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Principal Financial life insurance review 2020

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This major insurer offers competitive rates and fast-tracked underwriting for healthy applicants.'s rating: 4.5 / 5


Bottom line: Enjoy easy online quoting with approval within 48 hours, though Principal doesn’t offer whole life or online claims.

20 to 70

Issue Age

$200,000 to $5,000,000



Medical Exam Required


Free quote Online, Phone
Monthly cost Not listed
Policies Term, universal, survivorship
Coverage maximum $5,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 30 years
Riders Accelerated death benefit rider, Child rider, Cost-of-living rider, Critical illness benefit rider, Guaranteed insurability rider, Lapse protection rider, Policy split option rider, Waiver-of-premium rider
Medical exam required Yes
Available states All 50 states
Issue age 20 - 65 years old


  • User-friendly online portal to manage your policy
  • No-exam policies approved in 48 hours, and others within 15 days, compared to the standard 30 days


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

Expert review

Julia Cameron

Review by

Julia Cameron is a writer and editor who has experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, content marketing and immigration law. She has a passion for interior design and an affinity for Old Florida, where she lives with her family.

Expert review

Principal Financial stands out for its lineup of term and universal policies, plus its fast-tracked underwriting, which allows healthy applicants to skip the medical exam and get coverage faster.

But it doesn’t offer whole life insurance, and the online portal isn’t as sophisticated as some of its competitors.

Principal 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’s rates are on the cheaper end compared to its competitors.

Age Man Woman
20 $36 $30
25 $20 $17
30 $20 $17
35 $21 $18
40 $29 $25
45 $91 $69
50 $72 $56
55 $116 $85
60 $204 $145

What factors affect my rates with Principal?

The price of your life insurance policy is determined by factors like your age, health, occupation and lifestyle. Principal has a three-prong approach to underwriting, sourcing data from the DMV, Medical Information Bureau, and Prescription Database.

Its Super Preferred and Preferred rates consider:

  • Age. Young, healthy applicants can usually access cheaper policies.
  • Bankruptcy and criminal history. Principal checks your record to see if you’ve had a felony conviction in the last 10 years or been bankrupt in the past five years.
  • Driving record. You must have a five-year history free of DUIs and reckless driving. The company allows a maximum of two tickets in the past three years for minor violations.
  • Health. Principal is liberal when it comes to build charts, cholesterol, blood pressure and family history with the exception of death from cardiovascular disease, stroke or diabetes before age 60. If you’ve had recent weight loss, you could get better rates, however major medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s, cancer or heart disease, will prompt further assessment.
  • Healthy lifestyle credits (HLCs). This program allocates credits that could boost your rating class.
  • Occupation. Those with dangerous jobs may be subject to higher rates.
  • Prescription history. Unless your prescription history is significant, this shouldn’t affect your rate class.
  • 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 the past 24 months.

Compare life insurance rates

Compare quotes for life insurance policies starting at $15/month.
How do these quotes work?

How to apply for Principal life insurance

You can’t sign up for a policy online, but you can get a personalized quote. These are the 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 then be presented with quotes. If you want to proceed with purchasing a policy, call 800-247-8000 ext 2522 or schedule a call by filling out the online form.

What life insurance does Principal Financial offer?

Principal’s lineup includes a mix of term and permanent policies:

  • Indexed universal life. With this permanent policy, the cash value is tied to the performance of an index, like the S&P 500, which may accelerate its growth.
  • Survivorship. Designed for seniors 55 to 80 years old, this joint policy covers two people, and pays out after both spouses die. This policy offers the option to add a four-year term insurance rider that pays a death benefit equal to 122% of the base policy if both people die within the first four years of owning the policy.
  • Term life. Available in 1-, 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year terms, this policy comes with fixed premiums and pays out a guaranteed death benefit if you die during the term. The insurer offers up to $1 million in coverage for applicants aged 18 to 60 who don’t want to take a medical exam.
  • Universal life. This permanent policy offers lifelong coverage and builds cash value over time according to market conditions. It also gives policyholders the flexibility to change their premiums and death benefits as needed.
  • Variable universal life. Like universal life, the policy offers flexibility, but the cash value is invested differently, and more aggressively. The investment is professionally managed to boost your returns, but it’s subject to the ups and downs of the market. Principal offers this type of coverage by prospectus only.

Do I have to take a medical exam?

Principal offers an accelerated underwriting program for all life insurance products up to $1 million and waives the medical exam. To qualify, complete an electronic application and then do a phone interview with a financial representative, who will collect and review your personal and medical history.

You’ll likely know within 48 hours if you pass this phase and are approved for life insurance without needing a medical exam. At the time of writing, roughly 50% of applicants in good health were approved.

What riders and add-ons does Principal offer?

Depending on your policy, you may be able to customize your coverage with these riders:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. Allows you to access up to 75% of the death benefit — up to $1 million — if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Child rider. Lets you add eligible children to a policy, with coverage between $5,000 and $25,000.
  • Cost-of-living rider. To keep up with inflation, this allows you to increase your insurance coverage with no additional underwriting.
  • Critical illness benefit rider. Pays out a lump sum benefit if you suffer a critical illness, like a stroke.
  • Guaranteed insurability rider. Allows you to purchase additional insurance at specified dates without having to take a medical exam.
  • Lapse protection rider. After meeting criteria, this rider allows you to take out loans and withdrawals knowing your policy won’t lapse.
  • Policy split option rider. Split coverage into two individual policies of equal amounts in the event of divorce or major tax changes.
  • Waiver-of-premium rider. Waives your premium payment if you become completely disabled.

    Principal Financial reviews and complaints

    Principal has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1948 and has an A+ rating. The BBB has recorded just 109 complaints in the past three years, which is low for a company of its size.

    In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Principal ranked fourth of 25 insurers surveyed. It was deemed “among the best” for customer interaction, and “about average” for price and policy offerings.

    Compare life insurance companies like Principal

    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 - 75 years old
    10, 15, 20, 30 years
    Customize your term life insurance with a long list of life and disability riders. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
    18 - 75 years old
    10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
    Depends on policy
    Purchase a policy worth anywhere from $25,000 to $10 million, with the option to skip the medical exam. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
    18 - 80 years old
    10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
    Depends on policy
    Purchase term life insurance up to age 80 with Finder's #1 ranked company. Get a free quote from this A+ rated insurer on Policygenius.
    20 - 85 years old
    10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years
    Buy term life insurance all the way up to age 85, and choose a policy that lasts up to an incredible 35 years. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
    John Hancock
    18 - 65 years old
    10, 15, 20 years
    Depends on policy
    Score a low rate on term life insurance with discounts and rewards for your healthy habits. Get a free quote on Policygenius.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Frequently asked questions about Principal Financial

    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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