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What Is Mortgage Protection Insurance?


Published January 17, 2024 • 9 Min Read

When it comes time to buy a home, very few of us go it alone. We turn to friends and family for help with moving and decorating and to our bank for financing, usually in the form of a mortgage.

Another support the bank offers is mortgage protection insurance, which can help address the risk of missed mortgage payments in the case of injury, illness, or death.

Learn how different types of mortgage protection insurance (sometimes called mortgage loan insurance, mortgage creditor insurance, or, at RBC, HomeProtector® Insurance*) can help protect your family against life’s what-ifs.

Key takeaways

  • Mortgage protection insurance can help cover mortgage payments or pay down the balance in the event of illness, injury, or death. It pays a benefit to the bank, which is applied directly to your mortgage balance or payments.

  • There are several types of mortgage protection insurance, and you can consider stand-alone life insurance or life and critical illness or life and disability insurance for additional protection.

  • Applying for mortgage protection insurance is usually fast and easy and can be as simple as answering a few health questions.

What is mortgage protection insurance?

Simply put, mortgage protection insurance is optional coverage that can help pay off or pay down the balance of your mortgage in the event that you pass away or are diagnosed with a critical illness, or it can help cover your mortgage payments for a period of time in the event of death, disability, or a critical illness. There are several types of mortgage protection insurance in the market, giving you the flexibility to choose the coverage that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and needs.

How does mortgage protection insurance work?

Mortgage protection insurance provides coverage for your mortgage payments or balance in case certain insured events occur. Coverage options can include:

  • Life insurance: This can help pay off or pay down your mortgage balance if you die.

  • Disability insurance: This can help cover your mortgage payments for a period of time if you’re disabled and are unable to work due to illness or injury.

  • Critical illness insurance: This can help pay down or pay off your mortgage if you’re diagnosed with a covered critical illness, including cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

Depending on your insurance needs, you may be able to combine life with disability insurance or life with critical illness insurance to create a plan that suits you and your family.

What’s the difference between mortgage default insurance and mortgage protection insurance?

Mortgage default insurance and mortgage protection insurance offer different forms of protection.

  • Mortgage protection insurance covers you, the homeowner. If you pass away or become critically ill or disabled, the insurer may pay off or pay down your mortgage balance or make your mortgage payments for a period of time, depending on your coverage. This type of insurance can usually be arranged with your mortgage lender and is optional.

  • Mortgage default insurance protects you if you default on your mortgage payments. It’s something that’s required by law if you put down less than 20 per cent of the purchase price when you buy your home. It can be arranged with your lender through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a publicly owned corporation, or through Sagen (formerly Genworth) or Canada Guaranty. If your mortgage loan requires default insurance, your lender could add the additional cost to your regular mortgage payment or you could pay it in a lump sum.

Is it mandatory to have mortgage protection insurance in Canada?

Mortgage protection insurance is always optional. You don’t have to have it, but it may make things better if the unexpected happens.

How much does mortgage protection insurance cost?

Your home, family, and life are unique, as are your mortgage insurance costs. Luckily, you can get a free quote in minutes based on your age, current mortgage balance, and province.

Best of all, once you’re locked into a rate, it’s not likely to increase due to your age for the life of your mortgage (unless the term ends or you decide to refinance it).

Why do people get mortgage protection insurance?

For better or for worse, some life events just can’t be anticipated, and mortgage protection insurance can help free you to focus on the happy surprises. Mortgage protection insurance is convenient, providing a safety net for you and your family, and can help cover your mortgage payments or balance should you become disabled, suffer a covered critical illness, or die. Additional advantages include:

  • Predictable payments. Sure, you keep getting older, but your premiums will not change based on your age unless you refinance or increase your mortgage balance.

  • Simple enrolment. In most cases, you simply need to answer a few short health questions to qualify.

  • Tax advantages. All benefits are non-taxable, so if the worst happens and you need to use your plan, 100 per cent of the benefit payable will go toward your mortgage payment or balance.

