Is Mortgage Life Insurance Mandatory in Canada?

Yes, you do. Homebuyers will need to buy home insurance if they want a mortgage in Canada.

April 1, 2021

For most people, a home is likely to be the biggest purchase of their lives, so it is only natural to want to protect it. At Dundas Life, we have you covered, whatever your insurance needs.

There are several insurance products that new homebuyers need to know about. However, knowing which mortgage insurance product is right for you, is not always easy. That is why we have put together this post, in which we will answer your mortgage insurance questions and more. So, let us dive right in.

Do you need insurance to get a mortgage in Canada?

Yes, you do. Homebuyers will need to buy home insurance if they want a mortgage in Canada. Furthermore, they may need to buy mortgage default insurance if they put down less than 20% toward their home.

On top of that, they may choose to purchase mortgage life insurance or a mortgage disability insurance policy to further protect their assets.

These are the four types of insurance products that homebuyers should be familiar with.

Home Insurance

You need to buy home insurance if you want a mortgage loan in Canada. Home insurance provides you with financial help if a covered event results in damages to your home, property, or personal belongings.

Mortgage Default Insurance

Mortgage default insurance is mandatory if you put less than 20% down toward your home. It protects the lender if you cannot make loan repayments. You can roll the cost of insurance into your monthly mortgage payments. Alternately, you can pay it along with the closing costs.

Mortgage default insurance is also known as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insurance.

Mortgage Life Insurance

Mortgage life insurance is a type of life insurance product. If you die with a balance on your home loan, it will pay that amount to the lender. Mortgage life insurance helps your family stay in your home after you are gone. The proceeds from the policy go directly to the lender, instead of to your family.

Mortgage life insurance is also known as mortgage protection insurance (MPI).

Mortgage Disability Insurance

An injury or illness can happen to us at any time. Keeping up with monthly mortgage payments can prove challenging if you were to experience illness or injury resulting in disability. This is where mortgage disability insurance can come in. It covers your mortgage payments if you cannot work due to illness or injury.

Aside from the above question, new homeowners often ask questions such as: Is mortgage insurance mandatory in Ontario? Is mortgage insurance mandatory in Canada?

In Ontario and the rest of Canada, mortgage insurance is required if you want to get a mortgage. No lender will issue you a home loan without it.

If you can pay the total amount for your house outright, you will not require a mortgage and therefore you will not require mortgage insurance.

Can you get a mortgage without life insurance?

Couple with Realtor Signing Mortgage Contract

Yes, you can. Not having a mortgage life insurance policy will not prevent you from getting a mortgage and is not required by law.

Mortgage life insurance is meant for your family. It gives you peace of mind knowing your family will not lose their home if something were to happen to you.

What are the alternatives to mortgage life insurance?

Mortgage life insurance has only one purpose: to ensure your loved ones get to keep the house after your death. If you pass away before paying off the home loan, your mortgage life insurance policy will pay down the balance.

However, you can also secure your home with term life insurance. It can help your family cover the mortgage loan and other expenses, like monthly bills and tuition fees.  

In fact, in most cases, term life insurance provides better financial security for your family. Here are the main advantages it has over mortgage life insurance.

  1. Considerably lower rates

Term life insurance is usually less expensive because it requires a medical exam. While a medical exam may seem inconvenient, it is actually a good thing. The more an insurer knows about your health, the more accurately they can calculate the risk they are taking on by insuring you. This, in turn, can translate into better rates for many applicants.

Most mortgage insurance lets you forgo a medical exam. Hence, they are costlier than a comparable term life policy.

  1. Get more coverage

With term life insurance, you can get as much insurance coverage as you qualify for. Mortgage life insurance, by contrast, is tied to your home loan. The payout is equal to the amount you owe on your mortgage — no more.

  1. Level death benefit

Term life policies have a level death benefit. This means the death benefit amount does not change over the course of the life of the policy’s term. By contrast, the death benefit amount of a mortgage insurance policy reduces annually. Its premium, however, remains the same. As time passes, you make the same premium payments as before for less coverage.

  1. Freedom to use the payout as desired

With mortgage life insurance, your loved ones get locked into using the death benefit amount to pay down the loan. Even if other needs are more urgent, they cannot use the payout to cover them.

Term life insurance, on the other hand, does not have any such restrictions. Your family is free to use the proceeds however they like.

  1. Select your own beneficiary

You can name anyone as the beneficiary on your term policy. However, in the case of a mortgage life policy, the beneficiary is always the lender. The death benefit amount gets paid directly to your mortgage lender — not to your family.  

  1. Option to extend the policy term

You can renew a term life policy as it approaches the end of its term. By contrast, a mortgage life policy ends with your home loan. Once you pay down the mortgage, the insurance coverage ends too.

Is mortgage protection insurance worth it?

Mortgage concept by money house

Mortgage protection insurance is usually costlier than term life insurance. It is also less flexible. For most people, term life insurance is likely to prove a better option.

However, there is one scenario when mortgage protection insurance might be worth it. Since it does not require a medical exam, you can get coverage even with an existing medical condition. If you have an illness that disqualifies you from getting term life insurance or will increase your premium rates significantly, mortgage protection insurance could make sense for you.


Although Mortgage life insurance is not mandatory, it can be a useful safety net. It ensures your family does not face financial stress or, even worse, a foreclosure if you were to die with a balance on your mortgage.  However, since it is more expensive and less flexible than term life insurance, it is only a good option for people with medical conditions that prevent them from getting a term life insurance policy. Most others are likely to find term life insurance a better option.

Dundas Life can help you find the best policy at the most affordable price.

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