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Best life insurance companies

Compare the 10 best life insurance companies to find the best policy for you.

Our top pick: Policygenius - Life Insurance

Compare 12+ top insurers side-by-side to get the best possible deal, and shop return of premium policies online.

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  • How did we choose these picks?

    Finder’s life insurance experts have spent over 500 hours analyzing the top 100 life insurance companies, cutting through the noise of 780 insurers vying for your business. We base our life insurance rankings on each company’s financial soundness, customer satisfaction and coverage options. We factor in the latest AM Best financial ratings, J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners complaint index.

    To find the best life insurers, we rank every company we review with 1- to 5-star ratings. Finally, we exclude companies that don’t meet our standard — few states served, little policy customization or not enough information online to make an informed decision.

    Best life insurance company overall

    MassMutual

    Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5★★★★★

    One of the biggest US life insurance companies, MassMutual edges out most competitors with its policy options, coverage amounts and customization.
    The mutual company has paid dividends to permanent policyholders every year since the 1860s, impressive since dividends aren't guaranteed. This is also a major perk if you have assets to protect like a home.

    Best term life & riders

    Lincoln Financial Group

    Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5★★★★★

    Lincoln Financial offers generous no-exam term life policies with coverage up to $1 million, or $10 million if you take an exam. Few insurers can match this coverage.
    You'll find the best rates for seniors, though other high-risk applicants may qualify. You can also choose from an impressive 13 riders, including return of premiums, decreasing term and a rare return of cash value.

    Best whole life insurance

    Guardian

    Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5★★★★★

    This insurance giant offers eight whole life policies, all of which build cash value with the potential to earn dividends. Each policy also offers different payment structures.
    For example, the 10-Pay Whole Life Plan lets you pay off your policy in 10 annual payments, helping you pay more toward the cash value later for faster wealth-building.

    Best no-exam life policies

    Bestow

    Finder Rating: 4 / 5 ★★★★★

    Bestow offers no-frills term life policies, which are perfect for people on a budget and those who don't want to customize their policy with riders.
    You can buy coverage up to $1.5 million online without speaking to an agent or taking a medical exam — but you will answer a few questions about your health and lifestyle.

    Best for lenient underwriting

    Legal & General

    Finder Rating: 4 / 5★★★★★

    Some insurers shy away from high-risk applicants like seniors or smokers — but not Legal & General, previously Banner Life.
    Its rates are competitive with both term and permanent policies. However, the insurer usually requires a medical exam and charges an annual maintenance fee.

    Best customer reputation

    State Farm

    Finder Rating: 4 / 5★★★★★

    State Farm topped J.D. Power's 2019 customer satisfaction ratings for the fifth year in a row. J.D. Power reviews top insurers' customer support as well as their timely responses to questions and complaints.
    The Better Business Bureau also rates State Farm an A+ rating for customer engagement. You can expect stellar customer service if you sign up with this insurer.

    Best for high net worth individuals

    SBLI

    Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5★★★★★

    SBLI offers term, whole, final expense and no-exam policies, and its coverage can go up to $10 million.
    The insurer also speeds up approvals within a week for term or whole life policies with coverage under $500,000. Plus, the mutual company pays dividends from its profits.

    Best buying experience

    Haven Life

    Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

    Backed by MassMutual, Haven Life made a splash in the market with instant term life policies sold online at affordable rates. Your coverage can be effective immediately.
    The application is straightforward and mobile-friendly. You enter your personal and contact details, then answer a few questions about your health and lifestyle. Haven Life's system uses the data to generate your rate.

    Best senior life insurance

    New York Life

    Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5★★★★★

    An industry giant, New York Life offers a strong policy lineup to people aged 60 or above, breaking down barriers to high rates and low coverage for seniors.
    If you need high coverage, its death benefits top out in the tens of millions.

