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Best life insurance companies in 2022

Updated Nov 15, 2022
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Bankrate's guide to the best life insurance companies in 2022

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. Life insurance is a booming industry, though, with hundreds of different life insurance companies all selling similar products. To help make the process of finding the best life insurance company easier, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team reviewed customer satisfaction, financial strength, available coverage options, riders and digital offerings to find the best life insurance companies. 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 universal life insurance
  • Northwestern Mutual: Best for top-tier customer service
  • Prudential: Best for customizations for life insurance
  • State Farm: Best for term life insurance
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This advertising widget is powered by HomeInsurance.com, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and clickable links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Homeinsurance.com LLC in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what ads and links appear, and how, where, and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available to you as a consumer. We strive to keep our information accurate and up-to-date, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer terms from an advertiser may be different than the offer terms on this widget. All offers may be subject to additional terms and conditions of the advertiser.

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This advertising widget is powered by HomeInsurance.com, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. HomeInsurance.com LLC services are only available in states where it is licensed and insurance coverage through HomeInsurance.com may not be available in all states. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

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How Bankrate picked the best life insurance companies for 2022

To find the best life insurance companies of 2022, Bankrate’s editorial team started by researching the largest life insurance carriers on the market. Areas of consideration included customer satisfaction and financial strength ratings from trusted, unbiased sources, including J.D. Power and AM Best. We also 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.

Guardian

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

PROS

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    Dividends available on some policies

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    Easy online management

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    Policies available for HIV-positive applicants

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    Multiple no-medical exam policy options

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    Must purchase coverage through an agent

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    Rider details limited online

MassMutual

Best for: Whole life insurance

MassMutual won a 2022 Bankrate Award 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

PROS

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    Free coverage for qualifying low-income families

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    Convenient mobile app

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    Numerous riders

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    Superior financial strength

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    High coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of a policy’s death benefit)

CONS

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    Limited online quotes

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    Medical exams required for term and universal life policies

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    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

PROS

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    Easy online quote process

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    Offers digital money management app

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    High J.D. Power customer satisfaction score

CONS

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    Does not provide dividends

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    Not all life insurance can be quoted online

Nationwide

Best for: Universal life insurance

Nationwide won a 2022 Bankrate Award for best universal life insurance coverage for its accessibility and wide range of riders.

In terms of accessibility, Nationwide offers a user-friendly mobile app, streamlined online portal and a network of independent agents across the U.S. 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 above-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score and a financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) from AM Best, making it one of the most competitive life insurance companies in the marketplace in terms of third-party ratings.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

PROS

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    No-medical exam options available for universal, whole and term life insurance programs, depending on eligibility

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    Above-average J.D. Power customer service score

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    Plentiful rider options

CONS

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    Limited online quotes

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    Policy acceptance not guaranteed

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    No 24/7 help line

Northwestern Mutual

Best for: Customer service

Northwestern Mutual received top-tier customer satisfaction scores and financial ratings, scoring just behind the overall winners of Bankrate’s study on best life insurance companies. 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. The company 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

PROS

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    Dividends available on whole life insurance policies

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    Flexible policy options

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    Wide range of riders

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    Easy-to-use online portal and mobile app

CONS

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    Must buy coverage through an agent

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    Limited information available online

Prudential

Best for: Policy personalization

Prudential is the third-largest U.S. life insurer based on new 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

PROS

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    Live agent support available

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    Online tools

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    Plentiful rider options

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    Variety of term and universal life policies

CONS

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    Medical history required for quotes

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    Limited online quotes

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    Selective policy options

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    Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score

State Farm

Best for: Term life insurance

State Farm won a 2022 Bankrate Award for best term life insurance, 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

PROS

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    Numerous policy and rider options

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    No medical exams required for some policies

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    Highest J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating

CONS

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    $10,000 maximum for final expenses insurance

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    Age-dependent exam plans

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    Can only purchase from an agent; no online option

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.
 

Types of life insurance policies

There are many types of life insurance policies, but in general, they 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.
  • 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.

How to choose the best life insurance company

When 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 has 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.
Advertising Disclosure
This advertising widget is powered by HomeInsurance.com, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and clickable links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Homeinsurance.com LLC in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what ads and links appear, and how, where, and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available to you as a consumer. We strive to keep our information accurate and up-to-date, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer terms from an advertiser may be different than the offer terms on this widget. All offers may be subject to additional terms and conditions of the advertiser.

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Insurance Disclosure

This advertising widget is powered by HomeInsurance.com, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. HomeInsurance.com LLC services are only available in states where it is licensed and insurance coverage through HomeInsurance.com may not be available in all states. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

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Frequently asked questions

Written by
June Sham
Insurance Writer

June Sham is an insurance writer for Bankrate. Before joining the team, she worked for nearly three years as a licensed producer writing auto, property, umbrella and earthquake policies.

Edited by Insurance Editor
Reviewed by Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute