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Frequently asked questions




Are there insurance plans that don’t require a medical exam when applying?


Yes. If you’re older or have health issues and are looking for an effective insurance plan – or you simply want guaranteed protection in the event of an accident or illness, BMO Insurance has a number of plans that don’t require a medical exam as part of the application.


BMO Insurance offers life insurance and accident and illness plans for Canadian residents that do not require a medical exam or health questions as part of the application:



The following plans require a health declaration:



The following plans require you to fill out a health and medical questionnaire; however, there is no medical exam involved as part of the application:


How do I know what kind of insurance I need?


Insurance provides financial protection for you and yours when the unexpected occurs. It’s a simple concept but can be overwhelming with all the options. Answering a few simple questions will help narrow down your search.

How do I make a claim?


Please visit the claims section to understand the process and how to contact us. We are here to help.

Who do I contact if I have a complaint?


We take complaints seriously and will work with you to rectify them. Please click here to determine the right contact details to escalate your issue to.

Life insurance


What are the different types of life insurance?


It’s important to understand the different types of insurance available when you are determining what may work for you. These include:



What is term insurance?


Term life insurance provides protection for a specific period of time. If you die during that time, benefits are paid to the person or people you choose. Term life insurance premiums stay the same for specific periods of time, and may rise at pre-designated renewal dates.

What is universal life insurance?


Universal life insurance is a combined insurance/investment solution where your premiums go into the investment accounts you select in your policy. It is flexibly structured to meet a range of insurance/investment scenarios, but we strongly recommend you consult an Independent Advisor to determine if it’s right for you.

What is whole life insurance?


Sometimes called permanent life insurance, it provides life-long protection. You pay a fixed premium that will never increase, with some plans providing a guaranteed cash value.

What is guaranteed life insurance?


Guaranteed life insurance plans mean your acceptance for coverage with certain age restrictions is guaranteed. No medical exam is required, regardless of family medical history.

What is medical underwriting?


Medical underwriting refers to the use of medical or health information in evaluating an application for insurance coverage. It may require that you have a medical exam and/or answer health questions before you can be covered.

How much life insurance do I really need?


According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, you should consider life insurance coverage that is five to seven times your current net income. The BMO Insurance Life Insurance Calculator can help you determine the right coverage for your situation.

Accident & critical illness insurance


What is critical illness insurance?


If you’re diagnosed with a covered life-threatening illness – such as cancer, heart attack, stroke and many other serious conditions – critical illness insurance pays you a tax-free lump-sum benefit.


Critical Illness plans offered by BMO Insurance include:



The following plan offers a critical illness rider:


Do I need critical illness insurance?


Ask yourself these questions:


Can I afford to take time off of work if I get sick or have an accident?


Will I be able to afford prescription drugs not covered by my work health care plan or private health insurance?


Will I have funds to seek treatment outside of Canada or pay for uncovered experimental treatments?


Workplace disability insurance may not be enough if a life-altering critical illness keeps you home or in the hospital. Child care, home care, living expenses, travelling to and from treatment, medications – when these and other unforeseen expenses add up, so can the financial pressure on you and your family. If you’re concerned about any of these issues and want peace of mind going forward, consider the advantages of critical illness and/or accident insurance.

How much critical illness insurance should I have?


To help you figure out how much critical illness coverage you need, please use our BMO Insurance Critical Illness Insurance Calculator.

Do I need accident and illness insurance?


Accident and illness insurance provides affordable coverage for a range of accident-related situations, including broken bones, burns, paralysis, hospitalization and more. All of these situations could affect your ability to earn income and accident or illness insurance can help provide for you so that you can focus on recovery.

Travel insurance


What is travel insurance?


Travel insurance helps you cover the cost of unexpected out- of-province/country medical emergencies while travelling or disrupted travel plans.

What will the 24-hour hotline service do for me?


Allianz Global Assistance offers 24-hour assistance services that include: pre-trip planning, legal assistance and help locating approved medical facilities. Multilingual associates draw on a wealth of experience to provide you with immediate access to information and direction. We are here to help you through your travel emergencies. Call Allianz Global Assistance toll-free at 1-800-661-9060.

Can I cancel my trip for any reason and get all my money back?


