Choosing the right life insurance policy starts with choosing the right company.

Should tragedy strike, a good life insurance policy can protect loved ones who depend on you financially. An insurance policy can’t replace you, but at least your family will have a financial safety net.

Choosing the right company will require you to balance a couple of different factors, such as the financial stability of the company you choose, your current financial obligations, and your desired coverage amount, among others. When making your decision, make sure you compare life insurance quotes from top life insurance companies on Insurify for a full picture of all options available to you. 

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Factors to Consider When Picking a Life Insurance Company

To make sure you pick the right company for you and your needs, you’ll want an insurance company with the highest possible financial stability. The company needs to be one you can be sure will stick around for decades—if the company doesn’t at least outlive you, then your life insurance policy won’t be worth much. 

Additionally, the best life insurance companies offer services and features that let you build a policy to meet your needs both now and in the future. It’s also very important to choose an insurer with a reputation for excellent customer service so that if something goes wrong, you can count on them to fix it quickly and with minimal hassle.

With that in mind, Insurify set out to analyze all major life insurance companies and rank them with a single, multi-point score. The result is the Insurify Composite Score—a number that gives you an easy way to see which companies are the best for you before you purchase a policy. This scoring system makes it simple for you to find the right company and buy the right policy, both for you and for those who count on you for financial support.

Methodology

The Insurify Composite Score is calculated by analyzing multiple factors that reflect the quality, reliability, and health of an insurance company. Inputs to the score include financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch; J.D. Power ratings; Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys; mobile app reviews; and user-generated company reviews. Insurify’s data scientists have taken these variables, weighted them, and combined them into a single, easy-to-understand numeric score for each company.

Insurify makes it easy for you to pick the right life insurance company for you by factoring in your personal needs and showing you a list of personalized life insurance quotes from top life insurers. 

Best Life Insurance Companies

After crunching the data, we found that these 10 life insurance companies stood out as consistently providing excellent policy options, reliable customer service, financial strength, and stability over time. Purchasing a life insurance policy from one of these 10 companies will help ensure that your policy will be there if your family should ever need to use it. It also guarantees that the company will help your family members through the process of applying for and receiving death benefits, which is the payout from a life insurance policy.

1. State Farm – Best Overall
Insurify Composite Score: 96

Company name: State Farm
Founded in: 1922
Number of customers/policies: 83.4 million policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A++’ financial strength rating from A.M. Best
  • Highest Customer Satisfaction among Life Insurance Providers by J.D. Power’s U.S. Life Insurance Study

Product highlights: State Farm sells term, whole, and universal life policies. It’s possible to apply and file claims online through the company’s website. The site also has calculators to help figure out how much and what type of life insurance policy to get.

Policy options and riders: State Farm has a number of options and riders available, depending on the type of life insurance policy you’re looking for. For example, term life policyholders can get mortgage life insurance that will pay off the home mortgage. And universal life policyholders can have riders providing flexible care benefits, children’s term coverage, and other benefits.


 2. MassMutual
Insurify Composite Score: 94

Company name: Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Founded in: 1851
Number of customers/policies: $560 billion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A++’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Fortune 500 company
  • 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies Honoree, Ethisphere Institute

Product highlights: MassMutual is a mutual insurance company. That means the company is owned by its policyholders, and its purpose is to provide insurance for them, not to make a profit. As a result, mutual insurance companies can afford to offer lower rates than standard insurance companies. The company sells term, whole, and universal life policies.

Policy options and riders: MassMutual offers various forms of the basic types of insurance policies. For example, term life comes in both standard forms and what the company calls MassMutual Direct Term; the latter is designed for customers who need instant approval.


3. Guardian Life
Insurify Composite Score: 92

Company name: Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Founded in: 1860
Number of customers/policies: $637 billion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A++’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Fortune 500 company

Product highlights: Another mutual insurance company, Guardian Life offers term, whole, and universal life insurance. The company has an online program called the Living Balance Sheet that you can use to track income and expenses and calculate how much coverage you may need.

Policy options and riders: Guardian Life offers variable permanent life insurance policies, which allow the policyholder to invest the money in certain stocks. Policyholders may also choose riders adding disability or critical-care coverage, among other available options, to permanent life insurance policies.


4. Nationwide
Insurify Composite Score: 85

Company name: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Founded in: 1925
Number of customers/policies: $46 billion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Nationwide Annuities ranked #1 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. life insurance study

Product highlights: Nationwide offers term, whole, and universal life insurance. There’s also a variable insurance option for permanent policies. The company sells an indexed version of universal life insurance; these are fixed policies and aren’t actually invested in stocks, but part of their interest is pegged to a stock index such as the S&P 500.

