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New York Life insurance review 2024

Updated May 28, 2024
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At a glance

Bankrate's take

Policyholders seeking a variety of policy options, reliable customer service and top-tier financial stability might consider New York Life Insurance as their company of choice.

  • Offers four different types of life insurance products
  • New York Life also offers long-term care and disability insurance
  • Asset Flex allows customers to combine long-term care with life insurance providing a death benefit and cash value
  • Scored above the industry average for customer satisfaction in the 2023 J.D. Power Individual Life Insurance Study

New

What’s new with New York Life?

On October 27, 2023, New York Life announced its Eagle Strategies Prosper Portfolios. This hybrid digital investment tool streamlines access to professional advice, targeting the middle-market consumer segment. It addresses the challenges many face in saving for retirement, including current inflation and unexpected expenses. Notably, the platform is New York Life's maiden fee-based digital investment solution, emphasizing diversified ETF portfolios, tax-loss harvesting and an accessible $5,000 minimum account size.

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New York Life insurance review

New York Life, headquartered in New York City, extends four distinct life insurance policy types: term life, whole life, universal life and variable universal life. New York Life's life insurance products are considerably robust when compared to other providers, providing prospective policyholders various options to find a policy type that aligns with their personal and financial needs.

Working with a licensed agent can help you navigate your options and help you determine how much life insurance you need.

  • Term: New York Life's term life insurance offerings cater to those seeking financial protection with flexible terms. Its policies — available in 10-, 15- or 20-year terms —  feature the ability to lock in consistent premiums for the selected period and guaranteed death benefit. Policies can convert from term to permanent coverage, and New York Life includes distinct riders like the Spouse Paid-Up Purchase Option and Disability Waiver of Premium, enhancing the policy's value.
  • Permanent: Permanent life insurance is tailored for individuals seeking lifelong coverage coupled with financial growth opportunities. These policies ensure a death benefit for beneficiaries and include a tax-deferred cash value account that may be borrowed against for various needs. However, it's crucial to note that any borrowed amounts from your cash value will usually diminish the death benefit. New York Life also presents multiple permanent policy options for varied needs:
    • Whole: Whole life insurance is the most common type of permanent policy. It guarantees level premiums with a portion contributing to your cash value account. New York Life offers three distinct whole life policy choices: its standard Whole Life Policy, the Custom Whole Life Policy — which allows policyholders the flexibility to either enhance cash value growth or opt for higher premiums within a defined shorter duration — and the Secure Wealth Plus. The last addition offers life insurance protection coupled with an expedited underwriting process and guaranteed accumulation of cash value, with accumulation set up to increase most during the policy's initial years.
    • Universal: A universal life insurance policy from New York Life is similar to a whole life option, as the policy builds cash value. With a universal policy, you have greater flexibility and can adjust the death benefit throughout the life of the policy. Adjusting the death benefit will impact the cash value component, but still gives you options depending on what your financial priorities are at a given time.
    • Variable universal life: This option is similar to a universal life policy, but the cash value component can be invested freely across a variety of investment options that fit your individual goals and risk tolerance.

Pros and cons of New York Life insurance

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Pros

  • Several types of life insurance policies and investment services available
  • Positive customer satisfaction ratings
  • High financial strength rating from AM Best
Red circle with an X inside

Cons

  • Limit of 20 years for term insurance
  • Requires a medical exam for underwriting
  • Annual-renewable term insurance policy premiums increase from year to year

New York Life insurance riders

Riders allow you to personalize a life insurance policy to your needs. Here are a few of New York Life insurance riders:

  • Disability waiver of premium option: If you become disabled and can no longer pay your premiums, New York Life can cover the cost of premiums with this waiver. This is available on New York Life term and whole life insurance policies.
  • Spouse’s paid-up insurance purchase option: This rider allows your spouse to purchase insurance without a medical exam if you pass away. This is available on New York Life term insurance policies.
  • Living benefits option: This rider allows you to use a portion of your death benefit to pay for treatment or care for a terminal illness. This is available on New York Life term and whole life insurance policies.
  • Return of premium rider: Available on New York Life’s universal life insurance policy, this endorsement gives a changing death benefit that equals the face amount of the life insurance policy as well as adjusted total premiums paid into the policy.
  • Chronic illness rider: Designed to offer a "living benefit," this rider allows you to accelerate a portion of your death benefit if diagnosed with a chronic illness. You might use up to 50 percent of the policy's face amount to address the financial challenges a chronic condition may pose. The funds are paid directly to you and can be used at your discretion, offering a layer of financial security during difficult times.

New York Life customer satisfaction

Third-party ratings, like those from J.D. Power and AM Best, offer consumers an objective lens through which they can evaluate the performance and reliability of insurance providers. For J.D. Power, a score reflects customer satisfaction in various areas such as policy offerings, price and claims handling, whereas AM Best evaluates the financial strength and stability of insurers.

In the most recent 2023 J.D. Power Life Individual Insurance Study, New York Life scores four points above the industry average for customer satisfaction, indicating that policyholders are generally satisfied with the service they receive from the company. In the 2022 J.D. Power Group Life Insurance Study, New York Life scored one point below the industry average. These scores provide a snapshot of the company's performance relative to other life insurers and can be useful to consider when narrowing down your options.

New York Life insurance customer complaints

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides a benchmark for consumers through its complaint index scores. The tool reports the number of complaints reported to the NAIC for a given company and returns a score relative to its U.S. market share of premiums for a specific policy type. An index score of 1.00 represents the industry baseline, indicating that the company's complaint share aligns with its market share. Scores above 1.00 suggest a higher-than-average complaint ratio, while those below 1.00 indicate fewer complaints relative to the company's size. The NAIC sets unique complaint indexes for each product type, ensuring a more accurate representation of an insurer's performance in specific market segments.

