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Published: Jun 14, 2023 26 min read
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Life insurance is about protecting your family financially. While money can’t replace you, it's important to have the right amount of insurance to replace your income and help cover family obligations in the event of your untimely death. And while having a policy on yourself is a good start, you may want more insurance to cover your entire family.

Many companies sell life insurance policies for adults as well as children, which can help cover end-of-life expenses or serve as long-term savings vehicles. Both term and permanent life policies offer several options for coverage, allowing you to create a life insurance plan that works for your family and lifestyle.

We reviewed more than a dozen life insurance companies and selected the ones that offer flexible insurance options for families. Read on to learn more about our top picks for the best family life insurance.

Our Top Picks for Best Family Life Insurance

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Best Family Life Insurance Reviews

Pros
  • Family life insurance bundle available
  • Top-rated customer satisfaction by J.D. Power
  • Can add spouse and child dependents to individual policies
Cons
  • Online quotes for family plan not available
  • Must purchase policies through an insurance agent
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$100,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole, Universal
AM Best Rating
A++

Why we chose it: State Farm is a top-rated insurance company that offers life insurance plans for the whole family. It sells term, whole and universal life insurance policies with up to $10 million or more in coverage.

State Farm has a family life insurance plan designed to cover you, your spouse and your children. The plan includes term life insurance coverage for you and your partner as well as insurance riders that provide up to $20,000 in coverage for your kids.

Child life riders provide insurance coverage for children under 18 and can be converted to individual plans when they become adults. A family policy offers up to 30 years of coverage, ideal for those seeking financial protection while paying down their mortgage.

While you can obtain term life insurance quotes online, you'll have to speak with a State Farm agent to get a quote for the family life insurance bundle. And you can’t apply for coverage online either — all policies require working with an agent directly.

State Farm has an A++ rating from AM Best and was awarded the title of top insurance company in the 2022 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study.

Pros
  • Hybrid term & whole life policies available
  • Option to convert your term policy into permanent insurance
  • No coverage maximum
Cons
  • Must contact an agent to apply
  • No child riders available
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$25,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole, Universal
AM Best Rating
A++

Why we chose it: NorthWestern Mutual provides a comprehensive range of insurance options, including term, whole life and hybrid policies. The company stands out for offering whole life insurance for children and convertible term life policies available in select states.

Northwestern Mutual is a mutual insurance company that's been around since 1872. It offers both term and permanent life insurance policies that can be tailored to a family’s needs, including several whole life options. Coverage starts at $25,000, but maximums depend on underwriting results.

Northwestern gives whole life insurance policyholders the option to adjust payments to have their policies fully funded by a certain age (such as 65 or 90), after which time they no longer have to pay premiums. You can also get whole life insurance for your children and transfer it under their names once they reach the age of majority.

If you're looking for a more affordable option, Northwestern Mutual also offers convertible term life policies. These give you the opportunity to get an inexpensive policy now and convert it to permanent coverage in the future.

While Northwestern has flexible life insurance options suitable for the whole family, you will need to speak to an agent to apply for coverage. Additionally, it doesn't offer child riders, so you'll have to purchase stand-alone whole life policies to insure your children.

Pros
  • Get up to $10 million in coverage
  • 10- to 30-year term lengths available
  • Offers convertible term policies
Cons
  • Policies require a medical exam
  • Doesn't offer a child rider
  • Purchases must be made through an agent
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$100,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole, Universal
AM Best Rating
A++

Why we chose it: MassMutual offers flexible term life coverage, with term options ranging between 10 and 30 years and benefits from $100,000 to $5 million (or more). These policies can also be converted to permanent coverage down the road.

Active since 1851, MassMutual offers a wide range of insurance options, including term, whole and universal life policies. Qualifying individuals can get immediate coverage in amounts ranging from $100,000 to $10 million. Term life policies feature 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-year terms, and policyholders can augment coverage through several optional riders.

Nevertheless, MassMutual doesn't offer child riders on term policies, so parents must purchase stand-alone permanent coverage to insure their kids.

MassMutual has a life insurance calculator to help you determine the amount of coverage you need. This tool accounts for income (including hidden income) and debt obligations.