    Best military and veteran life insurance

    Navy Mutual

    Finder Rating: 4 / 5★★★★★

    Navy Mutual erases the typical military and war clauses from other policies, catering to active duty, reserve and retired military as well as honorably discharged veterans.
    It also offers a no-exam option if you want to skip the physical or are getting deployed. But Navy Mutual could work on its customer service and offer more riders.

    How do I choose the best life insurance company for me?

    To find a policy that suits your situation and budget, ask these questions.

    • How much coverage can I buy? Some insurers cap their coverage at $500,000, while others will offer policies worth millions if you meet the criteria.
    • Can I add riders to my policy? If customizing your coverage with add-ons like an accelerated death benefit rider is important to you, look for an insurer that offers robust riders.
    • Do I need to take a medical exam? Most policies require a basic physical medical exam. But if you’d prefer not to take one, you can explore no-exam policies.
    • What term lengths are available? Depending on the insurer, you may be able to get coverage for as little as one year or as long as 30 years.
    • How much is it? Get quotes from multiple insurers to determine which company can offer you the policy you need at the best price.
    • How flexible is my policy? Life insurance is designed to evolve as your needs change, so check if you can purchase more coverage or convert to a policy later on.
    • What kind of service should I expect? Your life insurance company should have a reputation for being responsive and transparent.
    • Do I have a pre-existing condition? A pre-existing health condition is a disease or illness you had before applying for life insurance coverage. While a pre-existing medical condition can make it more challenging to find the level of coverage you seek, some companies will assess your risk factors and offer the right amount of coverage within your budget.

    Best life insurance options after leaving the service

    As a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marines, you’re automatically covered under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. But when you leave the armed services, that coverage expires. These are the paths you can take to get coverage when you’re no longer in the military:

    1. Convert SGLI to VGLI

    You can keep the life insurance policy you had as an active-duty military member by converting to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). The timing is important. If you want to hold onto your benefits without going through the underwriting process, you’ll need to apply for VGLI within 240 days of leaving the service. After that, you will need to take a medical exam — and might be given higher rates or denied coverage as a result.

    This option completely expires 485 days after you leave the military.

    Since VGLI forgos the medical exam for the first 240 days, it’s best suited to veterans who have medical conditions that might otherwise disqualify them for coverage. This includes PTSD, disabilities, and neurological conditions. VGLI is also a solid choice for veterans in their 60s or above, who might pay a much higher premium with private life insurance.

    2. Purchase private life insurance

    If you opt to purchase a policy on your own, you have more control over your coverage. You can choose a term or permanent policy, and decide how much coverage you want to buy based on your family’s needs.

    But to avoid any gaps in coverage, apply for a policy as soon as possible. Depending on your insurer, it can take between three and weeks to go through the underwriting process — or even longer if you have a complex medical history.

    For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), your insurer might want proof that you’re working on improving the condition. This could include providing prescriptions for medication, or listing any therapy or treatments you’re undergoing.

    Can I keep SGLI if I’m disabled?

    If you’re totally disabled at the time of discharge, you can apply to keep your SGLI coverage for two years after your service separation date. The scheme is called Servicemembers’ Group Disability Extension (SGLI-DE), and it’s available from the VA.

    If the VA has given you a service-connected disability rating, you might be eligible to receive Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). This provides $10,000 in coverage. And if you qualify for a waiver of premium, you can apply for the Supplemental S-DVI program, which offers an additional $30,000 in coverage.

    Can a non-resident or non-citizen get life insurance in the US?

    Yes. Your non-citizen status shouldn’t keep you from getting life insurance, although you might have to pay your annual premiums up front. And while your coverage options may depend on your resident classification, circumstances and country of origin, several insurance carriers are ready to work with you on a policy to provide coverage while you live in the US.

    How your resident status affects life insurance

    Insurance companies typically categorize your application and the rules surrounding your premium based in part on your resident classification. This shows the ties to your life in the US — or more accurately, how long you plan to stay and your interest in doing so.

    Green card holders

    As a permanent resident, you are treated the same as a US citizen for life insurance purposes. But as with all the details on your application, you should be honest about your classification.

