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Compare the best critical illness insurance companies in Canada – Updated Feb. 2024

SUMMARY

We’ve named Canada Life, Desjardins, iA Financial, and Sun Life among our top choices for the best critical illness insurance policies in Canada. We researched the best critical illness insurance in Canada so you don’t have to. Learn what critical illness insurance is, which companies offer basic and enhanced coverage, and why one should choose one company’s coverage over another.

IN THIS ARTICLE

Each insurance company offers distinct features for their critical illness plans that may suit your needs best, depending on the type of protection you require. This is why we’ve evaluated the top providers across various categories to present our compilation of the Top 14 Best Critical Insurance Companies in this article.

Head straight to the reviews.

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WHAT IS
CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE?
Critical illness insurance is a living benefit insurance policy that pays out a tax-free lump sum if you develop a specified illness, experience a major health event, or undergo treatment while under its coverage.

Coverage includes conditions like heart attack, cancer, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, kidney failure, organ transplant, blindness, coma, deafness, HIV, and other less-critical conditions.

Read about all the conditions critical illness insurance may cover.

Question mark

What are the best critical illness insurance companies in Canada?

Our top choices for Canada’s best critical illness insurance policies are from BMO, Canada Life, iA Financial, and Desjardins.

PolicyAdvisor.com has painstakingly researched the insurance companies that offer the best critical illness insurance plans in Canada. Years of profiling and analyzing the industry’s top offerings gives us the unique opportunity to review the country’s best critical illness insurance companies and present you with a list of the top insurance offerings available in the category. The following reviews are a must-read for anyone thinking about purchasing critical illness insurance in 2024.

The 14 best critical illness insurance companies in 2024 are:

Best critical illness insurance Canada list

Our Top-Rated Canadian Critical Illness Insurance Companies

Discover the best Canadian critical illness insurance companies with our ratings and reviews below.

Assumption Life Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness for Simple Coverage

AM Best Rating A-

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Our Assumption critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given Assumption a 4 star for their critical illness insurance plans. With 16 illnesses covered, this is a great, simple option for someone looking to cover the basics, with a few optional bells and whistles too.

Read our full Assumption Critical Illness Insurance review

Assumption critical illness insurance plan overview

The maximum amount of coverage (aka sum insured) offered by Assumption Life’s Critical Protection insurance policy is lower than its rivals. However, it does offer enhanced products, including a Return of Premium Upon Death rider as well as a Flexible Return of Premiums rider. Also, although this product is fully underwritten, Assumption Life does not automatically require a medical exam for all levels of coverage.

Assumption Life critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Quick, easy electronic process – instant approval possible Limited number of covered conditions (16 conditions) and coverage amounts (max of $100,000)
Medical exam not automatically required for all coverage amounts No partial payment for non-life-threatening illnesses
Online access to account No children’s coverage
Digital e-policy No whole life coverage
Shorter-term coverage options available
Limited pay and return of premium options available

Beneva Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness Insurance For Those Looking for A Mutual Company

AM Best Rating A

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Our Beneva critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given Beneva a 4 star review because of their comprehensive coverage and mutual organization offerings. If community involvement and corporate responsibility are important to you, Beneva might be your first choice. The company is run as a mutualist democracy, which you enter into once you purchase the policy, and thus have a small say in how they are run.

Read our full Beneva Critical Illness Insurance review.

Beneva critical illness insurance plan overview

Beneva’s maximum coverage for critical illness insurance is $2 million. They offer coverage for up to 25 critical conditions, but only offer partial payouts for 4 non-life-threatening conditions (less than other companies). The payout for partial conditions is typically 10% of the policy, up to $50,000. Beneva also offers coverage for 3 additional childhood illnesses.

Beneva critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Variety of terms available Only 4 partial conditions covered, payable once
Large coverage amounts and conditions covered: 25 conditions No long-term care conversion option
Lifetime coverage and limited pay options available Return of premium riders are expensive
Return of premium options available
Children’s coverage available
Digital e-policy

BMO Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Most Affordable Enhanced Coverage

AM Best Rating A

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Our BMO critical illness insurance rating

We give BMO a 5 star because it’s the best coverage on the market for an affordable price. As one of Canada’s largest financial institutions, BMO can take advantage of its heft and economies of scale to offer clients comprehensive, customizable critical illness coverage at the best prices through its Living Benefit suite of products.

Read our full BMO review.

