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You have many choices when it comes to life insurance. These range from companies already around when Abraham Lincoln was president to modern day insuretechs built on 21st Century digital technology.
Sorting through your options can be a challenge. We’ve reviewed a variety of life insurers to help you make a more informed decision.
Best life insurance companies compared 2023
|Company||Policy types||A.M. Best||J.D. Power||Trustpilot||Apply online|
Mutual of Omaha
Term, Whole, Universal, Children’s
Yes (Children’s only)
Term, Whole, Universal, Variable universal
Term, Whole, Universal
Term, Whole, Universal, Variable universal
Our recommendations for the best life insurance companies
Best for guaranteed rate life insurance: Ethos Life
Why we picked it: Ethos Life offers guaranteed rate whole life insurance for those aged 66 to 85. Up to $30,000 coverage is available with no medical exam. The company also offers term life insurance with coverage ranging from $20,000 to $2 million.
Ethos Life is underwritten by Legal and General America, which has an A rating from A.M. Best. The company was not included in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, but it does have 4.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
- Apply online.
- Toll-free phone support.
- 30-day “free look” cancellation.
- A.M. Best A rating is slightly lower than other insurers in our review.
- Term life limits top out at $2 million.
Best for young families: Fabric by Gerber Life
Why we picked it: Fabric by Gerber Life sells term life insurance with available coverage ranging from $100,000 to $5 million and terms up to 30 years. The company offers additional features to help young parents plan their financial future, including tools to set up a will or a 529 savings plan.
Fabric by Gerber Life is underwritten by Western-Southern Life Insurance Company, which has an A+ rating from A.M. Best. The company has 4.8 out of 5 stars at \\\[Trustpilot](https://www.trustpilot.com/review/meetfabric.com), but was not included in J.D. Power's 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.
- Can apply online.
- Has a strong digital experience.
- Helpful financial planning features for young families.
- Can only insure one person per policy.
- Does not offer a permanent life insurance option.
Best for flexible term life: Ladder Life
Why we picked it: Ladder Life offers something it claims to be unique in the insurance industry: a term life product that allows you to change the coverage amount as your needs change. For example, you buy a $3 million policy with a 30-year term and 10 years later, decide you no longer need that much coverage. Ladder Life allows you to lower the coverage amount to, say, $1 million.
Ladder Life is underwritten by Allianz Life, a leading provider of life insurance and annuities. Allianz has an A+ A.M. Best rating. Ladder Life’s Trustpilot rating is 4.8 out of 5 stars.
- Adjustable term life coverage.
- No medical exam for policies under $3 million.
- Maximum age is 60.
- Can only insure one person per policy.
- Does not offer a permanent life insurance option.
Best for children’s life insurance: Mutual of Omaha
Why we picked it: Mutual of Omaha offers term, universal, and whole life insurance, including a whole life policy designed for children. The latter provides up to $50,000 of coverage for children as young as 14 days, with locked-in premiums and coverage that lasts for the child’s entire lifetime. You can apply for a children’s policy via the company’s website.
Mutual of Omaha has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and was ranked third in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The company has a lower Trustpilot rating—1.5 out of 5 stars—though this is based on only 39 reviews.
- Term life policy can be converted to whole life.
- No medical exam required for whole life.
- Accelerated death benefit available for universal life.
- Online quotes and applications are only available for children’s policies
- Maximum $25,000 whole life coverage
Best overall: Northwestern Mutual
Why we picked it: Northwestern Mutual offers a full range of life insurance policy types, including term, whole, universal, and variable universal life. Available coverage starts at $100,000 for term, $50,000 for whole, and $500,000 for universal. Maximum coverages aren’t published on the company’s website.
Northwestern Mutual is not only one of the country’s oldest insurance companies, but it’s currently the largest life insurer in the U.S. It has an A + + rating from A.M. Best. The company has 3.2 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, though this is based on just one review. It’s the fourth-ranked company in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, scoring well above the industry average.
