Best Life Insurance Companies

Best Life Insurance Companies

Generous policy options and satisfied customers make Nationwide our top pick

Meredith Mangan has 15 years of experience in finance, media, and financial markets, including six years as a licensed insurance agent and five years as the managing editor for Money Crashers. She joined Dotdash Meredith in 2020 and is currently the Senior Insurance Editor overseeing all insurance-related reviews across Dotdash Meredith, including Investopedia and The Balance. Prior to her editing career, Meredith was a licensed financial advisor.

Richard has been a licensed insurance agent since 2017. He earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from Middlebury College and has developed an impressive list of clients, including Citizens Bank, Fidelity Investments, Bank of America, New England Law, Harvard University Development Office, and Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media and Design.

Eric is a duly licensed Independent Insurance Broker licensed in Life, Health, Property, and Casualty insurance. He has worked more than 13 years in both public and private accounting jobs and more than four years licensed as an insurance producer. His background in tax accounting has served as a solid base supporting his current book of business.

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The best life insurance companies are those that are financially sound, provide robust customer service, make the application process easy, and offer a wide range of features. To choose the best life insurance companies, we measured 91 insurers in these categories, collected more than 50 points of data for each insurer, and considered third-party ratings.

Read on to discover the best life insurance companies for 2022 and why each made our list.

Best Life Insurance Companies of 2022

  • Best Overall:Nationwide
  • Best for Term Life Insurance:Protective
  • Best for Financial Stability:MassMutual
  • Best for Living Benefits:Mutual of Omaha
  • Fewest Complaints:Guardian
  • Best for Military:USAA
  • Best for Seniors:New York Life
  • Best for Dividends:Penn Mutual
  • Best for Policy Customization:Transamerica
  • Most Universal Life Options:Lincoln Financial
  • Tied for Cheapest Term:Banner

Important

Our ratings take into account NAIC complaint index scores and AM Best ratings. The NAIC complaint index indicates how many complaints a company receives relative to its size. AM Best assesses a company’s ability to pay its claims on a graded scale, with A++ being the highest. All our best life insurance companies have at least an A rating.

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Best Overall : Nationwide

Nationwide

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

For the most personalized quote experience, call Nationwide directly at 844-457-7984.

Ranked second in J.D. Power’s 2021 customer satisfaction study

Drew few customer complaints

Living benefits included on most policies

Allows credit card payments

The website could offer more hard details such as insurable age range and coverage limits

Nationwide garnered an A+ financial stability rating from AM Best, received very few customer complaints over the past three years, and was the second-ranked out of 21 life insurers for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. Plus, it boasts a wide range of policy types and riders and generous living benefits. This host of exceptional features puts it squarely at the top of our best life insurance companies list.

Nationwide has been in business for nearly a century and offers term, whole life, universal life (UL), and variable UL (VUL) policies. Some of these policies may be available without a medical exam and with fast approval. The company also includes three accelerated death benefit riders on most of its policies at no cost. This allows policyholders to access part of their death benefit while still alive if they are diagnosed with a chronic, critical, or terminal illness.

Best for Term Life Insurance : Protective

Protective Life

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

Tied with Banner for least expensive term policies

Offers term coverage for up to 40 years

Allows credit card payments

Ranked 16 out of 21 companies for customer satisfaction

Probable low no-exam coverage amounts

Protective ties with Banner for the cheapest term life insurance of all the companies we reviewed. Plus, it offers 40-year term policies, which is uncommon in the industry—most companies cap terms at 30 years.

Founded in 1907, Protective backs its coverage with an A+ rating from AM Best for financial stability. It also received fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size over the past three years. However, Protective ranked lower than the industry average in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, coming in at #16 out of 21 companies. And its no-medical-exam life insurance policies are capped at $1 million in coverage—which you’re only eligible for up to age 45. This is much lower than some competitors that offer coverage up to $5 million for applicants up to age 50, or $3 million for applicants up to age 60.

For more details, see Investopedia’s Protective review.

