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RiverSource life insurance review 2020

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A long list of riders and policy features stand out, but with mixed business ratings.

finder.com's rating: 2.5 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get a quote if… You’re looking for a universal life policy.
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20 to 75

Issue Age

$100,000 to $5 million

Coverage

Not Listed

Medical Exam Required

Details

Free quote Online
Available states 49 states and the District of Columbia
Policy options Term life, universal life
Term lengths 10 to 30 years for term life
Issue age 20 to 75
Coverage $100,000 to $5 million
Medical exam required Not Listed
Monthly cost Not Listed
Claim methods Not Listed
Customer support Phone
Riders Accidental death benefit rider, Child rider, Disability income benefit rider, Long-term-care rider, Spouse rider, Waiver-of-premium rider

Expert review

Sarah George

Review by


Sarah George is a writer at Finder who unravels complicated topics about insurance, business and finance. She's been wordsmithing for nearly five years, after earning an English education degree. Her insurance know-how has been featured on CarInsurance.com. You can usually find Sarah sipping hot tea and talking through movie plots in her downtime.

Expert review

RiverSource has proved its standing with more than a century of experience. The company’s long list of universal policy options and riders are unique in the industry, with policies for nearly every stage of life — from young professionals to people in retirement.

But if you’re in the market for a simple whole life policy, look elsewhere. And the application process can take more time if you have to find a financial adviser.

The main downside, though, is Ameriprise’s customer service revealed through a recent government action. The case involved its retirement products and may not have included RiverSource directly. But if you won’t accept less than the best coverage and service, you might weigh your other life insurance options to make sure you’re getting just that.

What types of life insurance coverage does RiverSource offer?

RiverSource focuses on term or universal life products, giving you both short- and long-term options.

  • Term life policies offer guaranteed level premiums, a tax-free death benefit and the ability to convert to permanent life insurance later on.
  • Universal life policies offer the flexibility to change your benefit levels and offer a tax-deferred cash asset on the invested portion of your premium. RiverSource also guarantees a minimum rate of return on your investments.
    • Indexed universal. RiverSource offers multiple investment options so you can find the right option for you, such as high potential earnings or global investments. It offers a survivorship policy that pays out after both people named on the policy die.
    • Foundations protector. This policy is designed for those in or nearing retirement, offering level premiums, a lifetime no-lapse guarantee and optional accelerated benefit riders.
    • Succession protector. This survivorship policy insures two people jointly. It’s designed for additional wealth transfer to your beneficiaries.
    • TrioSource. This universal life policy includes a death benefit, long-term care coverage and a guaranteed 80% return of your premium if you cancel.
  • Variable universal. This policy gives you maximum control with 80 investment options. But you’re not guaranteed a return, since the market can be unpredictable. It also offers the flexibility to change benefits and use cash growth. The policy includes a no-lapse guarantee up to age 75 or for 10 years, whichever comes last.

What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?

With various life insurance products, you have the option to add multiple riders to your policy:

  • Spouse. Some policies allow joint coverage for you, your spouse or another person named on the policy.
  • Children. Offers level term life insurance for each child covered.
    Accelerated benefits. Access benefits early if you’re diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness.
  • Long-term care. If you need long-term medical help for a chronic or terminal condition, this rider can help you pay for those expenses. The payments may take away from your total death benefit to beneficiaries.
  • Accidental death. Add an additional death benefit if your death is an accident.
  • No-lapse guarantee. Some policies let you keep your policy even if it’s cash value drops to zero. However, the policy can still lapse if you don’t pay your premiums.
  • Overloan protection. If you borrow too much against your life insurance policy, you could owe taxes, triggering a lapse — even on a no-lapse-guarantee policy. This rider protects you from that possibility.
  • Waiver of premium or disability waiver. These waivers help you keep your policy even if you lose your job or can’t work because of total disability.

How much does RiverSource cost?

While term life is generally cheaper than permanent life, the price of its policies differ based on factors like:

  • Age
  • Overall health
  • Job
  • Risky hobbies
  • Term length or type of permanent policy
  • Extra features or riders

Pros and cons of RiverSource

Pros

  • Multiple options and riders. Choose from multiple policies with at least eight rider options, a variety compared to MetLife or Primerica that offer only three riders.
  • Instant online quotes. Type in your personal information and your expected coverage to see your premium instantly.
  • Strong financial ratings. RiverSource holds an A+ financial rating from AM Best, and its parent company Ameriprise Financial ranks 249 of 500 Fortune 500 companies. These ratings show the company can likely pay out benefits.
  • Experienced insurer. Under various company names, RiverSource has served the insurance industry for 125 years and counting.
  • Converts term to permanent insurance. Switch your term life insurance to a universal policy for permanent benefits.

Cons

  • No whole life policies. For permanent life insurance, the company appears to focus solely on universal life products.
  • Mixed business ratings. Ameriprise, a financial company that owns RiverSource, holds a B rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The rating is lower than some competitors and stems from a government action in February 2018. But RiverSource Annuity holds an A rating with the BBB.
  • You can’t buy policies online. You have to go through a financial adviser to buy a policy.

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RiverSource reviews and complaints

RiverSource doesn’t have many customer reviews or ratings for its company specifically. However, its parent company Ameriprise has received a B rating from the Better Business Bureau, as of April 24, 2020.

The rating reflects a government action resolved in February 2018. The case found Ameriprise guilty of selling higher-cost mutual fund shares for retirement without telling customers about lower-cost options. Otherwise, Ameriprise has closed eight customer complaints in the last 12 months and 36 in the last three years.

How do I sign up?

Contact a financial adviser to purchase the company’s life insurance products. If you don’t have one, you can find an Ameriprise financial adviser through the website’s adviser search.

You might expect the signup process to go like this:

  1. Call or schedule an appointment with your financial adviser.
  2. Discuss which type of life insurance coverage suits you best and whether RiverSource meets those needs.
  3. Fill out the required paperwork. List your personal and health information, such as your weight, job and smoking status.
  4. Choose the amount of coverage you want and any riders.
  5. Sign the paperwork and set up your payment process.

More about RiverSource

RiverSource started when John Tappan founded the financial company Investors Syndicate back in 1894. The life insurance side of the company began in 1957 under the name Investors Syndicate Life Insurance and Annuity Company.

Later, American Express bought the company and renamed its financial services Ameriprise Financial. Now, Ameriprise is an independent, publicly traded company with nearly 3 million clients.

Frequently asked questions about RiverSource life insurance

Life insurance ratings

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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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