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The best mortgage insurance companies in Canada

SUMMARY

Mortgage insurance is a type of life insurance offered by a bank or a money lender. While we would always recommend a term life insurance policy, we researched Canada’s best mortgage insurance options. Learn what mortgage insurance is, which companies offer mortgage-specific products, and why term life coverage may be your best option to protect your mortgage.

By Jiten Puri
CEO & Founder, Insurance Advisor, LLQP
24 min read
IN THIS ARTICLE

Buying a house is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. It’s only natural that you’ll want to protect your purchase.

When you sit down with your mortgage broker or lender, they’ll likely offer you insurance on your mortgage. This insurance will pay off your mortgage in the event you pass away. The monthly premiums are even conveniently tacked onto your monthly mortgage payments. It sounds like a great protection plan for the biggest purchase of your life, but there are better options out there beyond what your broker or lender has to offer.

When you apply for a mortgage with a lender, it’s the mortgage broker or bank agent’s job to cross-sell their products to you. They may make it seem like you have to say yes to their insurance, but that’s not the case. You can opt for mortgage protection through life insurance instead.

We’ve done some digging so you can see the differences between what the banks have to offer with their mortgage-only product and how private mortgage protection insurance can be even more beneficial. Check out our review of the best mortgage protection insurance in Canada, so you can make sure your biggest financial asset is protected.

Skip straight to the reviews. 

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What is mortgage insurance?

One of the many reasons people get roped into buying mortgage insurance is because the name can be misleading — not to mention the alternative products have similar names as well. You do need some of these insurance products to secure your mortgage, but others you do not.

Here are some common insurance product names, their definitions, and who offers them.

This chart shows some common mortgage insurance product names, their definitions, and who offers them.

How mortgage insurance premiums are paid

With traditional mortgage insurance provided by your bank or mortgage lender, the premiums are built into your monthly mortgage payment and tied exclusively to your mortgage contract. Although your mortgage and coverage decrease over time as you pay off your mortgage, your premiums will remain the same, if not increase.

But private mortgage insurance (mortgage protection insurance) from a third party is an insurance contract separate from your mortgage. This means you pay your monthly premiums separately from your mortgage payment. Additionally, if you move or change the terms of your mortgage, your policy stays in force. In other words, a private mortgage protection policy is portable.

Banks and lenders that provide mortgage insurance

While the benefits of private mortgage insurance (PMI) far outweigh the offerings of banks, lenders, and creditors, it’s important to note that mortgage insurance may come with its own exclusive benefits that may make the higher cost worth it for you. However, in general, we cannot recommend this type of coverage.

Here are some of the biggest banks and lenders for mortgage insurance.

Scotia Mortgage Protection Insurance

AM BEST RATING

N/A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Not Recommended

Scotiabank mortgage insurance

Scotiabank’s mortgage protection insurance offers coverage for four different scenarios. These options will cover your monthly mortgage payments if you: unfortunately pass away (life insurance), are diagnosed with a covered critical illness, become disabled and unable to work, or lose your job.

The life insurance option will pay your outstanding mortgage debt up to $1,000,000, while the critical illness option will pay up to $500,000.

The disability and job loss options cover up to $3,500 in monthly mortgage payments for up to 24 months and up to six months respectively.

However, the policy’s details matter a lot. Only specific, limited illnesses, disabilities, or other scenarios will be covered.

    • Available Term Lengths: Up to age 70
    • Available Term Types: Decreasing coverage
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $1,000,000

Pros

  • Additional insurance options to cover mortgage costs: life insurance, critical illness insurance, disability insurance, and job loss coverage
  • Discounts for purchasing two or more insurance types and for mortgages over $350,000
  • 30-day free look period

Cons

  • Only covers your mortgage, nothing else
  • Only issued between ages 18 and 64, unless client has existing insured mortgage
  • Job loss insurance only available with purchase of disability insurance
  • Limited number of critical illnesses covered (life-threatening cancer, acute heart attack, or stroke)
  • Restrictions on coverage for disability, critical illness, and job loss

TD Mortgage Protection

AM BEST RATING

N/A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Not Recommended

TD mortgage insurance 

TD’s mortgage protection covers up to $1,000,000 in the event of death, diagnosis of a covered terminal illness, or accidental dismemberment.