Best for Financial Stability : MassMutual

MassMutual

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

Rated A++ for financial stability

Long history of paying dividends

Very few complaints

Liberal term conversion options

Few accelerated benefit riders included at no cost

Doesn’t accept credit card payments

MassMutual stands out for a number of reasons. One of the most impressive is its A++ financial rating from AM Best. This is the highest rating a company can receive and indicates a “superior” ability to pay claims. MassMutual’s dividend-paying history also adds to its clout: Every year since 1869, eligible policyholders have received life insurance dividends. Plus, the company has gotten extremely few complaints, according to the NAIC complaint index, over the past three years.

It’s worth noting that owners of MassMutual term policies can convert to any of MassMutual’s permanent policies. This is important because some companies limit the types of policies you can convert your term policy into. (Convertible term life insurance allows you to exchange some or all of your term coverage for permanent without having to re-qualify for life insurance.)

But unlike some competitors, the company doesn’t include many accelerated benefit riders free of charge on most of its policies and doesn’t accept credit card payments.

Best for Living Benefits : Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

Policies include at least two living benefits

Wide range of riders available

Received an “expected” number of complaints

Online applications unavailable for term policies

Mutual of Omaha is our pick for best life insurance company for living benefits. At no upfront cost, it includes three accelerated benefit riders on its Term Life Express and IUL Express policies (for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses). It includes two (for chronic and terminal illnesses) on most of the rest of its policies. Accelerated benefit riders add flexibility to a life insurance policy by letting you tap the death benefit early if you have a qualifying illness. They can generally be used to pay for whatever you want, but will reduce the benefit your beneficiaries receive.

Mutual of Omaha also offers a disability income rider, which is uncommon in the industry—only one of the other winners on this list makes one available. Mutual of Omaha’s disability income rider provides a monthly income benefit if you become disabled and can’t work.

The company compares poorly to our other top picks when it comes to customer complaints, however. It received what is considered an expected number of complaints for a company of its size, while all our other picks received fewer. And though many of our other favorite companies let you at least start your application for term life insurance online, you’ll have to contact an agent to get a term policy from Mutual of Omaha.

Fewest Complaints : Guardian

Guardian Life Insurance

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

Fewest complaints among top companies

No medical exam necessary for coverage up to $3 million

Receives an A++ for financial stability

Whole life policies are eligible for dividends

Online application and claim filing not available

Credit card payments not permitted

Guardian drew fewer complaints than any of our other top-rated companies and received the fifth-fewest complaints of the 91 companies we reviewed. This is a strong indicator that Guardian policyholders have little to complain about. Complaints are measured by the NAIC on an annual basis; we looked at each company’s complaint history over the past three years.

Like MassMutual, Guardian earns a top rating of A++ from AM Best, reflecting superior financial stability, and it offers dividends to eligible policyholders. The company also earns top marks for no-medical-exam life insurance applications—up to $3 million in coverage is available to healthy applicants up to age 50.

But if you’re seeking a streamlined online experience, Guardian falls short. It doesn’t offer an online application process (without an agent), online claim filing, or credit card payments, and information on its individual product offerings is hard to find.

Best for Military : USAA

USAA

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

Severe injury benefits

No-cost guaranteed insurability available

“Anytime conversion” rider for term policies

A++ AM Best rating

Doesn’t take credit card payments

No-exam coverage options are limited

Originally incorporated as the United States Automobile Association, USAA will celebrate its 100th year in business in 2022. It boasts AM Best’s top A++ (Superior) rating for financial strength, and strong customer satisfaction as indicated by NAIC’s complaint index.

What makes USAA a solid choice for military families are its military-specific riders. Level Term V policies include a severe injury rider that pays out $25,000 for specific injuries incurred during military service. USAA also offers guaranteed insurability riders at no additional cost that give you the option to increase coverage after leaving the military (and without having to prove insurability) or if you experience certain life events, like having a child. Plus, you can add an anytime-conversion rider that lets you convert your term policy to a whole life policy up until the very end of the term. Most companies only allow conversions within five or 10 years of policy issue.

Drawbacks are that USAA life insurance does not accept credit cards payments and has limited no-medical-exam options. You must be 35 or younger to qualify for its no-exam term policy, coverage is limited to $100,000, and the policy expires when you turn 39.

