Life insurance remains a bit of a mystery to most Canadians, according to a survey released by Toronto-based BMO Insurance on Wednesday.

According to the poll, 88% of Canadians are not very familiar with the different types of life insurance options available. Furthermore, while 74% of those Canadians surveyed have some type of insurance either through their employer or personal policies, 70% of those people are less than confident that their life insurance will provide enough money to take care of loved ones.

Advisors should therefore gauge a new client’s understanding of life insurance right away, says Rocco Casullo, head, direct to consumer insurance, BMO Insurance, so as to ensure clients have the coverage they need.

“Understand where the client is coming from,” says Casullo. “Are they prepared? Are they not prepared? Does it seem like they’ve done a bit of the research up front on what they’re looking for?”

In addition to finding out what a client knows about life insurance, it’s also important to find out why they want it. Advisors should find out what customers are trying to achieve with their insurance coverage, says Casullo. For example, is it to cover financial concerns or an aspirational goal – something beyond immediate financial needs?

The BMO study found that the top three reasons why Canadians buy life insurance are: they don’t want to burden their family financially after death (53%); they feel a sense of responsibility to have it (49%); they were told by family and/or friends they should have it (16%).

Breaking the survey results down regionally, Quebeckers are the most likely to own a life insurance policy with 85% of respondents from that province saying they have life insurance. B.C. residents are more likely to be uninsured with only 62% of respondents saying they own a life insurance policy.

Results for the BMO Life Insurance Survey were gathered from online surveys conducted by Pollara between July 2, 2014 and July 4, 2014 from a sample of 1,005 adult Canadians.