- Breadth of life insurance products.
- Offers riders for waiver of premium and accelerated death benefit.
- Online quotes and policy applications are not available.
- Does not offer a no-medical-exam policy for individuals.
Best for customer satisfaction: State Farm
Why we picked it: State Farm ranks number one in the JD Power 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The company is represented by 19,000 agents focusing solely on selling State Farm products. So there's likely an expert you can rely on for help with a State Farm policy close to where you live.
State Farm offers term, whole, and universal life. Its A.M. Best A++ rating is an assurance of the company's financial strength. State Farm does not have a Trustpilot rating.
- Highest ranking company by J.D. Power.
- Broad network of agents.
- Term life maximum limit is $250,000.
Best for U.S. military: USAA
USAA provides insurance and other financial services exclusively to members of the U.S. military, military retirees, and their families. The company's life insurance offerings include term, whole, universal, and variable universal. Coverage up to $10 million is available for both term and whole life.
USAA was not included in J.D. Power’s Power 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. But the company’s reputation for customer service is well known. In fact, its approach to customer service is studied across industries.
- Broad range of life insurance offerings.
- Coverage up to $10 million.
- Only available by phone.
- Only available to U.S. military and their families.
Best term life insurance companies for 2023
A term life insurance policy is designed to stay in force for a set number of years, typically 10, 20, or 30. You choose the term when you buy the policy. A longer-term policy will cost more than one with a shorter term. You also choose the amount of your death benefit. The higher your death benefit, the more you can expect to pay for the policy. Term life typically costs less than other types of life insurance, but it offers fewer features.
Best whole life companies for 2023
A whole life policy is designed to stay in force until your death. These policies also include a cash value feature. Cash value is a savings component that earns interest throughout the policy's life. You may be able to access this money either by taking out a loan against the policy or through a withdrawal.
Well-known insurance brands such as Ethos Life Insurance, Northwestern Mutual, State Farm offer whole life insurance. You can also buy whole life insurance for a child through companies such as Mutual of Omaha.
Best nonmedical exam life insurance companies for 2023
Most life insurance policies require a medical exam when you apply for coverage. This allows the insurer to verify the state of your health. A no-medical-exam policy skips this step, though the insurer may still ask you to complete a questionnaire about your health and medical history. No-medical-exam policies typically have limited coverage and may come at a higher cost than a comparable standard policy.
Ethos Life offers no-medical-exam whole life insurance for those aged 66 to 85.
We evaluated eight U.S. life insurance companies, including well-established brands and newer providers. Our evaluation accounted for third-party ratings and rankings, including the following:
- A.M. Best is an independent, trusted provider of analytics and ratings specializing in the global insurance industry. Its ratings indicate an insurance company’s financial strength and ability to pay claims.
- J.D. Power is a consumer insights company that provides annual rankings of U.S. insurance companies. Our review incorporates their most recent rankings of life insurance customer satisfaction. JD Power rates companies on a 1,000-point scale, then ranks those companies according to their rating.
- Trustpilot is an online consumer review platform whose stated mission is to “help consumers shop with confidence, and deliver rich insights to help businesses improve the experiences they offer.”
We reviewed the coverages and other features offered by each company, relying on information provided on their websites. Next, we developed several “best of” categories, placing companies where we judged appropriate.
How to select the best life insurance company
With so many life insurance options, you'll want to take a deliberate approach to choosing the right company and policy for you. Follow these steps:
Determine your life insurance needs
Most people typically buy life insurance to ensure their family’s financial security following the death of a breadwinner. There are several ways to estimate your life insurance needs. A common rule of thumb is the 10X formula:
- Multiply your annual income by 10.
- Add $100,000 per child to cover the cost of college.
As an example, say your current income is $125,000 and you have two children:
$125,000 * 10 = $1,250,000
$100,000 * 2 = $200,000
$1,250,000 + $200,000 = $1,450,000
In this example, you should estimate a life insurance need of $1.45 million.