Not all reasons are covered. Trip Cancellation coverage will refund prepaid, non-refundable payments or deposits if you have to cancel for a covered reason. Covered reasons include: sudden and unforeseen medical emergencies, if your home is made uninhabitable by fire, flood, burglary, vandalism or natural disaster, hijacking or quarantine. For a complete list, please refer to the Certificate of Insurance or call Allianz Global Assistance toll-free at 1-800-661-9060 or collect at 519-741-0782.

Will I have to pay out-of-pocket for any medical expenses?


Whenever possible, Allianz Global Assistance will arrange billing directly with the health providers our members visit. However, international borders can sometimes limit our ability to do so. It is always a good idea to bring an extra reserve of funds in case any unexpected emergencies occur where advance payment is required. If access to emergency funds is needed to cover these expenses, the Travel Assistance Service, provided by Allianz Global Assistance, is there to help.

Am I required to contact anyone prior to seeking medical treatment on a trip?


Yes. Allianz Global Assistance asks you to reach them prior to seeking treatment, as it allows Allianz to assess the situation, open a medical case to monitor care, and to help the patient locate a suitable provider in their area. In cases where a member is unable to reach Allianz Global Assistance due to a life-threatening emergency, we always advise members to seek treatment immediately at the nearest health facility, and have a travelling companion or health facility employee contact Allianz Global Assistance on the patient's behalf as soon as possible. In these situations, the claim would be reviewed to determine whether or not contact prior to treatment would have been possible. Please call Allianz Global Assistance toll free at 1-800-661-9060 or collect at 519-741-0782.

Are pre-existing medical conditions covered?


Pre-existing medical conditions may be covered as long as they are stable for a specific time period. The time period varies depending on the age of the insured. Details are listed under the General Exclusions and Limitations div 9.5 (1 Pre-existing conditions) of the Certificate of Insurance.

The following are general definitions that you may encounter. Individual product pages may include definitions specific to the product which would take precedence over these general definitions. In addition, the definitions found in your policy or certificate will take precedence over this glossary and any definition included on a web page.


The definitions in your policy or certificate may also include exclusions that are not set out below. Please review your policy or certificate for important details.




A sudden, unexpected, unforeseeable, unavoidable external event that occurs while the policy is in force.

Accidental death insurance

Life insurance that is paid only if the insured's death is as a result of an accident.

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

Insurance that is paid if the insured dies, loses their sight or suffers the loss of one or more specified body parts as the result of an accident.

Accidental paralysis

Paralysis as a result of an accident.


This is the legal transfer on one person's claim to an insurance policy to another person or entity, such as to a bank, to qualify for a loan.


A federally regulated group of Canadian life and health insurance companies that insure all policy owners who are Canadian residents against financial failure of any members of the group. Assuris will guarantee payment under covered policies up to certain specified limits for policy owners of that company.




Beneficiary is the person who will receive the death benefit (amount of money) of a life insurance policy when the insured person dies. By naming a beneficiary, the money may be protected from creditors. A beneficiary under the age of 18 needs to be represented by a legal individual guardian or a public official who represents minors generally. A policy owner can appoint someone to act as a trustee for a minor in the designation of a beneficiary.



Cash surrender value

Cash amount available to the owner of a life insurance policy when the policy is voluntarily terminated before the death of the life insured.

Collateral insurance

Sometimes required by financial lending institutions to ensure the repayment of a business loan in the event of death. Life insurance premiums for this coverage may be tax deductible.

Common carrier

A public conveyance which is licensed to transport passengers: provided and operated:


a) for regular passenger service by land, water or air; and

b) on a regular passenger route with a definite regular schedule of departures and arrivals between established and recognized points of departure and arrival; and

c) under a Common Carrier license at the time of the accident.

Contingent owner

A person designated to become the new owner of a life insurance policy if the original owner dies before the policy ends.

Conversion right/option

Some term life insurance policies offer the opportunity to convert an existing policy to a permanent insurance policy within the specified time period, without providing evidence of insurability.

Cost of insurance

Also referred to as a premium, it is the amount you will pay for your insurance policy. Premiums often include applicable taxes and policy fees.


The total amount and type of insurance that the insured has.

Coverage period

Length of time the insurance coverage is effective.

Coverage end date

Date when the insurance coverage expires.

Coverage start date

Date when the insurance coverage is effective. This can also be referred to as effective date or issue date.

Critical illness benefit

The amount of money payable if the insured is diagnosed with a critical illness that is specified in their insurance policy. The policy may require the insured to survive a certain period of time to be eligible for this payment.



Declaration of health

A form to be completed by the applicant that confirms their health status at time of application.

