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Best life insurance companies for 2020

Find the best life insurance with exactly what you're looking for

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This article was fact-checked and reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a licensed insurance agent and Certified Insurance Counselor. Content has been updated for 2020.
You have over 780 life insurance companies to choose from, which could make finding the right company for you difficult. That’s why we’ve chosen top editorial picks in 12 categories to help you narrow down your options.

When analyzing life insurance companies, we weigh the insurer’s reputation in the industry, product selection, policy customization and underwriting standards.

To determine industry reputation, our editorial team reviews the company’s financial strength, ratings and accreditations and customer reviews. We base product selection, policy customization and underwriting standards on an in-depth analysis of the insurer’s services, rates and guidelines.

Can I still get life insurance during the coronavirus?
You might expect a longer wait if you’re thinking of signing up for life insurance right now. Insurers can’t schedule medical exams for many people right now, and they’re also postponing applications for some people who are at risk for catching coronavirus, such as those who have returned from a high-risk country. If you need coverage now and can’t wait, consider a policy that waives the medical exam, a guaranteed issue policy or a policy with temporary underwriting coverage.

What are the best life insurance companies?

Best no-exam life policies: Bestow

Bestow logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

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$50,000 – $1,000,000
Coverage range
21 – 54 years
Issue age
Bestow offers no-frills policies designed for people on a budget who don't need many extras or don't want to customize their policy with riders. You can get a quote from Bestow and sign up online without talking to an agent or getting a medical exam for all policies. You can get up to $1 million in term life coverage with some of the cheapest premiums and without taking a medical exam, which is the highest amount of coverage you can get without including your medical history in the underwriting process.
  • High $1 million coverage without medical exams
  • Easy online quotes
  • Affordable, basic coverage
  • 10 or 20 year term life
  • No annual fees or cancellation fees
Coverage range $50,000 – $1,000,000
Term lengths 10 or 20 years
Issue age 21 – 54 years
Medical exam required No medical exam

Best life insurance riders: Global Atlantic Financial Group

Global Atlantic Financial Group logo
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5

★★★★★

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$50,000 – $1,000,000+
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
Most insurers allow policyholders to customize their coverage with riders — and Global Atlantic Financial Group has the longest list we've seen.

Formerly known as Accordia, this insurer offers 16 riders to help you to bridge any gaps in your coverage. Common riders include a child and terminal illness rider. Plus you can choose unique options like a wellness for life rider, which rewards policyholders who maintain a healthy lifestyle with premium discounts and extra features.

  • Opt into the wellness rider and cut down your premium if you visit the doctor once every two years and stay in the weight range specified in your policy.
  • Sells indexed universal and funeral policies.
  • Allows eligible applicants to skip the medical exam.
  • Cash value can extend protection for its Lifetime Foundation product.
Coverage range $50,000 – $1,000,000+
Term lengths Level term for 10, 20, or 30 years OR Annual Renewable Term
Issue age 18 – 75 years

Best for lenient underwriting: Legal & General

Legal & General logo
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5

★★★★★

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$100,000 – $10,000,000
Coverage range
20 – 75 years
Issue age
Some insurers shy away from high-risk applicants — but not Legal & General.

Previously called Banner Life, the insurer has a more relaxed approach to underwriting. As a result, it caters to seniors, smokers and those in less-than-perfect health as well as people with preexisting conditions or poor family medical histories working against them. Its rates are competitive, and Legal & General offers both term and permanent policies.

  • Offers up to $1 million in coverage.
  • Specializes in term and universal life insurance, and term policies can be converted up to age 70.
  • Sells a final expense policy worth $15,000, with guaranteed acceptance for those aged 50 to 80.
  • Dress up your policy with a conversion, disability, flexible payment or child rider, among others.
Coverage range $100,000 – $10,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
Issue age 20 – 75 years

Best customer reputation: State Farm

State Farm logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

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$100,000 – $3,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
In 2019, State Farm topped J.D. Power's life insurance study on customer satisfaction for the fifth consecutive year. The study assesses a sample of insurers each year, and reviews the level of support they offer to customers, as well as how quickly they respond to questions and complaints.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) backs up J.D. Power, awarding the insurer an A+ rating for customer engagement. If you sign up for a policy with State Farm, you can expect to receive stellar customer service.

