Dawn Rebel


What You Need To Know Before Buying Life Insurance

A Handy Checklist of Things To Put Together Before You Buy

How To Organize Yourself Before You Buy Life Insurance

When it comes to thinking about my own demise, I used to try not to think too hard.  Being a mom changes things and with babies and mortgages, a little bit of worrying is inevitable. 

Now, when it comes to kicking off, there are a few things most of us want to avoid. An early death tops the list for me, but other than eating well, not smoking and avoiding doing your own electrical work, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about that. 

Also high on the list of things to avoid are dying in an embarrassing place or wearing dirty underwear. Those are pretty easy to control. Don’t wear dirty underwear or go to embarrassing places and you should be ok.

Then of course, there’s avoiding dumb ways to die, like, say, naked skydiving, or playing on train tracks, or, you know, dying without life insurance. Mistakes happen, but these are entirely avoidable errors that are bound to compound the unfortunate fact of death with a rather embarrassing funeral.

Which leads me, somewhat circuitously, to my point. It isn’t that hard to buy life insurance.

I know, we’ve all heard stories or lived the experience of a 40-page questionnaire administered by a blue haired and very judgmental, slow talking nurse with an unusually thirsty needle. But this is 2014, the internet age. Anything you want, you can find on the internet, and I’m not just talking about discounted, out of date medicine (ahem, also a dumb way to kick off early).

No, I’m talking about fast ways to buy full life insurance. Increasingly, insurers are getting savvy to the quick moving, no-prisoner taking attitude of their policy holders. You don’t have time for a slow talking octogenarian with a needle, and they know it.

What you should look for in life insurance

For starters, pick an independent insurer. Your bank no doubt tried to sell you life insurance protection with your mortgage, credit line or credit card, but these can be really expensive (sometimes twice as much as term insurance from an insurance company). The policy purchased through the bank also isn’t owned by you; it’s owned by your bank so that they can pay off your mortgage when you die. Doesn’t leave much flexibility for your heirs, and (on a more immediate and practical level), you can’t take it with you when you refinance at a new bank in five years. 

Your employer may also have a policy for you, and that’s great, as long as you’re fully employed at the same employer for the next twenty-five years. But since this is 2014, people change careers often, so pick an insurance policy that can move with you; here again, an independent insurer is a good option.

Ok, so you’ve decided to get some life insurance from an independent insurer. Good for you. Now, there are a few quick and easy steps to get started. First, check out the website of your preferred insurer. Empire Life may be the way you choose to go since their rates for term life insurance are very competitive (sometimes much lower that mortgage insurance offered by banks).

You will need some basic information to help your advisor give you the best possible information.

What to bring when you meet with your advisor


A sense of how much insurance you’ll need. You don’t need a full list of financial records, but a copy of your monthly budget and a summary of your debt helps.

A list of your existing insurance policies. Take a second to think back? Did you have overly protective parents that took out a policy in your name when you were five? A policy with an ex-spouse? At work? Gather these together and think about whether you want to replace any of them. If you have the documents, that’s great. If not, try to jot down the insurer and amount of each policy.

Medical information. These days, the marathon judicial inquiry by a team of nurses is rare, but you’ll still need to bring some basic information, like the name and contact info of your doctor, and the sort of basic medical details you’d expect to fill out on a doctor’s intake form. It also helps to bring a list of prescription medications, existing ailments, the date and reason of your last doctor’s visit, and your most recent blood pressure reading.

Payment. Increasingly, insurers will let you pay with credit card (for example, Empire Life takes Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Interac with its Fast & Full Life Application), but you may also prefer a pre-authorized payment method, so bring a voided cheque.

That’s it. Pretty simple really. Once you have the insurance you need, rest easy. This doesn’t mean you should do get your toast out with a fork anytime soon, but even if the unexpected happens, at least you know your baby will be alright, and you’ll have a decent send off (that, and some well-deserved rest).

Are you one of the 65% of Canadians who has no life insurance coverage or inadequate coverage?

Empire Life makes buying term life insurance simple and affordable with an easy-to-use online “Fast & Full” application process that you can use with your insurance advisor. For more information on Empire Life or to get an insurance quote and learn more about insurance that will work for you, visit empirelife.ca. Because the dumbest way to die is without Life Insurance.