BMO critical illness insurance plan overview

BMO offers coverage for 25 life-threatening medical conditions for up to $2 million, as well as 7 partial payout conditions for up to $50,000. Available terms include 10 years, 20 years, or up to age 75 or 100.

BMO critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Comprehensive: 25 critical illnesses covered No online access
Great price for coverage
High coverage amounts available No children’s coverage available
Multiple terms available, including whole life coverage No second event coverage
Limited pay and return of premium options available

Canada Life Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

The Rolls Royce of Critical Illness Coverage

AM Best Rating A+

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Our Canada Life critical illness insurance rating

If you are sparing no expense, Canada Life’s plans offer something for everyone. Most coverage terms, riders, child policies, and all the other bells and whistles of a CI insurance policy can be had through Canada Life’s LifeAdvance – at a price, of course. It’s the Uber Black of the category.

Read our full Canada Life review.

Canada Life Critical Illness Insurance plan overview

Canada Life’s maximum coverage for critical conditions is $3 million (one of the highest coverage amounts offered in Canada). It covers 25 critical illnesses, plus the option to add one more. The plan also offers partial payout for 8 conditions up to $50,000. Term options include 10- and 20-year terms or coverage up to age 75, or permanent options with 15 or 20 Pay, or Pay to 100.

Canada Life critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Large coverage amounts and multiple terms including whole life options No online access
Comprehensive: 26 covered conditions Loss of independent existence is a separate rider with additional cost
Digital e-policy Return of premium riders are expensive
Generous partial benefit payouts Survival period for most conditions
Limited pay and return of premium options available
Children’s coverage available
Second event coverage available

Desjardins Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best For Extensive Coverage

AM Best Rating N/A

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Our Desjardins critical illness insurance rating

We give Desjarins a 5 star rating because they offer the most number of conditions covered on the market. Desjardins’ Health Priorities product offers prospective clients a lot of choice in coverage and term. It covers more illnesses for partial payment than most other companies in Canada. However, partial payments count as an advance against your overall payout.

Read our full Desjardins review.

Desjardins critical illness insurance plan overview

Desjardins critical illness insurance plans include up to $3,000,000 for 26 conditions and generous partial payout for 16 conditions for 10, 20-year terms, or up to 65/75 years of age. Children’s illnesses are included in their plans as well.

Desjardins critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
The highest number of conditions covered (26 full payout illnesses) No online access
Digital e-policy Partial payment is an advance and reduces overall coverage
Generous partial benefit payouts (highest number of covered partial conditions) No second event coverage: Policy terminates after first claim payout
Multiple coverage amounts and multiple terms possible
No survival period on most conditions (except cardiovascular)
Permanent coverage and limited pay options available
Children’s coverage available

Empire Life Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness for Couples

AM Best Rating A

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Our Empire Life critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given Empire Life a 4 star for their critical illness insurance coverage. With a well-rounded mix of terms and features included in their critical illness insurance plans, Empire Life provides a great, comprehensive product. They also offer what is called a multi-life policy. Couples can apply together for critical illness insurance coverage and get a discount.

Read our full Empire Life review.

Empire Life critical illness insurance plan overview

Empire Life’s maximum coverage for critical illness insurance is $2 million with an addition offer of partial payouts for 6 non-life-threatening conditions at the standard $50,000 per partial payout. While they don’t offer coverage for childhood illnesses, their plans offer standard term offerings of 10 years, 20 years, and up to age 75 or 100 and combo discounts when you apply as a couple.

Empire Life critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
High coverage amounts available No limited pay options
Comprehensive: 25 conditions covered No return of premium on death (ROPD)
Multi-life coverage available No coverage for children
Online access
Digital e-policy
Generous partial benefit payouts

Equitable Life Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness For Multi-Product Discount

AM Best Rating N/A

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Our Equitable Life critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given Equitable Life of Canada a rating of 4 stars for their coverage options that include childhood illnesses. This product is great for parents looking to match their coverage to how long they’ll have dependents in their care.

Read our full Equitable Life review.

Equitable Life critical illness insurance plan overview

Equitable Life’s maximum coverage for critical illness insurance is $2 million. They cover 26 different illnesses and conditions and they also offer additional coverage for 5 childhood illnesses and coverage for loss of independent existence. Coverage term lengths include 10 years and to age 75 or 100.

