At Good Financial Cents®, we pride ourselves in connecting people with the life insurance company that best meets their specific needs. For anyone with a family or dependents, life insurance is a must have. Unfortunately, many people, especially young people skip this vital way of protecting their loved ones. As a Certified Financial Planner, I see this all too often.
With more than 800 insurance companies in the United States, you could spend months comparing quotes and analyzing ratings without ever knowing for sure that you’d chosen the right company.
Although the best life insurance company and policy will vary from person to person, we have poured through many of the details for you and have decided on a list of clear winners. The best life insurance isn’t necessarily the cheapest life insurance, as cost depends on the type of insurance product you buy, your health, age and other factors.
The companies on this list, while diverse in their offerings and history, offer some of the most affordable, helpful coverage and have the best life insurance products on the market. They are also highly rated by the major credit rating agencies.
The easiest place to start is to get a free quote. To help you find coverage that fits, you can use the map tool below to be matched with life insurance companies that will meet your needs. We also dig in to show you our take on the overall best life insurance companies in the United States based on extensive research and then which life insurance companies excel in the kind of coverage that may be best suited for your individual situation.
- The 7 best life insurance companies for 2020
- Compare companies by health category (smokers, cancer survivors, etc.)
- Compare companies by financial strength
- Understand the different types of life insurance
- Every life insurance company we’ve reviewed
- How to purchase life insurance
GFC Top Picks: 7 Best Life Insurance Companies In 2020
These 7 life insurance companies consistently offer the best products, customer service, and exhibit financial strength and stability.
|Company||Best For||J.D. Power Score||A.M. Best Rating|
|Haven Life||Quick Coverage||751||A++|
|MetLife||Variety of Policies||744||A+|
|Banner Life||Range of Coverage||N/A||A+|
|Prudential||Chewing Tobacco Users||754||A+|
|Mutual of Omaha||Claims Paid||795||A+|
|New York Life||Breadth of Coverage||770||A++|
Haven Life has upended the traditional process of acquiring term life insurance by getting rid of the medical exam for people who qualify.
Haven Life offers only term life insurance, which is usually the simplest and most affordable type of coverage, especially if you’re young and in good health.
Even if you do need a medical exam, Haven Life’s process is quick and easy to navigate.
If you are looking to get term life insurance with the least hassle and faster than any other company can offer, then Haven Life is going to be your top company.
MetLife, another well-known provider in the United States and globally, offers policy options including term, whole life, universal, variable, and survivorship plans.
MetLife also offers a simplified issue term life insurance which does not require applicants to get a medical exam. This can be a good option for those who have health-related issues that might make a medically underwritten policy too expensive or impossible to buy.
MetLife has earned the following financial ratings:
- A+ – A.M. Best
- AA- – Fitch
- Aa3 – Moody’s
- AA- – Standard & Poor’s
AIG is often considered the world’s largest insurance organization with more than 49,000 employees and clients in over 80 countries and jurisdictions. But does the company’s quality match its size? Generally speaking, the answer is yes, according to all four ratings agencies.
AIG Life and Retirement, the division responsible for the company’s life insurance policies, has earned:
- A – A.M. Best
- A+ – Fitch
- A2 – Moody’s
- A+ – Standard & Poor’s
We’ve also noticed that AIG is great at placing applicants who are on the border of two different rating classes, because of their weight, into the more favorable class.
For example, a 37-year-old male who weighed 215 pounds and is six feet tall rated a preferred policy with Banner Life, but AIG rated him preferred plus, saving him $3,312 over the life of the policy.
Banner Life Insurance is a leader in life insurance product diversity and customer service. The company has been operating since 1949, and it currently holds about $685 billion in premiums.
Banner Life has both flexible and comprehensive coverage options, like special rates for younger or health conscious individuals. In addition, people up to age 95 can apply for a Banner Life term policy. This is nearly unheard of in the insurance industry (most other insurers cap applicants at age 65 or 75).
Banner Life has earned high ratings:
- A+ – A.M. Best
- AA- – Fitch
- AA- – Standard & Poor’s
The company also has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Bottom Line: No matter your health situation, or age, we’d suggest a Banner Life Insurance quote.
Another long-standing, top life insurance company is Prudential, which manages more than $1 trillion in assets for clients throughout the world.
Prudential offers a number of different policy options, including term and permanent coverage. Permanent coverage from Prudential includes universal, indexed universal, variable universal, and survivorship universal life insurance.
