Best Life Insurance Companies 2019 | Compare Coverage and Costs

Find the Best Life Insurance


Compare life insurance quotes in your area

Mike Brown
Updated: May 15, 2019

Note from the editor: Our research, news, ratings, and assessments are scrutinized using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, our company may receive compensation from partners listed on our website. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

No one wants to think about the fact that they’re going to die someday. It’s not an exciting topic to bring up with friends when you head out to catch up over coffee.

But it’s not like we can avoid death by not talking about or preparing for it. There are many reasons why it’s important to talk about death, but one important reason is that it’s critical to talk about life insurance.

Life insurance is important to have at almost any life stage. For a monthly premium, you guarantee that your family will get a payout in the event of your death. This is critical for many people to help cover funeral expenses, but it can cover other things as well.

If you don’t know much about insurance, this is a good place to start. This guide introduces you to what you need to know about the best life insurance companies and what kind of policies are out there.

Table of Contents:

Best Life Insurance Comparison

Filter available options based on years in business, term life availability, permanent life availability, and A.M. rating.

Haven Life

Yes

Term Life Available

No

Permanent Life Available

4

Years in Business

A++

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Up to $2 million in affordable term coverage
  • Policy issued by MassMutual, an insurer with over 160 years of experience
  • Have a A++ rating for financial strength and claims-paying ability
Ethos

Yes

Term Life Available

No

Permanent Life Available

2

Years in Business

A-

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Automated, digital application. Apply online and get a decision in 10 minutes
  • 100% no medical exams for up to $1 million in coverage
  • $25k - $10m coverage. Fully underwritten, level term life insurance
Bestow

Yes

Term Life Available

No

Permanent Life Available

3

Years in Business

N/A

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Apply from anywhere and get an approval response in minutes
  • Backed by two of the largest A+ rated insurance companies in the world
  • Algorithmic underwriting calculates risk with data, so you can skip the medical exam
Ladder

Yes

Term Life Available

No

Permanent Life Available

2

Years in Business

N/A

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Apply online in as little as 5 minutes and get an instant decision
  • Fully licensed and secured by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company
  • Flexible coverage. Get what you need today – anytime, apply for more or decrease your coverage as your needs change
Leap Life

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

2

Years in Business

N/A

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Get matched perfectly with the best carriers, all from the convenience of your laptop
  • Save an average of 40% with Leap Life matching technology
  • Apply online or or talk to our world class life insurance experts
MetLife

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

150

Years in Business

A+

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Offer term and permanent life insurance options through your workplace
  • Offer individual one year term life insurance at an affordable price for short term needs
  • Premiums are typically based on age, sex, height, weight, health status, etc.
Mutual of Omaha

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

109

Years in Business

A+

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Offer term and permanent life insurance options
  • They assist you in determining how much life insurance you need by providing you with a calculator on their site
  • Offer additional policies such as children's whole life insurance and accidental death insurance
Prudential

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

143

Years in Business

A+

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Offer term and permanent life insurance policies
  • You can customize your policy to specific goals or concerns
  • Can apply online in 20 minutes with a quote and may qualify with no check-up required
AIG

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

98

Years in Business

A

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Get $250,000 of term life insurance coverage for as low as $14 per month
  • Offer 6 different life insurance products
  • Provide a calculator on their website to help you determine how much life insurance you need
Banner Life

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

37

Years in Business

A+

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Banner Life Insurance Company underwrites and issues life insurance policies under the Legal & General America brand
  • You may be able to get $100,000 of term life insurance for just $7.00 a month
  • Term life insurance with banner life can help your family cover mortgage payments, living expenses, education costs, or credit card bills
New York Life

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

173

Years in Business

A++

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Can safeguard your life savings, cover a child's college tuition, and protect your retirement plan
  • Term life options are affordable options for first time insurers and can be converted to fuller coverages later on
  • Talk to an expert if you need help with your decision
Voya

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

27

Years in Business

A

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Can provide financial protection for your loved ones when you pass away
  • Have earned high ratings by independent rating services for their financial strength and ability to meet obligations
  • Offer 4 different life insurance products
Transamerica

Yes

Term Life Available

Yes

Permanent Life Available

90

Years in Business

A+

A.M. Best Rating

What we like

  • Offer 6 different types of life insurance
  • Offer supplemental insurance
  • Support is available to discuss your options

Reviews of the 10 Best Life Insurance Companies

There are countless reasons why you should consider getting life insurance.

