California, the home of Hollywood and fantastic dreamers shares its tremendous reputation with its enormous landscape and abundance of residents. Behind Alaska and Texas in size, California is the most populous state in the U.S., with almost 40 million residents. It also takes second prize in life expectancy, with an average of 81 years.

A unique state with one of the top public healthcare systems in the country, the land of sunshine and professional make-believe is as diverse as it is grand. But many residents wonder about their chances for affordable life insurance in the state of California

Use Insurify to help find the right life insurance company to cover your insurance needs at the price you can afford. It’s easy; just provide some basic information, like your state of residence and your age, and Insurify will produce a list of quotes from top-rated insurance companies for you to choose from. 

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost in California?

Not everybody in the state of California can be an A-lister. For California residents who add diversity and culture to the Golden State, life insurance is a good option to ensure a legacy for your loved ones or to meet financial goals. The California Department of Insurance (CDI) governs life insurance in the state of California. It approves life insurance rates, among many other tasks.

Life insurance is a product of risk management. Policyholders pay premiums to insure against the financial risk of their important debts going unpaid and their families being financially burdened due to loss of income should they pass away. Insurers practice risk management by classifying applicants into risks and approving or denying applications.

Underwriting is the process when insurers determine the risk of an applicant. Once the risk is determined, a premium is assigned, or the applicant is turned down. A person in excellent health who does not have risky habits is a preferred risk and pays lower premiums. A standard risk is an acceptable risk, and standard premiums are assigned. A substandard risk is a high risk for the company, and policyholders pay higher premiums.

Life insurance is regulated on a state level. The CDI regulates life, auto, home, and health insurance as well as annuities in California, makes sure insurers stay solvent with their premium rates, and ensures policyholders pay reasonable premiums. If insurers would like to increase rates, they must first get approval from the CDI. The CDI processes over 8,000 rate applications from insurers per year.  

Should I Buy Online or Meet with a Licensed California Agent?

Traditionally, insurers have used life insurance agents as their points of contact for marketing and sales. But now, you can buy life insurance from the comfort and safety (especially during the pandemic) of your own home, with or without speaking to a licensed insurance agent. The choice is yours: you may not want to provide personal information online, or you may need a policy quickly. Online is a quick way to get insured. 

The Work of a Life Insurance Agent

Life insurance agents, whether employed or working as independent contractors for insurance companies, are given express authority by the insurer to promote and sell their insurance products. They are required to follow company guidelines and have fiduciary responsibilities to the insurance company. They also have responsibilities to the applicant, which includes compensation transparency.

The life insurance industry is an industry, and the participants must be compensated. A resident insurance license application in California can be as little as $0 or over $1,000. That does not include the cost of insurance prelicensing or the state’s licensing exam. The CDI licenses agents, brokers, adjusters, and businesses and regulates over 14,000 insurers.

The CDI, with $340 billion of direct premiums, is the biggest insurance market in the U.S. So life insurance in California is big business! The CDI issues around 215,000 licenses, including for health insurance, and recovers $84 million annually for policyholders by investigating consumer complaints. The CDI enforces insurance laws under the California Insurance Code, which includes disclosure of producer compensation.  

To obtain a California insurance license, agents must first complete a California prelicensing course, which can be taken as an online course, and pass the prelicensing exam. Once they receive a certificate of completion, they must take the state PSI exam before applying for their license. Agents can be licensed in California life and health insurance and sell health plans, too. 

The average annual salary of a California life insurance agent is over $60,000. This may affect your decision to buy a life insurance policy from an insurance agent because sales will be sales. If you decide to apply for insurance online, you may still be required to speak with an agent before the application can be completed, or you may choose to speak with an agent from the insurance provider.

Applying for Insurance Online

If you decide to purchase insurance online, many quality insurers have made their life insurance plans available via the internet. Some insurers offer no-medical-exam term life insurance, which accelerates the underwriting process, and you could get covered almost instantly. Premiums are usually going to be higher for a no-exam term policy than a fully underwritten term policy.