Equitable Life critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Comprehensive: 26 full payout illnesses No second event coverage
Online access Partial benefit only pays out once
Digital e-policy
Multiple terms available including Term to 100
Return of premium options
Children’s coverage available
Limited pay option available: 20-Pay

Foresters’ Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best For Built-In Features

AM Best Rating A

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Our Foresters’ critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given Foresters a 4 star review because of their built-in features! Foresters has refreshed their critical illness insurance offering and made a strong move up the charts. They now offer both basic (Live Well) and enhanced (Live Well Plus) critical illness insurance that covers 4 and 25 illnesses respectively. They include return-of-premium rider as standard; however, the time for return-of-premium on cancellation is very long (starts at Year 20). This means you get your money back if you don’t claim after the 20 year term.

Read our full Foresters review.

Foresters’ critical illness insurance plan overview

Foresters offers up to $2 million in coverage for up to 25 conditions. They offer partial payouts for 8 different conditions, and they can be claimed twice. The payout is typically 15% of the policy up to $50,000, and partial payments can be claimed once during the coverage period (which reduces the final benefit). They offer terms of 10 years, 20 years, and uniquely up to age 80.

Foresters Financial critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Partial payment for 8 conditions (15% up to $50,000) Partial payout reduces final coverage
Access to Foresters’ community benefits No limited pay options available
Digital e-policy No permanent coverage
Return of premium options available
Unique Term-to-80 option available
Children’s coverage available (with 5 additional conditions)

Humania Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness Insurance for Children

AM Best Rating N/A

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Our Humania critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given Humania a 4-star review because they offer policies that offers the most comprehensive coverage for children. Humania’s Children360 critical illness covers 37 conditions, including several that are specific to children. Humania also offers a compassionate allowance for grieving parents if that unfortunate situation does occur.

Read our full Humania review.

Read our full Humania review.

Humania critical illness insurance plan overview

Humania offers the most number of conditions covered if you include the childhood illnesses. They offer 25 critical conditions, 7 childhood illnesses, but only partial payouts for 3 non-life-threatening conditions. However, they have many term options such as 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years and up to age 75.

Humania critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Comprehensive conditions covered: 25 full payout illnesses Limited partial payment benefit (only 3 covered conditions)
Multiple coverage terms available
Children’s product (Children360) with 37 covered conditions
Digital e-policy
Parental compassionate allowance
Return of premium options

Industrial Alliance (iA) Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness Insurance for Flexibility

AM Best Rating A+

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Our iA critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given iA a perfect score for their critical illness insurance plans. Industrial Alliance’s Transition plan is a great all-around critical illness insurance policy with one key differentiating factor: flexibility. With so many add-on and rider options that match or beat other companies’ offerings, Canadians can tailor-fit a critical illness policy suited to their exact needs. Policyholders also have a “reducing” option that gradually decreases the overall amount of the benefit payment over its early years until it reaches 50% of the original benefit amount. Industrial Alliance is a perfect fit for those looking to use critical illness insurance to cover mortgage payments.

Read our full Industrial Alliance review.

iA critical illness insurance plan overview

Industrial Alliance’s has critical illness insurance plans with up to 25 critical conditions and well as 5 childhood illnesses and 7 partial payments for non-life-threatening conditions. The maximum coverage payout is $2.5 million and the standard $50,000 for partial payouts. Terms offered include, 10, 12, and 25 year terms or coverage up to 75 or 100 years of age.

iA critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Comprehensive conditions covered: 25 full payout illnesses No second event coverage
Multiple terms available No long-term care conversion option
Lifetime coverage and limited-pay options available
Children’s coverage available
Guaranteed insurability rider (increase coverage when needed)
Decreasing option for mortgage coverage
Generous partial benefit payouts
Instant approval possible
Online access
Digital e-policy
Multiple lives under one coverage

ivari Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness Insurance for Bundling

AM Best Rating A+

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Our ivari critical illness insurance rating

We give ivari 4 stars because you can bundle and save! If you’re the type to keep all your services with one company, ivari’s critical illness insurance is for you. You can add $2 million in critical illness coverage as a rider to an existing life insurance plan and save up to 15% on your premiums. Brand loyalty pays off with ivari insurance!

Read our full ivari review.

ivari critical illness insurance plan overview

ivari’s maximum coverage for critical illness insurance is $2-million for up to 25 conditions as well as $50,000 for 4 partial conditions. There are options to add childhood illnesses onto the policy coverage for an extra fee. Term options include 10, 20 years or up to age 65.

ivari critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Discounts for bundling services No limited pay options
Comprehensive conditions covered: 25 full payout illnesses No second option
Children’s coverage available No permanent coverage
Online access
Digital e-policy

Manulife Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best for Brand Recognition

AM Best Rating A+

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Our Manulife critical illness insurance rating

We give Manulife a 4-star rating for their critical illness insurance. The Big Mac, Coke, and fries of critical illness insurance — Manulife’s Lifecheque is the combo to beat. With a good mix of coverage and term lengths backed by one of the most trusted names in insurance, no wonder Manulife is synonymous with financial protection.