Do you have massive student loan debt that you had a cosigner help you with? If you die, your cosigner will be responsible for paying those loans back. But a life insurance policy will help cover your loans in case you die.

Do you have a family that you want to protect and provide for? Life insurance allows you to put money aside to help pay the bills or pay off your home in case you die and your family needs to replace your income. If you’re listed on your mortgage, your loan could become due upon your death, which would leave your family in a difficult situation unless they have some sort of protection.

As you get older, there are other reasons to get life insurance. It could be part of your retirement plan and help cover things like your spouse’s retirement or nursing care after you die. Or you could get whole life insurance, which would allow you to borrow from your insurance in order to fund unexpected expenses – or your retirement – since it builds cash value.

Whatever your reasons are for wanting life insurance, ​there are many companies who offer it. This can make it hard to decide which company and policy to go with, though. Below, we have reviewed 9 of the top life insurance companies available today:

MetLife

MetLife is one of the top life insurance companies and provides a number of policy options you can get through your employer. When it comes to term life insurance, it offers things like basic term life, supplemental term life, and dependent term life for purchase through your workplace.

They also offer group variable universal life and group universal life policies that build cash value. The former invests your money and guarantees a minimum interest rate and the latter provides you with a fixed rate of return. Depending on your employer, you might get some of these coverages as part of your benefits or have to pay additional money in order to get coverage.

MetLife used to also sell life insurance to customers directly, but it no longer offers these products. It does not list the cost of its policies publicly as the costs depend on a number of different factors – like your age and health.

The benefits of getting insurance from MetLife are that you can get life insurance that might be partly or completely funded by your employer. It also offers supplemental insurance if what your employer offers isn’t enough – which could be helpful. The downside of getting a policy through your employer is that you’re less likely to shop around for supplementary insurance if you need it, and you might not get the policy you really need if you don’t.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is a life insurance company that sells policies directly to consumers. It offers term life insurance for people who are between the ages of 30 and 74 with benefit amounts between $25,000 and $100,000 – although you can get more if you work with an agent instead of buying online. For its online term policy, no medical exams are required and you only need to answer a few health questions.

Mutual of Omaha also has a whole life insurance policy that you can get online that provides guaranteed coverage of $2,000 to $25,000 for people between the ages of 45 and 85. There is no medical exam, but you do need to answer some health questions. It builds cash value that you can access.

Finally, it also has a universal life insurance policy which offers permanent coverage through the age of 85 or longer. It also builds a cash value but invests money in ways that offer opportunities for higher returns. You can choose between a death benefit that is guaranteed or one that grows over time.

The price of your policy will depend on things like your age, gender, and the death benefit amount that you choose. The benefits of these policies are that you don’t need a medical exam to qualify and you can quickly get coverage. The downside is that it doesn’t offer a significant amount of coverage and it might not be enough for you.

Prudential

Prudential is a company that offers both term and permanent life insurance policies. In fact, it offers six different term life insurance policies.

MyTerm offers you a quick way to get life insurance with coverage amounts from $50,000 to $250,000. An in-person medical exam is not required, and you can quickly get coverage online by answering some health-related questions. There is no option to convert this policy into a permanent policy.

Term Essential is an affordable policy that allows you to customize your policy by adding riders that protect you if you become seriously ill, disabled, or want to insure minor children.

Term Elite allows you to get the same benefits as Term Essential but with the option of converting the policy to a permanent policy within the first five years.

PruTerm WorkLife 65 is a policy designed to help you during your working years up until age 65. It provides riders at no extra cost, like one that pays your premiums if you become disabled or unemployed.

PruLife Return of Premium Term is a policy that will return your premiums to you if you’re still alive at the end of your insurance term. Finally, PruTerm One is a policy that provides you with coverage for one year at a time.

The company also offers five different types of universal life insurance policies that allow you to tailor your policy to your needs. It offers a number of different unique riders that cover things like your living needs if you become seriously ill or cover your premiums if you become disabled. It also has two indexed universal life insurance policies and two variable universal life insurance options that allow you to have more choice around how your policy’s cash value is invested.

The amount you’ll pay will depend on how much coverage you need, and your age, gender, and health. The benefit of getting insurance from Prudential is that it has so many options and riders that you’ll be able to get exactly what you need. It also doesn’t limit how much insurance you can get but can provide as much as you need.

