Life insurance is designed to cover financial obligations and provide for your loved ones if you were to pass away. For many families, life insurance is a key financial decision, so you may want to carefully research your choices to make sure you’re choosing the best life insurance company for your needs. Bankrate’s insurance editorial experts reviewed the largest life insurance companies on the market and chose eight of the best providers based on objective metrics. We found the best life insurance companies by reviewing J.D. Power scores for customer satisfaction, AM Best scores for financial strength, available coverage options, riders and digital offerings.
State Farm took the top spot in the 2022 Bankrate Awards for best term life insurance. MassMutual won the prize for best whole life insurer and Nationwide claimed the top place for best universal life insurer. Although these winners exhibited strong performance based on our findings, life insurance is an incredibly personalized product. The best life insurance company for you will depend on the policy type you want as well as your own personal rating metrics. Our list of top providers may help you learn how to choose the right carrier for your specific needs.

Best life insurance companies

When you start your search for life insurance, you’ll be able to choose between various policy types, including universal life insurance, term life insurance and whole life insurance. The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) recommends you discuss your needs with a financial advisor or insurance agent to determine what type of policy is best for you and what carriers fit your criteria.

The table below outlines our picks for the top life insurance companies, based on our research into customer satisfaction, general affordability 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.

Bankrate’s best life insurance companies (listed alphabetically)
Life insurance company J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores
Guardian 775/1,000
MassMutual 782/1,000
Mutual of Omaha 795/1,000
Northwestern Mutual 807/1,000
Nationwide 813/1,000
Prudential 753/1,000
State Farm 822/1,000
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Key takeaways
  • How much you pay for life insurance depends on the policy type you choose, your age and your bill of health.
  • Bankrate’s research determined State Farm to be best for term life policies, MassMutual to be best for whole life insurance and Nationwide to be best for universal life insurance.
  • Prudential Financial and Northwestern Mutual also ranked highly for accessibility and customer satisfaction in Bankrate’s study.

Guardian

Why we picked this company: High J.D. Power score, low NAIC complaint index, high AM Best financial strength score, large network of financial advisors

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 average 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. It also offers relatively inexpensive life insurance for millennials.

Perks Drawbacks
Dividends on some policies Must purchase coverage through an agent
Easy online management Rider details limited online
Policies for HIV-positive applicants
Multiple no-medical exam policy options

Learn more: Guardian Life Insurance review

MassMutual

Why we picked this company: Several no-exam policy options, high AM Best financial strength score, several rider options

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.

Perks Drawbacks
Live agent support Limited online quotes
Free coverage for qualifying low-income families Medical exams required for term and universal life policies
Convenient mobile app No final expense policies
Numerous riders Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores
Superior financial strength
High coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of a policy’s death benefit)

Learn more: MassMutual Life Insurance review

Mutual of Omaha

Why we picked this company: High J.D. Power score, high AM Best score for financial strength, no-exam policy options, local agents

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.

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.

Perks Drawbacks
Provides mutual fund options Does not provide dividends
Easy online quote process Not all life insurance can be quoted online
Offers digital money management app
High J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores

Learn more: Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance review

Nationwide

Why we picked this company: High J.D. Power score, several riders, network of local agents, excellent universal life insurance options

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-most of any company on our list. Nationwide also received the second-highest customer satisfaction score on our list 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.

Perks Drawbacks
Best universal life insurance Limited online quotes
No-medical exam options available for universal, whole and term life insurance programs, depending on the customer’s eligibility Policy acceptance not guaranteed
Second-highest J.D. Power customer service score Premiums can be more expensive for some people
Plentiful rider options No 24/7 help line
National network of local independent agents

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

Northwestern Mutual

Why we picked this company: Seamless digital experience, several riders, wide range of policy options

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.

Perks Drawbacks
Dividends on whole life insurance policies Must buy coverage through an agent
Flexible policy options Limited information available online
Wide range of riders
Easy-to-use online portal and mobile app

Learn more: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance review

Prudential

Why we picked this company: Live agent support, several different types of policies, easy-to-use online tools

Prudential Financial ranked just behind our overall best life insurance company winners in customer satisfaction and accessibility. Prudential offers plentiful rider options, easy-to-use online tools and live agent support.

The company has fewer policyholder complaints than average, according to the NAIC’s complaint index. 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.

Perks Drawbacks
Live agent support available Medical history required for quotes
Online tools Limited online quotes
Plentiful rider options Selective policy options
Variety of term and universal life policies Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores

Learn more: Prudential Life Insurance review

State Farm

Why we picked this company: High AM Best score, several policy options, high J.D. Power score

State Farm won a 2022 Bankrate Award for best term life insurance, thanks to its top-notch customer service and accessibility tools. The company also received the highest customer satisfaction score from J.D. Power on our list.

State Farm offers accessibility tools including a 24/7 customer helpline, easy-to-use mobile app, online portal and more than 19,000 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.

Perks Drawbacks
High financial stability scores $10,000 maximum for final expenses insurance
Numerous policy options Age-dependent exam plans
No exams required for some policies Can only purchase from an agent; no online option
Multiple rider options
Best J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating on our list

Learn more: State Farm 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: 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 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’s probably a good approach 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, 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 and compare prices to help you find the best cheap life insurance policy. Keep in mind that prices shouldn’t vary greatly for the same product types, although additional policy features could be another cost-influencing factor. The Triple-I recommends getting at least three comparable quotes from different affordable life insurance companies before making your final choice.
  • Seek professional counsel: You may be better able to nail down your needs by talking with a financial advisor or a licensed life insurance agent. 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.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

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 death benefit payouts, are just a few of the things that can impact both your experience and policy value. We assessed NAIC ratings based on market share, financial stability ratings from sources like AM Best and customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power. We also examined the number of riders available, general accessibility, coverage capacity and whether medical exams were required as part of the underwriting process in order to make our picks.