Do you need mortgage insurance?

Your home is likely the biggest asset you’ll ever own. So how can you protect it in case something were to happen to you?

Canadians owe $2.17 trillion in household debt, according to the Bank of Canada. More than 70% of that is residential mortgage debt. To protect these mortgages, homeowners have a couple of options. You can buy mortgage insurance from a financial institution. Or you can get mortgage protection with life insurance and critical illness insurance from an insurance company.

  • Mortgage insurance works by paying off the outstanding principal balance of your mortgage, up to a certain amount, if you die.
  • Mortgage protection, on the other hand, uses a combination of insurance policies to protect you:
    • Term life insurance covers you for a set period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. It can be suitable if you’re looking for low-cost insurance. While the premium may be low for the first term, the cost will increase when it’s time to renew. Buying coverage for a long enough term to match your mortgage term – 30 years, for example – will keep the cost steady. (Read more: Is term life insurance right for you?)
    • Permanent life insurance can be more expensive at first, but it covers you for life. The amount you pay can either be guaranteed to stay the same or vary over time, depending on the type of plan you choose. (Read more: Is permanent life insurance right for you?)
    • Critical illness insurance gives you a one-time payment if you are diagnosed with a serious illness that’s covered under the policy (and you meet the other policy conditions). You can use the money for medical expenses, to pay off your mortgage or for anything else you wish – it’s up to you. (Find out how a serious illness could affect your finances. Try this Critical illness insurance calculator.

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