AIG

AIG is an insurance company that provides a number of different life insurance options. It provides a term life insurance policy that allows you to customize your term length and death benefit amount. It also provides a guaranteed issue whole life policy for people between the ages of 50 and 80. With this policy, you can get up to $250,000 in coverage for as low as $14 per month.

It also offers a universal life insurance policy and a variable life insurance policy. Both products allow you to build cash value with your policies. There are options that will allow you to either earn a set rate of return or have your cash value invested so that there is the potential for a higher rate of return.

How much you’ll pay for your insurance from AIG will depend on a number of factors like your personal health, age, and how much coverage you’re looking for.

The benefits of getting a policy from AIG is that it offers a lot of customizable options, and it also allows you to get a guaranteed whole life policy with a significant amount of coverage. The downside is that other life insurance companies have more options.

Banner Life Insurance is part of Legal and General America and offers a number of different life insurance options.

It offers term life insurance policies for terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. You can get $100,000 in coverage for as little as $7 per month. These policies are extremely affordable and no-frills. They allow you to get life insurance without a lot of fuss.

Banner Life also offers guaranteed whole life insurance in amounts starting from as low as $2,000 in coverage up to $15,000. For $2,000 in coverage, you will pay $8.80 per month. Their whole life insurance has a guaranteed acceptance for those between 50 and 80 and does not require a medical exam. The policy builds cash value over time.

The benefits of Banner Life policies are that they offer a number of affordable options and allow you to get a minimum level of coverage for your family. The downside is that the amount of coverage you can get is often not enough for many families.

New York Life Insurance

New York Life Insurance is a company that offers life insurance both directly to consumers and to employees via their employers. When it comes to their consumer offerings, it offers whole life insurance policies that allow you to customize your premiums and payments, giving you extra flexibility. It is an affordable whole life policy with a cash value that builds over time and which you can access.

The company also provides term life insurance policies that will cover you for a specific term and also have a convertible term life insurance policy that you can renew annually without having to provide any additional health information. Many of the policies can be converted to permanent life insurance policies in the first 10 years. The term lengths for the policies are 10 years or 20 years.

How much you’ll pay will depend on your personal health, your age, and how much and what kind of policy you’re buying. One of the benefits of New York Life Insurance is that you can customize your payment schedule, which will make it easier for you to pay for it. You could pay more early on, which would mean that you won’t have to pay in the later years of your policy.

New York Life Insurance also provides you with a number of great options to customize your coverage and convert it to permanent coverage, allowing you to get exactly the amount and type of coverage that you need.

Haven Life Insurance Agency

Haven Life Insurance Agency offers term life insurance coverage directly to consumers online. It does not currently offer permanent life insurance policies. It offers up to $2 million in coverage, but you do need to complete a medical exam in order to get approved for coverage. The company claims this allows you to save money on your premiums since your coverage is customized to you. Your coverage is renewable on an annual basis even after your original term has expired.

If you’re a 35-year-old male in good health, you will pay $21 per month for a $500,000 20-year term policy. How much you will actually pay will depend on your own health, age, policy amount, and policy type.

One of the benefits of Haven Life Insurance Agency is that it provides good rates for a significant amount of coverage. One of the downsides is that because it does not offer permanent life insurance policies, you cannot get a convertible term policy.

Voya Financial

Voya Financial is a financial company that sells life insurance policies directly to consumers. It offers four different life insurance policy types: universal life insurance, indexed universal life insurance, variable universal life insurance, and survivorship life insurance. All types can have a range of death benefits depending on your personal needs.

The universal life insurance policy builds cash value and allows you to adjust the amount and frequency of your premium payments. The indexed universal life insurance policy also provides you premium flexibility and allows you greater growth potential for the cash value portion of your policy.

The variable universal life policy has over 50 investment options for your cash value portion and uses dollar cost averaging and automatic rebalancing to maximize your return while protecting your investment. Finally, the survivorship life insurance policy allows you to insure the life of two people and pay the policy out to the person who dies first. This is generally less expensive than getting two policies.

The costs of Voya’s policies will depend on a number of factors such as your age, health, policy amount, and policy types. The benefits of its policies are that you have a lot of choice over the investment portion of your policy, and that you can potentially ensure two people with one policy. The downside is that it does not offer term life insurance options.

