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Life Insurance for Seniors in Canada

Senior man applying for life insurance online.

Life Insurance for Seniors in Canada

What is Life Insurance for Seniors

Life insurance for seniors is quite simply a life insurance policy that is purchased later in life and is tailored to the needs of older people. Life insurance policies for seniors are typically available for those over the age of 50 and have higher premiums than policies purchased earlier in life.

Benefits of Life Insurance for Seniors

While many people invest in life insurance when they are young to provide a safety net to their dependents if they pass away, there are still a number of benefits to having life insurance beyond retirement age. For one, even a modest life insurance policy can be used to cover funeral expenses, so that loved ones don’t end up footing the bill. A life insurance benefit can also ensure that your family are not responsible for any debts incurred from end-of-life care. Beyond that, life insurance for seniors is an effective way to pass wealth down within the family, which younger generations can use to pay for higher education, to purchase real estate, or simply for greater financial stability.

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Final expense insurance

Many seniors are seeking life insurance as a vehicle to cover their burial costs or final expense costs. There are two reasons why you may consider this. First, if your family doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to immediately pay for your burial costs or you don’t want to burden them with the costs then a life insurance policy can be used to simply cover these costs.

Secondly, even if the finances are available to cover these costs, life insurance can be used simply for convenience. Life insurance proceeds are normally readily available within a week or two of the claim being made (and commonly in as soon as just a few days). This means that life insurance can be used simply as a way to ensure that funds are available fast, without worrying about where the money is going to, accessing funds from your estate, or having your beneficiaries come up with final expenses on short notice.

Estate creation

Life insurance is also occasionally used for estate creation. In layman’s terms, it’s as simple as you deciding you’d like to leave an amount of money behind to beneficiaries, perhaps your children or grandchildren. Life insurance is an easy and inexpensive way to gift people a sum of money when you pass away.

Taxes and estate preservation

Generally speaking your estate is passed to your spouse without significant tax consequences. However, when your estate passes down to your children there are frequently taxes to be paid. If the taxes are to be paid from your estate, then assets may have to be liquidated in order to provide the funds. If you would rather not have your assets sold off and instead want to preserve them, then you can use life insurance as a vehicle to pay the taxes. A family cottage or family home are common examples of assets that many of us want to preserve for later generations rather than having these assets sold to pay estate taxes upon our death.

How Much Coverage do I Need?

The amount of coverage needed for seniors depends on various factors, including what the main purpose of the life insurance policy is and how much the policy holder wants to spend on premiums. For example, if you primarily want to use your life insurance policy for estate creation or final expense and burial costs, a more modest policy is typically sufficient, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000. For estate preservation or tax purposes, the size of life insurance coverage can vary greatly. In this case, it is always best to speak to your accountant to determine the best coverage amount and policy type.

When it comes to how much life insurance coverage you need based on what policy premiums you can afford, there are several factors that influence the cost of premiums that seniors should be aware of. First, your age will play a determining factor in what premium rates you qualify for. The older you get, the higher your premiums will become, as your insurance risk increases with age.

Health is also a critical consideration for life insurance companies in setting rates. Seniors with pre-existing medical conditions or illnesses can therefore be subjected to higher premium rates as well as certain coverage exclusions. For seniors with medical conditions, there is also the option of purchasing a no medical life insurance policy, which while having higher premiums, does not require a medical evaluation and thus has no exclusions.

Life insurance companies will also determine premium rates for seniors based on smoking status. If you qualify as a smoker (which means even infrequent smoking of cigarettes or tobacco products), your premiums will be substantially higher than those of a non-smoker. Smoking also increases the risk of being denied a life insurance policy for seniors, especially if they have underlying health issues.

Head on over to our detailed coverage calculation guide for a better idea of how much life insurance coverage you need.

Types of Life Insurance for Seniors

There are several options for life insurance for seniors in Canada. As we’ll see in more detail, each has its own benefits depending on the policy holder’s specific needs.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is a viable option for seniors, with many policy options for life insurance for people over 50. Term life insurance is purchased for a set period of time with a fixed premium rate, and pays a death benefit if the insured dies during the coverage period. While premiums increase the older you are, there are ways to access inexpensive term life insurance for seniors. For instance, if premium cost is a key consideration, a smaller amount of coverage over a shorter term will be more affordable than a larger policy or longer term.

Permanent life insurance

There are a number of permanent life insurance options for seniors, though some have age restrictions. A permanent life insurance policy, such as whole life insurance or universal life insurance, is particularly beneficial for younger seniors (in their 50s) with a good bill of health. While premiums are higher than term life insurance, permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage with the potential to earn investment income.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

As you age and the risk of health issues increases, so too does the chance of being denied life insurance coverage. Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of policy that offers guaranteed approval for coverage, making it a popular option for life insurance for people over 50. In other words, guaranteed life insurance does not require a medical exam for approval. Guaranteed issue life insurance policies also usually have a wider eligible age bracket, up to 75 years old. Compared to fully underwritten policies, guaranteed life insurance does have more limited death benefit options and higher premiums.

No medical life insurance

Like guaranteed issue life insurance, no medical life insurance is a good option for seniors who may have been denied fully underwritten policies based on health conditions. It is also a good option for seniors that want coverage but do not want the hassle of undergoing medical exams and a lengthy underwriting period. In general, no medical life insurance has higher premiums than fully underwritten policies.

What Will Life Insurance Cost Me?

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Can seniors get life insurance?

Yes, seniors can get life insurance coverage over the age of 50. In fact, senior life insurance is today a more competitive and diverse market than in the past, which means that there is more affordable insurance for seniors. Factors like age, health, and smoking status influence how much coverage seniors are eligible for and how much premium rates will be. Despite this, there are life insurance policy options for a range of seniors’ needs.

How much does life insurance for seniors cost?

The cost of life insurance premiums increases the older you get, simply because risk factors—like health problems—increase with age. However, it’s not only age that factors in to the cost of life insurance premiums for seniors: health, gender, lifestyle, and smoking status also play a big role.

Looking at term life insurance, premium rates for for a healthy 50-year-old could be as little as $20 a month, while broader coverage could increase monthly premium payments up to nearly $100 a month. Head to our instant quote service to receive a custom life insurance quote.

Will a pre-existing medical condition exclude seniors from life insurance?

Typically, having a pre-existing medical condition will not make you ineligible for a life insurance policy. The nature and type of pre-existing condition will, however, influence policy rates as well as fine print exclusions. More serious pre-existing health conditions may even require special life insurance policies which are usually accompanied by significantly higher premium rates.

Is there an age limit for applying for a life insurance policy?

The short answer is yes, however, the age restrictions for life insurance policies vary depending on the insurance provider and the policy type. For instance, many term life insurance policies for seniors must be purchased before the age of 75. Whole life insurance policies, on the other hand, are available to people up to the age of 85 in some cases.

What are the best life insurance options for seniors?

In terms of policy type, seniors have a few options at their disposal for life insurance. Term life insurance policies are available up until the age of 75 and are well suited for those seeking more short-term coverage, such as 10-15 years.

Whole life insurance is often a more attractive option, especially for seniors looking for long-term coverage that will pay for funeral expenses or be passed down to family members. Another option, particularly for seniors with pre-existing medical conditions, is guaranteed life insurance, which does not require a medical examination. It should be noted that the premiums for guaranteed life insurance are significantly higher than policies with medical underwriting.


As the market for senior life insurance has expanded in Canada, so too have the life insurance coverage options for people over the age of 50. This is good news in that seniors have more coverage and premium options to choose from. But it also means it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate all the options and find the best match for your needs. We’re here to help you find the best life insurance for seniors. Get an instant quote from some of the leading life insurance providers in Canada or get in touch with one of our life insurance experts to find the best policy for you and your budget.

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