Of course, there are other reasons to buy life insurance. For example, an older person purchasing a life insurance policy to ensure their family can pay for end-of-life expenses can likely estimate much less coverage.
Decide on a policy type
Next, you’ll need to decide on a type of policy to buy. There are two main types:
Term life insurance
A term life policy expires after a set number of years (typically between 10 and 30). These policies feature lower premiums and a death benefit paid to your designated beneficiaries.
Permanent life insurance
A permanent life insurance policy stays in force until your death. In addition to a death benefit paid to your beneficiaries, these policies feature a savings/investment component called cash value, which you may be able to access while living. Common permanent life insurance policy subtypes include whole life, universal life, and variable universal life. Permanent life insurance policies tend to cost more than term life.
Comparison-shop among companies
As with virtually any other kind of insurance, life insurance policies vary in cost between insurance companies. You may find you can get a significantly lower premium just by shopping around. Be sure to check several carriers to see which costs the least, and make sure you're doing an apples-to-apples comparison of policy type and coverage amount.
An independent insurance agent specializing in life insurance can help you do this. You can also check with an online broker such as Everyday Life, which offers whole and term life insurance from multiple companies.
Consider third-party ratings and reviews
Price, of course, is just one of the factors you want to consider. You can check the A.M. Best financial strength rating for companies to understand better their ability to pay claims. J.D. Power rankings can give insight into a company's customer service capabilities.
If you're interested in a policy with a cash value feature, you may want to understand the company's investment history. The insurance company’s website or agents should be able to provide this type of information.
Apply for coverage
Once you’ve settled on a company, it’s time to apply for coverage. A growing number of companies offer online applications, while others require you to apply through an agent. Expect to answer questions about your health, medical history, family, tobacco use, and more. Unless you’re applying for a policy that does not require it, expect to take a medical exam that may include blood and urine screening.
Answer questions truthfully—insurers often use third-party services to verify information provided by applicants. Any discrepancies may jeopardize your application.
TIME Stamp: Consider our top choices for life insurance
Life insurance provides essential financial security for your family. However, with hundreds of providers, choosing the right company for your needs can be challenging. Use our reviews to gain a better understanding of what some of the top companies offer.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is the best guaranteed rate life insurance for seniors?
We chose Ethos Life as the best guaranteed rate life insurance for seniors. Ethos offers no-medical-exam coverage of up to $30,000 for applicants aged 66 to 85.
What is the best life insurance for children?
Mutual of Omaha offers whole life coverage of up to $50,000 for children as young as 14 days. You can even apply for a policy online at the company website. For these and other reasons, it’s our choice for the best life insurance for children.
What is the best life insurance for military veterans?
Active and retired members of the U.S. military and their families need to look no further than USAA for their life insurance needs. This company offers insurance and other services exclusively to the military community, including whole, term, universal, and variable universal life.
What is the best life insurance for new parents?
We chose Fabric by Gerber Life as the best life insurance for young families. You can get term life coverage up to $5 million, and access tools to help you draft a will or set up a 529 savings plan for a child’s educational expenses.
Which type of insurance is better, term life or whole life?
Term life insurance policies offer lower cost and greater simplicity than whole life. But whole life policies meet many families' needs for life-long coverage and financial flexibility. Both policy types provide a death benefit that can help ensure your family’s financial security. You should consider your family's financial needs when choosing between these two types.
What kinds of death are not covered by life insurance?
Typically, a policy won’t provide coverage if the death of the policyholder is associated with any of the following conditions:
- The policyholder lied on the policy application about their health, occupation, or participation in risky activities.
- The policyholder's death resulted from risky activities such as BASE jumping, scuba diving, auto racing, or flying a private plane.
- The policyholder committed suicide.
- The policyholder was murdered by the beneficiary.
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