Pros
  • Low-cost term life policies
  • Free quotes available online
  • Up to 40-year terms available
  • Coverage up to $10 million
Cons
  • Must talk to agent to sign up
  • Smokers pay a lot more
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$100,000
Policies Offered
Term, Universal, Final Expense
AM Best Rating
A+

Why we chose it: Legal & General is a large life insurance company that offers low-cost term life insurance coverage. Term policies range from 10- to 40 years in length and cost less than similar coverage options sold by competitors.

Legal & General is a large national insurer that has been in business for over 150 years and offers low-cost term life insurance coverage. It also sells universal life policies and final expense policies that can help your beneficiaries cover your funeral expenses.

Legal & General purchased Banner Life Insurance and now offers Banner's flexible term policies, so you can choose between 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-, 35- and 40-year term lengths. Unlike most life insurers, Legal & General lets you get life insurance quotes online, and its prices for healthy individuals are lower than those of other competitors.

For example, a 35-year-old male non-smoker can get a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy for only $23 per month. Prices increase exponentially for smokers, however. A 35-year-old male smoker would pay $95 per month for the same level of coverage.

While Legal & General offers online quotes, applying for a policy requires speaking to an agent directly. Overall, if you're looking for an affordable life insurance option to financially safeguard your family in the event of your untimely death, Legal & General is a good option.

Pros
  • No exams required for coverage
  • Online application process
  • 10- to 30-year term lengths
Cons
  • Only available to applicants aged 18 to 60
  • No optional riders available
  • Doesn't sell permanent life insurance policies
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
Up to $50,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole, Universal
AM Best Rating
A+

Why we chose it: Bestow offers no-exam term life insurance with benefits of up to $1.5 million for healthy, qualified individuals. Applications can be completed entirely online and policies come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bestow offers term life insurance policies underwritten by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®. The company sells term life insurance coverage of up to $1.5 million to individuals aged 18 to 60.

Bestow lets you get free quotes online and doesn't require medical exams. Term options range from 10 to 30 years, but the selection may be more limited for smokers. Bestow doesn't offer any riders with which to enhance coverage and is not available to New York residents as of the date of this review.

Nevertheless, busy parents that want term life coverage without delays and the inconvenience of medical exams could find Bestow to be a great option.

Pros
  • Quickly compare life insurance quotes
  • Apply for coverage online
  • Both term and permanent life policies available
Cons
  • Doesn't partner with all major carriers
  • Online quote tool requires more time to complete than competitors
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$50,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole
AM Best Rating
A- (or better)

Why we chose it: Policygenius is an online insurance marketplace that makes it easier to compare quotes from top-rated life insurance companies. It sells both term and permanent life insurance policies and publishes informational articles and guides that can help new applicants make better decisions regarding coverage.

Policygenius was founded in 2014 as a way to aggregate the top insurance companies and provide a quote comparison tool to consumers shopping for insurance. It allows users to compare a variety of insurance products, including both term and permanent life insurance policies.

Policygenius only works with well-established life insurance companies, including Protective, AIG, Prudential, Brighthouse Financial, Transamerica, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life and Symetra. It also has an extensive library of educational articles and resources to help you learn more about the different types of life insurance and the benefits of each coverage option.

You can also work with a Policygenius agent directly to choose the right company and policy for your family. Agents don’t work on commission, so they are not incentivized to recommend any particular policy and can give you an unbiased opinion.

Pros
  • Guaranteed issue policies up to $25,000
  • Get a quote and apply online
  • No-exam term policies available
Cons
  • Whole life policies only available to seniors
  • Limited permanent life options
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$1,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole
AM Best Rating
A

Why we chose it: Ethos offers guaranteed issue life insurance policies for seniors between 66 and 85 years of age. It also offers term and permanent life insurance, including term life policies with no medical exam.

Ethos is an online life insurance company that sells term and whole life policies underwritten by AAA Life Insurance Company. Its whole life policies are available to seniors aged 66 to 85 and are guaranteed issue, meaning policies are always approved and don't require a medical exam. These policies are ideal for parents and grandparents who have medical conditions and want to leave their loved ones enough funds to cover end-of-life expenses.

Coverage amounts on whole life policies with Ethos start at $1,000 and go up to $30,000. The guaranteed portion of the policy is limited to $25,000 in coverage, however, so any amount above that will require a medical examination.