Transamerica

Transamerica is a financial company that sells life insurance policies directly to the public and to employers. It provides five different types of insurance: whole life insurance, term life insurance, universal life insurance, variable life insurance, and final expenses life insurance.

With the whole life insurance, you can get policies ranging in value from $2,000 to $50,000 to help with final expenses. The term life insurance provides you insurance for terms between 10 and 30 years and allows you to get protection of anywhere between $25,000 to $2 million. The variable life insurance policies allow you to invest part of your premiums in stocks and bonds, offering the potential for a greater return.

The index universal life insurance allows you to also accumulate cash value with a minimum interest rate and the opportunity to earn more through investments. Final expense life insurance is meant to cover the costs of your funeral and is set up to give you your payment quickly – within 10 days of the death of the policyholder.

The cost of Transamerica’s policies vary significantly, depending on things like your age, health, policy type, and policy amount. The upsides to getting insurance from Transamerica is that it has several options and its final expenses insurance guarantees your payout quickly. The downside is that it doesn’t offer as much whole life insurance as you can get from other companies.

Ladder

Ladder offers term life insurance policies to eligible customers through their streamlined online application. The company launched in 2017 and is partnered with Fidelity Security Life Insurance company, which has received an Excellent (A-) score from A.M. Best.

Ladder makes applying for and securing life insurance quick and simple, making it possible for many applicants to complete the online application, get approved, and obtain coverage within minutes. Generally speaking, the premiums are typically affordable, a characteristic made possible, in part, by the absence of both extra fees and sales agents (i.e., no commission-driven pressure).

Flexible coverage is another benefit of a Ladder policy, as customers can apply to increase and decrease coverage throughout the duration of their policy. However, Ladder does not offer any riders, or policy add-ons, like a premium waiver or an accidental death benefit.

Customers can choose between 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms with coverage amounts ranging from $100,000 to $8 million. Policies are based on a variety of health and lifestyle questions (smoking, drug use, weight, age, etc.). For example, a healthy 35-year-old female or male might expect to pay $22.54 per month for a 20-year term with $300,000 in coverage. A 20-year, $100,000 policy could cost about $12.45, depending on the applicant’s history.

Ladder does provide an estimator tool to provide general quotes, but it does not take into account general health or lifestyle factors, like smoking. In order to get a specific quote, customers must complete the online application process, which, as is the case when applying for insurance with other companies, requires them to provide health and personal information, including their name, address, and Social Security number.


What Kind of Life Insurance Do You Need?

Most people know that there are different coverage levels when it comes to life insurance, but many people don’t realize that there are actually different types of life insurance. The main types are whole life insurance, term life insurance, universal life insurance, and variable life insurance. We’ll break each of the types down so you can understand them better.

It’s important to note that many people don’t just get one type of life insurance, but actually get more than one policy in order to ensure they can meet their family’s and their own financial needs during different stages of their lives.

Ask the Expert

Jason Veirs

President & Owner of Insurance Experts Solutions, Inc.


What kind of life insurance policy do you typically recommend? Something more flexible like a term life policy, or more permanent like a whole life policy?

The vast majority of younger families who have children or other dependents who rely on their income typically need term life insurance, as they usually only need life insurance coverage for a specific "term" or period of time. Term life insurance was designed for those who might need to pay off a mortgage, provide replacement income for their heirs, or just require coverage for a specific period of time. Term insurance also provides the most bang for your buck, allowing a primary income earner to be covered with a large death benefit/face amount at a very low cost.

If a $1M or $2M death benefit were to be purchased on a permanent life Insurance product such as a whole life/universal life, or variable life policy, the premiums would be rather cost-prohibitive and unaffordable for most families. This is because permanent life insurance typically lasts your entire life, and the death benefit will at some point be paid out whether you pass away at age 75, 84, 92, etc.

When in the market for a life insurance policy, what are some things that need to be considered?

When looking for life insurance, it's imperative to consider what your loved ones would require in the event of your passing. Would you want your mortgage to be paid off, funding set aside for your children's college tuition, student or business loan debts to be paid off, five to 10 years of replacement income, etc. The important thing to remember is that one's life can be forever changed should you not plan accordingly, which is why it's very important to always work with a competent and independent broker who represents multiple companies and can help you navigate through the entire process.