When applying for life insurance coverage online, you are responsible for educating yourself on insurance products, not an agent. Once you know the type of policy that best fits your needs and the life insurance benefit level, it’s time to shop for policies. The first step is to get an online life insurance quote. Once you’ve chosen the best quote from the right company, you will need to fill out the company’s online application.

If your policy requires a medical exam, the insurer will send a representative to your home or office to perform a physical and possibly take blood and urine samples. Once the policy is underwritten and policy approved, you can e-sign the contract or sign after delivery. If you choose to apply for a no-exam term policy, once approved, your coverage starts when you pay the first premium. 

Who Has the Cheapest Life Insurance in California?

The cost of life insurance premiums mainly centers on risk and whether you are a preferred, standard, or substandard risk. For this reason, your state’s mortality rate as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) may play a factor in premiums. The mission of each state’s regulatory authority is to ensure premiums are non-discriminatory and rationally priced.

Other factors that affect premiums are interest and expenses. The more profit the insurer can earn on your premium’s interest, the less they need to charge. Their expenses are also worked into the premium, such as rent and commissions. The rest of the determining factor in your policy premiums depends on the type of policy you get and the amount of your death benefit.

Types of Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance is divided into two main types: term life insurance and whole life insurance. Term life insurance lasts for a specific amount of time or until the insured reaches a certain age. It is typically less expensive than whole life and can come in the form of riders, which can be attached to whole life policies to provide additional insurance, such as long-term care

Whole life insurance is any type of permanent life insurance. It lasts the policyholder‘s lifetime and develops cash value. Whole life insurance policies are classified by the way they grow cash value. For instance, a traditional whole life insurance policy grows cash value in a savings and investment account, whereas a universal whole life policy grows cash value in an investment account that relies on market performance.

Whole life insurance policies are typically more expensive than term life policies. A 10-year term life insurance policy is one of the most affordable life insurance products on the market. The table below illustrates the average premiums for a 10-year term life policy in California per age group.

Age Group Average Cost
Teen $14.59
20–29 $21.78
30–39 $41.14
40–49 $120.60
50–59 $163.80
60–69 $278.20
70–79 $90.80

What Are the Best and Cheapest Life Insurance Companies in California?

The best life insurance policy for you depends on your circumstances. Our needs change throughout our lives. Applying for a life insurance policy in our 20s is not the same as applying for a policy in our 50s. We have dealt with more circumstances in our 50s than in our 20s, and typically more debt.

Independent rating services, such as A.M. Best and S&P, measure the ability of insurers to pay out on insurance claims, using factors such as the company’s strategic planning and claims-paying history. These rating services are a way to note which insurer may be the best. Rating services usually use grades from A to D, with A indicating strong claims-paying ability and D indicating a company is insolvent.

A 10-year term life insurance policy is one of the cheapest ife insurance products available. After the term length expires, most life insurance companies allow policyholders to renew their contracts. They also usually have the option to convert the coverage to permanent coverage up to a certain age. Though affordable, 10-year policy premiums increase with age. 

Best and Cheapest LifeInsurance for Teens

A teen life insurance policy gives young adults a leg up on life insurance later in life. Insured teens may benefit (depending on insurers) from locked-in rates, guaranteed insurability, and funds for funeral expenses should the unimaginable occur. Protective Life and Pacific Life are two life insurance companies that provide adolescent insurance in California.

Protective Life

ProLctive Life advertises that its products are “solutions to protect and plan for life from birth to retirement.” Its features include term periods between 10 and 40 years, no need for a medical exam to convert coverage, guaranteed low premiums, and more.

Pacific Life

Pacific Life offers two types of term life policies, PL Promise Term and Pacific Elite Term. PL Promise has term lengths from 10 to 30 years at affordable prices. Pacific Elite Term policies provide permanent cash value for seamless conversion.

The following table shows the average premiums for a 10-year term life policy of $100,000 for teens in California.

Company name Avg Cost
Protective Life $12.68
Pacific Life $13.36
Assurity $15.08
Transamerica $15.22
Lincoln National $15.56
Haven Life $16.11
American General $16.31
Legal & General America $16.31
Mutual of Omaha $17.39
Sagicor Life $17.57

Best and Cheapest Life insurance for People 20 to 29 Years Old

Purchasing a life insurance policy in your 20s is a good way to protect yourself today, while also preparing for your future. The loved ones in your life will be financially protected, and with the ability to convert to a permanent policy, you may lock down cheap rates.