The 144-year-old company has earned high ratings, including:
- A+ – A.M. Best
- A+ – Fitch
- A1 – Moody’s
- AA- – Standard & Poor’s
We’ve noticed that applicants who use chewing tobacco often prefer Prudential because the company does not place chewing tobacco users into its classification for smokers, and this can save a huge amount of money.
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha has been serving customers in the life insurance arena for more than a century. It provides a wide variety of products including term, whole life, universal life, and accidental death.
The company provides easy-to-follow online steps to help customers determine how much coverage they may need. The site also offers calculators to help determine how long life insurance proceeds may last.
New York Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company opened more than 170 years ago, and the insurer has more than $425 billion in managed assets. It serves policyholders in both the United States and around the world.
New York Life offers term, whole life, universal life and variable life, and the company is a financial stalwart.
This rounds out the summaries for our top life insurance companies. Didn’t find a company you were looking for? A complete list of over 65 life insurance companies we looked at (with reviews!) is available below.
Best Life Insurance Companies by Category
When you apply for life insurance, the company’s underwriters will take a close look at your health, your habits, and your family’s health history. The higher the risk, the higher your insurance premiums will be.
Applicants in certain categories, such as tobacco users, fare better with certain insurance companies when it comes to rate classifications. Here are a few of the most common.
Best For Healthy Customers: Health I.Q.
Do you start your day with a run? Do you try to eat natural, healthy food?
If so, you should find an insurance company who rewards you for those good habits. Health I.Q. thinks health-conscious people are overpaying for their life insurance coverage, and to counteract this, has teamed with some insurance carriers to offer rewarding underwriting designed for active people.
Health I.Q. targets muscular people who have a low BMI, and people with low resting heart rates, even if they have a poor family history. We cover all the ins and outs in our full Health I.Q. review.
According to the statistics on their website, the standard insurance carrier puts 35 percent of applicants in the preferred plus category, but Health I.Q. puts double that amount.
Best For Smokers and Tobacco Users: Banner
Banner Life tops our list for smokers, with Prudential following close behind. Banner Life offers both preferred tobacco and standard tobacco classifications. You’ll still pay more as a smoker than a non-smoker, but the rate hike may not be as high as it would be with other companies.
Banner Life is an excellent company for term life coverage in general. They are usually among the most affordable, and writing policies for smokers seems to be their niche.
Banner is also the parent company of its often better-known subsidiary, William Penn Life Insurance of New York, which has over $5.7 billion in assets and over $587 billion of life insurance in force.
Best For Cancer Survivors: Prudential
Prudential not only tends to be more liberal in underwriting policies for cancer survivors but also for people with diabetes and DUI histories. As you would expect, premiums will be higher for cancer survivors even with a policy issued by Prudential.
The type of cancer, as well as how long it is been in remission, are factors. But if you are a cancer survivor looking for the best life insurance premiums, Prudential is the place to start.
Best For Diabetics: American General (AIG)
In general, American General is one of the very best insurance companies for high-risk applicants, but the company is especially strong in underwriting policies for those who have type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, American General offers an accelerated death benefit rider that enables you to receive at least some of your insurance proceeds while you are still alive if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. This can help provide important living benefits that will help you to pay at least some of your medical bills and other expenses.
Like many companies that offer more liberal underwriting guidelines to high-risk applicants, American General is tougher if your profile involves other risks, like occupations or hobbies.
Best For Overweight / Obese: Genworth
With 69 percent of the U.S. adult population classified as overweight, including 35 percent as obese, this is one of the most important specializations.
Genworth tends to take a more liberal stance in regard to weight. This can impact premiums in big ways since body mass index (BMI) is often one of the most important underwriting criteria.
Genworth has a history of assigning a “preferred plus” rating to people who are overweight, and “standard risk” to many people who are obese. This is not a typical outcome throughout the industry.
For example, a 55-year-old male who is 6 feet tall can get a preferred rate while weighing as much as 242 pounds. Once the man hits age 65, he can weigh as much as 258 pounds with the same rating.
Best Five Year Term Policies: Minnesota Life
We consider Minnesota Life to be the top life insurance company when it comes to five-year term policies.
Most companies issue policies in terms ranging from 10 to 30 years, so finding a good five-year policy can be tough.
If you’re starting a new business and would like to protect your family while you’re in debt, or if you’ve quit smoking but don’t qualify for non-smoking rates, a five-year policy with Minnesota Life may provide the temporary coverage you need.
Best For No Medical Exam: American National (ANICO)
No medical exam policies are an excellent choice if you would prefer to avoid the exam for any reason. But they do cost more in premiums on a per thousand basis than fully underwritten policies do.