It also offers an optional mortgage critical illness insurance that will pay out up to $1,000,000 if the insured suffers a covered critical illness.

However, payouts do not strictly cover direct mortgage insurance payments. They also cover related fees, including interest and costs related to ending your mortgage, such as prepayment charges if your mortgage is paid off early and discharge fees if your mortgage is fully paid off.

    • Available Term Lengths: Up to age 70
    • Available Term Types: Decreasing coverage
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $1,000,000

Pros

  • Additional insurance option to cover mortgage costs: critical illness insurance
  • Discounts for two or more insured under mortgage life/critical insurance and for insured mortgages from $300,000 to $1,000,000
  • Reduced premiums for eligible lump sum payments against mortgage
  • Payouts can be used for fees as well as actual mortgage balance
  • 30-day free look period

Cons

  • Only covers your mortgage, nothing else
  • Critical illness coverage only available up to age 55
  • Limited number of critical illnesses covered (life-threatening cancer, acute heart attack, or stroke)

Read our full TD Term Life Insurance Review and TD Critical Illness Insurance Review.

RBC HomeProtector Insurance

AM BEST RATING

N/A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Not Recommended

RBC mortgage insurance

RBC offers three options to cover mortgage payments. Its default is a mortgage life insurance policy that will pay up to $750,000 towards an RBC mortgage in the event the insured passes away. Like other mortgage lenders, it also offers two additional options: critical illness and disability insurance. But choose carefully — under this policy, you cannot be covered for both.

The critical illness option will make a lump sum payment of up to $300,000 towards your mortgage if you are diagnosed with a covered critical illness. On the other hand, the disability insurance option is meant to cover monthly costs related to your mortgage, including insurance premiums. It will cover up to $3,000 per month for up to 24 months if you unfortunately become disabled and cannot work.

However, as with TD, lump sum payouts can be used for related payments aside from just your outstanding mortgage balance. It can help to pay off interest, overdrawn balances, prepayment charges, and other fees associated with ending your mortgage early.

    • Available Term Lengths: Up to age 70
    • Available Term Types: Decreasing coverage
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $750,000

Pros

  • Additional insurance options to cover mortgage costs: critical illness insurance, disability insurance
  • Payouts can be used for fees as well as actual mortgage balance
  • 30-day free look period

Cons

  • Only covers your mortgage, nothing else
  • No discounts for combined coverage
  • Only covers two people per mortgage
  • Individuals cannot be covered for both critical illness and disability under one mortgage
  • Only issued between ages 18 and 64, unless client has existing insured mortgage
  • Critical illness coverage only available up to age 55
  • Limited number of critical illnesses covered (life-threatening cancer, heart attack, or stroke)

Read our full RBC Life Insurance Review and RBC Critical Illness Insurance Review

Creditor Insurance for

CIBC Mortgages

AM BEST RATING

N/A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Not Recommended

CIBC mortgage insurance 

CIBC offers four options for mortgage insurance coverage, based on different scenarios. Their mortgage life insurance policy and mortgage critical illness insurance options provide lump sum payments of up to $750,000 and up to $500,000 respectively, in the event of death or covered critical illness.

However, they also offer two options for disability coverage: disability insurance and disability insurance plus. Both options cover monthly mortgage payments of up to $3,000 per month. But disability insurance provides a maximum of $150,000 for up to 24 months, while disability plus provides a maximum of $50,000 for up to 6 months. And take note: you can only apply for one.

