6.3.1 Where you can get insurance

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

You can buy insurance from:

  • an insurance agent
  • an insurance broker
  • an insurance company
  • a financial institution (for certain insurance products)
  • an unlicensed lender or vendor (for certain insurance products).


  • Agent: Someone who represents one insurance company and sells its insurance products. Agents usually must be licensed in the province or territory in which they do business.
  • Broker: A person or company who sells the insurance products of several different insurance companies. Brokers must usually be registered in the province or territory in which they sell insurance.

Most types of insurance can also be purchased over the phone, Internet or by mail; however, life insurance is usually purchased directly from a licensed agent.

In some cases, you do not need to go through a licensed insurance agent, broker or company to purchase insurance. For example, when you apply for automobile financing or a mortgage on a home, the lender may offer to sell you the insurance. You do not have to buy the insurance through that vendor and are free to purchase it from another insurer if you wish. The unlicensed vendor must explain all the terms and conditions of the insurance policy and inform you about the claims process. In Quebec, the vendor is required by law to give you a distribution guide, which states the nature and scope of the insurance being offered, as well as any exclusions.


You may be able to get a discount if you buy more than one type of insurance policy with the same insurance company. For example, you may get a discount when buying home and auto insurance from the same insurance company. Similarly, some groups, such as unions and professional associations, have an arrangement with an insurer to offer their members special rates, especially for multiple insurance products. Check with your employer or affiliated group.

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