Best Life Insurance Companies — As you make plans for the fall season, consider making or assessing your financial situation a priority. Is life insurance a part of your big picture? Life insurance is a vital piece of a thorough financial plan and can make the difference in whether your family thrives or suffers hardship after you’re gone.
Many choices for life insurance can be a good fit for your financial goals and budget. We evaluated key metrics for term and permanent life insurance from many companies to identify the best life insurance companies.
The Best Life Insurance Companies
Here are our top picks for the best life insurance policies:
- Pacific Life – Best for Variable Universal Life Insurance
- Penn Mutual – Best for Seniors
- Protective – Best for Universal Life Insurance
- AIG – Best for Recreational Marijuana Use
- Mutual of Omaha – Best for Gen X & Millennials
- Transamerica – Best for Reliable Policy Illustrations
- John Hancock – Best for Celebratory Cigar Use
- Lincoln Financial – Great For Estate Planning
- Securian Financial/Minnesota Life – Best For Indexed Universal Life Insurance
- Symetra – Best For Term Life Insurance Rates
Pacific Life: Best Life Insurance Companies
For term life insurance buyers, Pacific Life should be on the consideration list thanks to its low rates.
For cash value life insurance buyers, Pacific Life provides a valuable combination of competitive pricing and reliable illustrations for most of its policies that can maximize your cash value accumulation. The company has also shown good performance in its investments that fuel customers’ cash value growth.
Pacific Life’s low internal costs also help because your cash value won’t be eaten up by policy expenses.
Pros and Cons : Best Life Insurance Companies
- Pacific Life’s variable universal life insurance earned top marks in our analysis.
- Superior rates for term life insurance
- Very good cost competitiveness among most of its cash value policies, so more of your premium money goes to building cash value
- Its cash value policies for smokers are very cost-competitive.
- Many of Pacific Life’s policies will build cash value even in the early years, compared to other companies, where it can take decades to get traction.
- Policy illustrations tend to be reliable, so you’ll have a good prediction of cash value gains over time.
- A wide variety of life insurance riders are available
If you want to convert a Pacific Life term life policy, you’re limited to a universal life insurance policy.
Term life insurance buyers should check quotes from Penn Mutual, as it often offers very good rates for a variety of face amounts and term lengths.
For cash-value life insurance buyers, Penn Mutual offers a great combination of financial strength, competitive internal policy costs, and reliable policy illustrations. For seniors especially, this helps maximize the death benefit for the premium that’s paid.
Pros and Cons
- Very competitive rates for term life insurance for its non-convertible policy
- Penn Mutual term life insurance policyholders who choose to convert their policies to permanent life can choose from any Penn Mutual permanent life insurance policy available.
- Many of Penn Mutual’s cash value policies are cost-competitive, so you can buy a higher death benefit for the premium you’re paying.
- Penn Mutual has a good track record of strong financial strength, and its investments have performed very well.
- Term life insurance buyers will pay more for a term life insurance policy that is convertible to permanent life insurance in the future. Penn Mutual’s convertible term policy is a much lower price
- Not all Penn Mutual permanent life insurance policies build cash value well early on. That may not be important to a buyer who’s using life insurance for estate planning and who wants to buy a high death benefit for beneficiaries.
Term life insurance buyers should take a look at Protective’s Classic Choice policy because of its low rates. Protective is also notable for offering level term lengths longer than the typical 30 years. Term lengths available are 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 or 40 years.
Protective’s universal life insurance policies offer competitive internal policy costs for most customers ages and health risks, so more of your premium can go toward cash value. The company has shown superior performance of the bonds and mortgages that are underlying cash value, and its universal life insurance policy illustrations are usually reliable.
Pros and Cons
- Protective’s term life insurance rates are competitive.
- You’ll have a choice of up to 8 permanent life insurance policies from Protective if you choose to convert its term life.
- Protective’s cash value life insurance policies generally have low internal costs. This can mean more money toward your cash value and less for paying a company’s policy expenses.
- The company’s investments have performed very well over the years. This is a factor that has likely helped keep premiums lower than many competitors’ universal life insurance products.
Cash value accumulation during the early years of a Protective permanent life insurance policy may be slow. If faster cash value is important to you, make sure you examine the guaranteed parts of the policy illustration to see how fast your cash value will build.
