Best whole life insurance for 2021

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As with other types of insurance, such as home and auto insurance, life insurance provides financial protection and is an important part of your financial planning process. Whole life insurance is one of the simplest types of life insurance policies. But with so many types of life insurance, how do you know if whole life is the right option for you? And if you have decided to pursue a whole life insurance policy, how do you know what the best whole life insurance policy options are?

Bankrate can help you to better understand whole life insurance, which could make you feel more comfortable with your life insurance decision. Our editorial team has compiled information about the best whole life insurance companies, including J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and AM Best financial strength ratings, to help you choose a company that is right for you.

What is whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is a type of life insurance policy that provides coverage for the entirety of your life, as long as you pay the premiums. Upon your death, your beneficiary or beneficiaries will receive the death benefit on the policy. Death benefits on whole life insurance policies can vary greatly, from as little as $25,000 to over $1,000,000.

Whole life also offers living benefits. When you pay your premium, your insurance company puts a portion of your payment into a savings account. This money grows with interest. You can use this cash value in a number of ways. You could take out a loan against the cash value, which you will then repay in agreed-upon installments. You can also simply withdraw the cash value without paying it back, although this will lower your death benefit amount. If you have enough cash value in your policy, you could also use it to pay your premiums.

Since whole life insurance covers you for a longer period of time than term life insurance, it is generally more expensive. However, you may enjoy the benefits of whole life insurance if you are looking for a simple policy that will not need to be renewed and also includes living benefits.

Best whole life insurance companies

The best whole life insurance company for one person may not be the same company for another person, because different companies cater best to different types of people and different needs. Some insurers target members of the military while others may target insureds with specific types of health conditions such as cancer or heart disease. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to research additional companies. However, based on our research, the following five companies are among the best in the industry.

Company Name J.D. Power AM Best
Globe Life 810 out of 1,000 A
Nationwide 803 out of 1,000 A+
New York Life 784 out of 1,000 A++
Northwestern Mutual 790 out of 1,000 A++
State Farm 838 out of 1,000 A++

Globe Life

Globe Life offers several life insurance products, including whole life. If you are concerned about the medical exam that is often required when applying for life insurance, Globe Life may be a good option for you. The company’s whole life insurance product does not require a medical exam.

Globe Life can trace its roots back to 1900 and currently has $82 billion dollars of insurance in force. The company also received the second-place ranking in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, with a score of 810 out of 1,000. This indicates that customers are generally satisfied with Globe Life’s customer service support.

Nationwide

If you prefer to have all of your insurance products with one company, Nationwide may be a good choice. Along with various life insurance products, Nationwide also offers home insurance, auto insurance and pet insurance, among other products.

Nationwide offers clients two payment options when it comes to whole life insurance. The Whole Life 100 policy offers level premiums, like all whole life insurance policies, but payments stop when you turn 100. The 20-pay Whole Life option allows you to pay the same premium for 20 years, at which point the policy is considered paid for and premiums stop.

New York Life

Unlike many of its competitors, New York Life is completely owned by its policyholders. It offers a complete range of life insurance products, including whole life, term and convertible term policies. New York Life accounts for over 6% of the overall market share in the life insurance industry, which makes it the largest provider of life insurance in the U.S.

New York Life offers policyholders the ability to customize their payment schedule with its Custom Whole Life Insurance option. This option may allow you to pay up your policy in a shorter period of time so that you have no premiums due later in life.

Northwestern Mutual

Like New York Life, Northwestern Mutual is owned exclusively by its policyholders and offers a wide range of whole life, term and universal life policies. The company received an above-industry-average score from J.D. Power and received an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Northwestern Mutual offers a tool on its website that will match you with a financial advisor. You can input your financial goals, which can include protecting your family, saving for retirement or growing your investments, and the tool will pair you with a financial advisor to discuss product options to help supplement your goals.

State Farm

State Farm stands out in our list of best whole life insurance companies. Not only did State Farm receive the highest ranking from J.D. Power, it also boasts an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best. Just like with Nationwide, if you prefer to have all your insurance products in one place, State Farm could be a good option.

State Farm offers three policy payment options for its whole life insurance product. You can pay in one lump sum, pay level premiums that will stop at age 100 or choose a limited number of years to pay. State Farm’s licensed agents may be appealing if you prefer to do your business locally. You can find an agent using the “Find an Agent” tool online.

How to find the best whole life insurance company for you

There are several things that you may want to consider as you shop for a whole life insurance policy. One of them is financial strength. What do the financial ratings agencies such as Moody’s, Fitch’s, AM Best and Standard & Poor’s say about a company’s ability to pay claims? You can also go to the state insurance commissioner’s website and find out how many complaints the company has received during the past year or two.

You may also want to consider a company’s quoted premiums. The difference in price between one carrier and another may surprise you in many cases, as different carriers are geared to provide competitive coverage for different categories of insureds. It may be beneficial to obtain quotes from several companies to compare the premiums you are offered.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between term and whole life?

Term insurance only provides death benefit coverage, and only for a certain number of years, while whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire life and also comes with a savings account component that accumulates cash value over time. Because whole life insurance lasts longer and comes with additional benefits, it is generally more expensive than term life policies.

What factors impact my life insurance premium?

There are several factors that are used to determine how much you may pay for your life insurance coverage. Your age, health and the amount of coverage that you need are the primary rating factors, but other factors such as where you live, your hobbies and your occupation may also be considered. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your life insurance is likely to be.

How much life insurance do I need?

Your life insurance death benefit amount is a very personal calculation. If you are still working and have loved ones who depend on your income, you may want to consider how many years of income your life insurance policy can provide them if you pass away. You may want to consider your debts, funeral costs and if you want to leave a financial gift to anyone. Our life insurance calculator might help you determine how much coverage you need. You can also talk to a licensed life insurance agent or a financial advisor to determine how much life insurance to purchase.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical writing from Indiana University East. She began writing for Bankrate in January 2021 and has nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Cate has worked with over a dozen insurance companies and is experienced with auto, home, flood, umbrella and life insurance.