    Non-student visa holders

    Visa holders can sometimes get life insurance, but you’ll face limited coverage offerings and hurdles throughout the application process.

    • Country of origin. Your country may prevent you from buying life insurance in another country, and the US government has placed restrictions on residents of specific countries, which could make you ineligible to buy life insurance from a US company.
    • Limited options. Depending on the insurance carrier, you may be limited to only purchasing permanent life insurance, and some companies require you to buy at least a $250,000 policy.
    • Visa requirements. Each company will have a list of the visa types that it accepts.
    • Residency requirements. The longer you’ve lived in the US, the more life insurance options are open to you. If you’ve lived in the US for less than a year, you may have trouble finding coverage, but it’s still possible.

    Student visa holders

    It can be much harder to get life insurance as a student, because student visas are temporary, and students usually lack business or work ties to the communities where they live. Additionally, your amount of life insurance coverage is tied to your income. If your income is too low, you may not qualify to purchase the minimum amount of coverage required for non-citizens, which is usually $250,000.

    Children with citizenship

    If you’re a non-citizen, having a child who is a US citizen can increase your chances of finding a life insurance policy, because that establishes your significant interest in staying in the US.

    Does it matter which country I’m from?

    Yes. Both the laws of your country and the US can prevent you from purchasing life insurance. There are also some states, provinces and territories within countries that allow or disallow purchase of US life insurance.

    Countries that disallow purchase of US life insuranceCountries the US Government disallows from buying US life insurance
    ArgentinaAfghanistan
    BelgiumCambodia
    FranceColombia
    GreeceCuba
    JapanHaiti
    PanamaIraq
    PolandLebanon
    SwitzerlandMyanmar
    UruguayNorth Korea
    VenezuelaRussia
    Sudan

    Additionally, life insurance companies use letter ratings to assign risk classifications to countries of origin:

    • “A” countries. Applicants from these countries have the most life insurance options available to them, similar to if they were US citizens.
    • “B” countries. Applicants qualify for a slightly lower rating than from A countries, but still have most options available to them.
    • “C” countries. Applicants may need to go through an agent or broker to find the best options, and many insurers won’t offer policies to non-citizens from these countries. Also, you most likely won’t be able to buy term life insurance.
    • “D” countries. Life insurance isn’t impossible for applicants from these countries, but it can be difficult to obtain — and you’ll have to show highly significant financial ties to the US to qualify.

    More top life insurance companies

    If none of these companies are the right fit, try drilling down to a specific category:

    Bottom line

    The insurers on this list stand out for their policy lineups, customizable coverage or catering to specific people. They’re also backed by strong financial and customer service ratings.

    It pays to do your own research and compare life insurance companies.

    Get quotes from even more life insurance companies

    Narrow down top life insurance policies by issuer age, minimum coverage and more to find the best for your budget and financial goals. Select Compare for up to four products to see their benefits side by side.

    Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
    Policygenius - Life Insurance
    18 - 85 years old
    $50,000
    $10,000,000
    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.
    Ladder
    20 - 60 years old
    $100,000
    $8,000,000
    10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
    No, for coverage up to $3M
    Apply for term life insurance online without the medical exam. Get an instant decision and adjust your coverage at no charge.
    Wyshbox
    18 - 50 years old
    $50,000
    $2,500,000
    2 - 35 years
    No
    Not available in: AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, KY, ME, MS, NH, NJ, NY, ND, RI, SC, SD, VT, VI, WA
    Bestow
    18 - 60 years old
    $50,000
    $1,500,000
    10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
    No
    Apply for term life insurance in minutes and get an instant decision all online. Plus, you’ll get to skip the medical exam.
    Haven Life
    20 - 64 years old
    $250,000
    $3,000,000
    10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years available to those aged 20 - 49 years old.
    10, 15, or 20 years available to those aged 50 - 64 years old.
    No exams for some applicants
    Fill out a quick online application and get approval in minutes with up to $3 million in coverage.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    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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