With the spread of legalized marijuana across states, more consumers who use pot will be among those buying life insurance. Not all life insurance companies will accept marijuana users or offer them competitive rates. Many life insurers will offer only “standard” rates at best, not “preferred” rates.
- American General offers relatively friendly underwriting for marijuana users.
- Buyers of either term life or cash value life insurance who use marijuana eight or fewer days per month can still qualify for the best rate class from American General.
- Folks who use marijuana for vaping may be able to get “standard tobacco” rates.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent rates for term life insurance across a range of ages and coverage levels.
- Term life insurance buyers can customize their level term length between 10 and 35 years, such as 27 years.
- Life insurance shoppers who use marijuana frequently (more than 16 days a month or more than four days a week) should expect to be declined by the American General.
- The majority of American General cash value policies have admirable qualities across the board, such as low internal costs, good reliability of policy illustrations, and solid performance of investments that fuel cash value growth.
The company’s overall track record of financial strength is poor but has recovered since AIG’s financial implosion in 2008.
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha offers an impressive combination of financial strength, competitive internal policy costs for its cash value life insurance, and excellent historical performance of its assets. For younger buyers of cash-value life insurance, these qualities make Mutual of Omaha a top pick.
Pros and Cons
- Superior financial strength, which indicates that a company will be able to pay claims many years down the road
- Excellent for competitive costs within its cash value policies
- Mutual of Omaha’s investments have traditionally performed very well, which helps keep policy costs low for its permanent life insurance products.
- Mutual of Omaha’s term life insurance rates are on the high side. Term-life buyers will do better elsewhere.
- There’s often less ability to access cash value in the early years of a policy. If taking a cash value withdrawal or policy loan early on is important to you, other companies’ policies may be a better fit.
Cash value life insurance buyers will appreciate Transamerica’s reliable policy illustrations. It earned top marks in this category.
The company offers top-notch benefits in its Trendsetter Living Benefits term life policy, such as the ability to access your death benefit early if you develop a chronic or critical illness.
Pros and Cons
- Worth a look for term life insurance buyers because of Transamerica’s high maximum ages for renewing or converting its term life insurance.
- Transamerica has generally had very reliable policy illustrations for its cash value policies. This means you’re less likely to be taken by surprise by lower cash value gains than you expected.
- Cash value generally builds fairly well in the early years of Transamerica’s cash value policies. This gives you more flexibility to take a policy loan or withdraw earlier on.
The company’s investments haven’t always performed very well, especially compared to top competitors. This can affect the premiums you’ll have to pay over time if you have a cash-value life insurance policy. The policy expenses passed on to customers have been higher for Transamerica customers compared to some top competitors. If you’re buying cash-value life insurance, make sure to check your policy illustration for the predicted internal costs and compare it to other companies.
John Hancock: Best Life Insurance Companies
John Hancock offers a superior option for many types of nicotine users.
Many life insurance companies offer only smoker’s rates for regular users of tobacco products. Premiums and internal policy costs for these “smokers” are generally twice as much (or more) as the costs for non-tobacco users. However, some insurers will consider infrequent or occasional “celebratory” cigar users for their best rates under certain circumstances. If you use nicotine in any form (cigarettes, edibles, patches, vaping, etc.) it can pay off to shop around for life insurance.
With John Hancock life insurance, an occasional cigar smoker could qualify for even the best non-smoker rates if they smoke 12 or fewer cigars a year.
For couples doing estate planning, Lincoln Financial is worth consideration for its survivorship life insurance policies. These policies insure two lives under one policy and provide a payout when both people have passed away. Beneficiaries can then use the money to pay estate taxes or other financial obligations.
Securian Financial/Minnesota Life
Buyers looking for indexed universal life (IUL) insurance should consider Minnesota Life. The company’s IUL policies have a history of being fairly cost-competitive and providing reliable policy illustrations.
Symetra : Best Life Insurance Companies
Symetra’s strong scores for term life insurance helped push it to the top, especially its low term life insurance rates. For buyers of cash-value life insurance, Symetra also offers cost-competitive policies.
Summary: Best Life Insurance Companies
The largest life insurance company in the United States, based on market share, is Northwestern Mutual. For our ratings we take into account several different factors, like cost competitiveness, historical performance, reliability of policy illustrations, and financial strength, to determine the best life insurance companies.