Ethos also offers up to $2 million in term life insurance coverage, with accelerated underwriting so you can avoid a medical exam. Term policies feature 10- to 30-year terms and are available to applicants aged 20 to 65.

Pros
  • Insurance amounts up to $10 million
  • Term policies are convertible
  • Child rider available
  • Dedicated survivor relations team
Cons
  • Coverage not available in all states
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$25,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole, Universal
AM Best Rating
A++

Why we chose it: USAA offers term and permanent life insurance options to military members and their families. Term policies feature benefit amounts from $100,000 up to $10 million and can be customized with child riders.

USAA term life policies provide up to 30 years of coverage and death benefit amounts starting at $100,000. Coverage is also available for children in the form of a child rider, which can be added to any level term policy. These riders can be converted to a permanent policy before the child's 26th birthday.

USAA also sells whole life and universal life policies that feature fixed or flexible payments. You can get up to $10 million in coverage and stop paying premiums at the age of 85 for whole life policies or age 90 for universal policies.

USAA offers several additional benefits on life insurance policies, including an accelerated death benefit, a severe injury rider and survivorship support to spouses or family members after the death of an insured. The survivor relations team can help loved ones access the policy's death benefit and any existing USAA bank accounts.

Pros
  • All premiums (including fees) can be returned
  • Multiple policy add-ons available
  • Can be converted to permanent life policy
Cons
  • Can't apply online
  • Return of premium only available on 30-year policies
HIGHLIGHTS
Coverage Minimum
$10,000
Policies Offered
Term, Whole, Universal
AM Best Rating
A+

Why we chose it: Mutual of Omaha is another large national insurer that offers a return of premium option on its term life policies. Other policy riders that can be paired with term life insurance include an accelerated death benefit and a disability waiver of premium.

Mutual of Omaha is a large life insurance company that was founded in 1909 and offers a wide range of additional benefits on life insurance policies. One such rider is return of premium benefits, which automatically refunds the premiums the policyholder has paid over the life of the policy — including fees and the cost of the rider.

Mutual of Omaha also offers an accelerated death benefit that pays out a lump sum if the insured is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Another living benefit is disability waiver of premium, which waives all premiums for the remainder of the policy term if the insured becomes permanently and totally disabled.

Mutual of Omaha sells whole and universal life policies as well. And term coverage can be converted to a permanent life insurance policy up until the end of the term or the insured’s 70th birthday, whichever is sooner.

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Other companies we considered

Haven Life

Pros
  • Quick online quotes
  • Simplified-issue policies available (no medical exam required)
  • Term life coverage up to $3 million
Cons
  • No permanent life policies available
  • No policy riders
  • Simplified-issue policies not available in every state

Why we didn’t choose it: Haven Life doesn't offer any riders or permanent life insurance options, and its simplified issue policies are not available in every state.

New York Life

Pros
  • Wide selection of permanent life insurance
  • Potential dividend payout
  • Several optional riders available
Cons
  • Doesn't offer online quotes
  • Medical exam required for coverage
  • Must speak with an agent to apply

Why we didn’t choose it: New York Life focuses on permanent life insurance products and term policies are limited to 10- or 20-years in length. Additionally, you must speak to an agent to get a quote and sign up for a policy.

Family Life Insurance Guide

What is family life insurance?

Family life insurance refers to a comprehensive life insurance plan composed of individual policies tailored to each family member. This type of insurance plan encompasses various policy types, including permanent life insurance for the primary income earner and their spouse, as well as term life insurance policies specifically designed for children.

How does life insurance for families work?

Family life insurance operates by obtaining a policy that includes coverage for all family members. You could purchase the same policy for each member or individualized policies tailored to their specific needs.

The death benefit and premium costs will vary based on the chosen policy type for each family member. Additionally, the requirement for a medical exam will depend on the insured individual and the type of life insurance coverage selected.

Who really needs life insurance?

Life insurance can provide your family valuable peace of mind and financial security, serving as a protective measure in the event of your death. Extending coverage to your spouse and children provides an additional layer of stability, ensuring financial support in case you are unable to resume work due to the emotional toll of grieving.

Life insurance serves a multitude of purposes, ranging from replacing your income for a designated period to handling funeral expenses and settling debt. Certain policies — particularly permanent life insurance — come with added advantages such as cash value accumulation, which can allow you to supplement your retirement income or even support future purchases by accessing the accumulated cash value within the policy.

