Legal & General (formerly Banner Life) life insurance review 2020
Known for its lenient underwriting, this insurer is ideal for high-risk applicants.
finder.com’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0
- Get a quote if you’re a senior, smoker, or have a preexisting health condition.
- Pick something else if you want a permanent policy other than universal life.
20 to 75
$100,000 to $10,000,000
Depends on policy
Medical Exam Required
|Free quote||Online, Phone|
|Policy options||Term, Universal, Final Expense|
|Term lengths||10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years|
|Monthly cost||As low as $8 per month*|
|Claim methods||Online, Phone, Mail|
|Ratings||A.M. Best: A+, Standard & Poor's: AA-, Fitch Ratings: AA-|
|Available states||All 50 states|
|Customer support||Phone, online|
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If you’re in the market for term, whole and universal life insurance, Legal & General is a strong contender with competitive rates, comprehensive plans and more lenient underwriting. But you’ll pay an annual fee to maintain your policy, and almost all products require a full medical exam.
What types of life insurance coverage does Legal & General offer?
Legal & General’s lineup includes a mix of term and permanent policies:
- Term life. This term life policy is available in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year lengths, and renewable up to age 95 at an adjusted rate — though the insurer won’t change your rating class. Legal & General issues policies up to $1 million, and is receptive to high-risk applicants, like seniors, smokers and those with diabetes. Thanks to the conversion feature, you can also upgrade to a universal policy before age 70.
- Universal life. A universal life policy that offers a guaranteed death benefit and has a cash value component that earns interest over time. It comes with flexible premiums and the ability to borrow against your own policy once you’ve accumulated enough cash value.
- Final expense. The insurer issues a final expense policy worth $15,000, with guaranteed acceptance for people aged 50 to 80.
What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?
In general, standard life insurance policies won’t cover all of the contingencies of life, like life-altering disabilities or children who need a bit more time moving out on their own.
To supplement your policy’s coverage, Legal & General offers a variety of riders that include:
- Disability premium waiver. Policies with this benefit remain in force without payment if you’re fully disabled for at least six months.
- Term conversion. Convert your term policy to universal insurance that covers your entire life.
- Accelerated benefit rider. Collect the lower of $500,000 or 75% of your policy’s value in benefits if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Children’s rider. Until you’re 65, use your policy to cover children under 25 years old.
The company also charges an annual $60 policy fee as part of its premium.
How much does Legal & General insurance cost?
Below are the monthly premiums for a $500,000 20-year term life insurance policy from Legal & General for an individual in good health. Rates are provided by Quotacy and are valid in all states except New York and Montana.
How do I get the best rate?
While there are many term life carriers that will provide coverage without requiring a medical exam, Legal & General usually requires a full health evaluation when underwriting your policy.
And like other providers, Legal & General rewards excellent health and habits with lower rates using tiered categories it calls “standard plus,” “preferred” and “preferred plus.”
To get the best rates, you’ll need to meet specific guidelines around your:
- History of tobacco use. Better rates go to applicants who haven’t smoked in the past three years, two years and 12 months, depending on the tier.
- Alcohol and substance use. The best rates go to those with no history of abuse, with more lenient years-based requirements for standard plus and preferred tiers.
- Residency. You must be a U.S. resident or permanent citizen for the past two to three years, depending on the tier.
- Personal health. Your personal history should be free of specified diseases and impairments.
- Family health. Requires no cardiovascular disease or cancer in parents or siblings before age 60.
- Driving record. Your history should be free of DWIs, DUIs, suspensions and other convictions in the past five years with no more than two moving violations in the past three years.
- Blood pressure. Requirements range from numbers that are no higher than 152/92 to 136/86 in the past two years, depending on the tier.
- Occupation or hobbies. Pilots and high-risk careers may require an exclusion rider.
If you pay your policy upfront annually, you may qualify for an additional 5% off your premiums.
Pros and cons of Legal & General
- Lenient underwriting. Legal & General is known for its relaxed approach to underwriting and for accepting those with diabetes, a history of smoking and other health risks.
- Flexible payment options. Adjust your premium payments to better fit your household budget.
- Fast-track claims. The insurer offers priority payment for benefits of up to $10,000.
- Financial strength. Legal & General has an A+ (Superior) rating with AM Best, which means it has the cash reserves to pay out claims.
- Medical exam required. Most policies require a full health work-up.
- Annual fee. You’ll pay a $60 fee each year to maintain your policy, which is rolled into your premium.
Compare life insurance companies
Legal & General reviews and complaints
Legal & General isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but it holds an A+ rating for its customer interaction. The BBB has only recorded three complaints in the last three years, which is relatively low for an insurance company.
On TrustPilot, Legal & General has earned 3.5 out of 5 stars from nearly 10,000 reviews, with most customers leaving positive reviews about the competitive pricing and efficient application process.
How do I sign up?
You can’t sign up for life insurance online with Legal & General; you’ll need to work with an insurance agent. To do so, you can use the Find An Agent tool, or call 888-984-3393 to speak with a licensed agent.
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
If you’re approved, the insurer will send you a copy of your policy. Once you sign and return it with your first payment, your coverage is activated.
How does Legal & General work with Banner Life and William Penn?
Back in 1989, Legal & General Group of companies bought Banner Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York. These companies underwrite the life insurance policies offered by Legal & General today.
It’s important to note that William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York is a different company from the William Penn Association, a company that also sells life insurance.
More about Legal & General
Founded in London, Legal & General offers coverage throughout the US. It provides the stability of a history that stretches back over 180 years and the market strength of commanding over $1.1 trillion in assets under management and some 10 million customers worldwide. A.M. Best ranks it the world’s seventh-largest insurer.
Legal & General has a reputation for being among the most aggressive term life providers, meaning it will take on risks by covering people other insurers might turn away. And it is known to be among the most competitive on pricing, particularly for high-risk applicants such as those with diabetes.
While it has plenty of positives, if Legal & General’s policies and riders don’t suit your needs, take the time to compare life insurance providers.
How do I file a life insurance claim with Legal & General?
For benefits of $10,000 or less, Legal & General applies a fast-track process that can accelerate payments. Call the claims department to start the process.
For all other claims, you can start the process online.
Complete the type of claim, your personal information and details on the insured or decedent. Indicate where Legal & General should send your claims package, and submit your claim.
After your claim is received, Banner reviews its records to verify that your policy is in force. Your indicated recipient will receive all forms necessary to complete the claim.
Frequently asked questions
Life insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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