The best life insurance companies in the United States in 2019

Standout life insurance providers and what they offer potential policyholders.

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There are over 780 life insurance companies across the US — and choosing one can be overwhelming. To help you to narrow down your list, these are our top provider picks across seven key categories.

The 7 best life insurance companies in the US

Best life insurance company overall: MassMutual

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.

It’s a mutual company, and 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.

Best term life insurance: Prudential

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 six 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.

Best for rider selection: Global Atlantic Financial Group

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 13 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.

Best for lenient underwriting: Legal & General

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.

Best customer reputation: State Farm

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.

Best for seniors: New York Life

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.

Best application process: Haven Life

Founded in 2014, this fintech company made a splash on the life insurance scene by offering — and issuing — instant term life policies. Haven Life offers 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.

Must read: How we picked our best providers

Our writers and editors are committed to objectivity that empowers our readers to make a decision that’s free of bias.

When analyzing life insurance providers, 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 and guidelines available on the provider’s website.

Financial ratings

An insurer’s financial strength is important because your beneficiaries might not file a claim for years — or even decades — to come. The insurers on our list scored top-tier ratings with the major ratings agencies, which means they have the cash reserves to pay out claims.

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.

Agency
MassMutual
Prudential
Global Atlantic Financial Group
Legal & General
State Farm
New York Life
Haven Life
AM Best
A++
A+
A
A+
A++
A++
A++
Moody’s
Aa3
Aa3
A3
N/A
N/A
Aaa
Aa3
Standard & Poor’s
AA+
AA-
A-
AA-
AA
AA+
AA+
Fitch
AA+
AA-
A
AA-
N/A
AAA
AA+
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

Customer reviews and reputation

To find out how providers treat their policyholders, refer to the Better Business Bureau. Legal & General, State Farm, New York Life and Haven Life earned the highest possible rating with the BBB, while MassMutual, Prudential and Global Atlantic are in the process of resolving complaints.

Keep in mind these ratings and reviews reflect each company as a whole, and not just their life insurance departments.

Provider
BBB rating
Customer reviews
MassMutual
B-
1 out of 5 stars
Prudential
NR
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

Explore more of the best life insurance companies

Company BBB rating A.M. Best rating JD Power rating
AIG A+ A 741
Allstate A+ A+ N/A
AXA Equitable A+ A 755
Bestow A+ A+ N/A
Brighthouse A A 752
Fidelity Life A+ A- N/A
Globe Life A+ A+ N/A
Guardian Life A+ A++ 776
Haven Life A+ A++ N/A
Health IQ A+ A++ N/A
John Hancock A+ A+ 759
Life Legal & General (formerly known as Banner Life) A+ A+ N/A
Liberty Mutual A A N/A
Liberty National A+ A+ N/A
Lincoln Financial A+ A+ 788
Mass Mutual A+ A++ 781
Metlife NR A+ 793
Mutual of Omaha A+ A+ 792
Nationwide A+ A++ 810
New York Life A+ A++ 791
Northwestern Mutual A+ A++ 812
Pacific Life A- A+ 783
Primerica A+ A+ 743
Principal Financial A+ A+ 773
Protective Life A+ A+ 791
Prudential B A+ 784
SBLI A+ A+ N/A
State Farm A A++ 825
TIAA A- A++ N/A
Transamerica A- A+ 751
USAA B- A++ N/A

How to compare life insurance providers on your own

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.

Compare life insurance providers

Name Product Issue Ages Coverage Range Medical Exam Required State Availability
18 - 85 years old
$10,000 to $10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
All 50 states
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
21 - 54 years old
$50,000 to $1,000,000
No
Not available in Alaska or New York
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
20 to 60 years old
$100,000 to $8,000,000
No
Not available in New York
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
18 - 64 years old
$100,000 to $3,000,000
No
All 50 states
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.
25 - 60 years old
$100,000 to $5,000,000
No
Available in all states except for Montana
Offers term life insurance with accelerated underwriting. No-exam coverage up to $1,000,000 for those who qualify.

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

As always, it pays to do your own research and compare life insurance providers.

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