As an independent broker, we are constantly growing our stable of insurance policy providers.
Today we work with some 30 national and state insurance companies, and while they are all good – we wouldn’t work with them otherwise – here’s a list of our Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies.
There are over 800 insurance carriers out there. How in the world are you supposed to determine which company is going to be the perfect choice for your family?
That’s why we’ve created this list.
Best Rates, Highest Ratings
While we may recommend one provider over another depending on a client’s specific needs, their age, health and budget, we’d still be looking first at the players in this list.
Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies in 2018
- Haven Life — For quick coverage
- Banner Life — For flexibility and customer service
- Protective Life Insurance Company
- AIG — For company size
- Voya Financial
- Prudential — For chewing tobacco users
- Brighthouse Financial by MetLife
- Mutual of Omaha
So here goes, our annual:
Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies
Haven Life is completely changing how we buy life insurance. As a company, Haven Life is not very old, but they are a part of MassMutual, which has a long and rich history. MassMutual was started over 160 years ago. They aren’t new to the insurance game.
What makes Haven Life so different?
They have taken the life insurance process, and make it all digital. Customers can buy life insurance all-online, without having to go into an insurance office, call an agent, or take a medical exam (in most cases).
The goal of Haven Life is to make the whole life insurance buying quicker and easier. The founder of Haven Life had to wait weeks to get life insurance, but he knew it could be better.
If you want an affordable no exam life insurance policy that you don’t have to wait a month to be approved for, Haven Life was made for you. Although, if you’re looking for a whole plan, skip on to the next company – Haven Life only sells term.
How does it work? You go through their simple application, which you can complete on a phone, they use their InstantTerm process, which gives you approved in minutes.
Banner Life Insurance Company
Banner has been around since 1949. They were originally called GELICO, and you may have guessed it: They were once in-laws with GEICO, that company with the funny little British-accented Gecko mascot.
In 1981, Legal & General bought GELICO which led to the name change to Banner Life Insurance.
With more than $456 billion in active life insurance policies, Banner Life is no small potato, and that may help explain its consistent A+ rating by A.M Best and its competitive rates.
Banner sells two kinds of policies:
- term life insurance
- universal life insurance.
Both of these can give you the flexible protection you need. Banner’s Universal Life Insurance, “First Step” policy gives you some flexibility in your insurance protection.
Protective Life Insurance Company
Protective Life boasts credentials similar to Banner Life’s, but Protective Life has been in the business since 1907. It has more than $427 billion in life insurance policies in force, an A.M. Best A+ rating, and some of the lowest life insurance rates around.
Protective Life sells a variety of plans. They have the basic term plans which most companies have, but they also have a couple of different permanent life insurance plans. They have Universal Life, Variable Universal, and Whole Life insurance.
Aside from their A+ rating, and generally great rates, we put Transamerica on our list because they are one of the few providers to offer the option of having a term life insurance physical exam or having no physical exam at all.
Of course, choosing the latter will generally increase your rates, and that’s why many people choose to have the exam. That said, it’s nice to have the option. It opens the door to people who are concerned about their privacy or the likelihood that they will be turned down for coverage.
With a legacy that goes back almost 110 years, Transamerica serves over 14 Million customers and is one of the country’s oldest providers.
Transamerica has every type of life insurance policy out there:
- term life with or without an exam
- final expenses insurance
- indexed universal life insurance
- whole life insurance
- several other plans.
One of the benefits of shopping with Transamerica is you can compare all of their policies side-by-side on their website.
AIG Life Insurance Company
The oldest insurance company in our list is American General, also known as AIG. They’ve provided life insurance policies for some 160 years, paying out $34 billion in claims along the way!
Not only are they A-rated but they also offer an open-door policy for applicants with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions. And, they offer great rates.
Another reason we like American General: Their weight classes tend to be much more favorable than most other companies. If you’re on the border of a higher weight class with one company, you may save thousands with American General.
