More Canadians consider life insurance during pandemic, survey suggests
TORONTO -- A recent survey found since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more Canadians are considering life insurance or reviewing polices they already have.
When it comes to buying life insurance there are big differences in the cost and the coverage depending on if you buy permanent or term policies.
Ellie Meytina of Toronto says in 2016 she decided to see a financial advisor and life insurance agent with regards to saving for the future.
“I was actually looking for an investment period. It was an investment that I had in mind," said Meytina.
Meytina ended up agreeing to two permanent life insurance polices that require her to pay thousands of dollars a month in premiums.
Now she can’t afford to pay the monthly premiums, but is concerned if she stops, she'll lose money she has already invested in the plan.
“It’s unbearable. I can't continue like this. It's an unrealistic number and it's taking up most of my earnings each month,” said Meytina.
A recent survey by PolicyMe, a website that allows Canadians to shop and compare insurance premiums, found that 49 per cent of Canadians have been sold expensive permanent polices when cheaper term plans may be all they need.
The company says permanent life insurance can be expensive, difficult to understand, have limited returns and flexibility and the potential of lapsing if you miss a payment.
"It is a complicated financial product and unfortunately most people who buy the product don't understand what they are buying," said Andrew Ostro with PolicyMe.
Ostro said many Canadians could be better off with cheaper term insurance where monthly payments are much lower with terms of 10 or 20 years.
There is no savings component, but if you decide you no longer want the coverage you can stop at anytime.
“You can choose to cancel the policy, stop making payments and there are no penalties and no fees - you are out" said Ostro.
Meytina wants to stop her monthly payments and cancel her policy and filed a complaint with the Ombudsman for the insurance industry.
"I just can't make these payments anymore,” said Meytina, whose policies are with Canada Life.
“The client was advised of the details and pricing of the policies prior to purchasing them and proceeded to purchase these two policies. When the client advised us earlier this year that her situation changed since she purchased the policies, we worked directly with the client on this matter," a spokesperson for Canada Life told CTV News Toronto. "Ms. Meytina chose to escalate her complaint to the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI), and we are working closely with OLHI on this matter. As OLHI is still reviewing Ms. Meytina's complaint, we are unable to comment any further."
Meytina says she wishes she was more aware of the differences in life insurance before agreeing to the permanent policies.
If you have family members who are dependent on you, you should have some type of life insurance but make sure you do your research and compare polices carefully before signing any contracts.