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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.


Fact checked

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.

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


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$250,000 – $5,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 75 years
Issue age
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
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
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
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

MassMutual logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5


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$2,000 – $10,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 80 years
Issue age
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

Best life insurance company financial strength 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 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 - 60 years old
5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
This life insurance broker combines technology and the human touch to match you with a policy tailored to your needs.
21 - 54 years old
10 or 20 years
Affordable 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies with instant quotes and no medical exams.
18 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on provider and policy
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
Everyday Life
20 - 75 years old
10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
Build a customized laddering strategy to target specific financial responsibilities and save on term life.
25 - 60 years old
10, 15, or 20 years
Depends on policy
Get affordable term life insurance with accelerated underwriting or no-exam coverage up to $1,000,000. Available in all states except CA, NY and MT.

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.

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