That’s why we’re giving American General our a strong #4 on our list of the best life insurance providers nationwide.
As a retirement investment specialist, Voya Financial debuted in April of 2014, but its life insurance division has a much longer history. In fact, it’s one of the oldest companies out there, having been founded in the Netherlands in 1845.
As you may have guessed from its name, Voya specializes in the more complicated permanent life insurance policies that include an investment component.
While Voya life insurance doesn’t offer 30-year term life insurance policies, they do provide great rates for customers looking for 10 to 20-year terms. As a big brand that takes service seriously, Voya enjoys an A rating from A.M Best.
Ok, not so fast, we’ve still got more to go.
You’ve seen their commercials, but that’s not why they made our list. Marketing aside, Prudential is a great company that can boast an A+ rating from A.M. Best, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, or should we say the tip of the rock?
Along with competitive rates; Prudential offers something very few companies do: full insurance coverage for our armed service men and women overseas in combat. They also offer non-smoker’s rates to people who chew tobacco.
Why does this matter? Rates for smokers are significantly higher than non-smoker’s rates.
Brighthouse Financial by MetLife
Met Life or now known as Brighthouse Financial holds more policies than just about any other company in the United States, and they’ve been in business for over 140 years. The independent rating agencies like them as much as we do!
MetLife offers just about any kind of life insurance policy you can imagine. Anything from a traditional term insurance policy to a variable life insurance plan.
They also have annuities that you can buy if you’re looking for other financial products. While every applicant is different, MetLife typically has some of the best rates for their life insurance coverage.
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha offers a wide variety of policies, along with a diverse array of riders to help customize your coverage. You can add long-term care, disability insurance, critical illness insurance, and much more to your policy. Mutual of Omaha is a great choice for anyone looking to get additional protection with their life insurance plan.
The company’s website simplifies the process of choosing a plan, getting a quote, and applying for coverage. Applicants with a pre-existing medical condition can probably get a better deal somewhere else, though.
Lincoln Financial Group
As a leader in the financial services industry, Lincoln Financial isn’t known for its life insurance plans. Still, the company has some of the best life insurance policies on the market.
Lincoln offers all the traditional options for life insurance, and it has some unique options such as its LifeGuarantee UL and the Lincoln Life Reserve. As a financial services leader, Lincoln specializes in plans that include an investment component.
They sell a no-exam term conversation policy and a level premium guarantee for term plans. The no-exam term conversion requires you to qualify based on your health and other factors, but if you qualify, it’s an excellent option for coverage.
An Overview On Ratings
It’s hard to talk about top insurers without mentioning their ratings. All our providers, for example, have earned high marks from the life insurance ratings agencies. After a while, all the As and A-plusses start to sound repetitive.
But we keep pointing them out because ratings should influence the provider you choose because independent ratings agencies get an inside look at each insurance company, and their grades can tell us a lot about a company’s strength and stability.
This matters to you as a shopper because all the time you spend looking for the right policy (and all the money you spend on premiums) will help your family only if the insurance company you chose is strong enough to pay the claim when your family needs it.
A company that has earned an A or better is usually financially strong and well-managed. Such a company is more likely to be there when you need it than a company that has earned a B or lower.
But, each of the four independent ratings agencies has its own grading scale, so if diligence is your thing — and why shouldn’t it be with something as important as life insurance? — you should get to know a little about the ratings agencies and their scales. For example:
- A.M. Best’s top rating is A++. It’s lowest rating is F.
- Fitch uses a scale of AAA down to D.
- Moody’s rates on a scale of Aaa to C
- Standard & Poor’s rates companies from AAA down to D.
This seems simple enough until you start comparing companies who have been rated by different agencies. For example, an A+ is A.M. Best’s second-highest classification while the same A+ is Fitch’s fifth-highest grade. If this is too much nuance for you, just remember that you can always play it safe by staying away from companies that have Bs or lower.
