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10 Life insurance myths debunked

Nov. 10, 2023
6 mins
A young couple wait to board a train

This article has been updated from a previous version.

With over 50,000 deaths, the socio-economic turmoil of peak pandemic is still fresh in our collective memory. While COVID-19 fuelled an increased interest in life insurance policies, it’s always a good reminder to make sure you are adequately protected against any curveballs that life throws your way. If you're one of the many people considering getting a policy, you can take heart knowing that with a few exceptions, any matter of death is covered by life insurance, including global pandemics.

Some folks may still be on the fence about whether or not they should invest in life insurance, or they might be misled into believing one of many life insurance myths.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions and questions surrounding term life insurance to set the record straight and to help you make the right choice for you and your family.

Myth no. 1: I’m young and don’t need life insurance.

False. As morbid as it sounds, very few people readily have the funds necessary to take care of their current obligations after their death. If you have anyone who relies on your income for day-to-day needs, like an elderly parent or child, or large debts, then you likely need life insurance.

Your age isn’t what’s important here. What’s important is whether you’ll be leaving anyone behind who would be worse off financially. Even if you have no dependents, someone will still be responsible for your student loan or car payments. The good news is that life insurance is inexpensive for young, healthy people. Buying life insurance while you’re young means you’ll be providing financial security for your loved ones without spending a lot of money on it.

Related: Why life insurance should be part of estate planning for new parents

Myth no. 2: Life insurance is only important if you have kids.

False. While it’s true that there’s less at risk for couples to forgo life insurance if they don’t have children, you may want to think about your partner. They may rely on your income to a certain degree, whether to pay rent or the mortgage, as well as for things like monthly utility bills and car payments.

Ask yourself, “Can my partner manage all of our current financial obligations alone?” If not, you might consider getting life insurance.

Myth no. 3: The COVID-19 pandemic has driven up life insurance premiums.

According to the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) latest report, COVID-19 related life insurance claims made up 13% of total claims made during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020.

During the second wave in January 2021, COVID-19-related claims dipped down to 11%. The report notes that subsequent variants of the virus “and their impact on life insurance claims are expected to be lower than what has been observed in the past few years.”

Nevertheless, with guaranteed life insurance policies, which is a type of permanent or whole life insurance, premiums are fixed.

Myth no. 4: It sounds like everyone needs a whole lot of life insurance, right?

Wrong. Insurance providers often see clients with hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage when in fact, they require a much smaller amount to take care of their needs. Especially, if they have no dependents or high expenses.

It’s up to you as an individual to do the math and come up with the number that fits your needs. Some circumstances require higher coverage amounts, such as having a large mortgage that you don’t want to leave to a partner or other family to pay off. Or if you have a young family or disabled children who may need ongoing support, you’ll probably need a higher coverage amount.

However, if you have modest debt, a partner and no other dependents — or your kids have grown and are able to support themselves — you may actually need less than you think.

Myth no. 5: I have life insurance through my job. I don’t need any more coverage.

Maybe. But the truth is that employer-provided life insurance coverage may not be sufficient to protect you and your loved ones. Also, any coverage you have will lapse after you leave your place of employment. Review how much your employer-paid insurance provides and calculate if it is enough to accommodate your family if you’re not around. It’s generally recommended to have five to 10 times your annual, pre-tax salary in life insurance protection.

Myth no. 6: I have coverage from my mortgage lender. It’s enough.

Mortgage life insurance pays off your mortgage if one of the people listed on the loan dies before it’s settled. That’s it. But what about the rest of your debts and expenses? Term life insurance offers coverage that can be used for anything, including funeral expenses, paying down a mortgage, car loan and credit cards, or offsetting the loss of income in family finances.

Myth no. 7: I won’t be able to get insurance because I smoke or vape.

Not true. If you smoke or vape, here’s the good news: Many life insurance companies consider you a non-smoker once you’ve been smoke-free for one full year. If you still smoke, you will pay a bit more for coverage than a non-smoker, but it’s likely to be more affordable than you think.

We ran some test quotes through RATESDOTCA’s life insurance quoter, and here’s an example of how much you can expect to pay per month for life insurance. The quotes are based on a 10-year term for a 35-year-old male, living in Toronto, with an annual income of $75,000 and a coverage of $750,000.

Non-smoker: $34
Smoker: $78

Myth no. 8: If term life insurance is so cheap, there must be a catch.

There’s no catch. A basic term life insurance policy will offer you coverage as long as you pay your premium. Plus, your premium is fixed for the length of the term and won’t increase even if the status of your health changes during this term.

Myth no. 9: If I die of COVID-19 or some other global pandemic, it won’t be covered by my policy.

False. Life insurance is a contract, and the insurance company agrees to pay out a lump sum of money to the insured person’s beneficiaries if the policyholder passes away. If you already have an existing life insurance policy, you will be covered for any claims associated with COVID-19. Your beneficiary will be able to make a claim in the same manner as a death caused by any other natural disease or ailment.

Myth no. 10: It’s such a hassle to get life insurance.

Not true. Getting life insurance quotes is fast, easy, and free. Even if you’re just not ready to purchase a life insurance policy right now, you can use RATESDOTCA to compare prices, options, and insurance policies.

You can also request a call back from a licensed insurance broker to guide you through the process when you’re ready to put down a policy in your name. Any hassle you may think it is pales in comparison to what your loved ones will endure if they are left managing your debts.

Comparing life insurance quotes only takes a few minutes. And you’ll be surprised by how little a sense of security costs.

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Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile marketer with experience as a staff and freelance writer for many business and technology publications and newspapers. He previously worked as the editor and media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA, handling home, auto, and travel insurance topics.

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