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American General (AIG direct) life insurance review 2021

Last updated:  

18 to 85

Issue Age

$5,000 to $2,000,000


Depends on the policy

Medical Exam Required


Policies Term, Whole, Quality, Universal, Permanent, Variable Universal
Coverage maximum $2,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 30, 35 years
Medical exam required Depends on the policy
Available states All 50 states
Issue age Not listed


  • Helpful website
  • Flexible term lengths in 5-year increments from 10 to 35 years
  • Online quote and approval in less than a half-hour.


  • Long processing period
  • High premiums compared to other insurance companies
  • Underwriter has had financial troubles in the past
Riders Accelerated death benefit rider
Accidental death benefit rider
Child rider
Guaranteed insurability rider
Spouse rider
Waiver-of-premium rider

Expert review

Katia Iervasi

Review by

Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).

Expert review

One of the largest US life insurers, American General life insurance offers 18 term lengths and at least six rider options, including living benefits.

For whole life, you can buy coverage up to $25,000 while bypassing the medical exam typically required. But you’ll find higher whole life death benefits if you take an exam with another insurer.

However, customers complain of a long and frustrating claims process, and the company doesn’t have the best reputation for customer service.

Factors that affect American General life insurance rates

Like most companies, American General offers the best rates to those with a clean bill of health. It uses these specifications to determine your rate class:

  • Tobacco use. People who haven’t used tobacco in the past five years get the best rates.
  • Driving infractions. Those with no DUIs, reckless driving or license suspensions on record within seven years get the best rates.
  • High blood pressure. You’ll fall in a top rate class with a blood pressure at 140/85 for people up to age 60, and 150/85 for people over age 60.
  • High cholesterol. The lowest rates are reserved for those with their cholesterol between 215 and 290.
  • Unhealthy height to weight ratio. For example, men who are 6ft get the best rates with a weight from 137lbs to 217lbs.

How to get a quote from American General life insurance

You can contact American General by phone at 800-445-7862. Otherwise, you can start the process of getting term life insurance online with American General by following these steps:

  1. Click Get a Quote on American General’s homepage.
  2. Provide a little info about yourself, including your contact information, gender, weight and height, and nicotine use. Then click Get Your Quote.
  3. An agent will contact you shortly with your quote and help you proceed with applying.

What types of life insurance coverage does American General offer?

American General offers more term policy lengths than most competitors, plus a few less common permanent life options. Its policies are underwritten by AIG Direct.

  • Term life. This company offers 18 term options for 10 to 35 years with optional living benefits. After your term ends, you can choose to convert to permanent life insurance.
  • Whole life. This guaranteed issue policy offers $5,000 to $25,000 in coverage with no medical exam for those aged 50 to 85. You can build cash value and lock in your premium.
  • Universal life. This policy covers your whole lifetime as long as you pay for it, builds cash value and can adjust your premiums and death benefit to meet your life stage.

What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?

To customize your policy, American General offers a solid list of add-ons that you’d see from other life insurers.

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. This living benefit offers an early payout if the policyholder is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Accidental death benefit rider. Your beneficiaries will receive an extra death benefit if you die in an accident like a car crash.
  • Child rider. You can extend up to $25,000 in life insurance coverage to your children.
  • Guaranteed insurability rider. You can buy additional coverage at specific dates without needing a medical exam.
  • Spouse rider. You can buy additional coverage for your spouse without needing a separate policy.
  • Waiver-of-premium rider. Keep your coverage even if you can’t make payments because of special circumstances, like a disability.

American General reviews and complaints

American General doesn’t have many favorable reviews online, while top life insurers see a mix of reviews that overall lean toward customer satisfaction. AIG customers complain about hiked premiums, callous service and slow claims.

AM Best financial rating A
BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A-
1/5 out of 4 customer reviews
Trustpilot score 3.6/5 out of 66 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 18 January 2021

American General in the news

A 2005 accounting scandal hurt American General’s reputation, costing the company $1.6 billion in fines.

In 2008, the underwriter AIG fell into trouble again, losing $99.2 billion of its $1 trillion assets in the global financial crisis. The US government gave $85 billion to keep AIG from failing.

AIG has strengthened since through business shifts and selling off some divisions. Today, it stands strong with high financial strength ratings, showing commitment to its customers.

How American General compares to other insurers

American General’s 18 term life policies stand out because other companies may offer four or five options. Also, not every company guarantees whole life insurance approval, offers universal life policies or lets you convert term to permanent life.

However, AIG scored 742 of 1,000 on J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study, less than average for customer satisfaction. Yet it saw a National Association of Insurance Commissioners complaint score of 0.52 in 2019, well below the industry average of 1.00.

American General may work if you need flexible or guaranteed coverage, such as for building investment savings. But since customers complain about its claims process, you might see if other life insurance options offer better customer ratings.

Compare life insurance companies like American General

Tap the Compare box to see up to four companies’ features and benefits side by side, then get quotes from your top picks.

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
21 - 54 years old
10 or 20 years
Get a quote in less than 10 minutes with on-the-spot approval and no medical exam.
Haven Life
18 - 64 years old
10, 15, 20, or 30 years
No exams for some applicants
Fill out a quick online application and get approval in minutes with up to $3 million in coverage.
20 - 60 years old
10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
Depends on policy
Apply for term life insurance online without the medical exam. Get an instant decision and adjust your coverage at no charge.
18 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on provider and policy
Compare 12+ top insurers side-by-side to get the best possible deal, and shop return of premium policies online.
21 - 60 years old
10, 15, or 20 years
Depends on policy
No-exam term policies up to $1 million online, with the option to upgrade to permanent life insurance later.

Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions about American General

Life insurance ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our experts analyze life insurance companies to help you to find the strongest possible policy and premium for your family’s needs. We assess their financial strength, customer satisfaction, policy features and riders. We then give each insurer a score between one and five stars that reflects their offering and reputation in the industry. American General receives a three out of five stars for a lower than average amount of policy add-ons to customize your policy, and a higher than average number of customer complaints.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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