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TIAA life insurance review 2019

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Personalized plans with the option to accumulate cash value.

Get a quote if …

  • You want a plan that’s tailor-made for your financial circumstances. TIAA’s breadth of riders and investment coverage options means you’re more likely to find a policy that meets your unique preferences.

Pick something else if you …

  • Want quick and simple coverage. If you’re hoping to get coverage in five minutes or less and don’t want to dwell too much on the details, find a provider that specializes in no-fuss sign up.


What type of life insurance does TIAA offer?

TIAA offers permanent and term life insurance, as well as dual coverage for couples. Options include:

  • Annual Renewable Term.
    Get covered for a year, with the option to renew the policy annually. Costs are low initially, but premiums increase each year you renew. You can eventually convert it to permanent coverage, if you choose.
  • Level Term.
    Fixed death benefit and premium amount for the length of the policy. It’s an affordable option for families on a budget, but you only receive the payout if you die before the policy ends.
  • Universal Life.
    Lifetime coverage that earns interest as you pay. Flexible premiums and an adjustable benefit that’s guaranteed to pay out when you die.
  • Variable Universal Life.
    Permanent insurance with a variety of investment options. This offers more flexibility to grow your account, adjust premiums, and change the face amount of the policy.
  • Survivorship.
    Also known as second-to-die, it’s permanent coverage that covers two people at once and is only paid out after the second spouse passes away. Often used to pay estate taxes and other transfer costs.

What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?

Riders can add additional benefits to your policy. TIAA’s rider options include:

  • Living Benefit. Collect all or part of your benefit early if you become terminally ill.
    Charitable Giving Benefit. Pays 1% of your policy’s face amount above and beyond your death benefit to a charity of your choice.
  • Waiver or Premium. If you are totally disabled, you’re free from paying premiums. Costs an additional fee to add if you’re between 20 and 60 years old.
  • Cost of Living. Benefit amount increases automatically to keep up with inflation.
  • Estate Transfer Protection. Offset any estate taxes due when the benefit pays out. But this is only available with survivorship policies.
  • How much does TIAA cost?

    The average cost of a $250,000 term policy for a healthy 30-year-old could be as low as $160 annually. But your actual cost depends on which policy you choose, the amount and length of coverage, as well as your health, lifestyle and other personal factors.

Pros and cons of TIAA

It’s a solid choice for financial protection, but individual needs can vary. Benefits and drawbacks include:


  • User-friendly website. It’s simple to use and TIAA clearly explains each policy so details are easy to find.
  • Financially stable. It’s got stellar scores from rating agencies, including “A++” from AM Best and AAA from Fitch Ratings. This means it’s exceptionally strong and fiscally dependable.
  • Money-back guarantee. If you change your mind within the first 30 days, get fully refunded for any premiums you’ve paid.
  • Charitable. At no additional cost, TIAA will pay 1% of your benefit on top of the regular payout to your favorite charity.


  • Getting the best plan takes time. A life insurance policy with TIAA encourages you to look at the full scope of your financial plan, so it may require deeper insight into your long term goals.
  • You have to call to open an account. To buy life insurance, you’ve got to talk with an agent on the phone. If you’re hoping for a seamless online experience, you may want to look elsewhere.

Compare life insurance companies like TIAA

Name Product Issue Ages Coverage Range Medical Exam Required State Availability
18 - 85 years old
$10,000 to $10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
All 50 states
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
20 - 85 years old
$100,000 to $2,000,000
Depends on policy.
Products and product features may not be available in all states.
This well-established life insurance provider could offer you $250,000 worth of coverage for as low as $14 per month.
21 - 54 years old
$50,000 to $1,000,000
Not available in Alaska or New York
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
20 - 60 years old
$100,000 to $8,000,000
Not available in New York
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 - 64 years old
$100,000 to $3,000,000
All 50 states
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.

Compare up to 4 providers

TIAA reviews and complaints

It’s got a B- rating from the BBB, with 41 complaints filed against the business. But that rating is about TIAA as a whole, including its banking and investing services, so it may not be an accurate representation of its life insurance policies.

Customer reviews average out to a bit more than one star, and most of the complaints revolve around customer service or people unhappy with account management. But TIAA’s replied with detailed explanations, offering solutions to each reported problem.

How does TIAA protect my data?

It encrypts all data communications, and monitors its websites and applications to ensure security against intruders. Expect multi-factor authentication when you log into your account, as well as Voice Biometrics to identify your voice pattern when you call in over the phone.

TIAA will share your data with other TIAA companies for marketing or product purposes, but you can opt out in certain cases, like denying permission to share info about your creditworthiness.

How do I sign up?

If you’re interested in purchasing life insurance with TIAA, here’s how to get the process rolling:

  1. Go to TIAA’s website, hover over Insure and select SEE ALL INSURANCE PRODUCTS.
  2. Hit LEARN MORE under either Term Life Insurance or Permanent Life Insurance.
  3. On the next page, click START NOW. This brings you its Life Wizard page.
  4. Now, you’ll answer some questions to help TIAA assess the details of your insurance needs. When calculating your rate, it’ll ask for personal info like gender, state of residency and whether or not you use tobacco. Then, you’ll get a quote.

I’ve signed up. What happens next?

After you see your quote, TIAA gives you the option to request a callback. If you want to move forward, they’ll give you a call to talk about next steps.

More about TIAA

TIAA was founded in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It’s original purpose was to provide guaranteed life insurance and retirement income to educators.

TIAA is respected in the industry for its financial stability and company culture. Its internal values include diversity, personal accountability and integrity. As a company, it aims to help clients achieve their financial goals through banking, loans and investment services in addition to insurance.

Bottom line

TIAA’s fortitude and comprehensive financial services can make it a one-stop shop for money management.

But if you’re hoping for something more succinct or just want to see what else is out there, be sure to shop around for the best deal.

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