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Best whole life insurance companies

These 5 insurers stand out for their flexible policies, riders and track record for paying out dividends.

Whole life insurance is a permanent policy that offers lifelong protection and builds cash value over time. Though it’s the simplest permanent policy on offer, these five insurers have enhanced their coverage to appeal to specific types of policyholders.

When analyzing the best life insurance companies that offer whole life policies, we determine the insurer’s industry reputation by reviewing its financial strength, accreditations, underwriting standards and customer reviews. Finally, we weigh up each insurer’s product lineup, policy features and riders.

What are the best whole life insurance companies?

In a saturated whole life insurance market, these five insurers stand out for their distinct offerings.

Best overall pick: Guardian

Guardian logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5


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$250,000 – $5,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
10, 15, 20, 30 years
Term lengths
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.
  • Some policies link to the performance of an index, like the S&P 500.
  • Long list of riders, including waiver of premium, accidental death benefit and guaranteed insurability.
  • Sells a survivorship whole life policy that covers two people.
  • Opens coverage to healthy people living with HIV.
  • Potential to earn dividends.
Coverage range $250,000 – $5,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 30 years
Issue age 18 – 75 years

Best for varying payment structures: State Farm

State Farm logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5


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$100,000 – $3,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
10, 20, and 30 years
Term lengths
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.
  • Face values of $100,000 to $3 million.
  • Key riders to eligible policyholders, including accidental death, flexible care and long-term care.
  • Potential to earn dividends.
  • Sells a final expense policy valued at up to $10,000 for those ages 50 to 80, or 50 to 75 in New York.
  • Boasts stellar customer service and satisfaction ratings.
Coverage range $100,000 – $3,000,000
Term lengths 10, 20, and 30 years
Issue age 18 – 75 years

Best for customizing your coverage: Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5


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Not listed – Not listed
Coverage range
18 – 100 years
Issue age
10, 20, 80
Term lengths
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.
  • Option to include a term life component in your whole life insurance policy.
  • While they're not guaranteed, Northwestern Mutual has paid out dividends annually since 1872.
  • Competitive rates, especially for riskier applicants like seniors and smokers.
  • Choose your preferred premium payment period.
Coverage range Not listed – Not listed
Term lengths 10, 20, 80
Issue age 18 – 100 years

Best for getting coverage quickly: Amica

Amica logo
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5


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$5,000 – $1,000,000
Coverage range
15 – 75 years
Issue age
10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year
Term lengths
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.
  • No medical exam or waiting period — just answer some basic questions about your health and lifestyle.
  • Pay your premiums monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually.
  • Offers a 31-day free look period.
  • Ideal for taking care of end-of-life expenses, such as funeral costs, medical bills and debts.
Coverage range $5,000 – $1,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year
Issue age 15 – 75 years

Best for consistent dividend performance: MassMutual

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Finder Rating: 4 / 5


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$2,000 – $10,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 80 years
Issue age
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Term lengths
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.
  • Up to $10 million in whole life coverage.
  • A range of riders to eligible policyholders that include accelerated death benefit, waiver of premium, term and long-term care.
  • Rising dividend rates year over year.
    Coverage range $2,000 – $10,000,000
    Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
    Issue age 18 – 80 years

    What are the financial ratings of the best life insurance companies?

    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 AM Best, while State Farm achieved a perfect score on J.D. Power’s latest life insurance study.

    AgencyMassMutualState FarmNorthwestern MutualGuardianAmica
    AM BestA++A++A++A++A+
    Standard & Poor’sAA+AAAA+AA+N/A
    J.D. Power3 out of 55 out of 54 out of 53 out of 5N/A

    Best life insurance company reviews and reputation

    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, while customer reviews on the site reveal there’s room for improvement across the board.

    ProviderBBB ratingCustomer reviews
    MassMutualB-1 out of 5 stars
    State FarmA+1 out of 5 stars
    Northwestern MutualA+None
    GuardianA+1 out of 5 stars
    AmicaA+2 out of 5 stars

    Get quotes from top life insurance companies

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

    Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
    18 - 85 years old
    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.
    JRC Life Insurance
    18 - 85 years old
    10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 years to lifetime/age 121
    May be required
    Compare policies up to $10 million from 45+ top insurance companies with the click of a button.
    18 - 60 years old
    5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
    Compare 40+ insurers and apply online to get the lowest possible price — no medical exam required.
    21 - 60 years old
    10, 15, or 20 years
    Depends on policy
    No-exam term policies up to $1 million online, with the option to upgrade to permanent life insurance later.

    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 companies to find the lowest rates for the most comprehensive coverage you’re looking for.

    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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