Life insurance is all about preparing yourself financially. It can be used to protect those you will eventually leave behind and can also be used to save, for retirement income, to help pay mortgage loans and to achieve other financial objectives. Life insurance can also help to protect those you leave behind so that can potentially avoid financial hardship.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are considering life insurance. There’s no better time to apply for a policy than now — some insurers have automated the underwriting process and waived medical exams and blood tests due to social distancing requirements.
Shopping for a life insurance policy can take up a lot of time and be challenging with all of the life insurance companies out there today. Options like “term life insurance” and “whole life insurance” can also seem complicated if you are not familiar with how life insurance works. Knowing what you need can help you find the right policy for you.
The best life insurance companies
Based on 2020 J.D. Power ratings, these are the best life insurance companies in 2021.
|Life insurance company||J.D. Power rating||Coverage capacity|
|MetLife Inc.||773 out of 1,000||$1,000,000|
|Prudential Financial Inc.||759 out of 1,000||$10,000,0000|
|New York Life Insurance Group||784 out of 1,000||$2,000,000|
|Northwestern Mutual||790 out of 1,000||$10,000,000|
|State Farm||838 out of 1,000||$3,000,000|
|Guardian||743 out of 1,000||$1,000,000|
|Haven Life||769 out of 1,000||$3,000,000|
|MassMutual||769 out of 1,000||$10,000,000|
To help evaluate the top life insurance companies, we gathered ratings from the J.D. Power, AM Best and BBB websites, which are trusted sources of unbiased information. We combined that information and then analyzed customer reviews from Consumer Affairs to determine the five best life insurance companies.
MetLife Inc. owns 6.05% of the life insurance market share, which makes it one of the largest life insurance companies in the nation. MetLife is different from the other companies in our review because it currently only offers life insurance plans through employers.
MetLife’s app lets you can submit claims, view policies, pay bills, track driving and upload photos and videos, which helps manage all of your policies, not just life insurance. If your employer does not offer MetLife, you can get individual life insurance policies through Brighthouse Financial, established by MetLife in 2017.
|Convenient mobile app
One of the largest life insurance companies
Option of Brighthouse Financial
|Limited information online
No individual plans
Only available through employers
Learn more: MetLife Insurance review
Prudential Financial Inc.
With 5.8% of the nation’s life insurance market share, Prudential Financial Inc. is another large life insurance provider. Prudential Financial Inc ranks about average from customer satisfaction review sites. Prudential Financial offers a variety of term life policies and universal life insurance policies, offering customers a greater level of flexibility than some of its competitors.
|Live agent support available
Several options available
|Medical history required for quotes
Limited online quotes
Selective policy options
Learn more: Prudential Insurance review.
New York Life Insurance Group
New York Life Insurance Group is owned by its policyholders. It offers a variety of term, whole and convertible life insurance policy options. One option is the flexible payment schedule, which allows customers to pay premiums early to avoid paying them in future years. New York Life Insurance Group holds 6.75% of the market share, ranking it first in market share in the United States.
|Early payments accepted
Largest life insurance provider by market share
|External site for online quotes
No extended products
Limited mobile functionality
Learn more: New York Life Insurance review
Earning an A++ rating from AM Best, Northwestern Mutual shows it can afford to pay claims. As a mutual company, it is owned by the policyholders. The provider offers a variety of term, whole and universal life insurance policies.
|Dividends on all policies
|Must buy through agent
Limited information online
Medical exam required for most policies
Learn more: Northwestern Mutual Insurance review.
State Farm is a name most people recognize for home and auto insurance, but it is also a top contender in the life insurance world. With an A++ rating from AM Best, State Farm is a financially stable company. The company offers a variety of term life insurance options as well as whole, universal and variable universal options.
Numerous policy options
No exams required for some policies
|$10,000 maximum for final expenses
Age-dependent exam plans
Limited availability for online quotes
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review.
Guardian Life Insurance is one of the largest in the United States, with a network of over 3,000 financial representatives across the nation. AM Best ranks Guardian’s Financial Strength Rating as A++ Superior.
