In a Haven Life study, only 67% of female respondents had life insurance, compared to 79% of male respondents. The study suggests that women may be undervaluing their financial contribution to their family, and as a result, may be undervaluing the importance of purchasing life insurance. Women still shoulder many of the household responsibilities such as childcare and cooking, but may also provide significant financial support to their families. Life insurance is meant to protect a family’s finances in the event that a caregiver or primary breadwinner passes away, to make up for a lost salary and/or to finance domestic services such as cooking, cleaning and childcare.
If you’re a woman looking for life insurance, it’s important to understand what options are available to you and how insurers compare based on your personal criteria. Bankrate’s editorial team compiled a list of some of the best life insurance companies for women, each selected on the basis of the company’s policy offerings, riders, endorsements, no-exam options and other attributes.
Life insurance for women
Using life insurance to leave loved ones a financial cushion is a practical form of financial protection, especially since many women fulfill both breadwinner and caregiver roles. But there are other reasons why more women may want to consider prioritizing life insurance. For instance, the right kind of life insurance coverage can level the gender inequality gap in the event of a divorce.
Lauren Blair, a lawyer and insurance expert with FreeAdvice.com, has over 25 years of family law experience. She says, “Given the income disparities that continue to exist between men and women, it is important to make sure that the wife receives an equitable division of property and assets in a divorce.” A life insurance policy that is appropriately structured can be a beneficial, divisible asset.
Whether you want life insurance to finance domestic activities such as childcare and cooking, or to compensate for your lost salary after you pass away, knowing the difference between term and permanent life insurance can help you choose a policy that best fits your situation and goals. A term life insurance policy stays in effect for a predetermined number of years, such as when your children are young. A term policy has no cash value savings or investment accounts.
A permanent life insurance policy remains in effect for your entire life and builds cash value with every premium payment. Because of a greater likelihood for a payout, monthly premiums for permanent life are typically more expensive than for term life policies.
Best life insurance companies for women
When it comes to life insurance prices, gender is one of the biggest factors used when determining rates. Since women have a greater life expectancy and studies have shown they have fewer health risks than males, life insurance is generally cheaper for women. Everyone’s life insurance needs are different based on their circumstances, but we’ve done a little research to find and compare some companies that may be a better fit for women. These insurers were chosen by analyzing each company’s policy offerings for term, life and universal life insurance, and factoring in available riders. For our category “Best for fast coverage with no medical check” we looked for the availability of a no-exam life insurance option. These insurers may be best for women based on their unique circumstances, although you will need to speak with an agent and compare policies yourself to determine if this is the case for you.
|Protective Life Insurance||Best for optional riders|
|State Farm||Best for fast coverage with no medical check|
|Prudential||Best for high limits|
|Northwestern Mutual||Best for overall financial planning|
|Principal Financial||Best for high-risk coverage|
Protective Life Insurance may be a good option for women who would like more personalized coverage, as the carrier offers numerous riders. Mothers may want to consider adding a child rider to their policy. If you plan on naming your child as a beneficiary, be sure to appoint a guardian, as minor beneficiaries cannot receive a death benefit payout except through a legal entity like a trust. If there is no guardian appointed, the courts will intervene to appoint one, which can be a long and potentially costly process.
Protective’s child riders are available for infants as young as 15 days old and provide a death benefit should your child pass away. The rider may be convertible to a permanent policy, regardless of your child’s health, which could offer an affordable way to insure your child for life while they are young, healthy and eligible for affordable premiums.
Learn more: Protective Insurance review
State Farm provides quick and easy online quotes for life insurance. Women looking for an instant-approval life insurance policy that does not require a medical exam may want to consider using State Farm’s LifeRate quote service. The quote-generating process takes less than 10 minutes and guides you with tools and calculators, which can help you figure out how much life insurance you need.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
If you are a high-income earner, one way to calculate the amount of life insurance you might need is by multiplying your income by five or ten years. If you end up with a large number, Prudential may be a good fit for you, as it allows policyholders to assign a benefit as large as $10 million. The company also offers three different types of universal life insurance that provide flexible options to build savings.
As to whether the funds will be there when your beneficiaries need it, Prudential has earned an A+ (Superior) in financial stability from the credit reporting agency AM Best, which is reflective of the insurer’s historical ability to fulfill its claim obligations.
Learn more: Prudential Insurance review
Women who see life insurance as an essential component of their estate and financial planning may find Northwestern Mutual offers a few advantages in this category.
Northwestern Mutual’s dividend-earning whole and universal life policies offer some great savings options, and since it’s a mutual company, policyholders are eligible for dividends. In addition, you will have access to a certified financial planner that can help you develop a financial plan that evolves as your policy’s cash value grows.
Learn more: Northwestern Mutual Insurance review
A pre-existing medical condition can make it more difficult to qualify for life insurance or affordable rates, but Principal Financial may be more willing to work with those who have health issues. For example, Principal underwrites individuals with adult-onset/Type 2 diabetes. Unlike many insurance companies, an applicant with diabetes may still receive standard, preferential pricing or second-tier premiums.
Learn more: Principal Financial Insurance review
Types of life insurance for women
Life insurance falls into two main categories: permanent and term life. Term life insurance is generally the cheaper option, as it remains active for a set period of time, typically between 10 and 30 years. Permanent policies are typically much more expensive as a payout is typically inevitable, but the following features may be attractive to some women:
- No expiration: As long as you pay your premiums and keep your policy up to date, your coverage should not lapse. This aspect may be beneficial since women typically live longer than men.
- Has a death benefit and cash value: The death benefit is the amount you leave to your beneficiaries. The cash value amount is similar to an investment or savings account that you can access and borrow from.
- Financial return options: The cash value account can accrue interest similar to a savings account or can be invested in stocks or an index fund.
However, term life insurance is likely a better option if you only want coverage for a set period of time when your financial obligations are most critical, like when your children are young.
If you decide you want to go with permanent life insurance, a licensed insurance agent or financial planner may be able to help you decide which type of permanent policy is right:
- Whole life insurance: The premiums are fixed, and the cash value of this type of policy earns interest.
- Universal life insurance: The premiums are flexible, and the cash value earns interest.
- Variable universal life insurance: The premiums are flexible, and the cash value can be invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.
Everyone’s financial goals are different, and for some women, a term policy with cheaper premiums may be the better option. In addition to speaking with a licensed expert, it may help to do a little research on life insurance companies and compare quotes to narrow down your top choices.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best life insurance company for women?
There are many life insurance companies to choose from and everyone’s needs are different, which means the best life insurance company for women will be different for each person. Speak with a licensed insurance agent or financial advisor, and shop around to compare rates and policy features to determine what is best for you.
Can I name my unborn child as a beneficiary on my life insurance?
Many insurance companies will require you to wait until your newborn is 15 days or older. When you name your child as a beneficiary, be sure to appoint a trustworthy guardian to manage the death benefit until the child is of legal age. If you do not, the courts will appoint one on your behalf, which could be expensive and time-consuming.
Should I get life insurance for my child?
Whether or not you want to get life insurance for your child is a personal decision. While child mortality rates continue to decline, some parents choose to get life insurance for their children to make them more insurable in the future, or to protect against unexpected funeral costs. For instance, if your child develops a health issue down the line, but already has life insurance, they’ll likely be able to lock in a low premium.