Additionally, securing a life insurance policy for a child while at a young age ensures access to lower premium rates. Depending on the chosen policy type, the child can maintain life insurance coverage at that favorable low rate for the rest of their life.

If you have a significant amount of funds that can be allocated to loved ones in the event of your death, a life insurance policy may not be necessary. These funds can be sourced from various channels, including investment and retirement accounts, savings or valuable assets like real estate.

Evaluate how much life insurance you need before committing to a policy.

Types of family life insurance

The best life insurance policy for each family member will depend on that family member’s needs. There are permanent life policies, such as whole or universal life, as well as term policies that last for a set period of time. Some of these policies may be no-exam life insurance policies, meaning a medical exam isn’t required for approval.

Life insurance for couples

Life insurance for couples, or joint life insurance, involves coverage for two individuals, typically in the form of a permanent policy. Depending on the coverage type, death benefits can be paid out when one of the insured people dies (referred to as “first-to-die” coverage), or when both individuals die (known as “survivorship” or “second-to-die” coverage).

Alternatively, you can purchase a spouse term rider, which offers a specific amount of coverage for your spouse over a predetermined number of years.

Life insurance for children

The best life insurance for children varies on the unique needs of your family. You could purchase individual policies for each child, choosing between term policies that provide coverage for a specified duration or a permanent life insurance policy.

A second option is to add a child life insurance rider to your own policy, which covers all of your children for a single flat fee. This rider coverage expires when the child reaches the maximum age limit in the rider. However, some life insurance companies offer the option to convert the rider into a separate policy once the child reaches the age limit.

Life insurance for seniors

Life insurance premiums are primarily determined by the risk of death, resulting in higher costs for older adults compared to other age groups. To accommodate this demographic, many life insurance companies provide guaranteed issue policies designed for invididuals aged 60 and above. These policies eliminate the need for a medical exam and ensure coverage is guaranteed regardless of the policyholder's health condition.

Check our guide to the best no-exam life insurance for additional coverage options for seniors.

Riders

A life insurance rider serves as an additional feature that can be added to an existing life insurance policy to provide supplemental coverage. There are many kinds of riders, and the availability and details of each will depend on the particular insurance carrier.

Some examples of common riders and their uses:

  • Accelerated death benefit (ADB) - Allows policyholders to access a portion of their life insurance benefits while they’re still alive. This rider is particularly beneficial for individuals who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a short life expectancy. Using the ADB rider, policyholders can receive financial assistance during their lifetime to cover medical expenses or other needs.
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment (ADD) - This rider offers an additional payout alongside the policy’s death benefit if the insured dies or suffers dismemberment due to a covered accident. This rider is particularly popular among policyholders engaged in high-risk occupations or adventurous hobbies such as skydiving.
  • Child rider - A child rider is a valuable option that is typically accessible for children aged 14 days to 26 years. This rider provides a predetermined amount of coverage for all of your children under a single policy. Once the children reach the maximum age, it is possible to convert the rider into a permanent life policy.
  • Family income - This rider alters the structure of the death benefit associated with an insured person’s policy, transforming it from a one-time lump-sum payment into monthly installments. Rather than receiving the entire payout in a single sum, beneficiaries are provided with a regular income stream.
  • Guaranteed insurability - Guaranteed insurability allows you to purchase additional coverage at predetermined dates, without needing to undergo medical exams or repeat the policy underwriting process.
  • Spouse term rider - This rider offers a specified amount of coverage for your spouse. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are recognized in accordance with applicable state laws.
  • Term conversion - Often included in term policies, this rider offers the policyholder the flexibility to convert their term policy into a permanent policy without requiring a medical exam and other underwriting processes.
  • Term rider - You can increase your death benefit for a specific amount of time (or term) with a term rider.
  • Terminal illness - This rider provides a valuable option for policyholders who are diagnosed with a terminal illness. The terminal illness riders allows them access to a portion of their death benefit funds before they die. The specific amount that can be accessed depends on the term and conditions of the insurance plan.

What is the average cost of family life insurance?

According to Policygenius, the average life insurance cost is about $30 per month or $360 per year. However, your actual life insurance rate will depend on the type and level of coverage, and your age, health and sex, among other factors.