Policy options and riders: Nationwide’s life insurance policies include several rider options, such as accidental death benefits, children’s term insurance, and a premium waiver rider (options vary depending on the type of policy).


5. New York Life Insurance
Insurify Composite Score: 85

Company name: New York Life Insurance Company
Founded in: 1845
Number of customers/policies:New York Life is the third-largest insurance company in the U.S., according to Fortune Magazine.
Awards and rankings: 

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies
  • Human Rights Campaign – Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality

Product highlights: New York Life is a mutual insurance company. The company offers term and whole life insurance policies.

Policy options and riders: In addition to standard whole life insurance, New York Life sells Custom Whole Life (with fixed premiums for a set period of time determined by the policyholder) and Value Whole Life (with a longer premium payment schedule but smaller payments). Available riders include chronic care, living benefits, and accidental death benefits options.


6. Prudential
Insurify Composite Score: 83

Company name: Prudential Financial, Inc.
Founded in: 1875
Number of customers/policies: $3.7 trillion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best

Product highlights: Prudential offers term and universal life insurance policies. Universal policies come in fixed, indexed, and variable versions.

Policy options and riders: Prudential has a myriad of rider options available, including disability, illness, and estate planning riders in various forms.


7. Penn Mutual
Insurify Composite Score: 82

Company name: Penn Mutual Life Insurance
Founded in: 1847
Number of customers/policies: $142 billion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best

Product highlights: As the name implies, Penn Mutual is a mutual insurance company. It offers term, whole, and universal life policies. Universal life comes in standard, indexed, and variable versions.

Policy options and riders: Penn Mutual has riders for accidental death benefits, children’s term insurance, and disability waivers, among others.


8. Pacific Life
Insurify Composite Score: 80

Company name: Pacific Life Insurance Company
Founded in: 1868
Number of customers/policies: $916 billion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Fortune 500 company

Product highlights: Pacific Life offers term and universal life insurance policies. Universal life comes in standard, indexed, and variable versions.

Policy options and riders: Pacific Life has riders for children’s term insurance, terminal illness, and disability waivers, among others.


9. Principal Financial Group
Insurify Composite Score: 80

Company name: Principal Financial Services, Inc.
Founded in: 1879
Number of customers/policies: Assets under management totaled over $673 billion in 2017.
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Fortune 500 company
  • One of the world’s most ethical companies, according to the Ethisphere Institute

Product highlights: Principal Financial offers term and universal life insurance policies. Universal life comes in fixed and variable versions.

Policy options and riders: Principal Financial has riders for disability, children’s term insurance, and chronic illness benefits, among others.


10. Mutual of Omaha
Insurify Composite Score: 78

Company name: Mutual of Omaha
Founded in: 1909
Number of customers/policies: $32 billion in policies
Awards and rankings:

  • ‘A+’ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Fortune 500 company

Product highlights: Mutual of Omaha offers whole and universal life insurance policies. Universal life comes in fixed and variable versions.

Policy options and riders: Mutual of Omaha has riders for living or accelerated death benefit and offers flexible premiums.

The Best Way to Find the Right Company for You 

This list of the best life insurance companies is a great starting point for finding the right insurance company for you. While these companies represent the best in the game currently, you should do your due diligence and vet which one is the best for your needs and lifestyle.

Make sure you compare life insurance policies, companies, and costs on Insurify. With Insurify, you can find the right company for your needs within minutes. 

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Types of Life Insurance to Consider

Once you’ve chosen a life insurance provider, it’s time to decide which type of policy is the best fit for you. With a few exceptions, most life insurance policies fall into four categories: term life, whole life, universal life, and variable life. The latter three options are also sometimes grouped under the category of permanent life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance policies protect you for a certain, predetermined period of time (typically 1, 5, 10, or 20 years). Term life insurance is a good choice for policyholders under the age of 50 who just need basic, affordable coverage.

If you know you need life insurance but aren’t sure which kind to get, term life insurance is probably your best option. 

As the only temporary form of life insurance, term life gives you protection for your family and other dependents without locking you into the policy forever. But in the event of your death, term life could assist your beneficiaries with mortgage payments, daily expenses, and education bills. 

Premiums for term life insurance are also far lower than premiums on comparable permanent life insurance policies, so it’s the most economical option. Plus, many term life insurance policies give you the option to either renew the policy or convert it to a permanent policy when the term ends.