  • Flexible plans. Choose from single or joint coverage and from life insurance only, life plus critical illness coverage, or life plus disability insurance, depending on your needs.

  • Investment safeguards. Already have personal insurance or a robust savings account? Great! Mortgage protection insurance may cover your mortgage costs, freeing your other insurance coverage or investments to be used as you had intended.

If you have other insurance plans in place, they don’t need to be coordinated around your mortgage protection insurance. Mortgage protection insurance simply adds an extra layer of help when the unexpected happens.

Who is eligible for coverage?

You’re eligible for mortgage protection insurance with RBC Royal Bank if you’re a borrower, co-borrower, or guarantor of an RBC Royal Bank-eligible mortgage and a Canadian resident older than 18 and younger than 66 years old (or 56 years old if you also want to add critical illness insurance).

To apply to add disability insurance to your existing life insurance protection, you must be actively working—in full-time employment, self-employment, or seasonal employment—on the date of application.

How can I assess which coverage option best suits my needs?

Understanding the benefits and terms of each type of mortgage protection insurance is vital. If you already have a mortgage with RBC Royal Bank, check out the Credit Protection Selector tool to explore the mortgage protection insurance options available to you.

If you prefer talking things out, your mortgage specialist or advisor can walk you through the options.

Do I need more coverage if I already have disability insurance through work?

If you already have a plan through your workplace, deciding whether you need additional coverage comes down to your individual circumstances and financial goals.

Employer-provided disability insurance typically covers a percentage of your salary, often approximately 60–85%[1]. It’s a good idea to ask yourself if this will be enough coverage to meet your and your family’s financial needs if you become disabled.

If you have significant financial obligations in addition to your mortgage, such as student loans or a family to support, you might consider additional coverage to bridge the gap. It’s also worth considering that a disability may come with added costs, such as medical expenses, mobility equipment, and support services.

In the case of death, most employer-provided coverage amounts to one or two years’ worth of salary. Again, if that’s not enough to cover your family’s costs, then additional coverage might be worth it.

Mortgage protection insurance can help take care of your mortgage debt while your employer-provided insurance plan covers your other expenses.

How do I apply for coverage?

If you already have an RBC Royal Bank mortgage, there are a few ways to apply for RBC HomeProtector® Insurance:

  • Online: Sign into RBC Online Banking, review the account information, and follow the steps outlined there to apply.

  • By phone: Call the Insurance Service Centre at 1-800-769-2523 to enroll in most parts of Canada. If you live in Alberta or Saskatchewan, call 1-800-769-2511 instead.

  • At your local RBC Royal Bank branch: Visit any RBC Royal Bank branch to speak to an advisor and fill out a HomeProtector® Insurance application.

  • RBC mobile app: Log into your RBC mobile app and apply for HomeProtector® Insurance on the account details page

New to RBC? Our Mortgage Specialists can help. Call 1-800-769-2511, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for advice on RBC mortgages. Once you have an RBC mortgage, getting HomeProtector® Insurance can be quick and easy. Note that HomeProtector® Insurance can be cancelled at any time.

How long will the approval process take?

Most HomeProtector® applications are accepted automatically the same day you apply, although some may take a little more time for review (if you’ve answered “yes” to any of the health questions, for instance). Medical examinations are rarely required.

How do I make a claim?

The situations that create a need for a claim are stressful, but making a claim doesn’t have to be—you simply need to contact us.

Start your claim in person at your RBC Royal Bank branch or by contacting the Insurance Service Centre at 1-800-769-2523. We’ll walk you through the process and let you know what documents and other information are needed to support the claim.

If you’re an RBC Royal Bank Online Banking client, you’ll receive automatic updates on the status of your claim, which you can view in the Online Banking Message Centre. Otherwise, you will receive a written decision within 30 days of providing the insurer the required information.


*HomeProtector® Insurance is optional creditor’s group insurance underwritten by The Canada Life Assurance Company (Canada Life). Full terms and conditions of coverage, including any limitations or exclusions that apply, are set out in the Certificate of Insurance provided on enrolment.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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