Northwestern Mutual life insurance review March 2019 |

Northwestern Mutual life insurance review

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Scoring affordable life insurance doesn’t have to be impossible, even if you’re a senior or smoker.

Finding the perfect life insurance plan for your needs can often feel like a hassle. Thankfully, Northwestern Mutual has gone to new lengths to make the process easier. With quick online quotes and simple applications, choosing the right life insurance plan has never been easier.

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Why we like: Policygenius

Compare quotes from 16 life insurance companies side by side.

  • Get the coverage amount and term that's right for you.
  • Choose between term or whole life insurance.
  • Easy online application process.

What is Northwestern Mutual known for?

One of the largest life insurance companies in the US, Northwestern Mutual is known to offer competitive rates. Northwestern Mutual is wholly owned by its policyholders, which makes you eligible for annual dividend payments paid out or applied to your premium.

It offers a range of policies that start at $25,000 for all walks of life, includings seniors and smokers.

Pros and cons


  • Low rates for even seniors and smokers.Competitively priced coverage is available to most people who apply.
  • Flexible payment terms.Depending on your policy, you can choose when and how to pay for your policy.
  • Plans build cash value.Whole life and universal life plans build cash value that you can receive as a payout, apply to your premium or borrow against your policy for life’s needs.


  • No online quotes.While you can forward your info online, you must get a quote from a Northwestern Mutual insurance agent.
  • Health exam likely required.Northwest Mutual doesn’t explicitly say so online, but most policies require a full health work-up.
  • Sold through agents.This could result in slightly higher premiums due to the added cost of commissions.

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Name Product Issue Ages Coverage Range Medical Exam Required
18 - 85 years old
$10,000 to $10,000,000+
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18 - 75 years old
$100,000 to $5,000,000
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21 - 54 years old
$50,000 to $1,000,000
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
18 - 80 years old
$50,000 to $25,000,000
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18 to 80 years old
$25,000 to $10,000,000
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20 - 80 years old
$25,000 to $10,000,000
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20 to 60 years old
$100,000 to $8,000,000
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
18 - 75 years old
$25,000 to $10,000,000
Yes, for policies over $1 million
Term life insurance with no medical exams for $1 million of coverage or less. Online application gets you a decision in 10 minutes.

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What life insurance coverage does Northwestern Mutual offer?

Northwestern Mutual offers term, whole, universal and variable life insurance. All permanent life insurance policies build cash value, with policyholders eligible to receive dividends.

In addition, the adjustable CompLife policy combines the benefits of term and permanent life insurance plans.
Term life

Available for 10 or 20 years, Northwestern Mutual’s term life insurance policies are convertible with the option of conversion to permanent life insurance. 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 your policy to help with down payments on a home, supplement your retirement income or help aging family members.

The dividends on Northwestern Mutual’s whole life insurance come with guaranteed cash value accumulation and growth. To give you an idea of payout, dividends in 2018 are expected to total $5.3 billion.

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’s not covered in my policy?

As with most standard life insurance policies, you’ll need to purchase a rider to cover such contingencies as disability and long term care. You can also purchase a rider that allows you to purchase additional coverage without the need for underwriting.

But 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.

How can I get the best rate?

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.

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.

Speak with a Northwestern Mutual agent to learn more about whether you qualify for preferred rates

What do others say about Northwestern Mutual?

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 all it claims.

Customer reviews on BBB are negative, citing aggressive sales tactics and minimal customer support hours. But you’ll find positive reviews elsewhere that report helpful agents that encourage communication.

If you’re considering Northwestern Mutual, research your needs beforehand so you can go in knowing the type of insurance best for you.

How do I file an insurance claim with Northwestern Mutual?

Northwestern Mutual doesn’t let you make online claims. Instead, you’ll need to start a claim by phone, weekdays during business hours only.

After reporting your claim, Northwestern Mutual mails a claim kit for you to complete, including a checklist of documents — including the policyholder’s death certificate — that you’ll need to provide with your claim.

What other services does Northwestern Mutual offer?

Northwestern Mutual offers a range of comprehensive coverage to protect you against unexpected circumstances and plan for your future, including:

  • Disability insurance. One in four employees will become disabled for three months or more at some point in their career. This coverage can close the gap between your employer’s policy and your actual needs — even if you’re part-time or a stay-at-home spouse.
  • Annuities. Annuities can provide you with a reliable periodic payments to supplement your retirement income now or in the future.
  • Long-term-care insurance. These policies pay for costs not covered by Medicare or other health insurance should you become ill or injured and require ongoing treatment and care.

What is Northwestern Mutual?

Around since 1857, Northwestern Mutual is a top insurance provider that takes seriously its motto to “Live life differently.”

In addition to permanent and term life insurance products for individuals, businesses and estates in the US, it offers disability insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and education plans.

Northwestern Mutual focuses on accountability and stability, earning a strong financial position in the industry with a solid reputation for paying out policyholder claims.

Bottom line

Northwest Mutual is a long time front runner in the life insurance business. Its cash value accumulation permanent life plans can be customized to fit different needs.

If you’re a senior or smoker looking for a competitively priced insurance policy, Northwest Mutual has some of the lowest available. If you have perfect health and a need for term life insurance, then Northwest Mutual may not be the best option.

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