Death benefit

The amount of money payable to the beneficiary after the death of the life insured. This amount may be decreased by loans and interest owing or increased by additional benefits payable under specified conditions.



Effective date

The date on which an insurance policy takes effect.

Evidence of insurability

A statement or proof of physical health and/or other information affecting a person's eligibility for insurance.



Face amount

Commonly used to refer to the amount of insurance purchased. Also called amount of insurance, coverage amount or sum insured.

Financial needs analysis

Process to review your current financial objectives and situation to help provide guidance on the amount of insurance you require.


Fracture means a break in a bone or cartilage.

Fund value or Account value

Total Fund value is the total amount of all investment accounts held in a universal life policy.



Grace period

Length of time (usually 30 days) after a premium payment is due and unpaid. During the grace period the policy (including all riders) remains in effect.

Guaranteed issue insurance

Insurance coverage guaranteed for individuals regardless of their health or medical history. Unlike many other types of life insurance, the customer is not required to answer any medical questions or take a medical exam. Insurance protection is guaranteed.




Means being admitted to a hospital as an in-patient for at least twenty-four (24) consecutive hours.




Any sickness, disease or medical disorder.

Income guarantee period

The minimum period of time for which annuity payments will be made whether the annuitant is alive or not.

Incontestable clause

A clause in a life insurance policy that lets the life insurance company void the policy for up to two years from when the policy was issued if the life insured failed to disclose important information or misrepresented a material fact that would have prevented the policy from being issued. This limit doesn't apply in cases of fraud.

In force

The life insurance phrase used to describe the status of your policy. If your insurance policy is in force, it means the premium payments have been made and are up-to-date and that you are currently protected.


Bodily harm directly caused by an accident and independent of all other causes. It does not include any sickness, illness, ailment, disease, medical disorders or medical treatments.

Insurance Advisor/Agent

A professional who renders insurance advice and services to individuals and businesses. The majority are independent in that they could represent multiple insurance companies. There are, however, some insurance advisors who work exclusively for a single company. An Insurance Advisor/Agent must be licensed in the province in which they conduct business and the province the applicant resides in.

Insurance policy

The legal document issued by the insurer to the policy owner that outlines the conditions and terms of the insurance. Also called the policy.

Investment bonus

If available in the terms of the policy contract, this is the additional amount calculated at the end of each policy anniversary and deposited to the investment accounts of a Universal life insurance policy.

Issue date

The date on which an insurance policy is issued.



Joint first-to-die

A life insurance policy that covers two people and provides payment when the first person dies.

Joint last-to-die

A life insurance policy that covers two people and provides payment when both people have died. Generally used to pay estate taxes to protect value for children where there might be substantial capital gains taxes due upon the death of the last parent (also known as joint second-to-die policies).




Refers to the termination of an insurance policy because the premium was not paid within the grace period. It is possible to re-instate the coverage with the same premium and benefits intact, but the life insured will have to re-qualify for this coverage again and pay for all unpaid premiums and interest.

Life expectancy

This is a projected period of time a person is expected to live based on factors such as gender and current age of an individual.

Life insurance

Insurance that provides payment to the beneficiary upon the death of the insured.

Lifetime coverage

An insurance policy that covers an insured person's entire lifetime.

Living benefit

An advance cash payment of part of the amount of insurance prior to the death of the insured person for certain conditions as defined in the policy. It provides financial assistance to the insured person while still living.

Living will

A will that specifically expresses the author's wishes as they apply to end-of-life decisions.



Maximum premium/deposit

This is the estimated amount that can be deposited into a Universal life insurance policy on a tax-deferred basis.

Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve (MTAR)

This is the total amount (prescribed by law) that can remain within the cash value of the policy.

Medical report

This is a report on the insurance applicant's health. It is completed by a physician and may be based on a physical examination and questioning of the proposed insured person.

Medical Information Bureau (MIB)

The MIB is a non-profit association of life insurance companies. Its purpose is to detect and deter fraud by providing warnings – called alerts – to member companies. For example, if an insurance applicant advised one insurance company of a heart attack and then applied to another insurance company omitting this history, codes reported by the first insurance company indicating a heart attack would alert the second insurance company to the undisclosed history.

Mortgage life insurance

Life insurance designed to pay off the outstanding mortgage balance in the event of the death of the life insured(s).



