Best whole life insurance

The policies can be basic — but five providers stand out for their flexibility and range.

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Whole life insurance is a permanent policy that offers lifelong protection and builds cash value over time. Learn how five top insurers have enhanced their policies to appeal to specific types of policyholders.

Best whole life insurance companies

In a saturated whole life insurance market, five providers stand out for distinct offerings.

Best for consistent dividend performance: MassMutual

A perk of whole life insurance is the ability to build cash value. The mutual company MassMutual has increased its permanent policyholders’ earnings by paying out dividends every year since the 1860s. In 2019, the company approved an estimated record $1.72 billion payout. Even if you sign up with a mutual company, dividends aren’t guaranteed — making MassMutual’s an impressive achievement.

Best for varying payment structures: State Farm

State Farm gives its policyholders a string of payment options by which to invest in whole life. Pay for your policy the traditional way with monthly premiums, or pay off your premium entirely in 10, 15 or 20 years with limited pay life. If you can afford a lump sum payment, the single premium life option allows you to do just that — and begin accruing cash value right away.

Best for customizing your coverage: Northwestern Mutual

Another financially strong choice, Northwestern Mutual offers one of the most customizable whole life insurance policies we’ve seen. If you qualify, you can build a policy that suits your needs with the help of a full roster of riders, including accidental death, critical illness, disability income and waiver of premium.

Best for accelerating your cash value: Guardian

An established player in the insurance scene, Guardian offers eight options for policyholders looking to build their cash value — and wealth — faster. These include a 10-pay whole life plan, which allows you to pay off your policy over the course of 10 annual payments. After that, any funds you contribute go straight to the cash value portion of your policy.

Best for getting coverage quickly: Amica

With traditional whole life policies, the typical turnaround time is three to eight weeks. If you need coverage sooner, Amica offers a simplified whole life policy with face amounts of $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 or $25,000, depending on your state of residence. Most insurers offering accelerated underwriting cap their coverage at $10,000.

Must read: How we picked our best providers

Our writers and editors are committed to objectivity and empowering our readers to make decisions free of bias.

When analyzing life insurance providers, we determine the insurer’s industry reputation by reviewing its financial strength, accreditations and customer reviews. We then assess their underwriting standards based on the information on the provider’s website.

Finally, we weigh up each insurer’s product lineup, policy features and riders.

Life insurance company ratings

A whole life insurance policy is designed for two purposes: leaving your family with the money they need to maintain their lifestyles and building cash value. Your insurer should have the resources to pay out claims and help you boost your wealth. That’s where financial ratings come in.

All five insurers earned the highest or second-highest rating from A.M. Best, while State Farm achieved a perfect score on J.D. Power’s latest life insurance study.

Agency MassMutual State Farm Northwestern Mutual Guardian Amica
AM Best A++ A++ A++ A++ A+
Moody’s Aa3 N/A Aaa Aa2 N/A
Standard & Poor’s AA+ AA AA+ AA+ N/A
Fitch AA+ N/A AAA AA+ N/A
J.D. Power 3 out of 5 5 out of 5 4 out of 5 3 out of 5 N/A

Customer reviews

To find out how each company engages with their customers, we looked at the Better Business Bureau. Most insurers earn an A or A+ rating with the BBB based on its own criteria, while customer reviews on the site reveal there’s room for improvement across the board.

Provider BBB rating Customer reviews
MassMutual B- 1 out 5 stars
State Farm A 1 out of 5 stars
Northwestern Mutual A+ N/A
Guardian A+ 1 out of 5 stars
Amica A+ 2 out of 5 stars

Compare life insurance providers

Reach beyond our top five to find the best fit for your goals and budget.

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

While whole life insurance is the most basic type of permanent protection, the details matter. The insurers on this list tailor their policies to those who are looking for particular features, like flexible payment structures and a range of riders. Before taking on a policy, compare life insurance providers to find the lowest rates for the most comprehensive coverage you’re looking for.

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