When you move to a new country, life insurance should be one of the first things you look into getting in order to secure you and your family’s financial future. Whether you are a new immigrant, foreign worker, student, refugee, or other non-permanent resident, there is an affordable life insurance plan available for you while you are a newcomer to Canada.
What is a permanent resident?
A Canadian permanent resident is someone who is not a Canadian citizen, but has the right to live and work in Canada without any time limit on their stay. Permanent residents will have citizenships of their own nationalities, but not of Canada. They can, however, apply for citizenship after a number of years as a permanent resident. As an immigrant, you’ll typically apply for permanent residency to work and live in Canada.
Life insurance for immigrants and permanent residents
Immigrants with permanent residency are eligible for life insurance as soon as they arrive in Canada. As a permanent resident, you’re given the same eligibility as a Canadian citizen applying for life insurance, meaning you do not face any restrictions in terms of coverage and plans. However, you may still be subject to additional medical requirements, such as a blood test. Some insurers will require these tests if you’ve lived in Canada for less than a year or if you’re applying for higher coverage amounts.
What is a non-permanent resident?
Non-permanent residents (NPRs) are persons who have been legally granted the right to live in Canada on a temporary basis under the authority of a valid document (work permit, study permit, Minister’s permit or refugee status), along with members of their family living with them. They may also be referred to as temporary residents.
Life insurance for non-permanent residents
In general, insurance companies will allow new and recent immigrants who have become permanent residents of Canada to apply for their life insurance products as soon as they arrive. There are certain restrictions on who can apply for life insurance coverage as a non-permanent resident, but if you fall into one of these categories, you may be eligible, depending on the insurer:
- Open work permit
- Students visa
- Convention refugee status
- Nannies or caregivers
- Temporary, Employer-specific, or Post graduate work visa
If you apply for life insurance under any of these categories, you’ll have to submit a copy of your proof of residency (ie. work permit) and follow any additional medical requirements from insurers.
It’s also important to note that depending on which category of non-resident you fall into, you may only be eligible for life insurance products such as no-medical and term insurance, while some non-permanent residents are also eligible for critical illness products. Non-residents are not eligible for disability insurance. Additionally, depending on which category you fall into, the maximum amount of coverage you qualify for will vary.
What is the impact of your refugee status on life insurance?
Depending on the insurer, refugees of convention status are eligible for life insurance as soon as they arrive in Canada, or must wait a certain wait period and live in Canada for that duration, which is typically a few months to even a year. Some additional conditions will also depend on the insurer.
Applicants that have been granted convention refugee status may obtain fully underwritten life insurance coverage up to typically a maximum of $250,000. Some insurers, like ivari, offer life insurance coverage up to $1,000,000 to refugees. Applicants may also be eligible for critical illness by some providers. Note that refugees are not eligible for disability income, premium waivers or accidental death riders.
What is convention refugee status?
The word “Convention” refers to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. You are a Convention Refugee Abroad if you:
- are afraid of persecution because of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and
- are outside Canada;
- are outside your country of nationality and unable or, because of your fear, unwilling to obtain the protection of your country; or
- if you have no country of nationality, are outside your country of former habitual residence (home country) and unable or, because of your fear, unwilling to return to that country.
Life insurance with a Work Visa
Holders of a work visa or permit (either employer specific permit or open permit) may qualify for fully underwritten products, with a range of coverage amounts available, depending on the insurer. These applicants may be eligible for critical illness and Accidental Fracture Plus riders, as well.
The applicant must provide a copy of their work permit. Generally, if you’ve been living in Canada for less than a year, you’re subject to stricter screening and underwriting processes, such as paramedical and blood profiling, including tests for hepatitis B and C.
Life insurance with a student visa
Holders of a study permit can only qualify for life insurance products (and not critical illness or disability insurance products), and the coverage amount varies depending on the insurer. Insurers will ask for different requirements for those applying with a student visa, for example, some insurers will also require you to apply (or have the intent to apply) for permanent residency as well.
Life insurance with for Spouses and Dependents
Some insurers will also provide life insurance to spouses and dependent children of temporary or permanent residents currently residing in Canada as well. These plans will typically only cover up to a portion of the amount available to spouse/parent living in Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about life insurance for immigrants, refugees, and other non-permanent residents in Canada
Non-residents can get life insurance in Canada if they have a valid work or study permit. Some insurers will require non-residents to have been residing in Canada for a few months and to apply for permanent residency in order to be considered.
Refugees that have been granted Convention refugee status can apply for life insurance up to $250,000 or more depending on the insurer, as long as they meet the required wait period if applicable.
Immigrants with permanent residency can apply for life insurance in Canada as soon as they arrive in Canada.
If you have to travel or live abroad for your job as a Canadian, you can still get life insurance. Insurers will look at your travel history and foreign travel destinations as part of your application. If you fall into this category, working with a life insurance advisor can help you navigate the procedure for applying for life insurance.
Finding the right life insurance for you
No matter your situation as a newcomer to Canada, there’s a life insurance solution for you. Working with a life insurance advisor can help you find the right insurance product. At Protect Your Wealth, we’ve been providing expert advice for all types of cases since 2007, including for new immigrants, refugees, or other non-permanent residents. We will gladly work with you to create a plan for you that covers and meets your needs.
Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today. We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario and British Columbia, including areas such as Oakville, Ancaster, and London.