Other Ratings To Think About
The four ratings agencies offer a valuable inside look at an insurance provider’s strength and stability, but you can also learn a lot from people who don’t have that kind of access: a company’s customers.
Customer reviews on sites such as Trustpilot, Facebook, and many others can tell you a lot about how a company treats its customers. Keep in mind that not every customer leaves a review, so you may be getting a skewed perspective. But if you see the same trends appearing in a lot of reviews, you may want to take it seriously.
For a more measured analysis of the way a company does business, you can check with the Better Business Bureau which rates life insurance companies based on customer experiences. The Better Business Bureau grades life insurance companies from A+ down to F, and your city may have a local BBB office if you’d like to learn more.
Life Insurance Companies in the United States
Types Of Life Insurance
Not all insurance providers sell every type of protection, so before digging into our Top 10 and choosing the company you’d like to partner with, let’s find out what kind of coverage you need.
Term Life Insurance
If life insurance coverage were a car, term life would be your basic model — the one without leather seats, power windows, or a moonroof. Term life gets you coverage without all the bells and whistles.
With term, you buy a policy that lasts a specific amount of time, and during that time you have coverage in place for your loved ones in case you died way too soon.
Term policies are usually more affordable than the more complex options we’ll go into below. They also let you buy a lot of insurance when you need it — say, when your kids are young and financially dependent — then buy less when your term expires and you no longer need as much coverage.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life coverage can remain in place throughout your life, and part of the premiums you pay fund an investment-type product that has a cash value. You can use this value to pay future premiums, to borrow against like you would any other asset, or to cash out later in life.
Because they last so long, and because of this added cash value, whole life policies usually cost more than term life policies. If you’re older, the cost is even higher since the insurance company likely has less time to collect your premiums.
Universal Life Insurance
Like whole life, universal life insurance is permanent and accrues cash value. But unlike a whole policy, universal life offers some flexibility in your coverage amount and your premiums during the life of the policy. As your life changes, you can change your life insurance coverage to match your needs.
Burial Insurance/Final Expense Insurance
Burial insurance (sometimes called final expense insurance) can pay for funeral expenses and other final bills that you may leave behind.
Burial insurance is attractive for people who don’t need a lot of life insurance but would like to prevent their loved ones from having to pay for their funeral and unpaid bills.
These plans are much smaller than an average life insurance policy. Different insurers have different coverage limits, but most cap out around $25,000 in coverage.
No Exam Life Insurance
No exam coverage is exactly what it sounds like life insurance without the medical exam. This is an attractive product if you have medical problems that would make a medically underwritten policy too expensive. Colonial Penn Insurance is one of the best known for advertising their no exam and guaranteed issue plans to those who are in need of this form of coverage.
But if you’re young and healthy, you’ll probably pay more for less coverage with a no-exam policy since underwriters won’t know about your good health.
The 10 companies we’ve listed have strength, stability, a strong reputation — all qualities you’d want in a life insurance partner. But life insurance is personal, so it’s important to consider your specific needs before deciding on a company.
After all, insurance underwriters consider your health, your family’s health history, your occupation, your driving record, and many other factors in order to decide whether they want you as a customer.
If you’re young, in perfect health, and have no pre-existing conditions, then you won’t have to look far for affordable life insurance. Most of us aren’t this ideal applicant, though, so we like to match our clients with companies that are most likely to treat them favorably.
People who smoke comprise the biggest category of high-risk applicants: millions of smokers buy life insurance every year. Some companies triple their rates for smokers, so finding a company that doesn’t increase rates as much can save you thousands.
One of the best companies for smokers is Banner Life. They offer more affordable smoker’s rates than other companies. Yes, you’re still going to pay more, but you should still get the lowest rates possible for someone who smokes.
Underwriters also place people who have type-2 diabetes into a high-risk category. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the life insurance quotes you get could be all across the board.