    • Available Term Lengths: Up to age 70
    • Available Term Types: Decreasing coverage
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $750,000

Pros

  • Additional insurance options to cover mortgage costs: critical illness insurance, disability insurance, disability insurance plus
  • Discounts on mortgage critical illness, disability and disability plus for two approved applicants
  • 30-day free look period

Cons

  • Only covers your mortgage, nothing else
  • Only issued between ages 18 and 64, unless client has existing insured mortgage
  • Only covers two people per mortgage
  • Individuals cannot be covered for both disability and disability plus/job loss on the same mortgage
  • Critical illness coverage only available up to age 55
  • Limited number of critical illnesses covered (life-threatening cancer, acute heart attack, or stroke)
  • Restrictions on coverage for disability and disability plus insurance

Read our full CIBC Term Life Insurance Review

Manulife Mortgage

Protection Plan

AM BEST RATING

N/A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Manulife mortgage protection

Manulife offers two options for mortgage insurance protection: life and disability. Their mortgage life insurance is the default. It covers up to $1,000,000 of the mortgage per insured in the event of death. Mortgage disability insurance is an added option that comes at an additional cost. It covers mortgage payments of up to $10,000 per month and a maximum of 24 months in the event the insured becomes disabled and unable to work.

However, Manulife’s Mortgage Protection Plan also includes benefits at no additional cost: the waiver of premium due to job loss and terminal illness benefits. The company will waive premiums for up to 3 months if the insured loses their job, and cover mortgage payments for up to 24 months if the insured is diagnosed with a critical illness. Neither benefit kicks in until 6 months after coverage begins, though.

    • Available Term Lengths: Up to age 70
    • Available Term Types: Decreasing coverage
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $1,000,000

Pros

  • Additional insurance options to cover mortgage costs: life insurance and disability insurance
  • Added complimentary benefits: waiver of premium due to job loss and terminal illness
  • 60-day free look period
  • Competitive long-term rates compared to other lenders
  • Coverage is portable and can be changed to different lender

Cons

  • Only covers your mortgage, nothing else
  • Only issued between ages 18 and 64, unless client has existing insured mortgage
  • No discounts for combined coverage

Read more of our Manulife reviews:

Manulife Mortgage Protection Insurance Review

Manulife Life Insurance Review

Manulife Critical Illness Insurance Review

Manulife Vitality Life Insurance Review

Manulife CoverMe Life Insurance Review

To learn more about how mortgage default insurance works and how much it costs, head to our CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance Calculator.

Do I have to have mortgage insurance?

The short answer: no. You are not obligated to buy the banks’ offered mortgage insurance. Instead, you should consider looking into private mortgage insurance, sometimes called mortgage protection insurance. This third-party insurance is usually cheaper, has better coverage, better underwriting, and is flexible for your specific needs.

Is private mortgage insurance worth it? 

PMI provides more bang for your buck in comparison to lender or creditor mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance is a term life insurance policy that provides a payout to your beneficiaries when you pass away. This money can be used to cover the mortgage PLUS anything else you wish. That flexibility, and the lower cost, make PMI worth it.

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The best mortgage protection insurance

At PolicyAdvisor.com, we primarily refer to PMI as mortgage protection insurance. We work with over 30 of Canada’s best insurance providers, many of whom offer life insurance products specifically for those looking to cover their mortgage.

Years of profiling and analyzing the industry’s top offerings give us the unique opportunity to review the country’s best mortgage insurance companies. The following reviews are a must-read for anyone thinking about purchasing a home and looking for mortgage protection insurance in 2022.

We also give our rankings against the AM Best financial strength ratings so you have a basis of comparison.

The 6 best mortgage protection insurance companies in 2022 are:

Pick-a-Term (with decreasing option)
+ optional Disability Credit Rider
+ optional Critical Illness Transition

AM BEST RATING

A+

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Best For Flexibility Of Term Length

IA Mortgage Protection Review

The Industrial Alliance (iA) Pick-a-Term life insurance policy is a great choice for those who want more customization options out of their mortgage protection.

Although most standard term life insurance payouts are used to cover expenses, this policy is specifically designed to cover loans and debts, including a mortgage. Because of this, iA allows you to choose from several different options, such as coverage type and length.

It also offers additional coverage options in the form of a disability credit rider and critical illness transition. These options, when used in conjunction with decreasing coverage, make for a compelling mortgage protection life insurance product.

