10 Best Life Insurance Companies of August 2022

Generous policy options and satisfied customers make Nationwide our top pick

We recommend the best products through an independent review process, and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.

Best Life Insurance Companies of August 2022

The best life insurance companies are those that are financially sound, have few customer complaints, provide robust customer service, make the application process easy, and offer a wide range of features.

Why Trust Us We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then evaluated each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews. Read our Full Methodology
91 Companies reviewed
55 Features considered
5,005 Data points analyzed

Best Overall : Nationwide

Investopedia's Rating
4.7

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.

Nationwide is a financially stable life insurance company that's been in business for nearly a century. It offers a wide range of polices that may be available without a medical exam and with fast approval.

Policy types: Whole Life, Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Indexed Universal (IUL)

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 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

Cons
  • No live chat available

Why We Chose It

Nationwide is our best overall life insurance company and top pick for:

The company garnered an A+ (Superior) 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. Most policies include three accelerated death benefit riders at no upfront cost. These allow policyholders to access part of their death benefit while still alive if they are diagnosed with a chronic, critical, or terminal illness.

This host of exceptional features puts it squarely at the top of our best life insurance companies list.

Read the full Nationwide Life Insurance Review 2022

Runner-Up, Best Overall : MassMutual

Investopedia's Rating
4.6

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

One of the oldest insurers on this list, MassMutual has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating, very few customer complaints, and has paid dividends to eligible policyholders every year since 1869.

Policy types: Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Life

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Rated A++ for financial stability

  • Long history of paying dividends

  • Very few complaints

  • Liberal term conversion options

Cons
  • Few accelerated benefit riders included at no cost

  • Doesn’t accept credit card payments

Why We Chose It

MassMutual stands out for a number of reasons, which is why it earned a place as a top company in the following reviews:.

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.

Read the full MassMutual Life Insurance Review

Best User Experience : Haven Life

Investopedia's Rating
4.6

Haven 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

Haven Life's website is what all other life insurance websites should aspire to be. The quote and application processes are seamless and entirely online; some applications are approved in minutes.

Policy types: Term

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Easy to navigate website

  • Online application

  • Same day decision

  • A++ financial strength

  • Excellent pricing

Cons
  • Only life insurance available is term

  • Term policies are non-convertible

  • Limited riders

Why We Chose It

Haven Life's website is what all other life insurance websites should aspire to be. The quote and application processes are seamless and entirely online. No personal information is requested until you decide to apply, and brief educational blurbs are well-placed to guide and address any questions you may have. But if you still need help, an agent is just a click away via live chat; or you can choose to call in instead.

Haven is also one of our:

If you want quick, cheap coverage, Haven is an excellent choice. It tied for lowest term pricing with Protective and Banner. And if you opt for a no-medical-exam life insurance policy, you may be approved the same day. Plus, policies are underwritten by Mass Mutual or C.M. Life (part of MassMutual), which both have A++ (Superior) financial strength ratings from AM Best and few consumer complaints, according to the NAIC.

The only strike against Haven Life is that its term policies are not convertible to permanent coverage—an option that 89% of the term life insurance companies we reviewed offer. This is an important perk because it enables you to exchange your term (temporary) life insurance coverage for a permanent policy without having to reapply for coverage. If you develop health issues, you can convert to a permanent policy based on the health you were in when you applied for the term policy. And if you're looking for anything other than term life insurance, you'll need to look at a different company.

Read the full Haven Life Insurance Review

Best for Term Life Insurance : Protective

Investopedia's Rating
4.6

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

Protective ties with Haven Life and Banner for the cheapest term life insurance, and offers term policies that last up to 40 years.

Policy types: Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Life

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tied for least expensive term policies

  • Offers term coverage for up to 40 years

  • Allows credit card payments

  • Multiple riders available

Cons
  • Ranked 16 out of 21 companies for customer satisfaction

Why We Chose It

Protective ties with Haven Life and Banner for the cheapest term life insurance of all the companies we reviewed. But its wide range of excellent features and available riders makes it our top pick for:

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+ (Superior) 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 while it offers no-medical-exam life insurance, policies are capped at $1 million in coverage, which you’re eligible for up to age 45. This is much lower than some competitors.

