that might affect your rates:

Personal factorsRate decrease or increase of monthly premiums
Body type
-25% to +200%
Depression, history of
+50% to +200%
Drinking, pattern of
Driving record
+25% to +50%
-25% (for women)
Calculate life insurance premiums BC

The best way to answer this question? By comparing life insurance quotes made just for you.

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Should you choose permanent life or term life insurance in BC?

Both policy types have their place and advantages. Term life insurance covers you for a certain period that is agreed upon purchase. This period of time is the term. Once the term ends you will need to renew the policy or shop around for a new one.

Permanent life insurance policies cover your whole life, so long as you keep paying the premiums. As there is no limit, whole life insurance guarantees a payout. As a result, the monthly premiums are higher. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages below:

FeaturesTerm life insuranceWhole or permanent life insurance
Guaranteed payout
Only within the agreed term
Monthly premiums
Cheaper premiumsMore expensive premiums
When the policy expires
  • You may have to have a medical assessment
  • Your monthly premiums may increase
The policy does not expire
If the term expires, you get nothing backYour premiums have cash value. This means you can choose to end the policy and withdraw your policy and whatever interest it has earnt.
Term life insurance BC vs permanent life insurance BC

In conclusion, if you are younger and have no health problems you may enjoy a term life policy. This allows you to provide for your dependents if you were not around. By the time the term expires, they will hopefully be financially independent and the family mortgage paid off. Term life insurance might also be a great fit for an older person, worried about their deteriorating health, who does not want to have to take further medical exams. A guaranteed life insurance policy could cover some small debt and final expenses.

A whole life insurance policy might be best for buyers who want to ensure a payout and leave a legacy for their dependents. These policies have the added advantage of being a financial resource that can be tapped into if needed.

To compare the best life insurance providers in BC now and find the right protection for you and your family, click the button below.

How do you get life insurance quotes in BC?

Use our comparison tool to get the best life insurance quotes from British Columbia’s top insurers.

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Otherwise, you can get individual life insurance quotes through a BC life insurance broker or directly through financial advisors and insurance agents.

Life insurance policies vary in complexity. Term policies with low coverage amounts may be available quickly with minimally invasive medical questions. But for higher amounts and permanent life insurance policies, you can expect medical exams and comprehensive questionnaires.

Expect to answer questions about your:

  • Age
  • Medical history
  • Family’s medical history
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies and lifestyle
  • Smoking status
  • Relationship with alcohol
  • Weight
  • And more

Insurers ask these sensitive questions to weigh your risk and determine premium levels.

Watch out!

Consider your options carefully. Picking the right life insurance policy has financial ramifications for you and your family now and in the future.

BC Life insurance buying tips:

Here are some tips on how to save on your life insurance in British Columbia:

  • Buy young - lock in rates when you are still in your 20s, 30s or 40s and in good health.
  • Buy what you need - term life insurance might be enough for you and your family. Understand what you are buying and weigh what is absolutely necessary versus what is just nice to have.
  • Ask for member discounts: You may be eligible for a discount as a member of a professional or alumni organization.
  • Bundling: Combining a life insurance policy with critical illness or disability insurance is often cheaper than buying the policies separately from different providers.
  • Quit smoking: smoking drives life insurance rates up dramatically as it correlates with worse health outcomes and greater risk.
  • Compare providers: There are so many plans out there, that picking the right one isn't always easy. Try comparing life insurance quotes for multiple plans and speaking with a life insurance agent for guidance.

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Is life insurance taxable in British Columbia?

When speaking about taxes, we always recommend speaking with a tax professional.

Life insurance premiums in British Columbia are taxed at 2%.

A death benefit paid to a named beneficiary is not taxable. It is considered an inheritance or gift. An exception to this rule is if they receive interest earnings on the policy. This can happen with some permanent life insurance policies or if they choose to receive the benefits in installments rather than as a single lump sum.

On the other hand, closing or tapping into your own permanent life insurance policy may be taxable. You should not owe taxes on the portion of the policy’s accumulated cash value made up of your premiums. But, the above-basis amount from earned interest is taxable.

Expert advice

If your policy earns interest, the life insurance company should provide you or your beneficiaries with a T5 Statement of Investment Income.

Can I get no medical life insurance in BC?

Many providers offer British Columbians guaranteed acceptance life insurance. These policies are term life insurance options available up to a specific age limit. For example, TD Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance accepts people between the ages of 50 and 75. Manulife’s CoverMe Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance accepts those between 40 and 75.

The biggest downside to these policies is lower coverage limits. Many of them only go up to $25,000. RBC and the Canada Protection Plans Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance are outliers that allow up to $40,000 and $50,000 coverage amounts.

Good to know

These plans can make sense to the right kind of buyer. In many other cases, though, it is worth going through the trouble of a medical questionnaire and exam to access a policy with a higher limit.

What is the Insurance Council of BC?

The Insurance Council of British Columbia, or ICBC, is the province’s regulatory body for insurance. It operates under the Financial Institutions Act and exists to protect the public.

The council sets standards for licensing and educating BC’s insurance agents, adjusters, salespeople and other insurance professionals. It also has the authority to investigate consumer complaints and discipline bad actors.

The ICBC can also provide some consumer advice. It can help if you think that your provider has not treated you fairly. They cannot, however, help contest a life insurance beneficiary. To do this you will need to seek professional legal advice.

Expert advice

You can verify if your life insurance policy provider is licensed in British Columbia on the ICBC website.

How do I get mortgage life insurance in BC?

British Columbians aren’t required to purchase mortgage life insurance, but these “life insurance for a mortgage” policies can make sense for some buyers.

Mortgage life insurance works like term life insurance in that policies last for a specific term. In this case, they match the policyholder's mortgage term. The insurance covers the remainder of a mortgage balance should they pass away before paying it off.

Mortgage life insurance protects a family’s home. Unlike a traditional life insurance policy, the beneficiary is actually the mortgage lender. It still benefits the buyer’s dependants by providing them with a paid-off mortgage on the family home.

The biggest advantage of this type of policy is that it generally requires less medical information than a typical term or whole life insurance policy.

Let’s look at an example of why someone might prefer this type of coverage:

He settles on a mortgage life insurance policy rather than a term life insurance policy because his high blood pressure and a history of heart disease in his family drive up the prices of his quotes. He is more comfortable with the cheaper mortgage life insurance quotes he receives.

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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.

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