    • Available Term Lengths: Flexible terms between 10 and 40 years
    • Available Coverage Types: Level and decreasing coverages. Single, joint first-to-die coverage available
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $10,000,000
    • Renewability: Yes, before age 71
    • Convertibility: Yes, convertible to permanent insurance before age 71

iA’s Disability Credit Rider can help guarantee your outstanding loan balance and other debt will be paid if you become disabled and cannot work. It pays $300 to $3,500 monthly, for your choice of 2 years, 5 years, or until age 65. With this type of policy, the payout goes directly to your lender. It covers specific types of loans, including your mortgage, of course!

You also get a fair bit of flexibility with iA’s Critical Illness Transition. It offers your choice of coverage: basic (4 conditions), enhanced (25 conditions), and reducing (4 conditions) coverage. This provides up to $2.5 million in coverage for covered illnesses, and also offers partial payouts for 7 different conditions. It also gives you a choice of coverage for 10, 20, or 25 years.

Pros

  • High degree of flexibility to design personalized coverage
  • Pick-a-term feature has few industry parallels
  • Both level and decreasing options — decreasing option can be used to match your mortgage
  • Optional disability rider and critical illness riders make for strong overall mortgage protection
  • Non-medical simplified and guaranteed product options available through Access Life product
  • Online access to account
  • iA’s underwriting can be more accommodating than other providers

Cons

  • There may be less expensive alternatives available for straight term coverage

Read our full Industrial Alliance Term Life Insurance Review and Industrial Alliance Critical Illness Insurance Review.

Solution Series
+ optional Critical Illness Protect Insurance
+ optional Disability Credit Protect

AM BEST RATING

A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Best For Personalization

Empire Life Mortgage Protection Review 

Empire Life provides some of the most versatile mortgage protection insurance coverage in Canada. Its Solution Series covers a wide range of needs, with 6 different, customizable policies and a host of diverse rider options that can give you coverage for almost anything.

Their Solution 25 policy is well suited for those who need insurance for loans. But it’s not the only option available. You can apply for longer or shorter term lengths, and take advantage of critical illness and/or disability riders to make sure your mortgage needs are covered.

    • Available Term Lengths: 10, 20, 25, 30-year term
    • Available Term Types: Level coverage. Single, joint first-to-die coverage available
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $10,000,000
    • Renewability: Yes
    • Convertibility: Yes, up to age 75

Empire Life’s riders add more versatility to their product offerings. They have two critical illness riders (CI Protect and CI Protect Plus), providing either basic or detailed coverage. Plus, their basic level of CI coverage comes with a small death benefit at no extra cost. Throw their Disability Credit Protect option into the mix and you have a solid mortgage protection insurance policy.

Pros

  • Provides some of the most versatile coverage options in Canada
  • Several optional riders including accidental death & dismemberment, children’s life, and children’s critical illness rider
  • Ability to exchange shorter term policies into longer Empire Life term policies (20, 25, and 30-year coverage options)
  • Instant approval possible
  • Electronic contract delivery possible
  • Highly competitive monthly or annual premiums
  • Comprehensive offering of insurance riders
  • Online account access

Cons

  • Critical Illness Protect Insurance only 10 or 20-year term
  • Disability Credit Protection benefit period only 1 or 2 years

Read our full Empire Life Insurance Review and Empire Life Critical Illness Insurance Review

Term Plus (with decreasing option)
+ optional Disability Rider
+ optional Basic Critical Illness

AM BEST RATING

A-

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Best For Combo Coverage

SSQ Mortgage Protection Review

If you’d rather not put all your eggs in one basket, SSQ offers compelling options to maximize your mortgage protection coverage. SSQ calls its Term Plus policy a multi-purpose, all-in-one solution, and we have to agree! You can opt for a decreasing term option based on your mortgage needs, and add on optional riders to cover your bases. And with a built-in extreme disability benefit supporting the setup, you can easily get affordable combination coverage in one place.