Best for Seniors : New York Life

New York Life

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

A++ (Superior) AM Best rating

Long history of paying dividends

Policies available to applicants over 85 years old

Broad selection of riders

Information difficult to find on website

Can’t get information without contacting an agent

Online quotes and applications not available

Maximum term period of 20 years

New York Life, founded in 1845, is the oldest company in this list and has paid dividends for 168 consecutive years. It earns an A++ (Superior) AM Best rating and receives very few customer complaints. Its stellar reputation and financial stability are two reasons it won best life insurance for seniors. Another is that it issues policies to 90-year-old applicants (many companies won’t issue policies to anyone over 85).

New York Life offers term, whole life, and universal life policies, including VUL, plus a diverse mix of riders and options for plan customization. Among these is a disability income rider (only offered by one of our other top picks for best life insurance company) and a Spouse’s Paid-Up Purchase Option (SPPO). The SPPO lets your spouse buy a paid-up policy with your policy’s death benefit without having to provide evidence of insurability if, or when, you die.

If you’re looking for term coverage, note that the longest term available from New York Life is 20 years. Most other companies we reviewed offer 30-year policies as well. And unfortunately, it’s difficult to locate policy-specific information on the website. If you have questions or want a quote, you’ll need to provide your name and number and wait for an agent to contact you. (In our experience, the goal of customer service for non-policyholders was to immediately route you to an agent.)

Best for Dividends : Penn Mutual

Penn Mutual

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

Strong dividend-paying history

High coverage no-medical-exam life insurance

Well-priced term policies

Very few customer complaints

Limited website information

Quotes not available on the website

Penn Mutual is a well-established insurer with superior financial strength, an impressive track record of customer satisfaction, and a strong dividend-paying history. The company received an A+ (Superior) rating for financial strength from AM Best and had far fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size, according to the NAIC. Plus, it’s paid eligible policyholders dividends every year for the past 174 years. On top of this, Penn Mutual makes up to $7.5 million in coverage available to healthy applicants up to age 65 without a medical exam. This is the highest no-exam limit we’ve seen, and the highest age limit we’ve seen for no-exam policies. This makes it an excellent option if you need substantial coverage and would prefer to skip a medical exam.

But the company doesn’t just cater to those looking for high coverage or permanent policies. Its quotes for term coverage were the fourth most affordable of the 32 companies we collected quotes for. That said, the company does not make term quotes available on its website nor online applications for term coverage. In fact, the website doesn’t offer much in the way of policy specifics. For details and to apply for any type of coverage, you’ll need to get in touch with an agent.

Best for Policy Customization : Transamerica

Transamerica

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

No-medical-exam coverage available for up to $2 million

Three living benefits included on some policies at no upfront cost

Wide range of riders available

More complaints than expected

Ranks poorly for customer satisfaction

Transamerica has been around since 1904. It offers a respectable number of policy types and boasts a wide range of available riders. In particular, the company includes three living benefit riders for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses included at no upfront cost on some policies. It also offers a disability income rider, which is uncommon among the insurers we reviewed. In line with its peers, Transamerica makes up to $2 million of coverage available to healthy applicants without a medical exam.

The company has an A (Excellent) Financial Strength Rating from AM Best, which is good, but it’s also the lowest rated insurer in this list. Transamerica also scored well below average in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Life Insurance Study and received more complaints than expected, according to the NAIC Complaint Index.

Most Universal Life Options : Lincoln Financial

Lincoln Financial Group

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

Wide range of policy types

Competitively priced term policies

Fewer complaints than expected

Three available living benefit riders

Quotes aren’t available on the website

No whole life available

Lincoln Financial Group is a financially stable insurer that offers a range of universal life insurance policies plus term coverage. It received an A+ (Superior) Financial Strength Rating from AM Best. It also received fewer complaints than expected for an insurer of its size, according to the NAIC. In addition to regular universal life (UL) coverage, the company offers variable UL and indexed UL policies, making it a good choice for those who would like an investment element within their life insurance policy. It also offers three living benefits for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses, some of which are at no upfront cost, depending on the policy.