Working with an independent broker also ensures that you will be getting the best policy available, at the best possible price, as they're not married to one particular company and should be unbiased in their company recommendations.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is exactly what it sounds like – life insurance that is meant to cover you for your whole life. That means that as long as you keep paying your premiums it will never expire. You take out a policy and then you don’t need to renew it or get another policy. When you die – no matter how old you are when you do ­– you will get a set amount.

Whole life insurance policies tend to be more expensive than term life insurance policies, but they have some unique benefits. A whole life insurance policy actually combines life insurance coverage with an investment fund. Every time you make a payment, money goes toward building cash value in your life insurance fund and that money is invested by the insurance company to build wealth. This money is able to grow without being taxed.

This can be beneficial for a number of reasons as there are ways to access this money over the life of your insurance policy. For example, you can take out a loan from your life insurance policy, get a bank loan, and use your life insurance cash value as collateral, or cash in parts of your policy to take out your cash value. All of these things can be done for any reason, whether you want to buy a home, send your children to college, or you need money to supplement your retirement.

Many people get a term policy to cover additional risk during their prime earning years or when they’re raising a family or paying off their home. But they also get a whole life policy in order to cover them throughout their life.

Term Life Insurance

When most people talk about life insurance they’re likely talking about term life insurance. Term life insurance is the most common type of life insurance. The way it works is that you buy life insurance that will cover you for a specific term – anywhere from 10 years to 30 years or more. At the end of the term, your life insurance expires and you would have to get another policy if you want to continue to have life insurance.

Term life insurance tends to be popular for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it’s relatively cheap. You’re able to get a large amount of coverage for a small amount of money. That’s because the coverage isn’t meant to cover you your entire life – but often just during periods in your life when you’re younger so statistically less likely to die.

Most people who buy term life insurance buy it when they are in their 20s and 30s and want to protect their family in case they die. The death benefit would be used to do things like pay off student loans or a mortgage, or cover living expenses.

Term life insurance is a great fit for all sorts of people at different times in their lives, but it’s particularly perfect for those with young families. When your family is young you need more coverage. The reason for this need is that you likely haven’t paid off your home yet, and you also need to ensure that your children are taken care of in case something happens to you.

But as most people get older, the amount of life insurance that they need might shift as they build more wealth, their mortgage gets paid off, and their children leave home. That’s why many people get term life insurance, because they know that they will only need a large policy during the period in their lives when they have less wealth.

It’s important to read the fine print on your term life insurance policy as some allow you to add to your term and others allow you to convert your policy to a permanent life insurance policy or renew your coverage at the end of your term.

Universal Life Insurance

A universal life insurance policy is similar to a whole life insurance policy in that it is a permanent policy that will cover you for life. It also offers an investment portion to the policy where money is invested to earn a return.

These policies are adjustable and give you more flexibility to reduce or increase your death benefit and pay more or less in premiums. While you need to pay enough to cover the insurance portion of your premium, you can choose to put more or less into the investment portion of your universal life insurance policy.

The insurance company also offers you a minimum interest rate and then invests your funds – so if their portfolio outperforms, your investments can earn more. Money grows tax-deferred and you have access to the funds in the same way you would with a whole life policy.

Variable Life Insurance

A variable life insurance policy is a permanent life insurance policy. It has a cash value account but this amount is invested in various sub-accounts. These sub-accounts act as a mutual fund. The investment return of these accounts can fluctuate, as can the principal. Ultimately, the money is invested in riskier investments offering more opportunity for investment gains or losses.

Money can grow in these accounts tax-deferred and you are also able to access these funds as you would with a whole life policy.

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Things to Consider When You Review the Best Life Insurance Companies

Ultimately, before buying life insurance, it’s important to spend some time considering what your life insurance needs currently are, and what they might be in the future. Some things to think about are how you want to protect your family – or the family you plan to have someday.

Experts often suggest that you have enough insurance to cover you for 10 times your current income. Others suggest you have enough to cover paying off your mortgage and other debts, and money for living expenses for your family for 10 years. You might want to work with a financial planner to help you figure out the right amount of insurance for your family and particular financial situation.

Usually, the earlier you get a policy the cheaper your policy will be, since you save on premiums if you’re young and if you’re in good health. For that reason, it’s important to consider how your needs might change in the future when shopping for life insurance. You’re likely better off taking out a larger policy when you’re younger if you’re planning to have children or buying a policy that you can add coverage to later on.