Non-smoker rates

A discount on the cost of insurance recognizing that non-smokers have a better life expectancy than smokers. This discount applies for new applicants who have been non-smokers for at least 12 months before applying for coverage. This discount may also apply to existing life insurance policies if the insured becomes a non-smoker.




The person who owns the life insurance policy. Usually the same person as the insured but it could be someone else who has the permission of the insured to be the owner, like a spouse, a common-law-spouse, an offspring, a parent, a corporation or a business partner with insurable interest.



Paid-up insurance

A life insurance policy where the coverage is still effective but all required premiums have been paid.

Participating insurance

Life insurance where the policy owners share in surplus earnings attributed to that business. Premiums are based on an estimate of future earnings at a somewhat lower level and costs at a somewhat higher level than the company believes most likely will occur. Where a surplus occurs, a "policy dividend" is distributed to the policy owners who have participating policies.

Permanent life insurance

A life insurance policy designed to provide permanent life insurance coverage until your death. Also known as traditional life insurance or whole life insurance.


The legal document issued by the insurer to the policy owner that outlines the conditions and terms of the insurance. Also called the insurance policy.

Policy effective date

The date on which an insurance policy takes effect.

Policy anniversary

12-month period from the issue date of a policy.

Policy loan

A loan made by a life insurance company to a policy owner on the security of the cash surrender value of a policy.

Preferred rates

Some insurance companies offer a preferred (lower) cost of insurance for people who can demonstrate a better risk to the insurance company. Usually taken into consideration in conjunction with gender and smoking habits are other health-related factors, such as physical build, lifestyle, occupation, personal and family health history indicating longer life expectancy, can add up to significant cost savings to new life insurance applicants.


The cost of insurance or payment amount required by the insurance company to keep your policy in effect.

Premium Tax

This is the provincial premium tax that is collected for a policy as a percentage of each premium or deposit made to an investment account. The amount collected varies by province but currently ranges from 2% to 4%.



Rate class

A rate class is the classification assigned to the insured person during the underwriting process which determines how much the premium will be. Your rate class is based on a variety of factors covering overall health and lifestyle profile. Typically, individuals who are in good health and who do not use any kind of tobacco products or engage in any hazardous activities will be able to obtain lower cost coverage than individuals who are in poor health or who are smokers.

Rated policy

A policy issued to insure a person classified as having a greater-than-average risk to the insurance company, for example, a person with impaired health or a hazardous occupation. The policy may be issued with special exclusions and/or a cost of insurance that is higher than a regular policy.


Restoration of a lapsed life insurance policy. The life insurance company will require evidence of continuing good health and the payment of all past due premiums plus interest.


The sharing of insurance policies among multiple insurers to reduce the risk for each one.


Additional types of insurance protection that can sometimes be added for a cost to a policy to protect against a variety of other losses.



Side account

The side account is used to hold money that exceeds the maximum amount that can be deposited in the tax-exempt investment accounts of a universal life insurance policy.

Single life

Insurance policy that pays a benefit in the event of the death of a single person.

Suicide clause

A clause in the life insurance policy which specifies that the policy amount will not be paid if the insured takes his or her own life within a specified period of time (usually two years) after the policy is issued.

Surrender charges

An amount of money deducted from some life insurance policies when the owner of a policy cancels the policy for its cash surrender value.



Term life insurance

Life insurance coverage for a set time period where the insurance company pays a tax-free death benefit (payment) if the insured dies during that period of time. Many term policies are only offered for five, 10 or 20 year periods and can be renewed at the end of the policy, usually at a higher cost.




Underwriting is the process an insurance company uses to review an application for life insurance before accepting and issuing an insurance policy. The purpose of this review is to determine the potential degree of risk that a person represents to the life insurance company.


A risk class designation for applicants whose health profiles render them unsuitable for life insurance purposes.

Universal life insurance

A permanent life insurance policy that combines the benefits of flexible insurance coverage, flexible premiums and the power of a tax-deferred investment account.




A legal document detailing your preferences after your death, dealing with such matters as how assets are to be distributed , who will be the guardian of your minor children, and other matters.


An amount of cash that a policy owner can elect to take from a universal or whole life insurance policy that may or may not be subject to income tax.

Whole Life insurance

A traditional life insurance policy typically offering guaranteed lifetime coverage with cash surrender values (also known as traditional life insurance or permanent life insurance).

If you have questions about products sold directly through BMO Insurance, contact:


If you have questions about products sold through an Independent Insurance Advisor, contact: