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Legal & General (formerly Banner Life) life insurance review 2020

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Known for its lenient underwriting, this insurer is ideal for high-risk applicants.'s rating: 3.5 / 5


  • 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

Issue Age

$100,000 to $10,000,000


Yes for Term insurance

Medical Exam Required


Free quote Online, Phone
Policy options Term, Universal, Final Expense
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 years
Monthly cost $7/month
Claim methods Online, Phone, Mail
Available states Available in all states except NY
Customer support Phone, online, email
Riders Accelerated death benefit rider, Accidental death benefit rider, Child rider, Conversion rider, Critical illness benefit rider, Decreasing term rider, Guaranteed insurability rider, Policy split option rider, Waiver-of-premium rider

Expert review

Julia Cameron

Review by

Julia Cameron is a writer and editor who has experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, content marketing and immigration law. She has a passion for interior design and an affinity for Old Florida, where she lives with her family.

Expert review

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.

Best of 2020
Finder experts pick Legal & General as a 2020 best brand for life insurance.

What types of life insurance 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- to 40-year lengths, and renewable up to age 95 at an adjusted rate. Legal & General issues policies up to $1 million, and is receptive to high-risk applicants, like seniors, smokers and those with diabetes. The longer the term length you choose, the younger the issue age for the policy will be. For example, a 10-year term policy is available for people between 20 and 75 years old, where a 40-year term policy is available for people between 20 and 45 years old.
  • Universal life. This policy 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 50 to 80 years old.

What riders can I add to my policy?

Standard life insurance policies don’t cover all of the contingencies of life, like life-altering disabilities or additional coverage for your children.

To supplement your policy’s coverage, Legal & General offers a variety of riders that include:

  • Waiver-of-premium rider. Policies with this benefit remain in force without payment if you’re fully disabled for at least six months.
  • Conversion rider. Convert your term policy to universal insurance that covers your entire life.
  • Accelerated death benefit rider. Collect the lower of $500,000 or 75% of your policy’s value if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Child 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 a man and woman in good health.


*Rates are provided by Quotacy and are valid in all states except New York and Montana.

What affects my rate with Legal & General?

Along with your age and gender, Legal & General factors your health status into your rates. 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. Also, once your claim is approved, Legal & General claims to pay out within one business day.
  • 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 Legal & General 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. Most life insurance companies don’t include this extra fee to carry a policy.

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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 past 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. 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. AM 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.

  1. From the Legal & General website hover over life insurance, then click Claims.
  2. Once you click Start a Claim, enter the type of claim, your personal information and details on the insured or deceased.
  3. Indicate where Legal & General should send your claims package.
  4. Submit your claim.

After your claim is received, Legal & General 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 about Legal & 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.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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