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Buying the right insurance is essential to protecting yourself and your loved ones. Life insurance is one of the most important types of insurance if you have people depending on you. This guide will help you find the best life insurance companies and the right type of policy for your needs.?
Bestow is very different from other insurance providers because it allows you to buy a substantial amount of insurance coverage without having to undergo a traditional medical exam. Premium prices are competitive and you can obtain policy quotes online, as well as get approved for a policy worth up to $1.5 million within just minutes. The convenience can't be beat, and you can get insurance with a 10-30 year term.
Term life insurance
Northwestern Mutual's mix of different coverage options, its strong customer service, and its long history in the life insurance market make it a top pick for anyone seeking life insurance. Its premiums are very competitive and those who buy permanent life insurance are also eligible to receive dividends. While the insurer doesn't allow you to apply online as some of its competitors do, its network of agents are helpful and make the process easy. Its customers don't see this as an issue -- 97% of its 4.9 million customers remain with the company from year to year. So it still earns our top spot as the best overall life insurance provider.
Term life insurance; whole life insurance; universal life insurance?
State Farm offers a huge variety of life insurance policies, including multiple different term life policies, as well as an Instant Answer policy that doesn't require a medical exam. Premiums are competitive and you can save substantially on insurance costs by bundling your coverage with your home, auto, liability, or other policies. The wide variety of different insurance policies State Farm makes available make it the best option if you want to get all your coverage from one trusted insurer with a solid reputation for customer service.
Term life insurance; whole life insurance; universal life insurance?
Yes (Instant Answer term life policy)
If you want to get quick approval on a term life insurance policy that you have the option to convert to a whole life policy, Liberty Mutual is an optimal choice. Its streamlined online application makes getting covered easy; within minutes, you can get the protection your loved ones need now.
Term life insurance; whole life insurance
Yes (Passport Term policy)
When you want a customizable policy, New York Life has you covered. There are multiple choices for term, whole life, and universal life policies and you aren't limited to pre-selected terms such as a 10-year or 20-year term of coverage. You can also opt for convertible term life policies so you can change to permanent coverage if your needs change -- all without undergoing another medical exam.
Term life insurance; whole life insurance; universal life insurance?
Yes (AARP Easy Acceptance Life Insurance through New York Life)
Survivorship insurance is just one of several coverage options from Principal, including both term and universal life policies. However, the insurer generally offers competitive premiums for all policies and, when appropriate, couples can save even more by opting for second-to-die coverage. Those who get covered through Principal will also benefit from its strong customer service and comprehensive online account management tools.
Term life insurance; whole life insurance; survivorship?life insurance
Yes (Principal Accelerated Underwriting)
Life insurance is a type of insurance policy. It provides financial protection for those who depend on you. When you're covered by life insurance, the policy pays out a death benefit if you pass away.?The beneficiaries you designate to receive the death benefit can use this money to replace your income. They can also use it to pay for services you provided.?
Some life insurance policies are also a type of investment vehicle. They acquire a cash value. You can borrow against them. And with the best life insurance companies, you also have options for withdrawing some money or cashing in your policy. ?
You can also buy more protections from the best life insurance companies. These are called riders. They're another form of protection in addition to the death benefit. For example, you may have the option to add long-term care insurance. Or you may be able to get guaranteed income for your family.
Want to protect your family? Check out The Ascent's guide to the best life insurance for families.
There are two primary types of life insurance: "term life" and "whole life." While both provide a death benefit, they have some important differences.?
Term life insurance is a type of life insurance in effect for a set period of time. It pays out a death benefit to your designated beneficiaries if you die while coverage is active. It is solely a life insurance product, with no investment component.
Term life insurance is much more affordable than whole life insurance. That's especially true if you shop around for the best life insurance companies. In fact, whole life premiums often cost four times more than a term life policy. However, term life insurance gets its name because it’s in effect only for a limited period of time. It's common for policies to have a 20- or 30-year coverage term.?
If you pass away while your policy is in effect, the insurance company will pay a death benefit. This money goes to whomever you designated as beneficiaries. You can choose the amount of your death benefit. Some policies could provide millions in coverage. The best life insurance companies give you a wide choice of coverage amounts. However, the larger your death benefit, the costlier your premiums.?
If you don't die while your policy is in effect, your policy will simply expire at the end of the term. Your death benefit will never be paid out. With the best life insurance companies, you may have the option to buy a guaranteed renewable term policy. That means you can extend your term of coverage if you'd like. But premiums could go up when your life insurance coverage renews.?
Whole life insurance is a type of life insurance policy that remains in effect for your entire life as long as you pay premiums. As long as you don't let your policy lapse, your insurance will pay out a death benefit when you die. Whole life policies also have an investment component and acquire a cash value that you can borrow against or cash out.
