As percentage of total property and casualty policies written (2019)
Insurance companies are a vital part of the Canadian economy. They help ensure that businesses and individuals can protect themselves from risk and provide a valuable service to the community. There are many different insurance companies in Canada, and each one offers a unique set of products and services.
Our guide will help you understand the four types of insurance companies and various insurance policies in Canada. At the bottom of this article, you'll find a list of all the major insurance companies in Canada.
Through our research, we noticed four broad categories of Canadian Insurance companies. Typically, insurance providers will specialize in one or two areas to remain competitive. Insurance companies require lots of data to calculate the probability of you needing to make a claim. If they are confident the likelihood of a claim is lower, they will reduce the monthly costs. By focusing on select types of policies, they can best calculate the probability of needing to pay for a claim.
The first broad category is insurance that protects your assets such as your home, car, or investment property. If they are damaged, your insurance provider will pay the cost of fixing it. Examples of asset insurers include Intact, Sonnet, CAA, and more. These companies exclusively offer home, car, and investment property protection.
Another essential asset in your life is your health. Medical insurance providers specialize in health, life, travel, and disability insurance. Occasionally, they also offer annuities which are explained in more detail below. Examples of medical insurance providers include Blue Cross, Sun Life, and BMO Life.
While most big five Canadian banks offer many insurance products, not all of them do. For example, RBC Bank's General Insurance offers home, life, business insurance, and more. However, CIBC and BMO only offer medical related insurance. Insurance policies offered by big banks tend not to be as competitive as specialized providers. However, they offer convenience and time saving by having everything in one place.
Although not mentioned on the list below, reinsurance companies are the backbone of the insurance industry. They reduce the cost of insurance premiums by sharing risks with other insurance companies. In exchange for taking on some of their risks, they get a portion of their profits. Without reinsurance companies, services would be much more expensive for all insurance policies. Some people see reinsurance companies as playing an under-appreciated role in society.
|Type of Insurance||Description||Major Companies|
|Home Insurance||Protects damages to your home|
|Tenant Insurance||Protects your personal items (if you are renting)|
|Car Insurance||Protects damages to your car|
|Life Insurance||Guaranteed payment to your beneficiary in the event of an early death|
|Annuity||Guaranteed payout with interest at specified date|
|Health Insurance||Covers specified medical expenses such as surgery, prescriptions and more|
|Casualty & Disability||Guarantees income if you are unable to work due to injuries|
|Travel Insurance||Protects you from medical expenses or lost luggage|
|Liability Insurance (Business)||Protects your business from legal expenses|
There are tons of insurance products to choose from, so how can you determine what's right for you? This section aims to break down the major insurance products to help you understand the difference between them. This section aims to help you understand the types of insurance products you need, which you can then use the list at the bottom to find providers offering it.
Home insurance is designed to protect your physical property. It protects you from circumstances you can't control, such as floods, fire, and other natural disasters. If a tree falls on your home, it will pay for the damages. Some insurance policies will even protect your belongings from theft or animal damage. Mortgage lenders require home insurance to receive a mortgage in Canada. As you would expect, some of Canada's mortgage lenders offer home insurance. Big banks such as RBC and TD Meloche Monnex also offer home insurance.
Landlord insurance in Canada does not protect the tenant's belongings if they are damaged. Tenants who wish to insure their belongings such as furniture, laptops, TV and more need to obtain tenant insurance. If your apartment burns down, landlord insurance will cover damages to the building and not your individual items. Some landlords may even require tenant insurance. There are many new tech startups that use technology to offer competitive tenant insurance rates. Some of these companies include Apollo Cover and Square One.
Car insurance will protect you from accidents that happen on the road. For example, crashes, dents, and scratches will be paid for by your insurance provider. However, each time you make a car insurance claim, your monthly policy payment will increase. Depending on your province, a great place to find car insurance is with CAA (Ontario), BCAA (BC) or AMA (Alberta).
Life insurance protects those you love by paying out a lump sum to your chosen beneficiaries. You can offer peace of mind to those closest to you by taking out a life insurance policy. For example, if your spouse or children lose their primary source of income when you die, it will help them cover living costs and other expenses. As their name suggests, one of the largest life insurance companies in Canada is Canada Life.
An annuity is a form of insurance that pays out as a lump sum at a predetermined date. You invest into an annuity throughout your career then receive a guaranteed payout at the specified date. There are many annuities, such as those paid to retirees, children, and spouses. The most common type is one that pays out when the policyholder dies. This benefit is then split equally between all beneficiaries. If you are looking to invest in annuities in Canada, two major companies include Manulife and Foresters Financial.
Health insurance covers the cost of medical expenses not covered by your provincial health plan. This includes things like prescription medications, hospital visits, and dental work. Most health insurance plans will cover 80-90% of these costs while you're required to pay the rest out of pocket. You may receive health insurance through your work employer benefits. Most likely, you already receive health insurance through your work benefits. If this is true, you’re likely to have a policy with a company like Sun Life.
Casualty and disability insurance, otherwise known as critical illness/accident insurance is likely included with your health insurance plan. This policy is designed to provide additional coverage that can help protect your income. For example, if you're injured on the job, it will cover any lost wages until you return to work (disability).
To explain it another way, casualty insurance focuses on protection from events not related to your job. In contrast, disability insurance is specifically designed to protect income during that time when you're unable to work because of an injury or sickness. Aside from some of the largest companies, a major provider of casualty insurance is Industrial Alliance (iA).
Travel insurance is a simple way to protect your trip. For example, it will pay for the cost of medical emergencies and lost luggage. There aren't many things more frustrating than having your flight cancelled and not getting home because you don't have enough cash. Travel insurance ensures that this won't happen to you on your trip. Many companies offer travel insurance, however, some companies exclusively specialize in it. Some companies include Blue Cross, and TuGo.
Liability insurance is a type of insurance designed to protect your business from lawsuits. For example, if a customer falls and breaks their leg because the floor was wet, it will pay for any legal costs and medical expenses. Although there are many boutique risk management firms, some familiar names include Desjardins and Co-Operators.
Now that you understand the differences in Canadian insurance policies, you should have a general idea of what you need. The next step is to shop around for insurance providers to find the best policies for your needs.
We have created a tool below to help you find insurance companies that provide the policies you need. If possible, we recommend having all your policies with one insurance company because they will often offer bundle discounts.
I'm looking for insurance in:
I want a company that offers ALL of:
|Allstate Car Insurance|
|Assumption Life, Assomption Vie|
|Beneva (Formerly SSQ Insurance & La Capitale)|
|Billyard Insurance Group (BIG)|
|Blue Cross Health Insurance|
|BMO Life / AIG Insurance|
|Canada Life, Canada Vie|
|Canada Protection Plan|
|Destination Travel Group|
|Empire Life Insurance|
|Euler Hermes Insurance|
|Faith Life Financial|
|First Canadian/ Millenium|
|Foresters Financial (Formerly Unity)|
|Green Shield Canada (GSC)|
|Guard Me Insurance|
|Heartland Farm Mutual|
|Industrial Alliance (iA)|
|Intact Insurance, Intact Assurance|
|Medavie/ Blue Cross|
|Medipac Travel Insurance|
|National Bank Insurance|
|OTIP (For Teachers)|
|Reliable Life Insurance|
|Riders Plus Insurance|
|Scoop (Formerly KTX & Direct Rate)|
|Specialty Life Insurance (SLI)|
|SSQ Insurance (Now Beneva)|
|TD Insurance/ Meloche Monnex|
|Trustage Life (Formerly Assurant)|
|Union Power Insurance|
|Zenith (Owned By Fairfax)|