  • Sells term, whole, universal and survivorship policies.
  • Offers personalized service through a network of 19,000 local agents across the country.
  • Customize your coverage with a range of common and rare riders, including an accidental death benefit and long-term care rider.
  • Issues policies with a face value of up to $3 million.
Coverage range $100,000 – $3,000,000
Term lengths 10, 20, and 30 years
Issue age 18 – 75 years
Medical exam required Depends on policy

Best senior life insurance: New York Life

New York Life logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

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0 – $300,000
Coverage range
18 – 90 years
Issue age
Seniors can face a few challenges when purchasing life insurance policies — including costs and coverage amounts. An industry giant, New York Life breaks down those barriers and offers a strong policy lineup to those aged 60 or above. If you're looking for an extremely large policy, its death benefits top out at the company's retention limits — which are reportedly in the tens of millions.
  • Term lengths stretch from five to 20 years, and policies come with the option to convert.
  • Offers guaranteed universal life policies up to age 85 without a medical exam. This suits seniors with preexisting health conditions that might otherwise disqualify them from buying a permanent policy.
  • Policies start at $25,000, which is ideal for seniors on a budget or those who don't need a lot of coverage.
Coverage range 0 – $300,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20 years
Issue age 18 – 90 years
Medical exam required No

Best buying experience: Haven Life

Haven Life logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

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$100,000 – $3,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 64 years
Issue age
Backed by parent company MassMutual, Haven Life made a splash on the life insurance scene by offering — and issuing — instant term life policies. The fintech company sells affordable policies online — and if you're approved, your coverage could go into effect immediately.

The application is straightforward and both user- and mobile-friendly. You'll enter your personal and contact details, and answer a few questions about your health and lifestyle. The system then scans your data using sophisticated algorithms and generates a rate.

  • All policies issued by parent company, MassMutual.
  • Offers term life insurance in 10, 15, 20 and 30 year terms, with up to $3 million in coverage.
  • Stands out among the new wave of fintech companies for allowing policyholders to add an accelerated death benefit and waiver of premium rider to their policy.
  • No medical exam necessary for most policies.
Coverage range $100,000 – $3,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, or 30 years
Issue age 18 – 64 years
Medical exam required No

Best military and veteran life insurance: Navy Mutual

Navy Mutual logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

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$10,000 – $1,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 85 years
Issue age
Navy Mutual makes life insurance accessible to servicemembers by doing away with the typical military, war or terrorism clauses. It caters to all active duty, reserve and retired military members, as well as honorably discharged veterans in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also has an option that doesn't require a medical exam for those who want to skip the physical or are getting ready to deploy.
  • Offers portable protection, which means your coverage will stay in effect if you leave the military.
  • Sells term life policies spanning 5 to 30 years.
  • Issues whole life policies up to $1 million.
  • No restrictions for military service, including hazardous duty, travel and aviation.
Coverage range $10,000 – $1,000,000
Term lengths 5 to 30 years
Issue age 18 – 85 years
Medical exam required No

Best for high net worth individuals: John Hancock

John Hancock logo
Finder Rating: 3 / 5

★★★★★

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$25,000 – $1,000,000
Coverage range
20 – 60 years
Issue age
One way this insurer tailors its offerings to the wealthy is by issuing extremely large policies. John Hancock sells term life insurance with a face value of up to $1 million, along with three different types of permanent policies: universal, variable universal and indexed universal life insurance. Though it doesn't disclose its maximum coverage amounts, the insurer is known to sell policies in the tens of millions.
  • Sells term life insurance in 10-, 15- or 20-year lengths.
  • Offers a range of universal life policies to match your risk tolerance.
  • Customize your coverage with a long-term care, disability waiver and accelerated death rider, among others.
  • Incentivizes policyholders to live a healthy lifestyle with the John Hancock Vitality Program.
Coverage range $25,000 – $1,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, or 20 years
Issue age 20 – 60 years

