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Northwestern Mutual life insurance review 2022

Get customizable policies ideal for riskier customers, though you'll need to call for info and signup.'s rating: 4.5 / 5


  • Get a quote if you prefer working with an agent.
  • Choose a different provider if you want to get a quote or sign up online.

18 to 100

Issue Age

Not listed to Not listed



Medical Exam Required


Policies Term, universal, whole
Coverage maximum Not listed
Term lengths 10, 20, 80
Medical exam required Yes
Available states All states
Issue age Not listed


  • Eligibility for seniors and smokers
  • Flexible payment terms
  • Plans build cash value


  • No online quotes
  • Health exam likely required
  • Sold through agents
Riders No info available

Review by

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).

Expert review

Northwestern Mutual makes life insurance accessible by extending coverage to riskier customers, like seniors and smokers. It also offers flexible payment plans — but you’ll most likely need to take a medical exam and contact an agent to get coverage.

Northwestern Mutual offers term, whole, universal and variable life insurance. Permanent life insurance policies build cash value, with select policyholders eligible to receive dividends, if declared by Northwestern’s board of directors. The company also offers options that combine the benefits of term and permanent life insurance plans.

If there are any gaps in Northwestern Mutual’s options or you want an easy signup process, shop around and compare other life insurance providers.

Northwestern Mutual life insurance rates

Northwestern Mutual’s “preferred” class rewards nearly perfect health with the best rates available across its policies. But unlike its competitors, this provider doesn’t advertise how you can qualify for these rates. Speak with a Northwestern Mutual agent to learn more about whether you qualify for preferred rates.

What affects my rate with Northwestern Mutual?

In general, you’ll need to meet eligibility requirements that include:

  • A minimal or no history of tobacco use.
  • No history of alcohol or substance abuse.
  • A personal and family health history free of specified disease or impairments.
  • A clean driving record free of DWIs, DUIs, suspensions and other convictions.
  • Healthy blood pressure and BMI.
  • Low-risk occupation or hobbies.

How to get a quote from Northwestern Mutual life insurance

Unfortunately, Northwestern Mutual doesn’t provide online quotes or allow you to apply online, but you can get matched up with an agent.

  1. To find an agent, click Let’s Talk on Northwestern Mutual’s main life insurance page.
  2. You’ll then be asked to provide some basic personal information to get matched with an agent. Or if want to search for a specific agent, you can enter the agent’s name and location and click Search. If you don’t have an agent in mind, enter your info and click Get Matched.
  3. After you provide your info, a financial advisor will be in touch within a few days to discuss your life insurance options.

What types of life insurance coverage does Northwestern Mutual offer?

  • Term life. Northwestern Mutual’s term life insurance policies provide coverage for a stated period, like 10 or 20 years, or to a stated age. Some term policies can be converted to permanent life insurance policies during specific conversion periods. Acceptance is guaranteed, with no underwriting or medical exams required.
  • Whole life. A whole life insurance policy from Northwestern Mutual comes with a fixed premium, guaranteed payout upon death and benefits you can use while you’re alive. During your lifetime, you can use the cash value that builds in your policy as a down payment on a home, to supplement your retirement income or to help aging family members.
    Dividends on Northwestern Mutual’s whole life insurance are not guaranteed, though the company has paid them out since 1872. Dividends in 2019 are expected to total $5.6 billion, according to the company. And you can reinvest your dividends into your policy to accumulate cash value more quickly.
  • Universal life. For a more flexible policy, a universal life insurance plan offers the cash value accumulation of whole life along with flexible premiums and payment schedules. As long as your policy reserves contain sufficient cash value, you can control the amount and frequency of your premiums. Or opt to pay a one-time lump sum payment for coverage.

What riders can I add to my policy?

Northwestern Mutual doesn’t make it easy to nail down the full range of riders it offers online. Instead, you’ll need to speak with an agent to tailor your plan to your specific needs. Available riders depend on your life insurance policy but may include:

  • Child rider. This allows you to add term life insurance for your children.
  • Disability income benefit rider. This benefit supplies supplementary income if you become completely disabled.
  • Waiver-of-premium rider. With this benefit, if you’re disabled or lose income because of an injury or illness, you will no longer have to pay your premiums.

Northwestern Mutual life insurance reviews and complaints

Northwestern Mutual isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but it still gets an A+ from BBB based on criteria that includes transparency, competency and complaints.

A.M. Best rates Northwestern Mutual A++ for superior financial strength — a good sign that it can pay out on its claims. Customer reviews on BBB are negative, citing aggressive sales tactics and minimal customer support hours.

If you’re considering Northwestern Mutual, research your needs beforehand so you can go in knowing the type of insurance best for you. Otherwise you risk leaving your financial needs in the hands of an agent who’s paid based on commission.

AM Best financial rating A++
BBB accredited No
BBB rating A+
2.5/5 out of 4 customer reviews
JD Power score 790
Customer reviews verified as of 29 October 2021

Northwestern Mutual review: Roslyn’s experience

profile pic

Roslyn McKenna

Insurance Publisher

My husband and I signed up for a whole life policy from a Northwestern Mutual agent. We were skeptical of using financial agents, but the agent was highly recommended by a family member. We both regret this decision now.

There was a medical exam to sign up for the policy. We had to drive to an approved facility to do the blood draw. My husband had a bad experience with the nurse who took several stabs with the wrong size needle to complete the blood draw. I would recommend researching the facility before going to the exam.

The policy was promoted primarily as an investment opportunity. But after signing up, we did more research into the actual withdrawal process and found it would be more complicated and with lower returns than we were led to believe. The agent also pushed disability insurance on every call, even after saying repeatedly we weren’t interested and didn’t want to discuss it anymore.

Overall, the agent made us feel like our actual financial needs weren’t considered, and we’re preparing to cancel our policy even though we will lose money. I would not recommend Northwestern Mutual or whole life insurance in general unless you have a full understanding of the exact financial products you need and how to maximize them.

Compare life insurance companies like Northwestern Mutual

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
Policygenius - Life Insurance
18 - 85 years old
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.
20 - 60 years old
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.
18 - 60 years old
5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
Compare 40+ insurers and apply online to get the lowest possible price — no medical exam required.
Everyday Life
18 - 70
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years.
Ladder multiple life insurance policies to save on the coverage you need for all your debts.
18 - 60 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Get a quote and apply.

Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions about Northwestern Mutual 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.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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