American Family

American Family’s DreamSecure Term Life policy offers term protection of 10- to 30-year terms. Premiums are level for the length of the term, and your policy can be renewed at the end of the term period. American Family has over $33 million in assets, and over $100 million of life insurance policies in force, as of its 2020 annual report. 

Bestow

Bestow offers an online-only 10-year life insurance experience. It provides no-medical-exam 10- to 30-year term policies to applicants between the age of 18 and 60. The application process is fast, and benefit levels are between $50,000 and $1.5 million.

The table below shows the average cost for a 10-year term policy for people aged 20 to 29 in California with $100,000 in coverage.

Company name Avg Cost
American Family $9.88
Bestow $15.11
Protective Life $15.44
Assurity $16.57
Sagicor Life $17.12
Haven Life $17.20
Vantis Life $17.40
Pacific Life $17.47
Legal & General America $17.58
Lincoln National $18.19

Best and Cheapest Life insurance for People 30 to 39 Years Old

Between the ages of 30 and 39 is when the majority of people decide to buy a life insurance policy. This may be because our parents were sure to secure our financial security themselves, and we see the importance of it or because of growing responsibilities. Whatever the case, there are still many affordable policies for people in their 30s.

SBLI

Established in 1907, SBLI offers affordable term life insurance products. Policies of $750,000 and less are offered without a medical exam for applicants between the ages of 18 and 60. You can renew the policy until age 85 or convert it to a permanent life policy before the date specified in the contract.

Legal & General America

Legal & General has term life insurance policies to fit a variety of needs. With $6.8 billion in assets and $782 billion of policies in force, Legal & General is rated A+ with A.M. Best and AA- with Fitch and S&P.

The next table illustrates the average premiums in California for a 10-year term policy of $100,000 for people aged 30–39.

Company name Avg Cost
American Family $18.51
Bestow  $28.52
SBLI $29.46
Legal & General America $30.66
Haven Life $34.42
Vantis Life $35.69
American National $35.70
Assurity $36.57
American General $36.80
Protective Life $37.17

Best and Cheapest Life insurance for People 40 to 49 Years Old

If you haven’t bought life insurance by the time you are 40–49, life insurance premiums are still affordable and will cover the important expenses you’ve acquired in your life, such as your mortgage and your child’s college education. Life should be more secure in your 40s, and a life insurance policy helps.

Sagicor Life

Sagicor allows consumers to fully purchase life insurance online. Its Accelewriting process takes minutes for approval with no medical exam. You can electronically sign your policy and have it sent electronicall,, too. Policy features include a level death benefit until 95, terms for 10 to 20 years, and an accelerated death benefit should you become terminally ill.

Vantis Life

Vantis Life has term life insurance products that provide a death benefit from $5,0000 to $2 million in coverage. Depending on the policy you choose, you may have long-term care benefits and cash value. Vantis Life is a Penn Mutual company and is rated A+ with A.M. Best.

The table demonstrates average life insurance premiums for a $100,000 10-year term life policy for people aged 40–49.

Company name Avg Cost
Bestow $50.24
Sagicor Life $53.14
Vantis Life $60.51
Haven Life $71.28
Foresters Life $76.92
SBLI $94.20
Penn Mutual $98.37
Mutual of Omaha $105.41
Legal & General America $111.48
Assurity $111.48

Best and Cheapest Life insurance for People 50 to 59 Years Old

When we reach our 50s, we may have grown children who are making a life of their own. If we haven’t bought a life insurance policy by this time, the thought of disrupting their lives to financially plan our burial and handle our estate may propel us to buy a policy. There are still affordable policies at 50 that will ensure our loved ones can focus on what’s truly important.

Haven Life

Haven Life is a division of MassMutual that provides quick and easy no-medical-exam term life insurance online. Its coverage amounts are between $50,000 and $3 million for people aged 18–65. It also offers disability insurance and annuities. Its features include level premiums and an accelerated death benefit.