Best whole life insurance: Guardian

Guardian logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

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$250,000 – $5,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
An insurance giant, Guardian has eight whole life policies to choose from. All of the policies accumulate cash value and have the potential to earn dividends over time, but they offer different payment structures. One example is the 10-Pay Whole Life Plan, which gives you the option to pay off your policy over 10 annual payments. After that, any cash you contribute goes straight towards the cash value of your policy, helping you to build your wealth faster.
  • Offers a survivorship policy that insures two people, like spouses.
  • Some whole life policies are linked to the performance of an index, like the S&P 500.
  • Has a long list of riders, including an accidental death benefit, waiver of premium and guaranteed insurability rider.
Coverage range $250,000 – $5,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20 or 30 years
Issue age 18 – 75 years

Best life insurance with preexisting conditions: Ethos

Ethos logo
Finder Rating: 2.5 / 5

★★★★★

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$25,000 – $10,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
People with preexisting conditions can face challenges when trying to buy coverage — but not with Ethos. The fintech insurer aims to break down those barriers by selling instant term life policies online. It offers policies that last 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, with face values ranging from $25,000 to $10 million. Most policyholders can qualify for up to $1 million in coverage without taking a medical exam, which is great news for those with serious health conditions working against them.
  • All policies are issued by Assurity, a financially strong insurer that's been in the game for decades.
  • Sells term life policies to those aged 18 to 75.
  • The application is quick, and if you're approved, your coverage can go into effect immediately.
  • Unlike many fintech startups, Ethos allows you to add riders to your policy — like a critical illness rider.
Coverage range $25,000 – $10,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, or 30 years
Issue age 18 – 75 years
Medical exam required Medical exams not required in most cases

Best life insurance company overall: MassMutual

MassMutual logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

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$2,000 for guaranteed acceptance policy, $100,000 for term – $10,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 80 years
Issue age
One of the oldest and biggest life insurance companies in the US, MassMutual edges out most of its competitors when it comes to policy options, coverage amounts and customization.

As a mutual company, it has paid out dividends to its permanent policyholders every year since the 1860s. In 2019, it approved an estimated $1.72 billion payout — its highest yet. Given that dividends aren't guaranteed, MassMutual's track record is impressive. It's also a major perk if you have assets to protect, like a home.

  • Sells term, whole, universal and guaranteed acceptance policies.
  • Offers up to $10 million in coverage.
  • Potentially boost your take-home earnings if you buy a permanent policy.
  • Enhance your policy with riders like an accelerated death benefit, waiver of premium, guaranteed insurability or long-term care rider.
  • Supports online quotes.
Coverage range $2,000 for guaranteed acceptance policy, $100,000 for term – $10,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
Issue age 18 – 80 years

Best term life insurance: Prudential

Prudential logo
Finder Rating: 3 / 5

★★★★★

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$100,000 – $10,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
Term life policies offer protection for a set period of time, making them ideal for young families or people who only need coverage while they have major financial obligations.

Prudential has four term life policies to suit a range of needs. All of them have predictable premiums for easy budgeting, and can be customized with a variety of riders. As for reliability, the insurer is backed by decades of financial strength and a positive customer reputation.

  • Policies available in terms of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.
  • Offers a return of premium rider and annual renewable term life policy.
  • Online quotes offer a quick and easy way to check your rates.
  • Add-ons include serious illness, disability, accidental death benefit and waiver of premium riders.
Coverage range $100,000 – $10,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, or 30 years
Issue age 18 – 75 years

How do I compare the best life insurance for me?

