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American General (AIG direct) life insurance review

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Our verdict

This insurer stands out with many term lengths for term life and its no-exam whole life policies.

One of the largest US life insurers, American General life insurance offers 18 term lengths and at least six rider options, including living benefits.

For whole life, you can buy coverage up to $25,000 while bypassing the medical exam typically required. But you'll find higher whole life death benefits if you take an exam with another insurer.

However, customers complain of a long and frustrating claims process, and the company doesn't have the best reputation for customer service.

Pros

  • Helpful website
  • Flexible term lengths in 5-year increments from 10 to 35 years
  • Online quote and approval in less than a half-hour.

Cons

  • Long processing period
  • High premiums compared to other insurance companies
  • Underwriter has had financial troubles in the past

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product details
    • Riders
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

Details

Product details

Policies Term, Whole, Quality, Universal, Permanent, Variable Universal
Coverage maximum $2,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 30, 35 years
Medical exam required Depends on the policy
Available states All 50 states
Issue age Not listed

Riders

Riders No info available

What affects my rate with American General?

Like most companies, American General offers the best rates to those with a clean bill of health. It uses these specifications to determine your rate class:

  • Tobacco use. People who haven’t used tobacco in the past five years get the best rates.
  • Driving infractions. Those with no DUIs, reckless driving or license suspensions on record within seven years get the best rates.
  • High blood pressure. You’ll fall in a top rate class with a blood pressure at 140/85 for people up to age 60, and 150/85 for people over age 60.
  • High cholesterol. The lowest rates are reserved for those with their cholesterol between 215 and 290.
  • Unhealthy height to weight ratio. For example, men who are 6ft get the best rates with a weight from 137lbs to 217lbs.

How to get a quote from American General life insurance

You can contact American General by phone at 800-445-7862. Otherwise, you can start the process of getting term life insurance online with American General by following these steps:

  1. Click Get a Quote on American General’s homepage.
  2. Provide a little info about yourself, including your contact information, gender, weight and height, and nicotine use. Then click Get Your Quote.
  3. An agent will contact you shortly with your quote and help you proceed with applying.

What types of life insurance coverage does American General offer?

American General offers more term policy lengths than most competitors, plus a few less common permanent life options. Its policies are underwritten by AIG Direct.

  • Term life. This company offers 18 term options for 10 to 35 years with optional living benefits. After your term ends, you can choose to convert to permanent life insurance.
  • Whole life. This guaranteed issue policy offers $5,000 to $25,000 in coverage with no medical exam for those aged 50 to 85. You can build cash value and lock in your premium.
  • Universal life. This policy covers your whole lifetime as long as you pay for it, builds cash value and can adjust your premiums and death benefit to meet your life stage.

What riders can I add to my policy?

To customize your policy, American General offers a solid list of add-ons that you’d see from other life insurers.

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. This living benefit offers an early payout if the policyholder is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Accidental death benefit rider. Your beneficiaries will receive an extra death benefit if you die in an accident like a car crash.
  • Child rider. You can extend up to $25,000 in life insurance coverage to your children.
  • Guaranteed insurability rider. You can buy additional coverage at specific dates without needing a medical exam.
  • Spouse rider. You can buy additional coverage for your spouse without needing a separate policy.
  • Waiver-of-premium rider. Keep your coverage even if you can’t make payments because of special circumstances, like a disability.

American General life insurance reviews and complaints

American General doesn’t have many favorable reviews online, while top life insurers see a mix of reviews that overall lean toward customer satisfaction. AIG customers complain about hiked premiums, callous service and slow claims.

AM Best financial rating A
BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A-
1/5 out of 4 customer reviews
Trustpilot score 3.6/5 out of 66 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 18 January 2021

American General in the news

A 2005 accounting scandal hurt American General’s reputation, costing the company $1.6 billion in fines.

In 2008, the underwriter AIG fell into trouble again, losing $99.2 billion of its $1 trillion assets in the global financial crisis. The US government gave $85 billion to keep AIG from failing.

AIG has strengthened since through business shifts and selling off some divisions. Today, it stands strong with high financial strength ratings, showing commitment to its customers.

How American General compares to other insurers

American General’s 18 term life policies stand out because other companies may offer four or five options. Also, not every company guarantees whole life insurance approval, offers universal life policies or lets you convert term to permanent life.

However, AIG scored 742 of 1,000 on J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study, less than average for customer satisfaction. Yet it saw a National Association of Insurance Commissioners complaint score of 0.52 in 2019, well below the industry average of 1.00.

American General may work if you need flexible or guaranteed coverage, such as for building investment savings. But since customers complain about its claims process, you might see if other life insurance options offer better customer ratings.

Compare life insurance companies like American General

Tap the Compare box to see up to four companies’ features and benefits side by side, then get quotes from your top picks.

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
Ladder
20 - 60 years old
$100,000
$8,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
No, for coverage up to $3M
Apply for term life insurance online without the medical exam. Get an instant decision and adjust your coverage at no charge.
Bestow
Bestow
18 - 60 years old
$50,000
$1,500,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
No
Apply for term life insurance in minutes and get an instant decision all online. Plus, you’ll get to skip the medical exam.
Policygenius - Life Insurance
18 - 85 years old
$50,000
$10,000,000
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.
Nationwide life insurance
18 - 80 years old
$250,000
$5,000,000
10, 15, 20, and 30 years
Depends on policy
Select Go to site to apply for Nationwide Life Essentials: 21-55 years, no medical exam required.
JRC Life Insurance
JRC Life Insurance
18 - 85 years old
$5,000
$50,000,000
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.
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Frequently asked questions about American General 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. American General receives a three out of five stars for a lower than average amount of policy add-ons to customize your policy, and a higher than average number of customer complaints.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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