American General (AIG)

American General offers renewable and convertible term life products for 10- to 30-year terms. Its financial strength is rated A+ with S&P and Fitch, and it is rated A with A.M. Best. It also offers personal accident and health insurance.

The table below displays the average premiums for a 10-year term, $100,000policy in the state of California for people aged 50–59.

Company name Avg Cost
Bestow $28.10
Vantis Life $88.71
Sagicor Life $98.78
Haven Life $108.93
Legal & General America $131.23
American General $134.44
Transamerica $140.36
Pacific Life $143.15
Banner Life $145.01
SBLI $147.87

Best and Cheapest Life insurance for People 60 to 69 Years Old

Most people retire in their 60s, and if they’re lucky, life is sweet. With the extra time, retirees may travel, move to their dream location, or even start a new business. With a new decade come new perspectives. A life insurance policy will ensure your loved ones and assets are protected when starting this new chapter in life.

Prudential 

Prudential provides term life insurance policies for your insurance, retirement, and financial needs. Instead of life insurance agents, Prudential’s financial advisors help determine the right policy for you. Established in 1875, Prudential has strong financials, with A ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Fitch.

Principal Financial

Principal’s term life products are affordable, renewable, and convertible. With 130 years of experience on the insurance market, Principal Financial has superior ratings with S&P, Fitch, Moody’s, and A.M. Best.

The following table shows the average premium for people aged 60–69 for a 10-year term, $100,000 policy in the state of California.

Company name Avg Cost
Bestow $18.88
SBLI $58.40
Penn Mutual  $67.72
American National $97.72
Prudential $141.12
Sagicor Life $143.22
Haven Life $175.91
Foresters Life $177.46
Principal Life $201.17
Banner Life $249.67

Best and Cheapest Life insurance for People 70 to 79 Years Old

If you’ve ever thought buying a life insurance policy was a good idea, even by the time you’re in your 70s, it’s not too late. Policies in your 70s will cost more than if you purchased a policy at a younger age, but the coverage will ensure your loved ones can carry out any final wishes and will leave them a legacy.

Assurity

Assurity’s term life policies offer level premiums for the length of the policy and a guaranteed death benefit. In business for 129 years, it has $23 billion of life insurance policies in force and  has paid out over $136 million in claims in total to its policyholders.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers term life insurance policies for 10- to 30-year terms. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 80 to apply, and premiums are level. Mutual of Omaha was founded in 1909 and offers a variety of insurance products, including long-term care and critical illness insurance.

The table below exhibits the average life insurance premiums for a 10-year term, $100,000 policy for people aged 70–79 in California.

Company name Avg Cost
SBLI $27.73
Sagicor Life $27.87
Protective Life $29.53
Principal Life $30.26
Haven Life $30.89
Penn Mutual $32.67
Pacific Life $33.06
Assurity $33.66
American General $36.66
Mutual of Omaha $38.02

FAQ: California Life Insurance

What are the best life insurance companies in California?

The best life insurance company for you depends on your needs and the type of policy that covers your needs. Different life insurance companies sell different life insurance products. Check with rating services like A.M. Best and S&P to learn about a company’s financial strength.

How long do life insurance companies keep records in California?

The state of California requires that records be kept on file for five years, primarily to ensure money is being properly handled and that contracts are signed.

Who governs life insurance companies in California?

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) regulates insurance in the state of California. 

Conclusion

California, with all of its bountifulness, has much to offer its residents. While residents enjoy soaking up the rays, hanging in Los Angeles, or playing in the sand at their favorite beaches, they can rest assured that their California life insurance policy will financially secure the most important things in life when they are no longer around to give their support. 

Insurify will help you find the right life insurance company with a policy and premium that fits your needs. It’s sim;e;, just provide some basic information like your age and smoking status, and Insurify will supply you with a list of quotes for you to examine and choose from.

Updated June 30, 2021

Aissa Martell is a licensed insurance producer in the State of New York. She is a creative writer and has been freelance writing for five years. She’s happy to share her knowledge of the insurance industry and its products.