While the quotes we collected for term coverage are very competitive, especially for healthy older applicants, you can’t get a term quote on the website. And if you’re interested in a whole life policy, you’ll need to look at a different insurance company.

Tied for Cheapest Term : Banner

Legal & General

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

Tied with Protective for cheapest term coverage

40-year terms available

Generous term conversion period

Online application available

Very few customer complaints

Few policy types available

Banner, along with Protective, is an excellent choice if you’re seeking low-cost term coverage. Both companies tied for the cheapest quotes across a range of ages among the 32 life insurers that we collected term quotes for. Banner and Protective are also the only companies we reviewed that offer 40-year term policies. Additionally, Banner boasts generous term conversion options—you can convert your term policy through the end of the level-premium period or until you turn 70, whichever happens first. Plus, the company offers online term quotes and lets you apply online without needing to contact an agent. While many companies offering term coverage provide quotes on their website, far fewer allow you to apply without contacting or being contacted by an agent. We should also mention that Banner received an A+ (Superior) AM Best rating as well as very few customer complaints.

While there’s clearly a lot to like about Banner, it doesn’t offer many policy options—just term and universal life policies. It also doesn’t offer as many riders to customize policies with as some of its competitors.

Compare the Best Life Insurance Companies of 2022

AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations.

Final Verdict

When choosing a life insurance company, it’d be hard to go wrong with any of the companies on this list. But if you’re not sure which type of policy you want, start with Nationwide since it offers the most policy types of the group. For high-coverage no-exam policies, Nationwide is also a good option, but Penn Mutual may be a better one, especially if you’re over 50 or need more than $5 million in coverage.

Most companies on this list received at least an A+ (Superior) rating by AM Best for financial strength. But if only the absolute best will do, MassMutual, Guardian, USAA, and New York Life have A++ (Superior) AM Best ratings. And, except USAA, all are solid choices for dividend-paying policies as well.

If you want term life insurance, Protective or Banner are excellent choices for affordable coverage. They’re also the only two companies of the 91 we reviewed offering term coverage for 40 years.

And for a policy packed with no-cost living benefits, start with Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, or USAA (if you’re in the military).

How Does Life Insurance Work?

In exchange for premium payments, an insurance company will pay a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you pass away while the policy is “in force.” (“In force” just means that the policy is active and hasn’t been canceled). The money is received tax-free, and beneficiaries can use it for whatever purpose they choose.

What Are the Main Types of Life Insurance?

Life insurance can be divided into two main types: term and permanent. Permanent policies are sold as either universal or whole life insurance; they’re designed to offer coverage for the duration of your natural life. Term policies only provide coverage for a certain period of time, such as 30 years.

What Is Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance provides coverage for a limited period of time, usually between 10 and 30 years. If you die while the policy is active, your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit tax-free. Term policies don’t build a cash value like permanent policies, and are less expensive.

Insurance companies often allow you to convert your term coverage to a permanent policy before the term expires without having to prove that you’re still insurable. But premiums will increase when recalculated according to your age at the time you convert.

When shopping for a term policy, it’s important to look at the company’s overall strength and customer satisfaction ratings, as well as policy specifics such as price, coverage amounts, and any special features available. Check out our complete review of the best term life insurance companies to find the right company for you.

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Best Term Life Insurance Companies Investopedia’s Rating Best For AM Best Rating Compare Quotes
Protective 4.8 Best Overall A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Banner 4.5 Lowest Cost A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Nationwide 4.1 Best Customer Satisfaction A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Mutual of Omaha 4.1 Best Living Benefits A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Haven Life 4.0 Best for Same-Day Coverage A++ Compare Quotes on Haven Life
MassMutual 4.0 Best for Financial Stability A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius

What Is Whole Life Insurance?

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance coverage that is designed to cover you for life—as long as premiums are paid. Unlike term, permanent policies build a tax-deferred cash value and don’t expire. As long as you don’t take cash value withdrawals worth more than what you’ve paid into the policy, you won’t pay taxes on any gains.

