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Best life insurance companies in 2023
Based on our in-depth analysis, you might find the best life insurance by requesting a quote from MassMutual, Northwestern Mutual and State Farm.
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What To Know First
Life insurance is designed to provide your loved ones with financial security after your passing. Having a policy in place may help you feel more in control of your legacy, knowing that your family will have the financial means to handle your death.
But with so many different options available, and many life insurance companies selling similar products, you may ask: what is the best life insurance policy (and company) for me? It can be hard to make sense of which policy you need and which company is best. To help simplify the process and give you a place to start when it comes to shopping for life insurance, Bankrate’s editorial team researched dozens of life insurance carriers. We reviewed aspects like customer satisfaction, financial strength, available coverage options, riders and digital offerings to help narrow down your search for the best life insurance companies based on your priorities. Our research could help you find the best life insurance for your needs.
Top life insurance companies:
- Guardian: Best for life insurance coverage without a medical exam
- MassMutual: Best for whole life insurance
- Mutual of Omaha: Best for digital accessibility
- Nationwide: Best for customer satisfaction
- Northwestern Mutual: Best for universal life insurance
- Prudential: Best for policy personalization
- State Farm: Best for term life insurance
On This Page
- Top life insurance companies
- How Bankrate picked the best life insurance companies for 2022
- Compare the best life insurance companies
- How to choose the best life insurance policy
- What is life insurance?
- How does life insurance work?
- Types of life insurance policies
- What does life insurance cover?
- Frequently asked questions
Top life insurance companies
|Company||Best for||J.D. Power Score in 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study||AM Best Financial Strength Rating|
|Guardian||Life insurance coverage without a medical exam||787/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
|Mass Mutual||Whole life insurance||780/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
|Mutual of Omaha||Digital accessibility||801/1,000||A+ (Superior)|
|Nationwide||Customer satisfaction||791/1,000||A+ (Superior)|
|Northwestern Mutual||Universal life insurance||794/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
|Prudential||Policy personalization||773/1,000||A+ (Superior)|
|State Farm||Term life insurance||839/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
How Bankrate picked the best life insurance companies for 2023
To find the best life insurance companies of 2023, Bankrate’s editorial team started by researching the largest life insurance carriers on the market. We also analyzed life insurance company ratings, including customer satisfaction scores and financial strength ratings from trusted, unbiased sources, including J.D. Power and AM Best. Next, we looked at whether or not each insurer offers a mobile app, online portal, 24/7 customer service and local agents to determine each company’s accessibility. We then factored in each company’s coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of each company’s death benefit), the number of riders for optional coverage and the availability of a no-medical exam underwriting option. More information about each carrier is available below to help you learn about their benefits and drawbacks.
You may notice that we don’t include average rates in our analysis. That’s because rates vary widely based on each policyholder’s age and health metrics, as well as the type of policy they choose, their death benefit level and any riders they add on. Life insurance companies don’t reveal average rates, since that information reflects the general health of its policyholders and could put privacy at risk. Life insurance rates are incredibly personal, so average rates aren’t a helpful metric when choosing a company. Additionally, rates don’t vary as much between life insurance companies as they do between auto or home insurance companies. Generally, insurance experts recommend that you choose a life insurance company based on the specific product you need, rather than the rate.
Compare the best life insurance companies
Shopping for life insurance can be intimidating but Bankrate is here to make the process easier. When studying the largest life insurance carriers, there are some metrics that you can rely on to help effectively compare your options. Does one company offer a wide range of life insurance policy types, as well as riders and endorsements to personalize your policy, compared to another? What does the qualification process look like, and what might your estimated life insurance premium be?
From there, you can also compare companies’ financial strength ratings and customer service scores from trusted third-party agencies, such as AM Best and J.D. Power, for an unbiased view of which providers may excel in these areas and give you the best experience.
Best for: Life insurance coverage without a medical exam
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America ranks well in customer satisfaction and financial strength and offers the most term life insurance riders on our list. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the company also has fewer than baseline policyholder complaints and offers multiple no-medical exam policy options.
Guardian provides easy policy management through its network of more than 3,000 financial representatives across the nation and online account management. Guardian carries an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from A.M. Best and offers multiple coverage options depending on your life stage, goals, needs and budget.
Learn more: Guardian Life Insurance review
Dividends available on some policies
Easy online management
Policies available for HIV-positive applicants
Multiple no-medical exam policy options
Must purchase coverage through an agent
Rider details limited online
Best for: Whole life insurance
MassMutual won a Bankrate Award in 2022 and 2023 for best whole life insurance thanks to its A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best and for offering 13 whole life insurance riders, the most of any company we analyzed.
MassMutual, also known as Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., is a U.S. life insurance company owned by its policyholders, allowing select policyholders to earn dividends when the company does well. MassMutual offers an online application process for term life policies. Coverage takes effect immediately upon application approval, and applicants must usually complete medical exams for all term and universal life policies.
Learn more: MassMutual Life Insurance review
Free coverage for qualifying low-income families
Convenient mobile app
Superior financial strength
High coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of a policy’s death benefit)
Limited online quotes
Medical exams required for term and universal life policies
No final expense policies
Mutual of Omaha
Best for: Digital accessibility
Mutual of Omaha ranked just behind the overall winners of Bankrate’s best life insurance study. The company ranks well above average in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey and earned a financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) from AM Best. Mutual of Omaha offers no-medical exam life insurance options, and its digital features could make managing your life insurance policy easy.
Some people may be looking for the best online life insurance experience. In terms of accessibility, Mutual of Omaha offers a robust digital app, an online portal, local insurance agents and a 24/7 phone line for accepting your payments.
Learn more: Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance review
Easy online quote process
Offers digital money management app
High J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
Does not provide dividends
Not all life insurance can be quoted online
Best for: Customer satisfaction
Nationwide offers a user-friendly mobile app, streamlined online portal and a network of independent agents across the U.S. Combine those features with an above-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating, and Nationwide could be a great choice for customer satisfaction.
The multi-line insurer offers seven riders for universal life, the second-highest number of riders of any company on our list. Nationwide also received an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, making it possibly one of the best life insurance companies in the marketplace in terms of third-party ratings.
Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review
No-medical exam options available for universal, whole and term life insurance programs, depending on eligibility
Above-average J.D. Power customer service score
Plentiful rider options
Limited online quotes
Policy acceptance not guaranteed
No 24/7 help line
Best for: Customer service
Northwestern Mutual won the 2023 Bankrate Award for best universal life insurance company due to its high financial strength rating, highly-rated customer satisfaction and available financial planning services. Northwestern Mutual sells coverage through agents, which could be a good fit for those who prefer face-to-face interactions over a digital purchase process.
Earning an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, Northwestern Mutual shows a strong history of being able to pay claims. As a mutual company, it is owned by its policyholders. Northwestern Mutual offers a variety of term, whole and universal life insurance policies. Because universal life coverage is flexible, you may be contacting your agent more often. Northwestern Mutual ranks highly in Bankrate’s internal study of accessibility for providing a mobile app, online portal, local agents and a 24/7 customer service phone line that accepts premium payments.
Learn more: Northwestern Mutual Insurance review
Dividends available on whole life insurance policies
Flexible policy options
Wide range of riders
Easy-to-use online portal and mobile app
Must buy coverage through an agent
Limited information available online
Best for: Policy personalization
Prudential is the third-largest U.S. life insurer based on market share rankings from the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). In our study, Prudential Financial ranked just behind our overall best life insurance company winners in customer satisfaction and accessibility. It offers plentiful rider options, easy-to-use online tools and live agent support.
The company has nine universal life insurance riders — more than any other carrier on our list. It offers a variety of term life and universal life insurance policies, giving customers a greater level of flexibility than some of its competitors. However, keep in mind that Prudential does not offer whole life insurance or no-medical exam policy options.
Learn more: Prudential Life Insurance review
Live agent support available
Plentiful rider options
Variety of term and universal life policies
Medical history required for quotes
Limited online quotes
Selective policy options
Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
Best for: Term life insurance
State Farm was another two-time Bankrate Award winner, scoring the prize for best term life insurance in 2022 and 2023, thanks to its top-notch customer service and accessibility tools. As one of the top life insurance companies, State Farm also received the highest customer satisfaction score from J.D. Power.
State Farm offers accessibility tools including a 24/7 customer helpline, easy-to-use mobile app, online portal and more than 19,000 exclusive local agents across the U.S. With an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, State Farm has a history of financial stability. The carrier offers a variety of term life insurance options as well as whole, universal and variable universal options.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Numerous policy and rider options
No medical exams required for some policies
Highest J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating
$10,000 maximum for final expenses insurance
Age-dependent exam plans
Can only purchase from an agent; no online option
How to choose the best life insurance companyWhen you are ready to buy life insurance, taking a few extra steps can ensure you find the best policy based on your wants and needs. Here are some things to look for when choosing the best life insurance company for you:
- Ask for recommendations: Your friends and family may have life insurance with a company they love. You may want to ask them about their experiences with customer service at these companies.
- Review customer satisfaction ratings: You can visit the J.D. Power website or check the carrier reviews in this article to review each insurance company’s customer satisfaction ratings. J.D. Power assigns each company a score out of 1,000 possible points.
- Assess financial stability: We recommend looking at a company’s financial strength rating from a third-party agency such as AM Best, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) or Moody’s. A company with a low financial stability rating may have a poor history of being able to meet financial obligations and may struggle to pay life insurance death benefits to policyholders if a high volume of claims are filed simultaneously. It is important to have the assurance that your insurer has a history of strong financial stability.
- Look at customer reviews: Dozens of consumer-oriented sites such as Google, Yelp and Consumer Affairs provide reviews from insurance companies’ customers. It may be most helpful to ignore the outlier reviews and focus on the overall average instead. What did the average customer say about the company you are considering? Are the items they complained about important to you? For example, if someone complained that the company does not offer a mobile app, but a mobile app is unimportant for your needs, you may not need to consider that review in your assessment.
- Get multiple life insurance quotes: It can be beneficial to compare life insurance quotes from multiple carriers to help you find the best cheap life insurance policy. Keep in mind that prices will vary more widely for different policy types, although additional policy features could be another cost-influencing factor.
- Seek professional counsel: While a life insurance calculator can be useful, you may be better able to determine your needs by talking with a financial advisor or a licensed life insurance agent if you have more complex needs or questions. A life insurance agent can help you decide what type of life insurance coverage is right for you and how much life insurance you need. When choosing between the many types of life insurance, it may help to get a second opinion from a professional.
What is life insurance?
Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. In exchange for regular payments, the insurance company pays out a sum of money to your loved ones in the event of your death. These funds, also known as a “death benefit,” can help with covering expenses such as funeral costs and unpaid medical expenses. Death benefits can be used for anything, though; there are no restrictions on how the money can be used. You could use a death benefit to pay down debt, fund your children’s education or simply to pay everyday bills. Depending on the type of policy, this sum can also be paid out after specific life events, such as a diagnosis of terminal or critical illness, or after you reach a certain age.
How does life insurance work?
When you purchase a life insurance policy, you are making an agreement with an insurance company to make regular payments toward continued coverage with the policy. You will also choose a beneficiary, which could be a person or organization, that the insurance company will pay once you pass away. To access the funds, your beneficiary would have to file a claim with the company, who will then process it before making the payment.
Types of life insurance policiesThere are many types of life insurance policies, but they all fall under two categories: term life insurance, which is only in force for a set time, and permanent life insurance, which is in effect as long as premiums are paid in most circumstances. Permanent life insurance comes with a cash value component. Depending on your individual needs and preferences, having one or both of these types of policies could be an integral part of your financial plan.
- Term life insurance: With a term life policy, you and the life insurance company enter into a contract for a specified death benefit amount for a set number of years. Unlike permanent life insurance, a term life insurance doesn’t have the savings or investment potential, and because it’s only active for a set number of years, it’s possible to outlive your policy and receive no benefits. However, you may be able to convert it into a permanent life policy at the end of your term.
- Permanent life insurance: In contrast to term coverage, permanent life insurance stays in place for your entire life, as long as you pay the premiums. There are many types of permanent coverage, but the two main forms are whole and universal.
- Whole life insurance: A form of permanent life insurance, whole life insurance usually comes with set premiums and a cash value account. While you may not be able to change the policy after it is active, having the cash value component can be useful, although the money accumulates relatively slowly.
- Universal life insurance: Another form of permanent life insurance, universal life insurance is known for its flexibility. The premium and death benefit can be adjusted as needs or lifestyles change. It also has a cash value component and can come with different investment strategies to help you grow the value of the policy.
What does life insurance cover?
In general, life insurance covers natural causes of death, such as old age and terminal illness. It will also typically cover accidents. There are, however, certain exclusions for life insurance, especially during the policy’s contestability period. For example, death by suicide is generally not covered in the first two years of a policy. Most importantly, certain misrepresentations on your policy could be deemed fraudulent and might void the life insurance policy and prevent the death benefit from being paid. That’s why it’s important to be honest when applying for life insurance.
Frequently asked questions