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Published: Feb 08, 2024 27 min read

Since 2017, Money’s editorial team has researched and analyzed companies offering various types of life insurance policies. Our ongoing assessment focuses on insurers' offerings, customer satisfaction ratings and financial stability. Our goal is to provide readers with the most useful and up-to-date information.

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Money’s Main Takeaways:

  • State Farm is the best choice for customer satisfaction and financial stability
  • For same-day coverage, Ethos is our top pick
  • Our choice for no-exam life insurance is Bestow
  • Policygenius is the best marketplace to shop rates

Why Trust Us?

Our writers and editors evaluate insurance companies independently, ensuring our content is precise and guided by editorial integrity. Read the full methodology to learn more.

  • 30+ insurers evaluated
  • 6 categories scored
  • 1,000+ hours of research

Our Top Picks for the Best Life Insurance Companies of 2024

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Best Life Insurance Companies Reviews

Sample premiums are based on a 35-year-old female or male in excellent health for a $500,000 20-year term-life policy. Your rate will depend on your age, health and sex, among other factors.


Company

Term

Female

Male

State Farm

20-year

$27.84/month

$30.44/month

Pros
  • Top-rated for customer satisfaction
  • Low number of customer complaints
  • Multiple policy options
  • Simplified-issue (no exam) policies available
Cons
  • Online quotes are not available for all policy options
  • Most policies require medical exams

Why we chose it: State farm is our choice for the best life insurance company for customer satisfaction and stability because of its excellent reputation for customer service and outstanding record for financial stability.

State Farm is a leading insurance company and one that holds excellent financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings. In 2023, for the fourth year in a row, J.D. Power named State Farm the top company in its U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, which measures overall customer satisfaction based on responses from more than 5,500 respondents.

Additionally, State Farm has an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best — the highest rating possible — indicating excellent financial stability. It's also received fewer customer complaints than expected for a company of its size on third-party review sites.

State Farm sells term life insurance (10, 20 or 30 years), plus whole and universal life insurance policies. Although most of its plans require medical exams, it does offer some no-exam options.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A++ (Superior)
POLICY TYPES
Term, No-exam, Whole, Universal
RIDERS AVAILABLE
Children's Term Life Insurance Benefit, Waiver of Premium Benefit, Level Term Life Insurance Benefit, Waiver of Monthly Deduction Benefit, Guaranteed Insurability Option, Payor Insurance Benefit, Qualified Long-Term Care Insurance, Advanced Death Benefit for Long-Term Care, Accelerated Benefit for Long-Term Care, Additional Insured's Level Term Life Insurance Benefit, Additional Insured's Level Term to Age 95, Level Term to Age 95 and more

Read our full State Farm Life Insurance review

See rates on State Farm's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

Bestow

20-year

$27.33/month

$37.53/month

Pros
  • High coverage amounts (up to $1.5M) without a medical exam
  • Online application and quick processing
  • Terms range from 10 to 30 years
  • Long (30-day) free look period
Cons
  • No riders available
  • Only sells term life insurance
  • Must be younger than 60 to qualify for coverage
  • Policies not available to residents of New York

Why we chose it: We chose Bestow as the best life insurance company for no-exam life insurance coverage because it has one of the fastest and easiest application processes on the market. It also offers an unusually high death benefit payout for policies that don’t require a medical examination.

Bestow is our choice for individuals who want life insurance coverage without the hassle of completing a medical exam. The company only sells term insurance policies and you can purchase up to $1.5 million in coverage from the comfort of your home. Bestow claims you can get a quote and purchase your policy within minutes.

Instead of a medical exam, Bestow uses your personal information and medical history, hobbies and lifestyle to determine your eligibility for this type of coverage and life insurance rates.

The company’s policies are issued by top-rated insurer North American Company for Life and Health Insurance or by Bestow Life Insurance Company. Additionally, life insurance from Bestow is now sold through Lemonade’s app and website.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A+ Rating (Superior) - North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
POLICY TYPES
No-exam term life insurance
RIDERS AVAILABLE
None

Read our full Bestow Life Insurance review

See rates on Bestow's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

Ethos

20-year

$21-$38/month

$26-$49/month

Pros
  • Same-day coverage for most approved applicants
  • No exams — the process is entirely online
  • Get a free will with your policy
  • Policy purchase includes free will and estate planning tools
Cons
  • Little information publicly available about optional riders
  • Term life eligibility starts at age 20
  • Not available in New York

Why we chose it: Ethos is our pick as the best life insurance company for same-day coverage because it accommodates a wide range of potential applicants. Even people who struggled to qualify for insurance in the past have success.

With the use of proprietary technology, Ethos has simplified its application and underwriting processes so that most applicants can get life insurance coverage the same day they apply.