For more details, see Investopedia’s Protective review. 

Read the full Protective Life Insurance Review

Tied for Cheapest Term : Banner

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

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

Banner offers affordable term life insurance and is one of only two companies we reviewed that offers 40-year term policies.

Policy types: Term, Universal (UL)

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Tied with Protective for cheapest term coverage

  • 40-year terms available

  • Generous term conversion period

  • Online application available

  • Very few customer complaints

Cons
  • Few policy types available

  • Limited riders

Why We Chose It

Banner, along with Protective, is an excellent choice if you're seeking low-cost term coverage. In fact, it tied with Protective for cheapest term insurance across a range of ages. 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.

Read the full Banner Life Insurance Company Life Insurance Review

Best for Living Benefits : Mutual of Omaha

Investopedia's Rating
4.4

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

Mutual of Omaha includes at least two accelerated benefit riders on most of its policies, plus offers an uncommon disability income rider and return-of-premium term insurance.

Policy types: Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Final Expense

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Many plans with living benefits

  • Wide range of riders available

  • Guaranteed issue options

  • Return of premium term available

Cons
  • Online applications unavailable for term policies

Why We Chose It

Mutual of Omaha is our top pick for:

At no upfront cost, Mutual of Omaha includes three accelerated benefit riders on its Term Life Express and IUL Express policies (for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses), and most other policies include two of these benefits. Accelerated benefit riders add flexibility to a life insurance policy by letting you tap the death benefit early if you have a qualifying illness.

Plus the company offers at least two uncommon features: a disability income rider and a return of premium benefit on select term policies. With return of premium (ROP) term life insurance, you can receive up to 100% of premiums back if you outlive the term. Only 11 of the 91 life insurance companies we reviewed make this type of coverage available. But while this may be a valuable living benefit for some, these policies can be substantially more expensive than non-ROP term policies.

Mutual of Omaha received less than the average number of complaints with the NAIC for a company of its size in 2021. Though some of our other favorite companies let you apply for term life insurance online, you’ll have to contact an agent to get a term policy from Mutual of Omaha.

Read the full Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Review

Most Universal Life Options : Lincoln Financial

Investopedia's Rating
4.3

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

A wide range of policies, including indexed universal and variable universal life insurance, make Lincoln Financial attractive to those who want to invest their cash value.

Policy types: Term, Indexed Universal (IUL), Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL)

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Wide range of policy types

  • Competitively priced term policies

  • Fewer complaints than expected

  • Available living benefit riders

Cons
  • Quotes aren't available on the website

  • No whole life available

Why We Chose It

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 living benefits riders that are available with many policies.

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.

Read the full Lincoln Financial Life Insurance Review

Best for Policy Customization : Transamerica

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

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

A wide range of available riders, including living benefits for terminal, chronic, and critical illnesses plus a disability income rider make Transamerica a good choice for policy customization.

Policy types: Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Whole Life, Final Expense

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple no-medical-exam policy options

  • Living benefits included on some policies at no upfront cost

  • Wide range of riders available

Cons
  • More complaints than expected

  • Ranks poorly for customer satisfaction

Why We Chose It

Transamerica has been around since 1906. 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. Transamerica offers several options for policies without a medical exam too.

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, based on the NAIC Complaint Index.

To learn more, read the full Transamerica life insurance review.

Read the full Transamerica Life Insurance Review

Best Educational Resources : Prudential Life Insurance

Investopedia's Rating
4.0

Prudential
  • 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

Prudential offer a wide range of policy types, such as VUL and IUL, as well as the educational resources to understand them.

Policy types: Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL)

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Vast library of educational resources

  • Few customer complaints

  • Generous term conversion options

  • Living benefit riders included

Cons
  • Personal information required for online term quote

  • Poor J.D. Power ranking for customer satisfaction

Why We Chose It

Not only does Prudential offer a wide range of policy types, such as variable universal life (VUL) insurance and indexed universal life (IUL) insurance, but it also provides the educational resources to understand them. Life insurance policies can be complex, making it hard to determine which type of policy and which riders (add-on features) are best for you. At Prudential, you can learn about life insurance in general, policy types, riders, and age-appropriate solutions. And if that's not enough, an agent is only a phone call away.