For example, let’s say that you’re 25 and want to get insurance in order to protect your student loan cosigners in case something happens to you. You could get a life insurance policy that only covers the cost of your student loans. But you might want to take out a policy that could also protect the family that you and your partner are planning to start in a few years. If you aren’t able to add coverage or if you don’t get enough and you develop an illness, you might not qualify for coverage.

Similarly, if you only have one child and you plan on adding to your brood, you might want to take out extra insurance. While you can get more insurance later on, if your health changes you could end up paying a lot more for it.

Costs

The costs of life insurance can vary significantly depending on a number of factors like your age, health, the types of policy you want, the term length of the policy, the amount of coverage you want, whether you have pre-existing conditions, family history, and many other factors.

Ultimately, costs tend to be less if you’re healthy and young, and start going up as you age or develop various conditions. You will, for example, pay more if you’re diabetic or if you smoke – two things that are big risk factors for an early death. Your weight might also be a factor or whether you participate in dangerous sports like skydiving.

If you want a shorter insurance term length, you will also pay less than you would if you wanted a longer term length or a permanent life insurance policy.

For some people, all they can afford is a term policy and so that is a better option for them than going uninsured. But it is important to remember that you can get more than one policy to give you the benefits of more than one type of coverage.

Benefits

There are a number of great benefits to be had by taking out life insurance. The first benefit is the peace of mind that you’ll get from knowing that your family is protected in case something happens to you. The last thing that you’ll want is your family to have to be worrying about money while they’re trying to grieve. If you have children or a spouse, the policy will cover things like your funeral and final expenses, as well as provide them with funds going forward.

Different types of policies offer you different types of benefits. While term policies allow you to get the coverage you need for the time in your life when you’re building wealth and are likely to need it most since you have more dependents and less wealth – they don’t provide coverage for your full life.

Also, there are several benefits of using permanent types of life insurance as part of your financial plan which should be considered before you purchase your policy. For example, it’s important to recognize that life insurance could be part of retirement planning or planning for your children’s college educations.

After all, the FAFSA does not count your permanent life insurance policy when deciding how much aid your family is eligible for. For that reason, you could save tax-free in a permanent life insurance policy and then cash in some of that policy to send your kids to college. Just make sure the plan’s fees and rate of return give you the best value compared to other investment options.

You might also use a permanent life insurance policy to supplement or replenish your retirement savings. You could borrow from the policy as needed in retirement or cash parts of it out. If you or your spouse dies first, life insurance can also be used to replenish retirement funds. For that reason, it’s critical to speak to a financial planner about what kind of insurance you need.

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Picking the Best Life Insurance

When you’re in the market for life insurance, you want to make sure to get it from a good company – after all, insurance isn’t like a normal purchase, but something that you buy for many decades or for life. For that reason, it’s best to get insurance from a company that has a great reputation and a long track record of financial stability. After all, you don’t want your insurance company to go bankrupt.

When it comes to the reputation of your life insurance company, you can turn to places like the Better Business Bureau or the recommendations of friends and family to help you find the best company. Also, companies like A.M. Best and Moody’s analyze life insurance companies to gauge their financial stability.

You might also want to go with an insurance broker when buying insurance rather than an insurance adviser. A broker represents a number of different companies and can help you compare different plans across the market. In contrast, an insurance agent or adviser only works for one company.

You’ll also want to choose a company that has a number of different options so you can figure out what is best for you rather than just get a standard policy.

Life insurance companies that offer flexible coverage is also a good thing. Some companies offer term life insurance that allows you to either renew or convert your coverage at the end of your term. This could be key for you if your health were to change and you were no longer insurable if you tried to get a new plan.

Tips to Help You Choose

The best bet is to make a list of what you want in your life insurance policy based on what your needs are. Then look for a company that is able to give you as much of what you need at a great price.

You might also want to choose based on which insurers will even be willing to insure you. For example, if you participate in certain high-risk hobbies like sky diving some companies won’t cover you. That goes for certain kinds of pre-existing conditions as well.

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What You Should Know if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

If you have pre-existing conditions, you will almost definitely have to have a medical exam, even if that exam might not be necessary otherwise. Whether you will actually be approved for insurance could depend on your particular pre-existing condition and what state your health is currently in.

For example, if you have high blood pressure but are able to reduce your numbers for 12 months prior to a life insurance medical exam, you’re more likely to get approved and to lower your premiums. For things like cancer, it is difficult to get coverage unless you have a highly treatable form of cancer and you’ve been in remission for at least two years.