If you are looking for a policy with no medical exam and no health questions at all, ANICO offers its Legacy Whole Life Insurance Plan.
This is a guaranteed issue whole life policy that provides coverage for a face amount of up to $25,000. It is available for those between the ages of 50 and 80, and offers a fixed death benefit, with fixed premiums.
One downside to this policy – though it is common for the policy type – is that it has a two year graded death benefit. This means that if you die within the first two years after the policy is issued, you will be entitled to a return of the premiums paid (up to 110%) but not the death benefit itself.
No exam policies are more expensive, but ANICO is your best bet.
Financial Strength of 2020’s Best Life Insurance Companies
All insurance companies must be graded by at least one independent life insurance ratings agency, which assesses the likelihood the insurance company will remain financially solvent and pay claims on policies.
Generally speaking, it’s best to stick with insurance companies that are rated with a grade of A or better. The rating agencies to check with are A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings.
|Mutual Of Omaha||A+||N/A||A1||AA-|
|New York Life||A++||AAA||Aaa||AA+|
Types of Life Insurance to Consider
So you know the importance of quality, and you’ve identified insurance companies that specialize in your specific needs, now it’s time to decide what type of policy to buy.
There are many different types of life insurance, including:
- Term Life Insurance
- Permanent Life Insurance
- Whole Life Insurance
- Universal Life Insurance
- Variable Life Insurance
- Final Expense Life Insurance
- No Medical Exam Life Insurance
- Key Man Life Insurance
- Increasing and Decreasing Term Life Insurance
- …and more
I’ve broken down 4 of the most popular types of life insurance below.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is so named because it lasts only for a specific period of time, or term, which usually ranges from 10 to 30 years. Most people buy term life insurance to protect their loved ones while they have a lot of debt and/or not much in savings. That way, if they died unexpectedly, their families wouldn’t be forced to sell the house or make other financial sacrifices.
Because term life insurance doesn’t include an investment component, it is almost always the most affordable coverage you can buy. One major benefit of term life insurance is that your premium shouldn’t change while your policy is in force. Once you “lock it in,” you can count on those premiums for the duration of your policy. The younger and healthier you are when you lock in your rate, the less you’ll likely pay throughout the life of the policy.
The ideal customer for term life insurance is:
- Someone who wants to protect his or her family from financial losses during their working years.
- An individual who only needs coverage for a specific length of time (i.e. thirty years).
- Someone who has not had a chance to save enough money to support their loved ones for 5 to 10 years.
Who should pass:
- People who want life insurance that will never expire.
- People who want to purchase a life insurance policy that will build cash value.
Whole life is also aptly named. Once you buy a policy (or commit to funding one), the coverage lasts for the rest of your life. This kind of coverage, which is also called permanent life insurance, adds an investment component as well. The life insurance component is designed to provide for your family when you die, just like term life, but part of the premiums you pay for a whole life policy become an investment with cash value. Like other investments, you can generally borrow against the cash value of your policy with favorable terms.
The ideal customer for whole life insurance is:
- Someone who wants to purchase life insurance coverage that will never expire.
- Someone who wants a policy that will build cash value they can borrow against.
Who should pass:
- Someone who wants the most affordable premiums money can buy.
- Anyone who only needs life insurance for a limited term, or length of time.
Like whole life, universal life is permanent. However, universal life combines this coverage with a more complicated investment component. This kind of coverage offers flexible premiums: The amount you pay into your policy can fluctuate from year to year. As a result, your policy may build more cash value some years than others.
The ideal customer for universal life insurance is:
- Anyone who wants flexibility in their premiums and death benefit.
- Someone who wants a permanent death benefit that will never expire.
Who should pass:
- Someone who wants fixed premiums and a fixed death benefit.
- Someone who wants to keep their premiums affordable.
Variable life insurance is another form of permanent life insurance that offers an investment component that builds cash value. Because variable life insurance allows you to allocate a portion of your premiums to a separate investment account, this type of life insurance is generally more expensive than other types of coverage.
Due to the way these policies are set up, consumers can decide when to pay higher premiums for a higher death benefit within certain limits. Since you can generally choose from a variety of investments within the investment component of your coverage, and since returns are never guaranteed, variable life insurance is regulated under federal securities laws.
The ideal customer for variable life is:
- Someone who wants to participate in various investment opportunities without being taxed on their earnings.
- Anyone who wants the potential for higher returns, but doesn’t mind the risk of losses.
Who should pass:
- Individuals who just want life insurance for a fixed length of time, usually ten, twenty, or thirty years.
- People who prefer not to take any risk.
Life Insurance Companies We Reviewed
The life insurance companies below represent some of the strongest names in the industry. Each link will take you to a comprehensive review of the individual company.
- 5 Star – Part of the Armed Forces Benefit Association, which has been around since 1947.
- AAA – More than 100 years of business experience and a long history of good customer service.
- AARP – Works with New York Life to provide coverage to seniors.
- Accordia – Very young but great financial backing.
- Accuquote – Over the past 20 years, Accuquote has placed about $100 billion of life insurance coverage in force with nearly 200,000 customers purchasing coverage from the site.
- Aetna – Aetna has a ton of different types of insurance and life insurance is a major part of their company.
- Aflac – Most famous for their duck mascot, Aflac is a highly respected carrier with great ratings from the BBB.
- Allianz – Allianz is a leading provider of life insurance, as well as income-producing products and overall retirement solutions.
- Allied – As a subsidiary of Nationwide, Allied Insurance offers personal, business, and farm/ranch policies.
- Allstate – The good hands people are one of the most well known and trusted insurers in the country.
- American General – Part of the AIG group and one of the largest insurers in the USA.
- American Income – Over 50 years of experience and a great financial record.
- American National – Top provider of no medical exam policies.
- Americo – Well-known for burial and final expense policies, but also has competitive rates on other life insurance products.
- Ameritas – Popular company for disability insurance coverage.
- Amica – Based on financial strength and claims-paying ability, Amica Mutual Group has received a rating of A+ (Superior) from A.M. Best Company.
- Assurity – Assurity has been in the business of offering coverage and protection to its policyholders for well over 100 years.
- AXA Equitable – Very competitive at underwriting in specific age brackets and great with a few health conditions.
- Baltimore Life – The Baltimore Life Insurance Company offers a long list of personal life insurance options to choose for individuals and families.
- Bankers Life – BLIC was founded in 1976, and while it may not be one of the oldest insurance carriers, it has proven a viable player in the life insurance and annuity arena.
- Bestow – Bringing life insurance into the 21st century, if you are a young healthy adult, you could have an in-force life insurance policy within a matter of minutes with Bestow Life Insurance.
- Cincinnati Life – The Cincinnati Life Insurance Company has been providing wealth enhancement and protection products since 1950 when four independent insurance agents formed it.
- Colonial Life – Based on its strong financial foundation, and timely payments of claims, Colonial Life Insurance Company has received high ratings from the insurer rating agencies.
- Columbus Life – One of the first insurance companies to have a website; remains competitive with technology.
- Conseco.com – The company serves more than 4 million customers primarily considered “middle income working America.”
- Esurance – Esurance is owned by Allstate Insurance Company which is the oldest publicly held personal lines insurance carrier in the United States.
- EquiTrust – All life insurance plans offered through EquiTrust are permanent, meaning there is death benefit protection and a cash value/savings component.
- Erie Life – Erie Insurance Company has been in the business of offering coverage protection to its customers for nearly 100 years.
- Family Life – Family Life Insurance Company specializes in mortgage protection life insurance policies.
- Farm Bureau – Farm Bureau Financial Services is financially stable, and the company pays policyholder claims quickly.
- Farmers – Farmers serves more than 10 million households with more than 19 million individual policies.
- Fidelity – Fidelity Life is known for offering affordable life insurance products to a growing middle-class customer.
- Foresters Financial – A non-profit with more than 135 years in the life insurance market.
- Forethought – Only 30 years old, but moving up in the ranks of reliable life insurance companies.
- Frankenmuth – The company’s principal mission when providing insurance services to its policyholders is to be the insurer of choice.
- Geico – Over the past 80 years, the company has expanded exponentially, also ranked as the second largest private passenger auto insurance company in the US.
- Gerber – Great at offering affordable guaranteed issue policies.
- Globe – Offers the best small, simplified issue policies.
- Guarantee Trust Life – Record gains in the year 2016, making the company’s overall financial condition the strongest that it has ever had in its 80+ year history.
- Guardian – A Fortune 250 Global Financial Services Company, Guardian offers a wide variety of financial services along with life insurance.
- Hartford – Hartford offers an extensive list of insurance and other financial products which can help its clients to customize their wealth enhancement and protection.
- Illinois Mutual – From the BBB, they have an A+ rating and have been BBB accredited since 1943.
- Jackson National – The firm primarily offers retirement annuities and investments.
- John Hancock – One of the better known and more solid companies in the United States.
- LeapLife – An aggregator of sorts, get a faster life insurance policy while sifting through the nation’s best providers.
