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Best universal life insurance companies

Updated Jan 27, 2023
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If you’re looking for a flexible life insurance policy, getting a universal life quote could be a good choice. Universal life is known for its flexibility, and policies usually come with options to raise or lower your death benefit and your premiums to adjust your coverage as your life changes. The best universal life insurance companies offer plentiful rider options to help you build the coverage you need, several ways to access and update your policy, high customer satisfaction scores and strong financial strength ratings. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team analyzed UL life insurance providers to help you choose a company that will fit your unique circumstances.

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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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Key takeaways

  • Universal life insurance is a flexible type of life insurance that can be adjusted to meet changing needs.
  • Because of the flexibility, you may be in contact with your carrier more often, and as such, you may want to consider customer satisfaction scores and accessibility.
  • You may also want to consider a company with numerous riders to help you personalize your coverage to your unique situation.

Best universal life insurance companies

Bankrate analyzed universal life insurance companies by looking at the following factors: J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores from the 2022 U.S Individual Life Insurance Study, financial strength scores from AM Best, number of riders and coverage capacity. We also used accessibility as a metric, and researched whether each company had a mobile app, 24/7 customer service, an online portal and local agents. Lastly, we investigated whether each carrier had a no-exam option for universal life policies.

Because owning a universal life policy comes with the perk of flexibility, we weighted accessibility as the most important company feature; companies with greater levels of accessibility ranked higher in our methodology. A company’s number of riders was the second measure that we weighted, because UL customers likely want to create a policy that is tailored to their specific circumstances.

Based on our research, the following life insurance companies offer some of the best universal life insurance coverage:

Life insurance company J.D. Power customer satisfaction score AM Best rating
Guardian 778/1,000 A++
Lincoln financial 764/1,000 A
Mutual of Omaha 801/1,000 A+
Nationwide 791/1,000 A+
Northwestern Mutual 794/1,000 A++
Prudential 773/1,000 A+
State Farm 839/1,000 A++

Guardian

Guardian could be a great choice for those looking for a universal life policy without a medical exam, as the company is one of the few to offer a no-exam UL option. Guardian also has the highest AM Best financial strength rating possible: A++ (Superior). This means that, historically, Guardian has been financially sound and able to pay out large influxes of claims.

However, Guardian doesn’t offer universal life insurance quotes online, possibly because of the complexity of the policies. You’ll need to contact a financial advisor that sells Guardian products in order to get a quote and buy a policy.

PROS

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    Superior AM Best financial strength rating

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    No-medical-exam UL option available

CONS

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    Less accessible than some competitors

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    No online universal life insurance quotes

Learn more: Guardian Insurance review

Lincoln Financial

If you like options and you want the best permanent life insurance policy, Lincoln Financial could be a good choice. The company offers several different types of UL coverage, including indexed universal life and variable universal life. The company also has a user-friendly website with an online portal that allows you to pay bills and manage your policy.

Lincoln Financial does have a lower-than-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score, though, and its financial strength rating, while still high, is lower than some of its competitors. If you like consolidating numerous financial products in one place, however, you might want to consider Lincoln Financial, which also sells annuities and offers long-term care planning services.

PROS

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    Several types of UL coverage available

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    Sells numerous financial products

CONS

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    Lower-than-average J.D. Power score

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    Lower AM Best financial strength rating than some competitors

Learn more: Lincoln Financial Insurance review

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha could be a good option for anyone looking for solid customer service combined with several universal life options. Additionally, Mutual of Omaha is a relatively accessible company, with local agents, an automated 24/7 phone line for payments and an online customer portal.

Mutual of Omaha does not have a no-exam option for its universal life policies, however, and doesn’t advertise its riders online. This does not mean that endorsements are not available, but you’ll have to request a quote and talk with a Mutual of Omaha agent to learn what options you have.