Ethos offers 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year term life policies to applicants between the ages of 20 and 65. Coverage amounts range from $20,000 to $2 million, yet the amount you qualify for will vary. Most applicants don't have to undergo a medical exam.

Those between the ages of 65 and 85 automatically qualify for guaranteed issue whole life policies — with no medical exam required, regardless of their medical history. Coverage amounts range from $10,000 to $25,000. While these policies don’t have a waiting period, they offer graded benefits for the first two years of coverage. This means that if you died within two years of your policy's effective date, your beneficiaries would receive 100% of the premiums you paid plus 30%. This does not apply to accidental deaths.

Policies sold by Ethos are issued by the following carriers:

  • Legal & General America: Term, fully underwritten and simplified issue term life
  • TrueStage via CMFG Life Group: No-exam term life and whole life
  • Ameritas Life Insurance Corp.: Term and simplified issue term life
  • Mutual of Omaha: Accidental death insurance with guaranteed coverage
HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A (Excellent) and higher - Mutual of Omaha, Ameritas and TruStage, Legal & General
POLICY TYPES
Term - simplified issue and fully underwritten (ages 20 to 65), guaranteed issue (ages 65 to 85)
RIDERS AVAILABLE
Accidental Death Benefit

Read our full Ethos Life Insurance full review

See rates on Ethos's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

Policygenius

20-year

$17-$32/month

$20-$40/month

Pros
  • Quickly and easily compare quotes from multiple insurers
  • Get guidance from real licensed agents
  • Various types of insurance policies available
Cons
  • Online quotes aren't available for all providers
  • Takes longer to provide a final price than other options

Why we chose it: We chose Policygenius as the best online life insurance broker because it offers one-stop access to policies from a long list of partners, including some of the best life insurance carriers mentioned on our list. And unlike other comparison sites, this one pledges not to sell your information to third parties.

Policygenius is an online insurance broker that offers life, home, auto and disability insurance. Quickly obtain a premium estimate by entering basic personal information. When you’re ready to explore policies in-depth, provide additional details to compare rates from various insurers.

The range of term life insurance policies is extensive, ranging from 10 to 40 years in 5-year increments. Policygenius also offers whole, universal and no-exam policies.

It maintains an extensive library of educational resources for those new to life insurance. If you need additional help choosing a policy or coverage amount, PolicyGenius’ licensed insurance agents can give you personalized assistance over the phone.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
No AM Best rating
POLICY TYPES
Term, Whole, Universal, No-exam
RIDERS AVAILABLE
Varies by carrier

Read our full Policygenius review

See rates on Policygenius's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

Ladder

20-year

$19.53/month

$22.32/month

Pros
  • Term coverage can be adjusted over time
  • $100,000 to $8 million in term coverage available
  • 30-day free look period, rather than the 10-day norm
  • Up to $3 million in coverage with no medical exam
Cons
  • Plans are limited to people aged 20 to 60
  • Only offers term coverage
  • No optional riders

Why we chose it: We picked Ladder as the best life insurance company for flexible coverage because it allows you to increase or decrease the amount of coverage on your policy as your needs change. Additionally, premiums start at just $5 per month, so you can purchase a life insurance policy even if you’re on a tight budget.

While Ladder exclusively offers term life insurance if you're 20-60 years old, we’ve found it to be the best insurer for those seeking flexible, affordable coverage. By completing a simple 3-step online application, policyholders can access up to $3 million in coverage. Ladder doesn't charge cancellation fees, so you can cancel your coverage at any time, with no strings attached.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A (Excellent) to A+ (Superior) - Amica, Allianz, Fidelity Security Life Insurance, S.USA Life
POLICY TYPES
Term Life, No-Exam
RIDERS AVAILABLE
None

Read our full Ladder Life Insurance review

See rates on Ladder's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

New York Life

Whole Life

$244.58/month

$244.58/month

Pros
  • Multiple term, whole and universal life policies available
  • Offers several optional riders
  • Highly rated company
  • Potential to earn dividends
Cons
  • Must work with an agent
  • Can't get an online quote

Why we chose it: We picked New York Life as the best life insurance company for whole life coverage because it offers various permanent policies. Its term life policy also includes the option to convert to permanent coverage down the road.

New York Life is one of the best companies for those seeking coverage for their entire life. Besides a term-to-permanent conversion option, it also sells whole, universal and variable universal life insurance policies. You can also customize your coverage through several add-ons, including an accidental death benefit rider, a chronic care rider and a living benefits rider.

New York Life has a solid reputation and underwrites AARP’s life insurance program. Plus, since it’s a mutual insurance company, its policyholders own part of the company's shares. Depending on the type of policy you have, you may be eligible to receive dividends.