Some things to consider when looking for a whole life policy are whether the company is trustworthy and ranks well with customers, as well as policy features such as dividends, living benefits riders, and eligibility factors. Check out our complete review of the best whole life insurance companies to find the right company for you.

Best Whole Life Insurance Companies Investopedia’s
Rating
Best
For
AM Best Rating Compare
Quotes
Nationwide 4.7 Best Overall A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
New York Life 4.6 Best Riders A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Guardian 4.4 Highest Issue Age A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
MassMutual 4.3 Best for Financial Stability A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Penn Mutual 4.3 Best for Dividends A+ Get a Quote
State Farm 4.2 Best Customer Satisfaction A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Northwestern Mutual 4.1 Fewest Complaints A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius

Other Types of Life Insurance

Universal (UL)

Universal life (UL) insurance is similar to whole life insurance with a couple of important distinctions. The premiums and death benefit can be changed after the policy has been issued, and interest is credited to the cash value based on current interest rates. So you don’t know in advance how much the cash value will be worth in the future.

For this reason, universal life policies can be a way to get permanent coverage at a fixed premium that is often much lower than that of an equivalent whole life policy, at least in its early years.

Indexed Universal (IUL)

When cash value performance in a universal life policy is tied to a stock market index, it is said to be indexed. The cash value in an indexed universal life insurance (IUL) policy is credited interest based on the index selected (for example, the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq composite). It’s important to note that the cash value is not invested directly in the index.

IUL policies usually have at least a 0% floor, which means the cash value will not see a negative return even when the index performs poorly. Conversely, gains are limited as well. In fact, insurance companies are innovative when it comes to the complexity of calculations they employ to limit gains. For example, an IUL policy may be subject to one or more (usually “more”) of the following:

  • Participation rate: This is the percentage of index gains that will be credited to the policy. For example, if the index returns 10% and the participation rate is 60%, 6% would be credited).
  • Spread: This rate is deducted from the index’s gains. If the index returns 10% and the spread is 4%, your policy would be credited 6%.
  • Cap: This limits the amount of interest your policy can be credited. If the cap is 6% and the index returns 10%, 6% will be credited to the cash value.

IUL policies can be an attractive proposition if you want the potential for stock market gains but want to avoid losses. Just be aware that if the index doesn’t perform well enough, interest credited could be insufficient to keep up with policy expenses and your premium could increase.

Variable Universal (VUL)

In a variable universal life (VUL) insurance policy you can invest the cash value directly in the stock market. VUL policies typically offer a variety of mutual-fund-like subaccounts from which to choose; subaccounts available represent a range of investment objectives and risk profiles, from conservative to aggressive, and all can potentially lose value. This makes VUL the riskiest type of life insurance and generally inappropriate for someone who doesn’t have other life insurance coverage in place. It’s only available through an agent that is also licensed to sell securities.

Guaranteed Issue

Guaranteed issue (GI) life insurance policies are just what they sound like. Health issues will not disqualify you from approval because no health questions are asked on the application, nor is an exam required. You usually have to be at least 40 or 45 years old to be eligible for coverage, and coverage amounts are low while premiums are relatively high compared to other underwriting methods for the same amount of coverage.

GI policies are whole life policies that have a “graded benefit” for two to three years. If you die from natural causes during this time, your beneficiaries will only receive a return of the premiums you paid (usually plus a percentage like 10%). They will not receive the full death benefit unless you die after this period. After the waiting period, the policy’s full face value will be paid.

Burial Insurance (aka, Final Expense Insurance)

These policies may be either guaranteed issue or simplified issue policies. Burial insurance, also called final expense coverage, senior insurance, or funeral insurance, is a low-coverage whole life plan. While you have to answer some medical questions and coverage is not guaranteed, it can result in lower premium payments than GI.

Burial insurance, like GI, may only be available if you’re older than 40 or 45. Face values often range from $2,000 to $50,000 and policies often have a graded death benefit period before your beneficiaries are able to receive the full death benefit.

When shopping for burial insurance, be sure to compare each policy’s graded benefit period. The length of the graded benefit period can differ between companies, and some policies might not even have one. It’s also crucial to check how satisfied customers are with any company you’re considering. To make these tasks easier, check out our review of the best burial insurance companies.

