ConsumerInfo about Insurance

What’s your line – of insurance?

By Sally Praskey, Editor, Insurance Canada ConsumerInfo

Nowadays, there are some 300 insurance companies operating in Canada selling many different kinds, or "lines," of insurance. Generally, most companies sell either "property and casualty" insurance (also referred to as "general" insurance) or "life and health" insurance, but seldom both.

Property and casualty insurance includes automobile insurance, property insurance (insurance for homeowners, condominium owners, and tenants), as well as a variety of commercial and business insurance. An important component of all of the property and casualty lines is liability insurance, which provides protection for an insured person who accidentally injures someone or damages someone else's property and is legally bound to pay for the damage.

Life and health insurance is primarily the bailiwick of the more than 100 life insurance companies operating in Canada, both domestic and foreign-owned. Life insurance provides funds to a designated beneficiary in the event of the policyholder's death. Some of the more common life insurance products include term, universal, and whole life insurance. Health insurance protects against financial loss due to illness, injury, or medical bills, and extends coverage, through a variety of products, beyond that offered by government medicare plans. In fact, medicare itself is a form of insurance, paid for by our tax dollars. Another aspect of health insurance, disability insurance, pays for income lost due to a disabling injury or illness. Often, life, health, travel medical, and disability insurance is provided through employers, but it can also be purchased by individuals. Without health insurance, we'd probably be afraid to set food outside our homes, let alone play sports or participate in any other activities. Even one broken leg could eat a big chunk out of our savings.