One potential drawback, however, is that New York Life doesn’t provide quotes online. For details on its policies and rates, you have to work with an agent.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A++ Rating (Superior)
POLICY TYPES
Term, Whole, Universal, Variable Universal
RIDERS AVAILABLE
Accidental death, chronic care, disability waiver of premium, living benefits, spouse's paid-up insurance purchase option and more

Read our full New York Life Insurance review

See rates on New York Life's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

Nationwide

20-pay Whole Life

$288.41/month

$266.66/month

Pros
  • Discounts for bundling life with homeowners or auto insurance
  • Multiple insurance plans and optional riders
Cons
  • Most policies require medical exams
  • Most policies must be purchased through agents

Why we chose it: Nationwide is our pick for the best life insurance company for bundling discounts because, unlike other other companies, it allows policyholders to save on life insurance by combining this coverage with auto and homeowners insurance policies.

Nationwide writes term, whole life, variable and universal policies, and has several optional riders you can use to adjust your policy to your needs. Additionally, the company offers discounted pricing for bundling life insurance policies with other types of insurance, such as long-term care insurance, renters insurance or pet insurance.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A (Excellent)
POLICY TYPES
Term, Whole, Universal, Variable
RIDERS AVAILABLE
Long-term Care, Chronic Illness, Critical Illness, Terminal Illness, Children's Term Insurance, Premium Waiver, Waiver of Monthly Deductions Rider, Accidental Death Benefit, Extended No-Lapse Guarantee, Estate Protection, Guaranteed Insurability, Overloan Lapse Protection

Read our full Nationwide Life Insurance review

See rates on Nationwide's Secure Website


Company

Term

Female

Male

Northwestern Mutual

N/A

N/A

N/A

Pros
  • Many optional riders
  • Multiple policy and coverage options
  • Potential to earn dividends
  • Highly rated by third parties
Cons
  • Policies must be purchased through agents
  • Medical exams required for most policies
  • Limited online quote tools

Why we chose it: Northwestern Mutual is our pick for the best life insurance company for policy customization because it offers more riders than most insurers, allowing you to customize your policy as much as you like. Insurance riders allow you to get coverage for loved ones, access your benefits under special circumstances or even waive your premiums if you become ill.

As the largest life insurance company by market share, Northwestern Mutual offers a variety of life insurance products, including term, whole, universal and variable universal life insurance.

As a mutual company, it also pays dividends to policyholders. If you purchase insurance through the company, you could be eligible for annual dividend payments.

Northwestern Mutual is a reputable company that is usually listed at the top of the life insurance industry rankings. It ranks 8th out of 21 companies in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study and, according to NAIC data, has received fewer complaints than other companies of its size.

HIGHLIGHTS
AM BEST RATING
A++ Rating (Superior)
POLICY TYPES
Term, Whole, Universal, Variable
RIDERS AVAILABLE
Accelerated Death Benefit, Accidental Death, Waiver of Premium, Indexed Protection, Additional Purchase, Long-term Care Benefit

Read our full Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance review

See rates on Northwestern Mutual's Secure Website


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Other life insurance companies we considered

We evaluated life insurance vendors and companies based on customer service, product offering, simplicity of underwriting, ability to pay claims on time and high ratings.

The following companies have competitive offerings but aren't among our top picks because they didn't excel in one of several of our criteria.


Lemonade

Pros
  • Premiums start at just $9 per month
  • Process is 100% online
  • No medical exams
  • Full refund if you cancel within the first 30 days
Cons
  • Only people aged 18-60 can apply
  • Not available in NY
  • Approval is unlikely if you have history of a life threatening illness

Lemonade offers term life insurance with no medical exam. Customers can complete the full online application in around five minutes and purchase 10- to 30-year term policies with up to 1.5 million in coverage. Policyholders must download Lemonade’s mobile app to manage their policy, submit claims and access customer service.

Why Lemonade didn’t make the cut: The company is not among our top picks because it has limited insurance offerings and its website lacks information about riders and policies.

See rates on Lemonade's Secure Website


MassMutual

Pros
  • Young and/or healthy applicants may not need a medical exam
  • Offer term, whole life, universal life and variable universal life insurance policies
  • Direct Term life insurance can be purchased immediately online
Cons
  • You can only earn dividends with a whole life insurance policy
  • Offers no information about riders
  • Can only get a quote for term insurance online

MassMutual’s insurance portfolio includes term and permanent life insurance, including a term life policy that can be purchased online. Customers can also convert their term life insurance to a permanent policy without a medical exam. MassMutual features a life insurance calculator to help prospective clients assess their insurance needs.

Why MassMutual didn’t make the cut: Unlike other insurers in our top picks, this company provides limited optional riders to enhance or modify coverage.