Read our full Manulife review.

Manulife critical illness insurance plan overview

Manulife’s critical illness insurance provides coverage up to $2 million and offers partial payouts for six different conditions. The payout is typically capped at $50,000 and is payable once during the lifetime of the policy. They offer coverage for 10- and 20-year terms, with options for individuals up to 65 or 75 years of age, as well as permanent coverage.

Manulife critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Large coverage amounts available (up to $2 million) Return of premium options are expensive
Multiple coverage terms available (including permanent coverage) Only offer monthly payments for loss of independent existence
Comprehensive coverage: 25 full payout illnesses No second event coverage available
Generous partial benefit payouts
Return of premium and limited pay options available
Payment for temporary loss of independent existence
Children’s Lifecheque rider available
Online access
Digital e-policy

RBC Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best Critical Illness Insurance/Long-Term Care Combo Product

AM Best Rating A

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Our RBC critical illness insurance rating

We’ve given RBC a 4-star rating because of their long term care combo plan. With Canadians living longer than ever, those shopping for critical illness insurance may also have long-term care on their minds. Fortunately, RBC Insurance has the market cornered on those keeping their eye on Father Time. Policyholders can convert their coverage into payments for long-term care when they are older without additional proof of insurability.

Read our full RBC review.

RBC critical illness insurance plan overview

RBC’s critical illness insurance offers a maximum coverage of $2 million and includes coverage for loss of independent existence as an additional rider. They provide partial payouts for seven different conditions, typically amounting to 10% of the policy up to $50,000, payable once during the policy’s lifetime. However, RBC does not offer coverage for childhood illnesses. RBC offers critical illness insurance for 10-year terms or coverage up to 65 or 75 years of age.

RBC critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
Large coverage amounts – up to $2 million Limited term options
Comprehensive covered conditions: 25 No return of premium on expiry or cancellation
Long-term care conversion without proof of insurability No coverage for children
Generous partial benefit payouts No lifetime coverage or limited pay options
Online access
Digital e-policy

Sun Life Critical Illness Insurance Review

PolicyAdvisor Rating

Best for Comprehensive Features

AM Best Rating A+

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Our Sun Life critical illness insurance rating

We give Sun Life a 4/5 star review due to their large brand recognition in the insurance industry. Sun Life is another well-established name in critical illness insurance. Their size and history mean they offer some of the best, most comprehensive coverage for CI except for one key factor: you must submit your application by paper and fully hand-written. For that reason alone, we can’t award Sun Life full marks.

Read our full Sun Life review.

Sun Life critical illness insurance plan overview

Sun Life offers critical illness insurance with enhanced coverage for 26 conditions and standard coverage for 1, 3, or 7 conditions, including dependent children. Their maximum coverage is $2.5 million, with partial payouts for eight different conditions and the option for four partial claims during the coverage period, limited to one claim per condition. Sun Life also covers five additional childhood illnesses and provides insurance for 10-year terms, coverage up to age 75, and permanent coverage.

Sun Life critical illness insurance pros and cons

Pros Cons
The highest number of conditions covered: 26 full-payout illnesses Limited options for shorter-term coverage
Generous partial benefit payouts
No survival period for most conditions
Long-term care conversion option
Permanent coverage and limited pay options available
Children’s coverage available
Online application process
Digital e-policy

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Methodology: How did we rank critical illness insurance companies?

Our disability insurance company rankings were the result of in-depth research into key factors like:

  • Conditions covered
  • Partial conditions covered
  • Waiting periods
  • Premium rates
  • Application process
  • Online access
  • Financial strength rating
  • And more

Our team of licensed insurance advisors worked together to carefully assess the different policies available in Canada. Using this, we narrowed down a list of which critical illness insurance company is best in which area.

Get a quote from Canada’s best critical illness insurance companies

If any of these options seem like a good fit for you, if you would like to explore more options, or if you’re unsure and just want some clarity, reach out to PolicyAdvisor today. Our licensed insurance advisors can help you review your needs and sort out which company and what policy would work best for you.

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Call us at 1-888-601-9980 or book time with our licensed experts.
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By Carly Griffin
Senior Insurance Advisor, LLQP
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