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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
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.
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.
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.
Explore more of the best life insurance companies
|Company||BBB rating||A.M. Best rating||JD Power rating|
|Life Legal & General (formerly known as Banner Life)||A+||A+||N/A|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+||A+||792|
|New York Life||A+||A++||791|
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
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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