    • Available Term Lengths: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40 years
    • Available Term Types: Level and decreasing coverages
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $10,000,000
    • Renewability: Yes. Renewable every 5 years after the initial term, up to age 85
    • Convertibility: Yes. Convertible to SSQ permanent life insurance, up to age 70

SSQ’s Extreme Disability Benefit is particularly unique. This kind of insurance is normally only available as an optional rider at an additional cost. But you can get it at no extra charge with SSQ life insurance products. That’s basically a complimentary advance of up to $250,000 in the event of an extreme physical disability.

The total disability rider also gives pretty decent coverage if you were unable to work after suffering a disability. This could help cover between $300 and $3,500 of your monthly mortgage payments. And with the critical illness rider providing up to $2 million in coverage, you’d definitely have all the boxes ticked.

Pros

  • A built-in Extreme Disability Benefit is unique in the industry
  • Optional critical illness and disability riders make for a comprehensive mortgage protection solution
  • Critical illness rider includes psychological assistance and second medical opinion
  • Several optional riders including accidental death & dismemberment and child rider
  • Preferred rates available starting at $1,000,000
  • Online services and account access

Cons

  • Paper policy only, no digital policy
  • Longer turnaround times for policy approval
  • Critical illness rider only 10 or 20-year term and only covers 3 conditions

Read our full SSQ Life Insurance Review and SSQ Critical Illness Insurance Review.

Term Superior
+ optional Credit Insurance Rider
+ optional Critical Illness Rider

AM BEST RATING

N/A

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Best For Flexible Riders

UV Mortgage Protection Review 

A unique feature of UV’s Term Superior life insurance is that they’re also offered as optional riders. Add that to its other riders — credit insurance, extreme disability, and critical illness — and you get flexibility to cover your needs.

It’s a great product for people with multiple financial obligations who may want to use a laddering (or insurance bundling) strategy to get the most coverage at the lowest cost. For example, you could take a T-20 or T-25 Superior for mortgage protection, and then add on a T-10 rider to cover outstanding student debt and another rider for disability/critical illness.

    • Available Term Lengths: 10, 20, 25, or 30 years
    • Available Term Types: Level coverage
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $500,000+
    • Convertibility: Yes. Convertible to up to age 70
    • Renewability: Yes. Renewable as 10-year term until death

UV’s critical illness rider is fairly flexible, given it does not require additional medical underwriting and covers you up until age 70. However, it only covers 3 illnesses, providing up to $1,000 per month for up to 24 months. For disability insurance coverage, UV’s credit insurance rider pays up to $3,500 in eligible monthly debt for either 2 years, 5 years, or up until age 65 — that choice is up to you!

In addition to its flexible riders, UV’s term life insurance products also include coverage for severe loss of autonomy at no additional cost. This will pay out up to 50% of the amount you’re covered for if you cannot perform 4 of 6 of the activities of daily living before age 60.

Pros

  • Built-in Severe Loss of Autonomy benefit, at no extra charge
  • Several optional riders including credit insurance and critical illness
  • Preferred rates available starting at $500,000
  • Term 10, 20, 25, and 30 riders can be used for effective life insurance laddering strategy

Cons

  • Critical illness rider benefit period only 2 years and only covers 3 conditions

Flexterm (with decreasing option)
+ optional Disability Income Rider
+ optional Critical Illness Rider

AM BEST RATING

A-

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Best For Simplified Issue

Assumption Mortgage Protection Review

Assumption Life’s Flexterm is a viable option if you want coverage in a flash and without having to go through the usual life insurance medical exam. It offers traditional life insurance policies that are underwritten, but also simplified insurance that you can get approved for much more quickly. Just keep in mind that simplified insurance premiums are often significantly higher than fully underwritten policies.

Assumption offers terms ranging from 10 to 35 years, as well as a decreasing option that you can match with your mortgage. If you decide to go through the underwriting process, you can also access option riders for disability income, critical illness, and more, plus a built-in extreme disability benefit as a cherry on top.