You won't have to worry about whether you can renew your coverage. And you won't have to think about whether your premiums will go up. Whole life policies are much more expensive than term life insurance. That's true even with the best life insurance companies. But as long as you keep paying premiums, your beneficiaries eventually get the death benefit.?
One reason whole life policies are more expensive is that they are also an investment vehicle. That’s true even with the best life insurance companies. Your policy accrues a cash value over time. You're eventually able to access it. You can withdraw some of the money, borrow against your insurance policy, or surrender your policy.?
There are tax benefits associated with investing in a whole life insurance policy. However, many financial experts believe you can earn a better return on investment elsewhere. Most recommend buying term life insurance from the best life insurance companies and keeping your investments separate unless you need lifetime insurance coverage.?
The first decision to make when buying life insurance is whether to buy term life or whole life. Here's a rundown of which policy type is best for specific needs, along with pros and cons of each.
Best for: Term life insurance is best for people looking for the most affordable insurance protection for a limited time.
Best for: Whole life insurance is best for people looking for lifetime protection and a policy that also serves as an investment.
|Feature||Term life||Whole life|
|Most affordable premiums||Yes||No|
|Premiums never increase||Premiums can increase if policy renews||Yes|
|Has an investment component||No||Yes|
|Acquires a cash value||No||Yes|
|Death benefit never changes||Yes||Yes|
|Option to buy riders to add coverage features||Yes||Yes|
What is no exam life insurance?
When applying for a standard term or whole life policy, insurance buyers must go through a medical underwriting process.
They must provide health information so an underwriter can assess their risk of dying during the coverage period. In many cases, insurance buyers will also need to undergo a medical exam as part of the medical underwriting process.
No exam life insurance is life insurance that is sold to consumers without requiring a medical examination. There are different kinds of no exam life insurance to be aware of.
Guaranteed issue policies do not require a medical exam or any type of medical underwriting. They tend to be expensive, offer limited coverage, and have long waiting periods before the full death benefit will be paid. They are usually a good option only for individuals who don't qualify for traditional life insurance.
There are other no exam policies available, though. These policies are available through companies that use algorithms and the insurance buyer's answers to health questions to qualify them for coverage. Companies that offer these types of no exam policies often offer term life insurance at comparable rates and with comparable death benefits to policies that do require medical exams. For those who qualify, it can be much simpler to buy coverage from one of these insurers.
Before purchasing a no medical exam policy, be sure to research the terms carefully to understand both coverage and cost. It's also important to remember that life insurance medical exams often aren't a big deal. The insurer covers costs and the exam involves a simple general assessment of health status.
Choosing the right life insurance requires taking several steps. Here's some of the things insurance buyers should do to get the perfect policy in place.
There are different kinds of life insurance policies, including the following:
Term life is best for most people. However, those who cannot qualify for a term life policy due to pre-existing medical conditions may want to consider guaranteed issue coverage. And people who will need lifetime coverage (such as parents of disabled children who will need financial support after a caregiver's death) may want to look into whole life plans.
The next key step in purchasing life insurance is to determine how much coverage to buy.
Some experts recommend purchasing policies with a death benefit equal to 10 to 12 times annual income. This is a simple approach to estimating coverage needs. However, the DIME formula provides a more precise method of calculating coverage needs. This formula suggests insurance buyers purchase a life insurance policy large enough to do the following:
After determining the desired type of policy and necessary coverage amounts, it's time to shop around for life insurance. This means obtaining several life insurance quotes. It's a good idea to get at least three to five quotes from different life insurance companies.
Many insurers provide quotes online. Or an independent insurance agent can help consumers shop around with different carriers to explore coverage needs.
Insurance buyers should look at premium costs, but also other key criteria as well, including:
After reviewing all of these details, insurance buyers can choose which insurer to submit an application to.
Insurers often ask for extensive medical information during the application process and a medical exam may be required. Be sure to leave time to complete this step and get coverage in place when it is needed.
Life insurance costs vary depending on many factors, including:
The difference in cost from one policy to the next can be substantial. For example, while the average cost of a term life policy purchased at a young age could be around $30 for someone with no health issues, older smokers could pay $1,000 per month or more for similar coverage.
Life insurance coverage insures against the loss of your life. If you pass away, your beneficiaries receive a payment. You can also add riders or optional additional coverage. The best life insurance companies offer many options for riders to customize your coverage. The most important coverages are listed below, along with common riders.
Your beneficiaries get an additional payout if you die as a result of an accident. This is commonly referred to as the death benefit. With the best life insurance companies, beneficiaries often receive double the death benefit from the accidental death rider.?The death benefit is the most important coverage.
