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Equitable Life Insurance review 2022

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Equitable Holdings, Inc. is the parent company for Equitable Life insurance, which sells policies throughout the U.S., along with other financial services such as retirement planning. It was founded in 1859 and has undergone several name changes — up until recently operating as AXA Equitable. It offers a range of policy types, including term and permanent policies, for individuals.

Perks Drawbacks
160+ years of life insurance experience No whole life policies available
Fewer than average complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Below average ranking with J.D. Power
Provides financial advisors for policyholders
Manage and review accounts online

Equitable has been selling life insurance, including life insurance for children, and other financial products for more than 160 years, and it offers a robust range of life policy types for those who wish to leave financial protection for their loved ones. These include term policies ranging from one to 20 years in length, which may be especially appealing to those who only need coverage for a short period of time. It also sells indexed universal life policies and variable life insurance, the latter two of which feature a cash value.

Equitable’s life insurance products are available through a nationwide network of independent agents who are Equitable distributors. You may also work with a financial professional online through its website, who can advise you on life insurance and help you determine what type of policy is best and how much life insurance you need so you can begin comparing quotes. In addition to life insurance, the company offers annuities, 401(k) plans and more.

Equitable life insurance coverage types

Equitable life insurance offers five types of coverage for individuals. All of them have a death benefit, but the permanent policies also feature a cash value, which can be borrowed against during the policyholder’s life. Permanent policies do not have an end date — they remain active as long as the premium is paid, making them a good option for long-term financial planning.

  • Term: Term policies are often a great option for young families that may need coverage while their children are young, or anyone who wants coverage for a defined period of time. Equitable has an unusually large range of terms — from terms for one, 10, 15 and 20 years. Some individuals may even qualify for no medical exam life coverage. Term policies tend to be relatively inexpensive, and offer payouts of up to $2 million. Term policies can be converted to permanent insurance when the term is finished.
  • Permanent: Equitable offers several types of permanent policies, which all feature a cash value. The differences between them are in how the cash value is invested, so you might choose one over the other depending on whether you are looking for a conservative investment or are willing to take on some risk. Equitable does not sell the most common type of permanent policy, however, which is whole life insurance. Some permanent policies may be available with no medical exam. Here are the permanent policy types Equitable sells:
    • Indexed universal life insurance: With this type of policy, a portion of your premium goes toward your death benefit and the rest is invested in an S&P index fund, where it builds tax-deferred in a stock company or companies. Growth is based on the market’s performance. The timing and amount of your premium for this policy are flexible, depending on your financial situation.
    • Variable universal life insurance: Liked indexed universal life, you have flexibility here with payment amount and timing. With variable universal, however, your cash value is invested in a mutual fund, making it somewhat less risky, but also not likely to increase as much as Indexed universal life. You have two options for variable universal life (VUL) with Equitable: VUL Optimizer and VUL Legacy, which offer you more choices for investment vehicles.
    • Survivorship life insurance: This type of permanent policy covers two people, usually partners or spouses, with one policy. When both pass away, their beneficiary will receive the death benefit. Equitable offers a VUL survivorship policy for those interested.
    • Long-term care insurance: While different from most life insurance policies, Equitable’s long-term care insurance rider combines a way to pay for long-term care costs with a death benefit and cash value. Long-term care insurance is generally purchased by older individuals.
  • Guaranteed issue: Equitable offers several of its policies as guaranteed issue, non medical exam options, with an easy underwriting process that it states is less invasive than usual. You may be eligible for a guaranteed policy if you are between the ages of 18 and 55 and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Products included in the guaranteed program are VUL Optimizer, VUL Legacy, BrightLife Grow, and Term 10, 15, 20 and ART.

Equitable life services

Equitable is more than just a life insurance company. You can access the skills of a financial professional for advice on your retirement or other issues, and the company sells annuities, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans for educators and 457(b) retirement plans.

Employers can also find services at Equitable, including dental, life and disability insurance, as well as other types of insurance that are of interest to those in business and industry. There is a wealth of information on the site’s blogs, including articles on everything from 529 plans for college savings to how to manage debt and create an emergency fund.

Other Equitable perks worth considering

Equitable has a full suite of insurance products for employers, from long-term disability to critical illness insurance.

Mobile app allows for on-the-go account management and convenience, and is available for both Android and iPhone.

Online tools and resources for educators.

Equitable life insurance customer and claims satisfaction

Equitable life insurance reviews are generally positive. The NAIC, which monitors company complaints, reports that Equitable has far fewer complaints filed, at an index of 0.12, than the national baseline of 1.0. Equitable life policyholders, on the other hand, rate Equitable’s customer satisfaction as being below average in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study.

Equitable’s ranking with consumer watchdogs that monitor its financial strength are strong. It receives an A (Excellent) ranking from A.M. Best, an A2 from Moody’s, and an A+ from Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

Equitable social responsibility

Equitable’s Foundation contributes regularly to the success and vitality of its communities, including the New York/Jersey City area, where it has its headquarters. The foundation sponsors a scholarship that gives one hundred $2,500 awards to students each year, a matching gifts program, and an employee volunteer program that gave more than 6,800 hours of service in 2018.

Equitable is a contributor to the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program and has philanthropic partnerships with a number of other non-profit organizations, including the New Teacher Center and Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD).

Not sure if Equitable is right for you? Consider these alternatives

If you want consider a few other insurers before determining if Equitable life insurance is right for you, you may want to start with these options:

  • State Farm: If you want an insurer with high customer satisfaction ratings, State Farm is a well-known company that topped the 2021 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study ranking for overall customer satisfaction. It also earned a 2022 Bankrate Award for best term life insurance company.
  • Northwestern Mutual: Another top-ranked company in J.D. Power customer satisfaction, Northwestern Mutual offers term, whole life and universal life policies, and has the added benefit of being able to offer annual dividends to many policyholders.
  • Nationwide: Nationwide offers auto, property and life insurance, as well as other banking and financial services. It earned second place in the J.D. Power Life Insurance Study.
Written by
Mary Van Keuren
Insurance Contributor
Mary Van Keuren has written for insurance domains such as Bankrate,, and The Simple Dollar for the past five years, specializing in home and auto insurance. She has also written extensively for consumer websites including and Slumber Yard. Prior to that, she worked as a writer in academia for several decades.
Edited by
Insurance Editor