While term life insurance is the simplest and most straightforward life insurance option, it does come in a few different varieties. Here are some of the most common options you’ll see when pricing a term life insurance policy:

Term Level Life Insurance versus Annual Renewable Life Insurance

Most term life insurance policies run for a term of 2 to 30 years. Once you buy the policy, your premiums stay the same for the entire term—and so does the death benefit

Annual renewable life insurance is the short-term version of term life: the term is set for a single year, and once the year is up, you can choose to renew the policy a certain number of times as determined by the policy contract. Annual renewable life insurance generally has lower premiums than term level life insurance, but because your premium can go up every year, it’s not a great choice for someone who wants long-term coverage. Annual renewable life insurance is best used if you only need coverage for a year or two and plan to switch to a different type of policy after that.

Return-of-Premium Life Insurance

When you buy a term life insurance policy, you may be able to choose a “return-of-premium” option for that policy. Return-of-premium policies work just like standard term life insurance policies, except that if you are still alive at the end of the term, the insurance company gives you back all the premiums you paid during the term. Not surprisingly, return-of-premium policies are a lot more expensive than standard term life policies; however, if you’re pretty sure you’ll outlive the policy, they may work out to be a better deal.

No Medical Exam Life Insurance

Most life insurance policies require you to undergo a standard medical exam before the company approves you for the policy. This is because life insurance companies are taking on a risk by insuring you and want to make sure that you’re in reasonably good health before they commit to paying substantial death benefits

However, some policies allow you to skip the medical exam entirely. Not all companies offer these no medical exam policies, and those that do sometimes hike the premiums way up to compensate for the additional risk they represent. It’s important to compare all your options before choosing such a policy to make sure you’re not paying through the nose for the convenience of skipping the medical exam.

If you have an excellent health history, you may be able to qualify for a variant of the no medical exam policy called “accelerated underwriting.” Accelerated underwriting policies rely on a background search that looks at your medical history, including prescription records, lab reports, and doctors’ reports, to see if you’re a good candidate. The advantage of an accelerated underwriting policy is that premiums are typically comparable to those of standard term life policies, even though you still get to bypass the medical exam.

Check out personalized term life insurance rates on Insurify today! 

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Permanent Life Insurance

While term life insurance can be understood as “pure and simple” insurance, permanent life insurance policies are more like a combination of a life insurance policy and an investment. 

Permanent life insurance policies have no set term; the policy remains in force as long as you keep paying your premiums. Additionally, once you’ve paid premiums for a certain length of time (typically five years or so), a permanent life insurance policy begins to develop what’s called “cash value.” You can think of cash value as a savings account tacked onto your life insurance policy. Permanent insurance policies will even pay you a small amount of interest on the cash value portion of the policy or reimburse you based on your investment returns in the case of variable life insurance policies

The big drawback to permanent life insurance policies is that premiums are much, much higher than they would be for a term life policy with the same death benefit. For that reason, most people are better off with a term life policy. However, if you’re one of the exceptions or you just want to know what your options are, read on.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is the simplest and most dependable form of permanent life insurance. With a whole life insurance policy, you pay a set premium. In return, you get a guaranteed death benefit, a guaranteed cash value, and a guaranteed interest return on that cash value

Most whole life policies will let you tap into the policy’s cash value in a variety of ways. For example, you may be able to use the policy as collateral when borrowing money or simply withdraw some or all of the cash value during your lifetime.

The big drawback to whole life insurance is that the interest you’ll get on the policy’s cash value is almost guaranteed to be way less than you’d get if you’d put the money into an IRA, for example, or even a bank’s money market account. Combined with the higher premiums you’ll pay compared to term life insurance policies, this can make a whole life insurance policy a waste of money. 

For some people, though, whole life insurance can be a solid financial option. For instance, if you have a great deal of money and want to avoid estate taxes, purchasing a whole life insurance policy is one way to get your money to your beneficiaries tax-free and reduce the size of your estate in the process.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is similar to whole life but comes with a bit more flexibility. For one, once you’ve built up enough cash value in the policy, you have the option to pay your premiums out of the cash value instead of from your pocket. 

You may also be able to increase the policy’s death benefit if you’re willing to increase your premium payments (many companies will require you to pass a medical exam first, though). You can also decrease both your death benefit and premium payments if you feel the need, subject to certain limits. Thus, if you decide that a permanent life insurance policy is the best option for you but you want to keep some flexibility, universal life could be the best choice.

Variable Life Insurance

Both whole life and universal life policies may come in the form of a variable life insurance policy. 