This adds long-term care insurance. Long-term care coverage can be purchased separately. However, bundling your coverage means you avoid having to buy an additional policy. The insurance will cover you if you have to go into a nursing home. It also pays for long-term care at home.
Your loved ones will receive regular monthly income for a period of time if you die.?
Premiums paid for term life insurance are returned if you don't pass away during your term of coverage.?
Premiums are waived if you become permanently disabled. This means you can keep your life insurance coverage even if you can't work.?
Life insurance provides a death benefit in almost all situations when someone passes away. A death benefit is typically paid out:
Some life insurance policies will not provide a death benefit if the covered person dies by suicide within a certain period of time after the policy is purchased.
The life insurance death benefit can be used for anything that the beneficiaries desire, from debt repayment to funeral expenses to daily expenses.
Life insurance buyers can also add additional coverage in the form of riders. This means that in addition to paying a death benefit, the life insurance policy might offer these extra protections:
Insurance buyers should research these options to ensure they are getting the right coverage for their needs.
Life insurance would typically not provide coverage in the following situations:
Some insurers also deny coverage for high-risk activities like scuba diving or skydiving. And, if a policy has a waiting period, the insurer might pay out only a partial death benefit or no death benefit during that time.
Policies from the best life insurance companies can often be purchased at a very affordable cost. That's especially true if you opt for term life insurance. If you have loved ones depending on your income, buying a policy ensures they aren't faced with financial disaster if you die. Your death benefit could pay off your family's mortgage. Or it could pay for your child's education.?
Life insurance is also worth it if you provide important services to your family. These could include acting as a stay-at-home parent or caring for elderly relatives. If you pass away, your loved ones could use the death benefit to bring in paid assistance. If you have a business with others, a life insurance policy could also provide money for your partners to buy out your interest after your death. Or they could pay someone else to continue your work.?
For those with a need for lifetime income -- such as parents of disabled children -- life insurance can also be a life saver. A policy could ensure money is available to support their children for life.
Of course, to make sure your policy is worth paying for, it's important to understand your coverage options carefully. You'll want to research term insurance vs. whole life insurance. You'll also want to research riders to see if paying for the additional coverage is worth it. And you should get quotes from at least three different insurance agents. This will help you find the best life insurance companies for your situation.?
Life insurance can give you peace of mind as well as make sure you've provided for those you care about. Shop around for quotes today with no obligation to find out how much a policy will cost and determine if life insurance is right for you.
Want a large life insurance policy? Check out The Ascent's guide to million-dollar life insurance policies.
|Offer||Best For||Next Steps|
|Great For: Best for no medical exam life insurance|
|Great For: Best overall life insurance company|
|Great For: Best for bundling insurance coverage to save money|
|Great For: Best for getting covered quickly|
New York Life
|Great For: Best for customizing your coverage|
|Great For: Best for survivorship life insurance|
The cost of a whole life insurance policy is determined by many factors including the age, gender, and health of the covered person, as well as the life insurance carrier selected. A healthy 30-year-old could expect to pay around $472 monthly for a $500,000 whole life insurance policy. But older insurance buyers could pay much more while younger buyers could pay less.
One big downside of life insurance is that term life policy premiums can feel like wasted money if no death benefit is paid out. However, the premiums are buying protection against financial disaster in the event of an untimely death, which is money well spent. Just as people don't consider auto insurance a waste if they don't get into an accident, term life insurance shouldn't be considered wasteful if the policyholder outlives the coverage term.
Other downsides include the fact it is difficult for older people or those with health problems to get life insurance coverage. And whole life policies generally are a poor investment due to their complexity, fees, and limitations on accessing funds.
Employer provided life insurance can be a good workplace benefit to have, especially if an employer subsidizes the costs of the coverage.
Employer provided policies are also generally issued to all eligible workers without regard to their health status. This can be very beneficial to people who have pre-existing conditions and who might not qualify for standard coverage on their own.
The downside is that these policies may not follow the insured if the covered person leaves work. And the death benefit may not be large enough to provide sufficient protection as many employer-provided life insurance plans have low coverage limits.
As a result, of these major downsides, those with employer-provided insurance may wish to also purchase additional life insurance coverage independently.
Life Insurance products are rated on a scale of one to five stars, primarily focusing on:
We look at overall customer sentiment from those who have direct experience with the specific life insurance company. This is compiled through researching publicly available data as well as survey data from visitors of this site.
With so many options for life insurance across the board these days, it's easiest, and quite effective, to first look at the bottom line.
We look at the various options available and variety of insurance products offered that can better fit a range of consumers. The focus being on term and whole life insurance and the strength of those specific policy products.
We review the overall strength and health of the company as an indicator as that can highlight a stability that provides peace of mind. Company strength can include:
Our Insurance Expert
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