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.
However, 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’re not familiar with how life insurance works.
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 protect those you leave behind so that they will not face financial hardship.
Life insurance is all about preparing yourself financially so that those you leave behind will not face 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 — many insurers have automated the underwriting process and waived medical exams and blood tests due to social distancing requirements.
The best life insurance companies
We looked at NAIC ratings based on market share, financial stability ratings and a variety of consumer reviews to create a list of five best life insurance companies.
- MetLife Inc.
- New York Life Insurance Group
- Northwestern Mutual
- Prudential Financial Inc.
- State Farm
Life insurance company ratings
|Company||J.D. Power||AM Best||BBB|
|MetLife Inc.||3 out of 5||A+||A-|
|Prudential Financial Inc.||3 out of 5||A+||C-|
|New York Life Insurance Group||4 out of 5||A++||A+|
|Northwestern Mutual||5 out of 5||A++||A+|
|State Farm||5 out of 5||A++||A|
|Guardian||4 out of 5||A++||A+|
|Haven||3 out of 5||A++||B-|
|MassMutual||3 out of 5||A++||B-|
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 a whopping 13% of the life insurance market share, which means it has a greater market share than any other life insurance company in the nation. MetLife is different from the other companies in our review because it currently only offers life insurance plans through employers.
Customers enjoy MetLife’s app where you can submit claims, view policies, pay bills, track driving and upload photos and videos. If your employer does not offer MetLife, you can get individual life insurance policies through Brighthouse Financial, established by MetLife in 2017.
Prudential Financial Inc.
With 7.7% of the nation’s life insurance market share, Prudential Financial Inc. should be considered a top option in the life insurance industry. Most customer review sites rank Prudential Financial Inc over three out of five in customer ratings, setting the company apart from some of its competition. Prudential Financial offers a nice variety of term life policies and universal life insurance policies, offering customers a greater level of flexibility than some of its competitors.
New York Life Insurance Group
Ranking 8th in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study, New York Life Insurance Group is owned by its policyholders. It offers a variety of term, whole and convertible life insurance policy options. Customers enjoy the flexible payment schedule, which allows customers to pay premiums early to avoid paying them in future years. New York Life Insurance Group holds 4.6% of the market share, ranking it fourth in market share in the United States.
Earning the number 1 spot out of 24 ranked in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study and an A++ rating from AM Best, Northwestern Mutual is a top contender in the life insurance industry. As a mutual, it is owned by the policyholders. The provider offers a variety of term, whole and universal life insurance policies.
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 customers can rest assured in the financial stability. The company offers a variety of term life insurance options as well as whole, universal and variable universal options.
Guardian Life Insurance is one of the largest in the United States, with an estimated 8,000 employees and a network of over 3,000 financial representatives across the nation. This NYC-based company is known for its top notch customer service satisfaction with a 2019 J.D. Power Score Rating of 770 points on a 1000 point scale and a 4 out of 5 circle rating. In 2020, AM Best ranked 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 easily obtain a quote online from Guardian’s site to estimate how much your premium will be. Guardian also offers an online account management system, making it easy for customers to manage your policy online at your own time.
Haven Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the parent company, MassMutual. The insurance company’s ease of use through its online portal enables customers to enjoy simple navigation. In a study done by J.D. Power, MassMutual received 3 out of 5 circles for customer satisfaction and 751/1,000 points. According to Bankrate, this is considered an average customer satisfaction rating in comparison to other life insurance companies. Haven Life policyholders will likely reflect MassMutual’s scores.
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.
MassMutual, also known as Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., is a leading U.S. life insurance company that is owned by policyholders. MassMutual offers some policyholders dividends depending on the products purchased by customers. Under the 2019 J.D. Power Ratings, MassMutual scored “about average” with 751 points out of a 1000 point scale for customer satisfaction. However, for the application process, the insurance company scored “better than most.”
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. You can also cancel the policy and receive a refund at any time or change the coverage amount.
How to choose the best life insurance company for you
Though we have done thorough research for you, we recommend doing your own research to select a life insurance company that is best suited for your individual needs. 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 Power Circle Rating between 2 and 5 circles. We recommend looking at those who received Power Circle Ratings of 3-5.
- 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 not rated there. MetLife was rated by a different agency, Demotech, and received a great financial stability rating. A company with inferior financial stability may leave you high and dry when it comes time to pay out claims. It is important to have the assurance of strong financial stability.
- Look at customer reviews: We used Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau, 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’re 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 isn’t important to you, do not consider that review in your assessment.
- Get life insurance quotes: Always compare prices so you know if what you’ve 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, ask the insurance agent. Do not hesitate to ask detailed questions about the coverage you’ve 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?
The earlier you buy life insurance, the better. Life insurance rates increase with age, so waiting will not work in your favor.
How do you buy life insurance?
Once you have selected a life insurance company and policy, you will complete an application with the company you select. Many insurance companies offer online or over-the-phone applications. 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 annual premium. After that, your life insurance will be active.
How much does life insurance cost?
The cost depends on a number of factors like age, general health, medical conditions and the type of policy selected. 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 will see higher premiums. For people who are generally healthy, life insurance premiums are usually minimal. If you select a whole life policy you will pay a higher premium than if you select a term life policy.