Guardian Life offers multiple coverage depending on your life stage, goals, needs, and budget. It also offers life insurance for millennials. Policyholders can choose term life insurance from 10 to 30 years or permanent life. You can also obtain a quote online from Guardian to estimate how much your premium will be. Guardian also offers an online account management system, making it easy for you to manage your policy online at your own time.
|Dividends on some policies
Easy online management
Policies for HIV-positive applicants
|Must purchase through an agent
Rider details limited online
Medical exams required on all policies
Learn more: Guardian Insurance review
Haven Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of the parent company, MassMutual. The insurance company’s ease of use through its online portal enables customers to enjoy simple navigation.
You can choose between various term length options, a coverage between $100,000 and $3 million and more to customize your own policy. Depending on the state you reside in, Haven also offers more coverage options and add-ons specific to your state. Receive a free quote online with Haven’s online quote calculator.
|No medical exams for some policies
Easy online quote process
|Term policies cannot be converted
No policies for ages 64 and older
Individual policies only
Learn more: Haven Insurance review
MassMutual, also known as Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., is a U.S. life insurance company that is owned by policyholders. MassMutual offers some policyholders dividends depending on the products purchased.
MassMutual offers an online application process for term life insurance. Coverage takes effect immediately upon application approval and applicants must complete medical exams within the first three months.
|Live agent support
Free coverage for low-income families
Convenient mobile app
|Limited online quotes
Medical exams required
No final expense policies
Learn more: MassMutual Insurance review
How to choose the best life insurance company
Everyone has different wants and needs in a life insurance provider. Here are some things to look for when choosing the best life insurance company for you:
- Ask for recommendations: Often, the best reference is word of mouth. Ask your friends and family for recommendations on the top life insurance companies they have had positive experiences with.
- Look at customer satisfaction ratings: You can visit the J.D. Power website to review its customer satisfaction ratings for life insurance companies. Companies will be ranked based on their overall score and then given a rating of up to 1,000.
- Look at financial stability: We recommend looking at a company’s financial stability. You can do this on the AM Best website. However, some companies, like MetLife, are rated through other agencies like Demotech. A company with a low financial stability score may struggle to pay life insurance death benefits to policyholders if numerous claims are filed at once. It is important to have the assurance of strong financial stability.
- Look at customer reviews: We used Consumer Affairs, but there are other sites available that will include customer reviews. We recommend ignoring the outlier reviews and focusing on the average. What did the average person say about the company you are considering? Are the things they complained about things that are important to you? For example, if someone made a complaint that the company does not offer a mobile app but a mobile app is not important to you, you may not need to consider that review in your assessment.
- Get life insurance quotes: It can be beneficial to get quotes from multiple carriers and compare prices so you know if what you have found is the best life insurance policy at a competitive price. We recommend getting at least three quotes from different life insurance companies before making your final choice.
- Ask questions: When in doubt, talk to a licensed life insurance agent. Do not hesitate to ask detailed questions about the coverage you have been quoted. It will be important to you and to your agent that you thoroughly understand your coverage and obligations.
Frequently asked questions
At what age should you buy life insurance?
Insurance agents generally say the earlier you buy life insurance, the better. Life insurance rates tend to increase with age, with options becoming especially limited for term life insurance.
How do you buy life insurance?
Once you have selected a life insurance company and policy, you can buy your life insurance policy. You will complete an application with the company you select. Many insurance companies offer online quotes. Depending on the company and your situation, you may be asked to have a medical exam or participate in a phone interview. Once approved, you will review and sign the policy and pay the premium. After that, your life insurance will be active.
How much does life insurance cost?
The cost of life insurance depends on a number of factors like age, general health, medical conditions and the type of policy selected. In general, the younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your life insurance rates will be. If you smoke, are overweight or have existing medical conditions, you may be quoted higher premiums. For people who are generally healthy, life insurance premiums are relatively low when you go with a cheap life insurance company. If you select a whole life policy you will often pay a higher premium than if you select a term life policy.
Choosing the best life insurance policy is not a decision to take lightly. The insurance company’s history, as well as its reputation for customer service, financial stability and pricing, are just a few of the things that can impact both your experience and policy value.
We looked at NAIC ratings based on market share, financial stability ratings from sources like AM Best and Demotech and consumer reviews and satisfaction with J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau.