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Jing Jun Ma is an innovations expert at Finder. With a decade of experience in digital marketing and programming, Jing is a tech and data guy. He wrangles data to make it useful for consumers facing a decision.
What types of life insurance coverage does Guardian offer?
Guardian offers your typical suite of life insurance products, including term and permanent policies.
The simplest and cheapest policy, term life offers coverage for a set term —in Guardian’s case, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. The premium you pay stays the same over your term. And if you die in that term, your beneficiaries receive a guaranteed payout based on your premium.
The policy comes with a conversion feature that allows you to upgrade to a whole life policy without a medical exam within a specified window.
As long as you’re up to date on payments, whole life insurance policy never expires. Like term life, your premium won’t change — though it will be more expensive.
A portion of each premium is invested to give your policy a cash value. Once you build sufficient value, you can take out loans against your own policy during your lifetime. And when you die, your beneficiaries receive your policy’s death benefit as well as an added cash value benefit.
Guardian’s whole life policies include potential dividend payments that depend on the company’s profits.
To optimize your policy, take advantage of Guardian’s riders that can extend your protection into disability coverage, long term care and more.
Universal life provides lifetime coverage and death benefits, becoming a cash asset over time.
You have more freedom to change your payments to suit life’s changing needs. This flexibility can be appealing if you foresee income fluctuations or are wary of committing to the same payment month in, month out.
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 offers one key difference: You’re allowed to invest the cash value of your policy in the market. Investing gives you the potential to boost that 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?
Standard policies are designed to protect the financial well-being of you and your family. But for customized protection against specific circumstances as you age — like disability or long-term care — look to the many riders offered by Guardian Life.
Depending on your policy and health, you may be able to take advantage of riders to cover:
Individual disability insurance. Should you become ill or disabled, the rider covers a percentage of your base salary and supplements any long-term disability coverage you have through your employer. It can also help with financial obligations when your earnings are low.
Student loan benefit. Unique to Guardian policies, this rider helps cover your student loan repayments if you become too ill or injured to work.
Long-term care. 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.
Future increase option. An FIO rider enables you to buy additional coverage each year without taking a medical test.
Lifetime paid-up additions. This LPUA stipulation allows you to keep adding value to your policy, even if it’s paid up.
Index Participation Feature. This Guardian-patented feature allows some whole life policyholders to link a portion of their paid-up cash value — up to 100% — to the S&P 500 Price Return Index.
How can I get the best rate?
The price of life insurance varies based on complex underwriting that involves a policyholder’s age, overall health, driving habits and more.
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 are likely rewarded with 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.
Guardian Life Insurance’s Living Balance Sheet breaks down your assets, liabilities and cash flow, so you can visualize how life insurance fits in.
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 A.M. Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor means it’s sure to have the cash reserves to pay out claims.
No online quotes. To learn the rates you might qualify for, you must speak to an agent.
Conservative underwriting. Guardian isn’t known for taking on health risks.
Pushy marketing. Of the few complaints online, customers claim sales copy is geared to more expensive policies.
Compare life insurance providers like Guardian
What is Guardian Life Insurance known for?
Founded more than 150 years ago in 1860, Guardian Life Insurance is a Fortune 250 financial services company and one of the largest mutual life insurers in the US. Owned by its policyholders, it boasts paying dividends every year since 1868.
Today, Guardian is a mutual insurance firm — meaning it’s owned by policyholders. These policyholders share in one of Guardian’s selling points: profits through annual dividends. It has paid a dividend every year since 1868, culminating in a record-breaking $911 million dividend allocation in 2018.
How do I file a life insurance claim with Guardian?
To file a claim, start by contacting a Guardian agent. Otherwise, the claims process varies depending on your policy.
What other products and services does Guardian offer?
Guardian also sells the following coverage:
Disability income insurance
Individual dental insurance
Company 401(k)s and other employee benefits
What do customers say about this brand?
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 2016 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Guardian came in at number six of 24 insurers assessed. It scored “about average” for overall customer satisfaction, billing, price, policy offerings and interaction.
Case study: Ryan’s experience
Ryan Brinks Assistant Publisher
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.
Life insurance is a big personal investment, so weigh your specific needs against any policy before signing the dotted line.
Guardian has been a staple on America’s life insurance scene since the 1860s, offering a range of term and permanent policies. But watch out for conservative underwriting that could exclude those who don’t have perfect health.
Frequently asked questions
Consider Guardian’s universal life insurance, which offers the ability to adjust the amount and timing of your payments.
A death benefit is the dollar amount paid to a beneficiary after a life insurance policyholder dies. Like most insurers, Guardian offers death benefits on all of its life insurance plans.
Yes. At Guardian, whole life, universal life and universal variable life policies last a lifetime, though some aspects are flexible. In most cases, you can renew a term life policy or upgrade to a whole life policy.
Health insurance covers the medical expenses that come with sickness and injury, but it doesn’t offer financial support for the debts, bills or loss of income if and when you can’t work as a result. Life insurance can bridge that gap.
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