Guardian life insurance review 2020
This company knows customization is key to a good life insurance policy.
finder.com's rating: 4 / 5
- Get a quote if… you need a highly customizable policy.
- Pick something else if… you have current or preexisting medical conditions.
18 to 75
$250,000 to $5,000,000
Depends on policy
Medical Exam Required
|Available states||All 50 states (not all the policies are available in all states)|
|Policy options||Term, Whole, and Universal life insurance|
|Term lengths||10, 15, 20 or 30 years|
|Issue age||18 to 75|
|Coverage||$250,000 to $5,000,000|
|Medical exam required||Depends on policy|
|Monthly cost||Not listed|
|Claim methods||Online, Mail|
|Riders||Accelerated death benefit rider, Child rider, Disability income benefit rider, Guaranteed insurability rider, Long-term-care rider, Spouse rider, Waiver-of-premium rider|
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
A staple on America’s life insurance scene since the 1860s, Guardian Life caters to a wide range of people with its lineup of term and permanent policies. Guardian allows policyholders to customize their coverage with a lost list of riders, but conservative underwriting may exclude those who aren’t in perfect health.
What types of life insurance coverage does Guardian offer?
Guardian offers your typical suite of life insurance products, including term and permanent policies.
- Term life. This policy offers coverage for 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year terms, with premiums that won’t change. If you die during your selected term, your beneficiaries receive a guaranteed payout. You’ll have the option to upgrade to a whole life policy without a medical exam within a specified window.
- Whole life. Whole life insurance covers you for your entire life, as long as you pay your premiums. Like term life, your premium won’t change — though it will be more expensive. A portion of your premium is invested to give your policy a cash value. Once you build sufficient value, you can take out loans against your own policy. And when you die, your beneficiaries receive your policy’s death benefit.
- Universal life. Universal life provides lifetime coverage that becomes a cash asset overt time. You’ll have the option of flexible payments to suit life’s changing needs. You can also tap into the cash value of your policy during your lifetime, paying interest on what you borrow.
- Variable universal life. Variable universal life insurance is similar to universal life with one key difference: You’re allowed to invest the cash value of your policy in the market. Investing gives you the potential to boost your cash value, but it also means your money is subject to the ups and downs of the market. Offered by prospectus only, the policy includes a range of investment choices to match your risk tolerance.
What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?
Guardian life offers add-ons to customize protection against specific circumstances that aren’t covered by your standard life insurance policy.
Depending on your policy and health, you may be able to take advantage of these riders:
- Accelerated death benefit rider. This rider allows you to access a percentage of your death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness.
- Child rider. Purchase life insurance coverage for your children, without having to purchase a separate policy.
- Disability income benefit rider. Pays out an additional benefit if you suffer a covered disability.
- Guaranteed insurability rider. This add-on allows you to purchase additional insurance as specified times throughout the life of your policy, without having to take a medical exam.
- Long-term-care rider. An add-on to whole life insurance, this rider allows you to access money from your life insurance to pay for medical expenses if you’re chronically ill.
- Spouse rider. Purchase life insurance for your spouse, without having to purchase a separate policy.
- Student loan benefit rider. Unique to Guardian policies, this rider helps cover your student loan repayments if you become too ill or injured to work.
- Waiver-of-premium rider. This benefit waives your premiums if you suffer a disability and are unable to work.
How much does Guardian Life cost?
We pulled sample rates from Guardian Life’s website for a 20-year term, $500,000 policy for a healthy man and woman.
What affects my rate with Guardian Life?
Along with your age and gender, Guardian factors your health status and habits into your rate. Like most providers, Guardian reserves the best rates for those with excellent health. It doesn’t advertise the specifics of its preferred tier, but premium rates consider:
- Tobacco use. If you haven’t smoked in the past two years, you might see lower rates.
- Age. As you get older, taking out a policy generally becomes pricier.
- Occupation. If your job is dangerous — for example, you’re a miner, crane operator or firefighter — it could result in higher rates.
- Hobbies. Thrill-seekers who enjoy skydiving and mountain climbing may be considered riskier applicants.
- Driving record. A history free of DUIs, suspensions and convictions is likely rewarded with a lower rate.
- Health. Among the factors that can increase rates are specified health conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family medical history of serious illnesses and early death.
Pros and cons of Guardian Life Insurance
- Comprehensive support. Manage your policy online, or let an agent analyze your policy against your budget.
- Large and financially sound. High ratings from AM Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor means it’s likely to have the cash reserves to pay out claims.
- Can’t active your policy online. While you can get a quote for term life, you won’t be able to complete the process without speaking to a representative.
- Conservative underwriting. Guardian isn’t known for taking on health risks.
- Pushy marketing. Of the few complaints online, customers claim sales copy is geared toward more expensive policies.
Compare life insurance companies like Guardian
Guardian Life reviews and complaints
Guardian Life Insurance has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1957, earning an A+ rating.
Customer reviews are generally positive, many saying the company addresses and closes complaints quickly. In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Guardian came in at number seven of 25 insurers assessed. It scored “about average” for overall customer satisfaction, billing, price, policy offerings and interaction.
Case study: Ryan’s experience
My Guardian life insurance started as a term policy to ensure my growing family would be covered if anything happened to me. But I intentionally set it up from the start with riders that have since allowed me to convert it to a whole life insurance policy that builds cash value and earns interest at a rate close to 6%.
What’s amazing is that I can borrow against that cash value at any time and I won’t interrupt the interest compounding because the policy loan comes from Guardian; think of it like a secured loan with my cash value as collateral. I’ve set up a similar policy for each of my kids, and they’ll be able to be their own bank when it comes time to pay for college or buy a home or start a business.
Frequently asked questions about Guardian Life Insurance
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.