    • Available Term Lengths: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 years
    • Available Term Types: Level and decreasing coverages. Single or joint coverage available
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $10,000,000
    • Renewability: Yes. Renewable every 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 years, up to age 85. No medical required up to certain limits. Premiums are guaranteed
    • Convertibility: Yes. Convertible up to age 75

Assumption Life’s simplified term life option is attractive if you want something quick to cover your mortgage. But underwritten plans definitely take the cake when it comes to premiums, riders, and benefits.

The critical illness rider covers 16 illnesses, going well beyond the usual amount of coverage for this type of rider. It’s available in terms of either 15, 20, or 25 years, or up to age 75, covering between $10,000 and $50,000 per insured individual.

Assumption’s Disability Income rider also goes an extra mile, providing up to $1,500 in coverage for insured individuals on parental leave. This is separate from its standard income replacement for disability, which provides up to $3,500 per month. Plus, like SSQ, Assumption features a built-in Extreme Disability Benefit that will provide an advance of $250,000 in the event of disability before age 60.

Pros

  • A built-in Extreme Disability Benefit is unique in the industry
  • Multiple term coverage options
  • Simplified, non-medical issue options
  • Both level and decreasing options — decreasing option can be used to match your mortgage
  • Online access to account
  • Ability to exchange shorter term policies into longer term policies
  • Several optional riders, including term life and children’s life
  • Critical illness rider covers 16 illnesses

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Long underwriting
  • Only issues paper policies, no digital option
  • High policy fees and rider fees on non-medical policies
  • Riders and benefits not available with simplified option

Read our full review of Assumption’s life insurance products. 

My Term

AM BEST RATING

A+

POLICYADVISOR RATING

Best For Financial Strength

Canada Life Mortgage Protection Review

Canada Life’s My Term features a unique rider that is particularly useful for business owners. While you’re protecting your mortgage, you can also benefit from easier access to more insurance coverage with this rider. The Business Growth Protection rider lets business owners purchase additional coverage when their share of the business grows. The My Term policy gives you the flexibility to choose any term length from 5 to 50 years, so you can match it exactly to your mortgage term. Add on an optional child’s term life insurance rider and you can create a comprehensive financial plan that includes servicing debt obligations, such as your mortgage.

    • Available Term Lengths: Flexible terms between 5 and 50 years
    • Available Term Types: Level coverage. Single and joint coverage available
    • Maximum Amount of Coverage: $20,000,000
    • Renewability: Yes. Renewable annually until/unless cancelled. Premiums are guaranteed
    • Convertibility: Yes. Convertible up to age 70

While Canada Life’s My Term policy does not include an optional disability rider, its Disability Insurance coverage is a formidable product. It covers you based on your occupation, rather than giving generic coverage options as most riders do. A standalone disability policy is more expensive than disability riders. But, it packs a powerful punch for mortgage protection in the event a disability stops you from working. This policy provides between $3,000 to $25,000 monthly to replace lost income, for terms of 1, 2, 5, or 10 years or up to age 65.

Pros

  • Unique Business Growth Protection rider
  • Preferred rates available
  • Accidental death and disability waiver of premium benefits
  • Several optional riders including accidental death and child’s term life

Cons

  • No critical illness or disability riders
  • Limited digital policy or access to online account features

Read our full review of Canada Life’s life insurance products.

How to get mortgage protection insurance 

If you are purchasing a home and looking for an alternative to mortgage creditor insurance, or insurance from a mortgage lender, PMI is the way to go. And PolicyAdvisor can help! We work with the insurance providers listed above plus 24 others to find you the best rate and the best policy for your family’s needs.

Unlike the banks, our interest is in helping you protect the biggest financial risk you’ll take in your life. Let us help you find the right mortgage insurance policy to form an iron-clad financial plan. Book a call with one of our insurance experts today!

The information above is a brief representative summary for indicative purposes only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, termination and other provisions of the policies described, some of which may be material to the policy selection. Please refer to the actual policy documents for complete details. In case of any discrepancy, the language in the actual policy documents will prevail. A.M. Best financial strength ratings displayed above are not a warranty of a company’s financial strength and ability to meet its obligations to policyholders.
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By Jiten Puri
CEO & Founder, Insurance Advisor, LLQP
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