PROS

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    Higher-than-average J.D. Power score

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    Several ways to contact the company

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    Several different UL policy types available

CONS

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    All UL policies require a medical exam

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    Riders are not advertised online

Learn more: Mutual of Omaha Insurance review

Nationwide

Nationwide stands out among universal life insurance companies for its highly customizable policies. Nationwide also offers several ways to interact with your policy, including a mobile app, online portal and local agents. Nationwide could also be a good choice if you like bundling your auto and home insurance with your life policy and keeping all your products in one place.

However, Nationwide’s A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best is high, but not quite as high as some of its competitors. Additionally, you can’t get a universal life quote online and must contact an agent.

PROS

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    Higher-than-average J.D. Power score

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    Numerous riders available

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    No-exam UL option available

CONS

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    AM Best financial strength rating is lower than some competitors

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    No online quote option

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has high third-party scores combined with a high coverage capacity. The carrier could be a good fit if you are looking for a high death benefit on your policy and an exceptional level of service. You can also contact Northwestern Mutual to discuss or make changes to your policy in a variety of ways, including via the online portal or by talking directly to a financial advisor.

However, with only three riders available, it may be difficult to customize your policy with Northwestern Mutual. The carrier also doesn’t offer a no-exam option for UL policies, either, which means that potential customers with health issues may not qualify for coverage.

PROS

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    High J.D. Power customer satisfaction score

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    High coverage capacity

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    Several ways to contact the company

CONS

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    Fewer riders than some competitors

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    All UL policies require a medical exam

Learn more: Northwestern Mutual Insurance review

Prudential

If you are looking for a highly-personalized policy, Prudential could be a good choice. With nine riders, the company has options to build a policy that fits your needs. Prudential might also be a good option if you like to keep numerous types of financial products with one company for easier access. The provider also offers retirement accounts, annuities, health insurance and investment products.

However, Prudential does have a below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score, which might mean that customers aren’t always satisfied with the service they receive. Additionally, Prudential’s universal life options all require a medical exam.

PROS

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    Highest number of riders of the companies on our list

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    Several additional product types offered

CONS

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    Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score

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    All UL policies require a medical exam

Learn more: Prudential Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm earned the highest J.D. Power score in the 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, indicating that its customers tend to be highly satisfied with their interactions. Paired with an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, State Farm may be a good option for those looking for a company with a proven track record. Additionally, State Farm offers several ways to handle your policy needs, including a mobile app, online portal, local agents and a 24/7 payment phone line.

However, State Farm doesn’t offer indexed or variable universal life policies, so if you are looking for these options, you might be better served elsewhere. Additionally, those in Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin will not be able to purchase a life policy, as State Farm is not actively writing life insurance in those areas.

PROS

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    Highest J.D. Power score in the study

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    Superior AM Best financial strength rating

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    Highly-accessible agent interactions

CONS

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    No options for indexed or variable universal life

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    Policies are not available in Massachusetts, New York or Wisconsin

How to choose the best universal life insurance company

IIf you’re shopping for a permanent life insurance policy like universal life, you may want to consider your life insurance company carefully. Although policies can be canceled or replaced, the point of a permanent policy is to last for your entire life, so it’s important to choose a company that can meet your needs, even as they change. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for the best universal life insurance companies:

  • Consider third-party ratings: Ratings from companies like J.D. Power, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), AM Best, Standard &  Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s can help you get a well-rounded view of a carrier’s customer satisfaction levels and financial strength. This information could be useful when choosing a company that you may interact with for the rest of your life.
  • Shop based on your needs, not rates: While the cost of life insurance might vary a bit between companies, it doesn’t fluctuate as much as auto or home insurance rates do. Rather than shopping to find the lowest rates, you might want to compare life insurance companies based on how they fit your needs. For example, you might want to seek out a few companies that have the specific riders you want and compare how well the riders meet your needs, rather than shopping for cheap life insurance rates.
  • Think about working with a financial advisor: A financial advisor or licensed life insurance agent could help you determine what your specific needs are. Plus, they may have recommendations regarding companies, life insurance policy types or riders.

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.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Writer & Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional with over a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent.