New York Life Insurance review 2021

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Founded in 1845, New York Life Insurance Company earns top-notch financial strength ratings from AM Best, Moody’s and S&P, as well as high customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power. If you’re looking for one of the top life insurance companies with a wide variety of policy options, accountable customer service and top-tier financial ratings, you may want to look into New York Life Insurance Company.

New York Life life insurance

New York Life offers a wide range of life insurance policies with something for everyone. You can choose a shorter-term life insurance policy, or combine planning for your loved ones with your own investment or retirement needs by choosing a whole or universal life insurance policy from New York Life.

Types of life insurance policies offered

New York Life offers all types of life insurance available on the market: term, whole, universal and variable universal life. Below, our insurance editorial team outlined the ins and outs of these policies. However, when it comes time to choose, you may want to speak with a licensed insurance agent to help you figure out which policy type might be best for you.

Term life insurance

When you choose a New York Life term life insurance policy, you select the length of the policy and the amount of the death benefit. Although it is possible to purchase term life insurance for as little as one year, most people choose terms between 10 and 20 years.

Term life insurance comes with a fixed premium, so you know how much it will cost you each month. How much the policy costs depends on your health, age, length of the policy and the death benefit amount.

If something happens to you while your policy is in force, the person(s) you named in the policy will receive the amount of the death benefit, tax-free. New York Life has two kinds of term life insurance:

  • Level premium convertible: The more traditional kind of term life insurance, you set a term length between 10 and 20 years and have a fixed premium amount.
  • Yearly convertible: Less commitment, you can renew the policy every year, although your premium may be higher each time you renew it. You may also convert it into a permanent whole or universal life insurance policy.

Term life insurance is ideal if you want a smaller investment and don’t expect to need life insurance when you’re older.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is permanent — as long as you pay your premiums the policy is in effect. Premiums are higher because you’re paying for two features — the death benefit you’ll leave your loved ones and a tax-deferred cash value account in your name you can access throughout your life.

A whole life insurance policy’s cash value account is tax-deferred and earns interest. Use the money in the account for whatever you need, including college for yourself or a loved one, retirement or purchasing a home.

Universal life insurance

Similar to whole life insurance, NY Life’s universal life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy that includes an interest-earning cash value account. The universal life insurance product adds more flexibility by allowing you to adjust the amount of the death benefit you’d like to leave and the amount of the premium. Adjustments to the premium primarily affect your cash-value account. Depending on how much you reduce your premium, you’ll be contributing more or less to your cash account.

Variable universal life insurance

A New York Life variable universal life insurance policy is different from the standard universal life insurance policy. The universal life insurance policy is similar to a whole life insurance policy — it earns interest. You can invest your variable universal life insurance policy’s cash value amount for more aggressive growth.

With the variable universal life option, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of investment firms to manage your cash value or New York Life’s model portfolio for a diversified mix based on your comfort level with risk.

If you don’t foresee needing access to your cash value account until retirement, riding the market for long-term gains through New York Life insurance’s variable universal policy is a good choice. If you’re uncomfortable with risk or see yourself needing the cash value amount in the next few years, a standard whole life or universal life policy may be a safer bet.

New York Life ratings, reviews, customer satisfaction and complaints

New York Life Insurance Company receives top notch ratings for financial security from well-respected authorities, including AM Best, Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Customers are generally happy with the company, as indicated by the results of J.D. Power’s survey on customer satisfaction.

AM Best Company A++
Fitch Rating AAA
J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey Ranks above average, #8 out of 25, with a rating of 4/5 stars
Moody’s Aaa
S&P Global Ratings AA+

Reasons New York Life is a great option

Before choosing any life insurance provider, you’ll likely want to weigh the pros and cons. New York Life is popular with customers and has high financial ratings – but if you’re looking for term life insurance, you may not enjoy the company’s 10 to 20 year limit on coverage. To evaluate whether New York Life may be right for you, consider the following:

Benefits

  • Many types of life insurance policies and investment services available
  • Pays dividends
  • Accelerated death benefits for conditions such as chronic illness
  • Variable universal policies allow you to choose from a variety of investment firms to manage your cash value account
  • High customer satisfaction ratings
  • High financial strength ratings

Drawbacks

  • Limit of 20 years for term insurance
  • Requires a medical exam for underwriting
  • Annual-renewable term insurance policy premiums increase from year to year

Additional policies offered by New York Life

Besides high-quality life insurance products, New York Life offers the following insurance policies and financial planning tools:

  • Estate planning
  • Investments including annuities, mutual funds, 529 plans and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Retirement planning
  • Wealth management

Frequently asked questions

What is the best life insurance company?

Choosing the best life insurance company is a personal decision. The best one for you may not be for someone else. New York Life is an excellent life insurance company with a long history of financial stability and happy customers. You can compare insurers in Bankrate’s best life insurance companies review.

What’s the difference between term, whole and universal life insurance?

Term life insurance is temporary. It expires after the length you agree to, typically 10 to 30 years. Whole and universal life insurance are permanent. Keep paying your premiums and you’re covered.

Whole and universal life insurance are similar — besides the money your loved ones receive if you pass, they both come with a cash value account for your benefit. A whole life insurance policy will earn interest on your cash value. Universal life insurance policies are more customizable by providing premium payment flexibility and the option to grow your cash value through investments.

Will I receive dividends if I have an insurance policy with New York Life?

The New York Life life insurance company is a mutual company — they’ve been paying policy owners dividends for the last 164 years, although dividends aren’t guaranteed.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.
Edited by
Insurance Editor