If you have a pre-existing condition, your best bet is to research your chances of getting approved for life insurance with that particular condition and what you can do to improve your chances.

Life insurance companies are more likely to approve you for coverage if your condition is being well managed and particularly if you have continued for at least two years with minimal negative changes to your health status. You do want to be careful if you have a pre-existing condition to apply at the right time since if you’re turned down by one life insurance company it could increase your chances of being turned down by other life insurance companies. So be sure to wait until you have the ideal circumstances to apply.

You should also know that you’ll likely pay a premium because of your medical condition. How much you will pay will depend on your particular medical condition and state.

What You Should Know if You Have Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the pre-existing conditions that can disqualify you from getting life insurance or raise your life insurance premiums. That’s because having diabetes increases your chance of a premature death. But it’s important to note that just because you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or if diabetes just runs in your family, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to qualify for insurance coverage.

Whether you will get approved will depend on a company’s particular underwriting criteria as well as other health factors. For example, you likely won’t have a hard time getting approved if diabetes just runs in your family or if you are pre-diabetic. In those cases, they might do a physical to see how your health is and assess your risk.

If you have diabetes, however, you are more likely to get rejected, but it often depends on the state of your diabetes. If your diabetes is under control and you’re managing it, then you could still get approved. You’ll just likely have to get additional tests so the company can determine the risk factors.

When it comes to the cost, most life insurance companies have a premium that they charge if you have diabetes. You’ll want to shop around as the extra costs for diabetics can vary significantly from company to company.

What You Should Know if You’re a Tobacco User

If you use tobacco, you might be wondering whether you’ll even be able to get insurance. Luckily, the answer is usually yes – but you’ll just have to pay more for it. Life insurance companies look at any kind of tobacco usage so it doesn’t matter if you use cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, or nicotine patches or gum.

However, some companies treat different types of tobacco differently, which affects your ability to qualify for insurance and the amount that you’ll end up paying. This is because there are different risks to using different types of products, and life insurance companies price all of these risks into their coverage differently.

You will likely also need to take a medical exam if you’re a smoker – even if your insurance would otherwise not have required it. This is to see what kind of damage your smoking has caused. If you only use tobacco products irregularly such as a couple of times a year, you might be able to get a lower or non-smoker rate. It depends on the insurer, so be sure to shop around.

If you use chewing tobacco, how you will be treated will depend on the insurance company. Some see it in the same category as regular smokers, while others will give you more affordable coverage if you are otherwise in good health. Some companies have specific rates for those who chew tobacco that are less expensive than its smoker’s rates.

What if you stop using tobacco products? Can you get nonsmoker rates? You usually have to have gone at least six months to one year smoke-free before you can qualify as a nonsmoker.

How much more you’ll actually pay as a tobacco user could depend on things like how often or how much you smoke and what company you get insurance from. Different insurers will charge more or deny you coverage. Also, if you do have to pay a smoking surcharge, you can often get a reduction in your fees if you later stop smoking for six months to over a year.

Finally, it’s a bad idea to try to lie to an insurance company about your tobacco use, as it will show up on medical tests.

Ask the Expert

Ricky Comis

Financial Representative at Strategies for Wealth


If I have a preexisting condition and/or I am a tobacco user, is there anything I need to know before shopping for Life Insurance?

When it comes to life insurance, health and age are the main factors in pricing. This is why I am a firm advocate for positioning life insurance in my client’s life at a young age. Unfortunately, tobacco use has a significant impact on Life insurance approvals. In terms of pre-existing conditions, this is a case by case basis depending on type of condition, severity of condition, and duration of condition - but in general a pre-existing condition does not stop one from being able to get life insurance.

Is it possible to purchase Life Insurance without a medical exam?

Yes, it is possible to get Life insurance without a medical exam. However, this limits both the type of life insurance and the amount of coverage available. Appropriate levels of life insurance are critical to the well-being of clients and their families. Again, in general, a medical exam is necessary to get the right amount of coverage from a quality insurance company.

Ricky Comis is a Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Strategies for Wealth is an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Neither Guardian, nor its subsidiaries, agents or employees provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your individual situation. 2018-67993 Exp. 10/20

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How Can You Get Life Insurance Without a Medical Exam?

It can be difficult to get life insurance without a medical exam, but it’s not impossible. Whether or not you can do so often depends on things like your age, health, the type of insurance you’re buying, and how much life insurance you want to take out.

