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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



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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.

Best for varying payment structures

State Farm


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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.

Best for customizing your coverage

Northwestern Mutual


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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.

Best for getting coverage quickly



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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.

Best for consistent dividend performance



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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.

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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