Here’s an example based on two 35-year-old parents in excellent health:

  • Parent 1: $500,000 coverage for a 20-year term life insurance policy at $18-$34/month
  • Parent 2: $500,000 coverage for a 20-year-term life insurance policy at $18-$34/month
  • Child rider, includes all children: $50,000 coverage for 20-year-term at $21-$30/month
  • Total family life insurance plan cost: $57-$98/month

Another example, this time with a permanent life insurance for each family member. Parents are assumed to be 35 years old and in excellent health.

  • Parent 1: $150,000 policy at $135-$152/month
  • Parent 2: $150,000 policy: $135-$152/month
  • Child 1, 10-year-old male: $25,000 policy at $25.54/month
  • Child 2, 3-year-old female: $25,000 policy at $21.29/month
  • Total family life insurance plan cost: $316.83-$350.83/month

How to choose the best family life insurance

As you begin to map out your family life insurance needs, try following these steps.

  • Assess your current economic situation - Consider your savings and financial assets against your debts, such as your remaining mortgage amount.
  • Decide how much coverage you need - Life insurance can cover final expenses as well as replace your income in the event of your death. Use our guide to find out how much life insurance you need.
  • Determine what type of insurance you want - There is temporary coverage (term life insurance) and permanent (whole, universal) available for both adults and children. Consider options like couples life insurance, child riders and permanent policies for children.
  • Compare life insurance quotes - Shop around to find the best rate on the kind of coverage you want. Premium costs vary across insurance providers.

Latest Family Life Insurance News

Life insurance offers vital financial security for U.S. families amidst ongoing inflation concerns. As the primary provider, a life insurance policy safeguards your loved ones from financial hardship in the event of your death. The death benefit payout covers various final expenses, such as final costs, lost income, childcare and other economic needs.

To enhance protection, consider incorporating additional coverage like disability insurance to address potential health-related work limitations. Long-term care insurance can also be part of your future planning.

When choosing between term vs whole life insurance, prioritize the latter if you seek plans with a cash-value component. Permanent policies, including whole life, accrue cash value and earn interest. Depending on your policy, you may access funds through loans or withdrawals based on your premium payments.

Family Life Insurance FAQ

Is life insurance worth it?

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Life insurance plays a crucial role in providing financial security for your family in the event of your death. By insuring your loved ones, you can find peace of mind in knowing that they'll be protected from the potential financial burden during their time of grief.

Is life insurance tax deductible?

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Life insurance is typically considered a personal expense by the IRS, so the premiums you pay are not tax-deductible. However, if you have life insurance through your employer, you may be able to deduct premium payments.

Who can change the beneficiary on a life insurance policy?

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The ability to modify beneficiaries on a life insurance policy is typically limited to the policyholder or an individual authorized with a power of attorney.

How many life insurance policies can you have?

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It's completely legal to have more than one life insurance policy, even if the policies are purchased from different companies. However, the amount of coverage you can accumulate will depend on the insurance companies you work with — insurers will consider existing coverage in the underwriting process.

How to take out a life insurance policy on a family member?

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If you're looking to create a plan for the best life insurance for a family of five, for example, you'll need multiple life insurance policies. To take out a life insurance policy on an adult family member, you need their permission to purchase the policy. They will have to provide written consent and likely undergo a medical exam for approval. You will also need to prove you have an insurable interest in purchasing the policy, showing that you will suffer financially if they die. To purchase life insurance for children, you only need parental consent.

How We Found the Best Family Life Insurance

We researched over 20 life insurance companies that offer family life insurance policy options and evaluated them based on price, policies, coverage, term lengths and AM Best Rating. With the breadth of life insurance choices available, we aimed to include several different types of insurance companies that offer policy options for a variety of circumstances.

The best life insurance companies included in our family life insurance list scored high in the following categories:

  • Cost: The companies on our list charge fair prices for family life insurance policies and optional riders.
  • Policy offerings: We included companies that offer several types of family life insurance policies to choose from, or at least flexible policy options for the type of insurance they provide.
  • AM Best rating: AM Best is an independent organization that reviews the financial strength and stability of over 16,000 insurance companies in the U.S. Ratings range from “D” to “A++” and reflect the overall financial health of a company. Every company in our list was rated an A- or higher, with many obtaining the highest ranking of A++. This ensures that the company has the ability to pay out claims without financial issues.

Summary of the Best Family Life Insurance of 2023