- Liberty Mutual – Liberty Mutual is ranked as number 75 on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations.
- Lincoln Financial – Lincoln Financial Group is a Fortune 500 company that provides a very diverse array of financial services and solutions to its business and consumer clients.
- Lincoln General – Intends to provide superior handling of any and all claims that are filed, as well as to favorably impact the financial results for its shareholders.
- Mass Mutual – For over 160 years, Mass Mutual has had a single purpose: helping people to secure their future, and to protect the ones they love.
- Minnesota Life – Awesome at rating people who have recently stopped smoking.
- Monumental Life Insurance Company – In 2014, changed its name to Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company.
- Mutual Trust – Over the past 110 years, the company has grown to offer life insurance and annuity products in 49 of the U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia.
- National Life Group – National Life Group has been providing financial protection to its customers for nearly 170 years.
- National Western – More than 60 years of experience and top financial ratings.
- Nationwide – This financial and insurance entity offers a broad range of products and services that can help clients with growing and protect wealth.
- Navy Mutual – Navy Mutual has been offering insurance and annuity benefits to military members since 1879.
- North American – Privately owned and expertly managed when it comes to its investments.
- Northwestern Mutual – One of the largest life insurance companies in the world.
- Ohio National Financial Services – Company is over 100 years old.
- Pacific – Pacific Life has been helping its clients grow and protect their wealth for more than 145 years.
- Petersen International Underwriters – A+ rating based on everything from the company’s honoring of commitments, customer service, transparency, and more.
- Phoenix – Phoenix Life Insurance Company has more than a century and a half of providing coverage to its customers.
- PolicyGenius – PolicyGenius lets you get dozens of quotes from different companies for all your insurance coverage needs, all in one place.
- Primerica – Primerica has been offering term life insurance that is affordable since 1977.
- Principal Financial Group – One of the few that will offer a no exam policy up to $1 million.
- Progressive – This company has grown and expanded exponentially, and it has also added more coverage products and services, including progressive home insurance.
- Protective – Great for term life insurance policies.
- Royal Neighbors – Royal Neighbors has a unique mission of insuring lives, supporting women, and serving communities.
- Sagicor – Offers great no exam term policies and guaranteed issue universal life.
- SBLI – Great for annual premium prices and variety of lengths of term life insurance.
- Select Quote Online – One of their online agents helps to pair you with the best policy for your needs.
- State Farm – If you already have homeowners/renters and auto insurance with them they offer great bundling of policies.
- Symetra – Gets top ratings from all the bureaus and has a clean record from the BBB.
- The Standard – Headquartered in Oregon, and has over 6 million customers in every state.
- TIAA – TIAA is a Fortune 500 company, and it serves millions of clients.
- Transamerica – As one of the world’s leading insurance and financial services companies, Transamerica offers insurance and investments to more than 19 million customers worldwide.
- USAA – USAA is the top company for those with military service or a family member who has served in the military.
- United Home – along with its parent company United Farm Family life, this company has a strong financial reputation.
- Vantis – Vantis is more than 80 years old and is reliable at paying claims.
- Veterans Group – If you have an existing condition, you will do very well with this company.
- Voya Financial – Formerly known as ING, Voya Financial has emerged as a leader in today’s financial and insurance services industry.
Your New Life Insurance Policy: How and Where to Purchase Coverage
If you are ready to buy a policy from one of the best life insurance companies or haven’t reviewed your life insurance in a while, we can help. We can get you all of the information that you need in order to make an informed buying decision.
You can obtain pertinent details on policy features and premium price, as well as compare the plans of various carriers. Best of all, any information you need can be obtained quickly and easily, directly from your computer and without the need to meet with an insurance agent.
Ready to get started? Choose one of the following:
- Compare quotes online – You can do this by selecting your state from the map above
- Choose a company-specific “get quote” link above
**Include accurate contact information so that an agent can get ahold of you if absolutely necessary.
If you have any additional questions regarding which of the best life insurance companies might be best for your needs, or about how you can obtain life insurance quotes, start by filling out the form on this page. If you need to discuss a specific medical condition with an agent, on the other hand, you will be contacted and receive answers to any of the questions or concerns that you may have.
Purchasing life insurance can seem absolutely overwhelming at times, and that’s especially true when you’re considering different types of coverage with more than one provider. By highlighting the best life insurance companies on the market today, we hope to minimize your research and help you find the best company for your needs.
With your family’s financial security on the line, reading through these crucial details and conducting some research on your own is an excellent use of your time. And if you need help, all you have to do is ask.