In 2023, New York Life's complaint index for individual life insurance stood at 0.20.

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Compare New York Life with other insurers

New York Life offers numerous benefits to policyholders, but life insurance is a significant personal financial planning choice. Whether you’re looking for affordable life insurance, or the best family life insurance, it’s best to research what options are available. Many financial and insurance experts recommend comparing multiple providers and obtaining more than one life insurance quote to find the right fit. If you’re looking for comparable companies, below are some other options to consider.

New York Life vs. Mutual of Omaha

Like New York Life, Mutual of Omaha offers strong customer satisfaction ratings and an A+ (Superior) AM Best rating for financial strength. Mutual of Omaha also offers flexibility across whole, term and universal life insurance policies, including a variety of term lengths and benefit options.

Learn more: Mutual of Omaha Insurance review

New York Life vs. State Farm

State Farm is a household name for auto and home insurance, but it also offers several life insurance options, including whole, term, universal and variable policies. The company earned our 2024 Bankrate Award for Best Term Life Insurer and Best Universal Life Insurer. You can opt to start the life insurance quote process online, which is not available with some other life insurance providers.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

New York Life vs. Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual offers whole, term and universal policy options for a wide demographic, including older individuals and smokers. Northwestern Mutual also provides flexible conversion options if you decide you need to update your policy throughout your lifetime.

Learn more: Northwestern Mutual Insurance review

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Our insurance editorial team includes licensed agents with decades of combined experience, and we used our intimate knowledge of the industry to conduct this in-depth New York Life insurance review.

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Is New York Life a good insurance company?

Our New York Life Insurance review determined that New York Life could be a good option for many individuals shopping for life insurance companies, as it has extensive life insurance offerings, high customer satisfaction scores for J.D. Power and stellar financial strength ratings from organizations like AM Best, Moody’s, Fitch and S&P (Standard & Poor’s).

While New York Life offers a range of life insurance products, potential policyholders should note that medical exams are typically required. Furthermore, life insurance premiums may vary more regularly based on health changes for those who opt for an annual-renewable term policy.

With available term lengths capping at 20 years, the company’s term options might not align with everyone’s coverage needs. However, New York Life could still be a top consideration for those seeking a company offering robust riders and a history of reliable financial strength.

What are real-life customers saying about New York Life?

Gathering authentic customer feedback on life insurance companies like New York Life can be a challenging task. Unlike other consumer services, life insurance interactions are deeply personal and often involve few direct engagements with the company, especially concerning claims and policy payouts. Given the nature of life insurance, many policyholders may never directly experience the claims process, leading to fewer public reviews and testimonials. However, to provide a well-rounded view of New York Life, we've sourced customer insights from Trustpilot, acknowledging the unique context in which they're given.

Real-life feedback for life insurance is particularly insightful as it often reflects on the broader relationship between the policyholder and the insurer rather than isolated claims experiences. Here's a summary of what some policyholders have shared:

  • Positive experiences: Many customers have praised their New York Life agents for being proactive and helpful. For instance, one policyholder highlighted their agent's annual policy reviews, which not only ensured their coverage was up-to-date but also led to significant tax savings through strategic financial planning. This kind of service reinforces the value of having a knowledgeable and attentive agent.
  • Customer satisfaction: There are accounts of customers who feel very satisfied with their decision to choose New York Life, citing an overall positive experience with the company's services. These testimonials often lack specific details but suggest a high level of trust and confidence in the insurer.
  • Transparency and alignment in policy recommendations: Some customers have shared experiences indicating a potential gap in the alignment between their needs and the life insurance policies recommended by New York Life agents. For example, one customer detailed how they were steered towards a whole life policy that appeared to serve the agent's interests more than their own. It wasn't until the customer proactively mentioned an alternative product, Secure Wealth Plus, that it was even discussed, revealing it as a potentially better fit. This scenario sheds light on the importance of clear, customer-first communication and the need for agents to present a range of options that truly match the customer's financial objectives. Such experiences underscore why consumers might be cautious, seeking assurances that their interests are being prioritized in the policy selection process.

It's essential to approach these individual accounts with the understanding that they represent a spectrum of experiences with New York Life. While positive experiences can reflect the company's strengths in customer service and financial planning, challenges, especially with more complex products like whole life insurance, highlight areas where the company can strive for improvement. Remember, experiences with insurance companies can be highly individualized and may not necessarily reflect the typical customer journey.

New York Life company details

If you need to reach New York Life or file a claim, below are the company details:

  • Customer service: 1-800-225-5695, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m to 7 p.m., ET
  • Claims: Claims can be started online or by mail
  • Company website: https://www.newyorklife.com
  • Company address: 51 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10010

State availability

New York Life Insurance offers its policies and services in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

New York Life tools and benefits

New York Life offers many other products in addition to life insurance. All are centered around financial planning to help prepare for the future. Some of these include:

  • Supplemental insurance: This includes individual disability and long-term care insurance.
  • Investment products: New York Life offers annuities, mutual funds, ETFs and 529 plans.
  • Additional services: Some options for more financial planning include planning for small businesses, estate planning and wealth management.
  • Financial guidance: The company can help connect policyholders with financial experts to help plan for their future.
  • Planning tools: New York Life’s website is packed full of informative guides on what life insurance is, as well as calculators to help determine how much you need for retirement and life insurance.

Frequently asked questions about New York Life

Written by
Ashlyn Brooks

Ashlyn Brooks is a finance writer with more than half a decade of experience, known for her knowledge in areas such as taxes, insurance, investing, retirement, finance news, and banking products.

Edited by Editor II, Insurance