Because life insurance companies try to limit their risk, they want to check your health status–especially if you want to take out a significant amount of insurance. If you want to get life insurance without a medical exam, there are options but they tend to be for lower coverage amounts and could cost more. This could result in you not having enough coverage. You also still need to declare any known conditions on the application form, so not having a medical exam might not help you as much as you think it will.

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Do Employers Offer Life Insurance?

Many employers offer life insurance policies for their employees. While this is a great benefit, it is often misleading. Many employees who know that they have life insurance policies through their jobs don’t bother to get separate policies outside of work. But work-related life insurance policies tend to only cover a limited amount – usually one to two times your annual salary.

While that might seem like a lot, it is not likely to cover all your expenses or protect your family. After all, your family will have to pay for your funeral, and potentially might have your mortgage due if you are a signee on the loan. If they cannot come up with that cash or get a new loan, your family could wind up having to sell their home at a very difficult time.

In addition, that money is often not enough, according to many life insurance experts to support your family or your spouse. While it depends on your personal situation, most people recommend that you have around 10 times your salary in life insurance.

Having your own independent life insurance policy is important for two other reasons. The first is the fact that if you have your own life insurance policy, you can bring it with you no matter where you work. You don’t have to worry about someday going without insurance because you’re between jobs or having to find a life insurance plan if your new employer doesn’t offer it.

In addition, getting your own life insurance policy ensures that you get insurance while you’re still young and healthy rather than waiting until later in life. Generally, you’re more likely to be able to lock in a low rate if you get your life insurance policy when you’re younger and healthier.

Ask the Expert

John Holloway

Co-Founder of NoExam


Is it common practice for employers to offer life insurance?

Yes, although the coverage amounts offered are usually not enough. Smaller companies can offer amounts like $50,000, while larger companies tend to have a multiple of one to three times the employee’s salary. While it is better than nothing, it is recommended you buy additional coverage to meet your financial obligations should you pass away.

How long will it typically take to get a life insurance policy?

Depending on the type of policy, the process can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Policies that do not require the medical exam are faster to get going. Policies that require the medical exam take several weeks due to scheduling and lab results.

When shopping through various life insurance companies, what are some red flags to be aware of and avoid?

Red flags to avoid include poor financial rating and customer service complaints. The financial rating is there to show how capable a life insurance company is to meet its obligations (to pay claims). The customer service complaints will tell you how easy the company is to deal with in the event you have a billing issue or questions.

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How Long Does It Take to Get Life Insurance?

How long it takes to get life insurance will depend on your personal situation, the amount of coverage that you want, and the company that you’re getting insurance from. These factors can vary because you might not need a medical exam to qualify if you’re getting a relatively low amount of coverage and if you’re in good health. In that case, it can take a very short amount of time to get your insurance coverage – as little as a week or less.

But there are various steps to getting coverage. And it can take more than 30 days from the point where you sit in an insurance broker or adviser’s office to the point where you sign an insurance offer and finalize your policy.

The length of time it will actually take you will depend on things like how quickly your doctors can send in your medical records to the insurer and when you can get in for a medical appointment. After those two things are completed, the insurance company will have its insurance adjuster look at your file and will finalize your coverage.

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Red Flags to Avoid With Life Insurance Companies

You’ll want to avoid companies that try to sell you a lot of insurance without telling you why you actually need that much. Similarly, you’ll likely want to avoid a company that doesn’t do a needs analysis and wants to sell you the cheapest and most bare-bones coverage. You want to make sure that your family is protected, so it’s important that the amount of life insurance you get is customized to your financial situation – and that this is fully explained to you.

If you’re considering buying life insurance online, make sure the company’s licensing information for its agents or brokers is clearly accessible and visible. If you’re unsure if they are real brokers or an agency, you can always check on your state’s department of insurance website to confirm.

You’ll also want to avoid life insurance companies that don’t provide you with a great customer service experience. If they can’t give you good service when you’re buying a policy, they will likely make things more difficult for you when you need to redeem a policy.

If you’re buying online or from a broker, one big red flag is if you don’t recognize the names of any of the companies that they are working with. Because you want to make sure you buy life insurance from a company that will be around for a long time, you’ll likely have heard of the companies that would be good choices. If you can’t find out much about them after a quick Google search, skip their plans.

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