The company also impresses with its A+ (Superior) AM Best rating and its track record of consumer complaints—it had fewer than expected over the last three years, according to the NAIC (Pruco and Prudential). Plus, it includes living benefit riders for terminal illness and nursing home care with most policies. However, the company fell short in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. It ranked 15th out of 21 life insurers for customer satisfaction, falling well the industry average. You must also input your name, phone number, and email address to get a quote at Prudential.

Read the full Prudential Life Insurance Review

Best for Seniors : New York Life

Investopedia's Rating
3.9

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

In business since 1845, New York Life has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating, has paid dividends for almost 170 years, and offers policies to eligible 90-year-old applicants.

Policy types: Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Life

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • A++ (Superior) AM Best rating

  • Long history of paying dividends

  • Some policies available to applicants up to 90 years old

  • Broad selection of riders

Cons
  • Very limited policy details on the website

  • Can’t get much information without contacting an agent

  • Online quotes and applications not available

Why We Chose It

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.It also issues whole life policies to eligible 90-year-old applicants (many companies won’t issue policies to anyone over 85). Its stellar reputation and financial stability are two more reasons it's a top-ranked company for:

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 living benefits rider 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.  

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.) 

Read the full New York Life Insurance Review

Compare the Best Life Insurance Companies of August 2022

Overall Rating Best For
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.
Term Life Sample Cost
Policy Types
Accepts Credit Cards
Reset All
Nationwide
4.7
Best Overall A+ $26.25/month Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
MassMutual
4.6
Runner-Up, Best Overall A++ $27.26/month Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole No Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Haven Life
4.6
Best User Experience A++ $22.91/month Term Yes Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Protective
4.6
Best for Term Life Insurance A+ $22.92/month Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Banner
4.2
Tied for Cheapest Term A+ $22.93/month Term, Universal (UL) No Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Mutual of Omaha
4.4
Best for Living Benefits A+ $28.38/month Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL) Yes Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Lincoln Financial
4.3
Most Universal Life Options A+ $23.91/month Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL) No Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Transamerica
4.2
Best for Policy Customization A $32.47/month Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Whole Yes Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
Prudential Life Insurance
4.0
Best Educational Resources A+ $31.90/month Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL) No Get a Quote
Hide, not for me
New York Life
3.9
Best for Seniors A++ N/A Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole No Get a Quote
Hide, not for me

*Quotes above are examples of what a 40-year-old in excellent health might pay for a 30-year $250,000 policyGet life insurance quotes from multiple companies to find your best rate.

Other Companies to Consider

Northwestern - Best for Financial Stability

Northwestern Mutual ticks all the boxes for financial stability: it boasts the highest financial strength ratings from AM Best (A++), Moody's (Aaa), and Fitch (AAA), and it's stood the test of time. The company has been in business since 1857, weathering numerous financial storms, and has paid eligible policyholders dividends for the past 150 years.24

Northwestern Mutual has the highest financial strength ratings from AM Best (A++), Moody's (Aaa), and Fitch (AAA), and has been in business since 1857.

These are a few of many reasons it ranked in our review of best whole life insurance companies. Plus, Northwestern Mutual received the fewest complaints (relative to its size) of all companies in this list, and the second-fewest complaints of the 91 insurance companies we reviewed. Considering this, it's no surprise that Northwestern Mutual came in third for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2021 customer satisfaction survey.21

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do without an agent at Northwestern Mutual. Policy details are lacking online so you'll need to contact the company for specifics.

State Farm - Best for Customer Satisfaction

If you're looking for a whole life policy that pays dividends, State Farm offers one. Plus, you may be able to save on your premium by bundling life insurance coverage with another State Farm coverage, such as auto.

State Farm has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating, is ranked #1 for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power, and offers discounts.

However, the company's term policies are priced high compared to our review of 32 life insurance companies offering term quotes online. And if you're in the market for life insurance without a medical exam, you may want to look elsewhere. At present, the most coverage you can get with State Farm without a medical exam is $50,000.

USAA - Best for Military

USAA is a solid choice for military families because of 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.

USAA offers valuable benefits to military members: up to $25,000 for severe injuries during active duty, and the ability to increase coverage after leaving the military without proving insurability.