Finding a policy that works for your situation requires identifying your personal must-haves in advance so you can advocate for yourself while shopping around. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the coverage range? Different providers offer different ranges of coverage. While some policies start at $50,000, others may top out at this same figure. Determine how much coverage you’re interested in and make sure the provider you select can account for your needs.
  • Should I opt for term or permanent insurance? Term life is often more affordable than permanent life but only lasts for a set period of time. It also lacks many of the perks of permanent insurance, such as built in cash value and dividend eligibility.
  • Am I required to take a medical exam? Your provider may ask you to fill out a medical questionnaire or undergo a medical exam during the application process. If you’re concerned about a pre-existing condition, you can find coverage that doesn’t require an exam, but this type of coverage is often more expensive.
  • When are my premiums due? Many policy premiums are paid monthly, but you may be able to opt for annual or semiannual payments to pare down your payment schedule. Some providers offer a discount for paying on an annual or semiannual basis.
  • What policy riders are available? Policy riders can be added to your policy to customize and augment your coverage depending on your personal needs. Ask your provider what riders are available and what the cost is to have a rider added to your policy.

Financial ratings of the best life insurance companies

In J.D. Power’s latest study on customer satisfaction, State Farm landed in first place out of 23 insurers surveyed. New York Life ranked sixth, Prudential eighth and MassMutual tenth. Guardian and John Hancock rounded out the list, ranking twelfth and fourteenth respectively.

Agency
MassMutual
Prudential
Global Atlantic Financial Group
Legal & General
State Farm
New York Life
Haven Life
Navy Mutual
John Hancock
Guardian
Ethos
AM Best
A++
A+
A
A+
A++
A++
A++
N/A
A
A++
A-
Moody’s
Aa3
Aa3
A3
N/A
N/A
Aaa
Aa3
N/A
A1
Aa2
N/A
Standard & Poor’s
AA+
AA-
A-
AA-
AA
AA+
AA+
N/A
AA-
AA+
N/A
Fitch
AA+
AA-
A
AA-
N/A
AAA
AA+
A+
AA-
AA+
N/A
J.D. Power
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
N/A
N/A
5 out of 5
4 out of 5
N/A
N/A
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
N/A

Life insurance reviews and reputation for the best companies

To find out how providers treat their policyholders, refer to the Better Business Bureau. Legal & General, State Farm, New York Life, Haven Life, Navy Mutual, John Hancock, Guardian and Ethos earned the highest possible rating with the BBB. The other insurers — MassMutual, Prudential and Global Atlantic — are in the process of resolving complaints.

Provider
BBB rating
BBB customer reviews
MassMutual
B-
1 out of 5 stars
Prudential
C-
1 out of 5 stars
Global Atlantic Financial Group
NR
1 out of 5 stars
Legal & General
A+
None
State Farm
A+
1 out of 5 stars
New York Life
A+
2 out of 5 stars
Haven Life
A+
2 out of 5 stars
Navy Mutual
A+
None
John Hancock
A+
None
Guardian
A+
1 out of 5 stars
Ethos
A+
None

Alternatives to the best life insurance companies

None of these companies make your cut? You have plenty more options to choose from, and it pays to get quotes from multiple companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Or compare a few more of the best life insurance companies broken down by category:

Bottom line

With so many options on the market, choosing a life insurance company can be confusing and time-consuming. The insurers on this list stand out for their policy lineups, customizable coverage or catering to specific types of people. They’re also backed by strong financial and customer service ratings. It pays to do your own research and compare life insurance providers.

Get quotes from even more life insurance companies

Name Product Issue Ages Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Medical Exam Required
Bestow
21 - 54 years old
$50,000
$1,000,000
No
Affordable 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies with instant quotes and no medical exams.
LadderLife™ Life Insurance
20 - 60 years old
$100,000
$8,000,000
No
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
Policygenius
18 - 85 years old
$10,000
$10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
Fabric
25 - 60 years old
$100,000
$5,000,000
No
Get affordable term life insurance with accelerated underwriting or no-exam coverage up to $1,000,000. Available in all states except CA, NY and MT.
Haven Life
18 - 64 years old
$100,000
$3,000,000
No
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.
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