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Principal Financial life insurance review 2021

20 to 70

Issue Age

$200,000 to $5,000,000



Medical Exam Required


Policies Term, universal, survivorship
Coverage maximum $5,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 30 years
Medical exam required Yes
Available states All 50 states
Issue age 20 - 65 years old


  • User-friendly online portal
  • Quick approval process
  • Principal TeleApp
  • Financially strong


  • No online claims
  • Policy delivered by mail
  • No whole life policies available
  • Lack of policy details listed on website
Riders No info available

Review by

Sarah George is an insurance writer at Finder who’s penned over 400 articles, unraveling complicated topics about car, home and life insurance. Her insurance know-how has been featured in online publications, including Breeze, CBS, CNET and, as well as Finder’s YouTube channel. Sarah is working to become a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).

Expert review

Principal life insurance stands out with quick approvals for healthy customers. Its fast-tracked approval process bypasses the medical exam and many people get approved within days of applying.

You can choose from term or universal policies and helpful riders like lapse protection, which lets you take out loans without worrying about losing your coverage if you withdraw too much.

However, if you want whole life or more intuitive self-service tools, you might compare other companies with these offerings. Otherwise, Prinicipal scores high in customer satisfaction from top rating sites like J.D. Power, and its coverage and approvals warrant a quote if you’re interested.

This article was reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and certified insurance counselor and licensed insurance agent in five states.

Principal Financial life insurance rates

We pulled sample rates using Principal’s quote tool for a 20-year term, $500,000 policy for a healthy man and woman. Principal offers cheap rates compared to its competitors, according to our analysis of average rates.


Factors that affect Principal Financial life insurance rates

Principal determines your risk by looking at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Medical Information Bureau and Prescription Database data, a thorough process that’s expected for any insurance company. Its Super Preferred and Preferred rates consider:

  • Age. Young, healthy applicants get cheaper rates.
  • Bankruptcy and criminal history. Principal checks your record for felony convictions in the last 10 years or bankruptcies within five years.
  • Driving record. You must be five years free of DUIs and reckless driving, and have no more than two minor violations within three years.
  • Health. Principal has lenient health guidelines. But major medical conditions affect rates or approval, including a family history of death from heart disease, stroke or diabetes before age 60.
  • Healthy lifestyle credits. This program offers credits that could boost your rating class.
  • Occupation. Those with dangerous jobs may be subject to higher rates.
  • Prescription history. Unless your history is significant, this shouldn’t affect your rates.
  • Prior insurance policies. If you earned a Preferred/Super Preferred rating for your previous life insurance coverage, this is a bonus.
  • Tobacco use. For the preferred rate, you have to prove you haven’t smoked within 24 months.

How to get a quote from Principal Financial life insurance

You can’t sign up for a policy online, an inconvenience that’s common with life insurance. However, you’ll get a personalized quote by following these steps:

  1. Go to Principal Financial’s homepage. Then, hover over Individuals > Insure > Life Insurance.
  2. Click Get my Quote.
  3. Enter your age, gender, ZIP code, height, weight and tobacco use, as well as the policy type and coverage amount. Click See my Quote.
  4. You’ll be presented with quotes. If you want to purchase a policy, call 800-247-8000 ext 2522 or schedule a call using the online form.

Principal Financial offers term and permanent life

Principal’s solid lineup includes a mix of term and permanent policies, but it lacks the commonly offered whole life insurance:

  • Indexed universal life. This permanent policy’s cash value is tied to an index like the S&P 500, which may accelerate its growth.
  • Survivorship universal life. This joint policy for seniors ages 55 to 80 covers two people and pays out after both die. You can add a term insurance rider that pays 122% of the base policy’s death benefit if both people die within four years of starting the policy.
  • Term life. Available in 1- to 30-year terms, this policy comes with fixed premiums and pays a guaranteed death benefit within your term. The insurer offers coverage up to $1 million for those aged 18 to 60 who don’t want a medical exam.
  • Universal life. Offers lifelong coverage, the ability to change your premium or death benefit and builds cash value based on market conditions.
  • Variable universal life. Lets you change premiums and death benefits, while the cash value is invested aggressively to boost returns. Because of the higher risk for losing money, Principal offers this policy by prospectus only.

You can skip the medical exam, if you pass a health questionnaire

Principal offers an accelerated underwriting program for all life insurance products up to $1 million and waives the medical exam, an unusual perk for standard policies like term life.

To qualify, complete an online application and a phone interview with a financial representative, who collects and reviews your personal and medical history.

You’ll probably know within 48 hours if you’re approved for life insurance without needing a medical exam. Roughly 50% of applicants in good health get approved as of January 2021.

Principal Financial offers more riders than many competitors

Customize your coverage with more add-ons than the standard four or five offered by most companies:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. Access up to 75% or $1 million of your death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Child rider. Add eligible children to a policy with coverage from $5,000 to $25,000.
  • Cost of living rider. Keep up with inflation by increasing your coverage with no additional underwriting.
  • Critical illness benefit rider. Pays a one-time benefit if you suffer from a critical illness like stroke.
  • Guaranteed insurability rider. Add insurance at specific times without needing a medical exam.
  • Lapse protection rider. Available on permanent policies, this rider lest you take out loans and withdrawals from your policy and avoid any risk for a lapse.
  • Policy split option rider. Split to two policies with equal coverage if you divorce or see major tax changes.
  • Waiver-of-premium ridrer. Waive your premium if you become disabled.

Principal Financial life insurance reviews are mixed

Principal Financial group scores a high financial rating with AM Best, signaling its likely ability to pay out claims. Over at the Better Business Bureau, Principal receives a high rating, yet low star customer reviews cite billing and claims issues.

AM Best financial rating A+
BBB accredited No
BBB rating A+
1/5 out of 23 customer reviews
Trustpilot score 2.9/5 out of 2 customer reviews
JD Power score 772
Customer reviews verified as of 30 June 2021

How Principal Financial compares to other insurers

Principal offers a solid list of term, universal and survivorship policies that fit many people’s needs, unless you need whole life. Its 48-hour approval process for healthy applicants is rare for policies like term life that don’t guarantee approvals.

Plus, Principal offers lower rates than the average, with a $500,000, 20-year term policy costing $20 a month for a healthy, 30-year-old man. The same policy typically costs $25 a month with other companies.

However, you can find companies with even higher customer satisfaction scores, more policies and add-ons. It’s best to compare several options to make sure you’re getting the best policy for you.

Compare life insurance companies like Principal Financial

See how Principal fares against other companies’ coverage and features. Tap the Compare box to see up to four companies side by side.

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
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.
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.
18 - 60 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Get a quote in less than 10 minutes with on-the-spot approval and no medical exam.
Everyday Life
20 - 75 years old
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.
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.

Compare up to 4 providers

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. Principal gets four and a half out of five stars for offering a long list of policy customization options and stellar customer satisfaction ratings.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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