USAA's guaranteed insurability riders give you the option to increase coverage after leaving the military or if you experience certain life events, like having a child (without having to prove insurability). Level Term V policies also include a conversion option that allows you to convert to permanent coverage without a medical exam or questions after you've had your term policy for at least one year.

Drawbacks are that USAA life insurance does not accept credit card payments and has limited no-medical-exam options. USAA sells Mutual of Omaha's guaranteed issue whole life policies that have a minimum age of 45 and a coverage maximum of just $25,000.

Penn Mutual - Best for Dividends

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 dividends to eligible policyholders every year for around 175 years.

Penn Mutual has paid dividends for 175 years and offers up to $7.5 million in coverage for no-medical-exam life insurance to eligible applicantsthe highest limit we've seen.

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. 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 Life Insurance Companies logos

Design by Sabrina Jiang / Investopedia

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. It makes the process easy with online quotes and applications, a wide range of policy types, and up to $5 million in no-med-exam coverage to eligible applicants.

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

If you want term life insurance, Protective or Banner are top picks. And for a policy packed with no-cost living benefits, consider Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, or USAA (if you’re in the military).

1:28
What Is Life Insurance?

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

The cost of life insurance can vary widely depending on factors like your age, health, occupation, hobbies, and whether you want permanent or temporary life insurance coverage (term life insurance). That said, we collected life insurance quotes for term coverage to give you an idea what you might pay. Keep in mind that not all life insurance policies are created equally—some policies might include extra benefits that warrant a higher premium—and your quote will be different based on your unique characteristics.

Company  25 years old  40 years old  55 years old
Nationwide  $20.89  $28.88  $99.97 (Female only)
MassMutual  $18.15  $29.58  $122.46
Haven Life  $18.15  $29.58 NA
Protective  $16.06  $25.70  $107.12
Banner  $16.07  $25.71  $107.91
Mutual of Omaha  $19.68  $31.39  $137.39
Guardian  $19.53  $31.65  $110.49
USAA  $20.82  $30.09  NA
Lincoln Financial  $17.25  $26.36  $114.05
Penn Mutual  $16.78  $26.48  $110.38
Transamerica  $16.99  $35.70  $128.68
New York Life  --  --  --

*Quotes above are examples only and were collected for 30-year $250,000 term life insurance policies for non-smoking males and females ages 25, 40, and 55 in excellent health.

Term vs. Whole Life Insurance

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

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.

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. 

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. 

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 that represent a range of investment objectives and risk profiles, from conservative to aggressive. 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.

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. 

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 available to applicants at least 40 or 45 years old. While you have to answer some medical questions and coverage is not guaranteed, it can result in lower premium payments than GI. 

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. Be sure to compare each policy's graded benefit period and 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 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.

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: Use the NAIC complaint index to see how many complaints a company received, based on its market share. An index lower than 1 means the company received fewer complaints than expected, while a number over 1 means it got more. 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 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. A UL policy with one company might include accelerated death benefit riders at no cost, while a UL policy with another company may not. Or one company's term policy may let you to convert it to permanent coverage, while another's 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. It’s often 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.

Methodology

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.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. NAIC. "Nationwide Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Its Key Operating Subsidiaries."

  3. J.D. Power. “Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds.” 

  4. AM Best. "AM Best Comments on Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co’s Acquisition of American Financial Group Inc’s Life Subsidiaries."

  5. NAIC. "Massachusetts Mut Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  6. AM Best. "Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company."

  7. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Protective Life Corporation and Its Key Life Subsidiaries."

  8. NAIC. "Protective Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  9. J.D. Power. "Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds."

  10. NAIC. "Banner Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  11. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Legal & General Group Plc and Its Subsidiaries."

  12. NAIC. "Mutual Of Omaha Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  13. AM Best. "The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company."

  14. NAIC. "Lincoln Natl Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  15. AM Best. "Aegon USA Group."

  16. NAIC. "Transamerica Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  17. AM Best. "Pruco Life Insurance Company."

  18. NAIC. "New York Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  19. AM Best. "New York Life Insurance Company."

  20. Business Wire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Its Subsidiaries."

  21. AM Best. "A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of USAA, Its Subsidiaries and USAA Capital Corporation."

  22. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries."

  23. NAIC. "Penn Mut Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."