Best Burial Insurance Companies Investopedia’s Rating Best For AM Best Rating Compare Quotes
Mutual of Omaha 4.8 Best Overall A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
SBLI 4.7 Best Instant Issue A Get a Quote
TruStage 4.6 Best for Guaranteed Issue A Get a Quote
State Farm 4.4 Best for Financial Stability A++ Get a Quote
Nationwide 4.3 Fewest Complaints A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius

How To Choose the Right Life Insurance Company for You

When choosing a life insurance company, you want to consider the company’s financial strength, customer complaints, customer satisfaction, available policy types, available and included riders, and ease of application. Doing this homework will ensure you choose a company that offers a policy that suits your needs and will be there when your family needs it. Cost is always important as well, but sometimes the cheapest coverage may not be the best.

Consider these factors when choosing your life insurance company:

  • Financial strength: Check AM Best ratings for financial stability. A++ and A+ ratings are considered “superior,” while A and A- are considered “excellent.”
  • Customer complaints: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) uses customer complaints to create the NAIC complaint index, which indicates whether a company received more or fewer complaints than expected, based on its market share. An index lower than 1 indicates the company received fewer complaints than expected, while a number over 1 means it got more than expected. The higher the index, the more customers complain, and vice versa.
  • Customer satisfaction: Not all companies are ranked by J.D. Power, but check J.D. Power’s U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study to see if companies you’re considering are. At a glance, you can see how a company ranks compared to others when it comes to customer satisfaction.
  • Available policy types: If you know which type of insurance you need, make sure each company you’re considering offers it. But note that a whole life policy with one company can be very different from a whole life policy with another. Though policies between companies might have the same name, each company tries to make their product stand out. Make sure their efforts suit your needs.
  • Available and included riders: This is a major way that same-named policies can differ. For example, a universal life policy with one company might include a generous accelerated death benefit rider at no cost, while a UL policy with another company may not. Or a term policy with one company may allow you to convert it to permanent coverage, while a term policy with another company may not. Research riders to know what you’re paying for.
  • Ease of application: Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting a life insurance policy is the application process. And often, it’s better to get some coverage in place—especially if you have dependents—than it is to find the absolute best coverage you can. If you’re too busy for an exam, look for companies that don’t require one.

Once you’ve identified a few solid companies, compare life insurance quotes to decide which makes sense for you.

If you’re healthy, you want to choose companies that offer an accelerated underwriting process, which means they’ll ask thorough health questions on the application. Otherwise, you could end up paying more than you need to.

Guaranteed issue policies cost the most per death benefit dollar and the death benefit is often “graded” or limited to a return of premiums for the first two to three years, depending on the company.

How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies

In order to compile our list of the best life insurance companies, we developed a comprehensive life insurance methodology. We started off by researching what consumers want from life insurance companies, and for that, we looked to third-party consumer studies, including J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance New Business Study and the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study, by Life Happens and LIMRA.

With those findings in mind, we gathered more than 50 data points on 91 life insurance companies, including ratings for financial strength, customer satisfaction, and customer complaints, as well as information about years in business, cost, online tools, no-exam options, policy types and features, and available riders.

Our review process gave preference to companies with superior financial stability, few customer complaints, and a robust suite of products and resources. In particular, we valued online quoting and application tools, transparent pricing, and no-exam policy options. Companies received ratings boosts if customer service was accessible via features like live chat. We ranked each company according to the following categories and weights.

  • Customer education, application, and online service features: 32%
  • Policy types, features, and riders: 29%
  • Financial stability: 17%
  • Customer satisfaction ratings: 15%
  • Cost: 8%

We compared individual offerings between companies by delving deeper into product specifics, including maximum coverage amounts, maximum issue ages, included riders, and product-specific application processes. We used this research to determine the best companies for different products and consumer groups, including term life insurance and seniors.

Of the companies we considered, those with the greatest financial stability, fewest complaints, lowest cost, and most generous no-medical-exam options scored the highest across categories, as we believe these companies are best positioned to help customers secure the life insurance coverage they need and keep it long-term.