One company that tends to offer the lowest premiums for diabetics is American General. We mentioned them above for their lenient weight classes, but they are also a great choice for anyone with diabetes.
Applicants Who Are Overweight
Your body mass index is another key factor in your insurance application. If you’re overweight, you could be placed in a higher risk category and, as a result, pay higher premiums.
As we stated above, American General has been known to place applicants who are on the borderline between two weight categories into the category that favors the applicant. If you’re in this situation, be sure American General is on your list of companies to consider.
No-exam Life Insurance
Skipping the medical exam is a tempting offer. An exam takes time, it involves needles, and it delays coverage. Yet, the exam is one of the primary ways underwriters learn about you, which helps them determine your premiums.
So, if you’re young and healthy, the medical exam can be a key to the best rates. But if you’re not, and you think the exam would increase your rates, a no-exam policy may work for you.
There are thousands of carriers who sell no-exam protection, but they’re not all the same. One of our favorites is American National Insurance Company. We didn’t include them on our Top 10, but if you’re specifically searching for no-exam coverage, we recommend starting with them.
Their Freedom Term Life Insurance policy will let you buy up to $250,000 in protection for anywhere from 10 years to 30 years.
Life Insurance Basics
With all the bills you already have to pay, it’s understandable that a lot of people would rather avoid buying life insurance. It’s just another monthly bill you have to pay, right?
Yet every year we hear stories of families that have unexpectedly lost a loved one. They are devastated, and on top of that, they have no way to pay all the bills left behind.
Life insurance offers an affordable way to protect your family from financial pain if you died and were no longer there to provide.
How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?
When you’ve decided which company works best for you, it’s time to start thinking about your coverage. There’s no one-size-fits-all life insurance plan, and that’s a good thing. You should customize your coverage to meet your specific needs and your budget.
These issues should help determine the size of your policy:
- How much debt would I leave behind? Do you have a mortgage or other large debt? If so, you can use your life insurance coverage to help your loved ones cover that expense.
- How many people rely on your salary? If your spouse and children depend on you financially, your life insurance policy should reflect that so your loved ones can continue paying the bills while adjusting to life without you. If your children are grown, you may not need a policy that’s as large as someone with young children.
- What about future plans? If you plan to pay for your children’s college by saving money over the next 15 years, for example, but you die unexpectedly before you can save the money, your life insurance coverage could provide those funds.
Here’s a general rule of thumb: Unless it’s to pay strictly for final expenses, most financial experts suggest that your life insurance coverage should equal seven to 10 times your annual salary.
Getting Lower Life Insurance Rates
We all want to save money whenever we can, and life insurance is no different. You can still get quality coverage while keeping your premiums affordable.
Start by comparing rates. Each company prices its policies differently. A company that offers the best deal on a 10-year policy may not offer the best rate on a 30-year policy. So be sure to get quotes from several companies because the first quote you see will not likely be the lowest quote you can get.
Also, insurance companies base their rates on your health and other factors, but they don’t all go about it the same way. So if you receive a sub-standard rating with one company it doesn’t mean you’ll receive that rating with every company on your list. Yet another reason to get and compare several different quotes.
If you can lower your risk, do so! Smoking, for example, raises your insurance premiums because it’s so bad for your health. So, if you could kick the habit, you could pay less for insurance while simultaneously improving your health. But if you haven’t quit yet, we can still help you find quotes for smokers.
Similarly, shedding a few pounds can keep some extra bills in your wallet. Getting regular exercise and getting on a healthy diet will work wonders for your health and your premiums if you’re shopping for a new policy.
So while you’re comparing companies, you can work on lowering your cholesterol, your blood pressure, and your weight by exercising and making better food choices. Then, when you get your medical exam that’s required to finalize your coverage, underwriters can place you in a better category which leads to better rates.
But we know that doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re obese and want to know if you can qualify for life insurance, let us answer what questions you may have.
If you are ready to start comparing quotes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by either filling out the form on this page or calling us.