Standard whole and universal life policies are sometimes called fixed insurance because the interest you receive on your cash value account is set at a fixed percentage when you take on the policy. But if fixed insurance cash value accounts work like bank savings accounts, then variable insurance cash value accounts are more like a brokerage account. 

The insurance company will give you a menu of investment options (typically stock and bond mutual funds), and you can choose to invest some or all of your cash value in those options. Choose wisely, and you could potentially have a much higher return than you would from a comparable fixed insurance policy. On the flip side, if you pick the wrong investments, you could end up losing your policy’s entire cash value.

Variable life insurance policies are also notorious for high fees that will eat away at any investment returns you make. These types of life insurance plans also tend to be riddled with restrictions and limitations, including surrender penalties. Finally, insurance agents often receive very high commissions for selling such policies, which means they are motivated to push variable life policies whether or not they’re the best choice for you. 

A variable life insurance policy would be a good choice for a skilled investor with nerves of steel, or at least someone with access to a financial advisor. If you do end up choosing this type of policy, you’ll want to go over the policy documents very carefully and compare the potential returns (minus fees) with what you’d get from a comparable fixed life insurance policy before signing up.

Final Expense

If you can’t qualify for standard life insurance policies because of your age or health, you may still be able to get a final expense policy.

These policies, also known as burial insurance, give you the chance to arrange a death benefit that will at least pay for funeral expenses and possibly clear any debt you’re carrying as well. 

Final expense insurance is typically sold as a variant of whole life insurance, sometimes under the name of simplified or guaranteed whole life. Simplified whole life insurance can be a good choice for those unable to qualify for standard insurance but still in fairly good health. Guaranteed whole life is an option for those who can’t qualify for simplified whole life. Neither variant requires a medical exam, although qualifying for simplified whole life requires you to answer some questions about your medical history. You can qualify for guaranteed whole life with no questions asked (about your medical history, anyway), but you’ll pay higher premiums, and your death benefit will be very limited—typically to no more than $25,000.

Riders

A rider is an extra provision on an insurance policy that adds coverage or changes the standard coverage in some way. Most kinds of riders must be attached to the policy when you sign up, although this varies based on the nature of the policy and the rider. Adding one or more riders to a policy will typically increase your premium for that policy, sometimes dramatically. You’ll find a few of the most common life insurance riders in the table below.

RiderHow it works
Return-of-premium riderThis rider stipulates that your insurance company will repay all your premiums at the end of the term—assuming you’re still alive.
Term conversion riderA term conversion rider lets you convert a term life insurance policy into a whole life insurance policy at the end of its term.
Waiver of premium for disability riderIf you become seriously disabled, this rider will allow you to keep your life insurance policy without paying any further premiums.
Accelerated death benefit riderIf you receive a terminal diagnosis, this rider will let you claim your death benefit while still alive to help pay for long-term care or end-of-life medical bills. Many term life insurance policies include this rider at no extra cost.
Child riderChildren rarely need life insurance coverage, but if you feel that your child is an exception, you may be better off getting a child coverage rider on your insurance policy rather than getting your child a policy of their own.
Critical-illness riderLike the accelerated death benefit rider, the critical illness rider will pay out part or all of your death benefit to help you pay for treatment of certain illnesses, such as cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
Spousal riderA spousal rider means you’ll receive a death benefit if your spouse dies. The resulting premium increase is usually less than what you’d pay for a separate policy for your spouse, but death benefits are also likely to be smaller.
Accidental death and dismemberment riderThis rider gives you extra coverage, typically in the form of a larger death benefit, if you die in some sort of accident. It will also pay a (reduced) benefit if you’re dismembered or lose important functions, such as sight or hearing.

Buying the Best Life Insurance Policy

Now that you’ve made it this far, you understand the basics of how life insurance works, what the different types of policies are, and which insurance companies are best. That means you’re well placed to make a smart financial decision about life insurance. The next step is to collect quotes and compare life insurance rates from some of those top-ranked companies.

Remember: life insurance costs, fees, and coverage options can vary widely from one company to another. While it can be time-consuming to do so much research independently, the process takes mere minutes using Insurify

With Insurify, you can compare life insurance products, company ratings, and costs all in one place for free! Give it a try today.

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Updated October 22, 2020

Tanveen Vohra is currently a content writer for Insurify. Tanveen has a background in college media, having produced videos, news articles, and feature pieces for various student magazines and newspapers at SUNY Buffalo. She recently moved to the Boston area, and now works full-time for Insurify, helping produce blog content. In her spare time she frequents climbing gyms and explores film photography.