Read our full MassMutual Life Insurance review

See rates on MassMutual's Secure Website


Guardian Life

Pros
  • Online quotes and account management
  • Policies available for people with HIV
Cons
  • Must apply (and cancel) through an agent
  • Doesn't offer no-exam (guaranteed issue) policies

Guardian Life's insurance portfolio includes term, whole and universal life policies. Those interested in a term life policy can get an online quote on Guardian Life’s website, but they must contact an agent or provider to purchase a policy or get quotes for permanent life insurance.

Why Guardian Life didn’t make the cut: Unlike our top life insurance companies, Guardian offers few optional riders, and its website provides very little information about policies.

Read our full Guardian Life Insurance review

See rates on Guardian Life's Secure Website


USAA

Pros
  • High cap on the value of their policies
  • Policies start at just $12 per month
  • Don't need a military connection to apply
Cons
  • Available only to current and former military, their spouses and children
  • Medical exam required for all policies
  • Some policies unavailable in New York

USAA offers two term life insurance policies and three permanent options. Policies start at $12 a month and, depending on the policy type, USAA may offer up to $10 million in coverage. Additionally, as a policyholder, you get free assistance for your survivors along with the option for disability protection and simplified whole life coverage for your children.

Why USAA didn’t make the cut: The company provides few details about available riders and cash value policies on its website. To learn more, you must speak to a USAA representative over the phone.

Read our full USAA Life Insurance review

See rates on USAA's Secure Website


Haven Life

Pros
  • Offered simplified issue policies and up to $3 million in term life coverage
  • Additional benefits on term life policies
Cons
  • Ceasing operations and is no longer accepting new applications
  • Product availability varied by state

Haven Life sold 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year term policies with coverage amounts ranging from $25,000 to $3 million. Backed by the superior financial strength of MassMutual and its subsidiary, C.M. Life, term policies sold through Haven Life offered reliable coverage and additional benefits like access to will and estate planning tools.

Why Haven Life didn't make the cut: After more than eight years in business, Haven Life is ceasing operations. The company is no longer accepting new insurance applications. Policies already issued through Haven Life will continue to be administered and serviced by MassMutual or its subsidiary.

Read our full Haven Life Insurance review

See rates on Haven Life's Secure Website


Best Term Life Insurance Companies

Term life insurance lasts for a set period of time, typically ranging from 10 to 40 years. These policies are often renewable and less costly than a permanent policy. Our choices for the best term life insurance companies are below.

Category

Company

Coverage Amounts

Financial Strength Rating - AM Best

Best Overall

$25,000 - $50,000

A++ (Superior)

Best for Term Options

$100,000 - $50 million

A+ (Superior)

Best for No-Exam Coverage

$20,000 - $2 million

A and higher - Mutual of Omaha, Ameritas and TruStage, Legal & General

Best for Adjustable Coverage

$100,000 - $3 million

NR (Not Rated)

Best for Parents

Fabric by Gerber

$100,000 - $5 million

A (Excellent)


Best Whole Life Insurance Companies

Whole life insurance provides lifetime coverage with a fixed death benefit, and also typically includes a cash value component. Our picks for best whole life insurance companies are below.

Category

Company

Coverage Amounts

Financial Strength Rating - AM Best

Best for Flexible Payment Options

Undisclosed

A++ (Superior)

Best Whole Life for Seniors

$10,000 - $25,000 for ages 66 - 85

A and higher - Mutual of Omaha, Ameritas and TruStage, Legal & General

Best for Riders

$10,000 and up

A (Excellent)

Best for a Variety of Whole Life Policies

$25,000 and up

A++ (Superior)

Best Whole Life for Children and Young Adults

Gerber Life

$50,000 - $300,000

A (Excellent)


Best No-Exam Life Insurance Companies

No-exam life insurance is life insurance that does not require a medical exam. This type of policy may be a permanent life insurance policy or a term life insurance policy. Find out picks for the best no-exam life insurance companies below.

Category

Company

Coverage Amounts

Financial Strength Rating - AM Best

Best for High Coverage Amounts

$100,000 - $3 million

NR (Not rated)

Best for Bundling Discounts

$25,000 - $50,000 (term policy)

A++ (Superior)

Best Overall

Up to $100,000 

A (Excellent) 

Best for Low Minimum Coverage Amount

$20,000 - $2 million

A and higher - Mutual of Omaha, Ameritas and TruStage, Legal & General

Best for Members of the Military

$100,000

A++ (Superior)


Life Insurance Guide

Table of Contents

To compare life insurance policies efficiently and make better-informed decisions, it's important to understand how life insurance works and know the difference between types of life insurance policies.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract between a policyholder and an insurer, in which the insurer guarantees to pay a sum of money to the life insurance beneficiary upon the policyholder's death. This sum of money, known as the death benefit, is funded by premium payments made by the policyholder throughout their lifetime.

Types of life insurance

While the duration, benefits and premiums of life insurance policies vary widely, they all fall into two main categories:

  • Permanent life insurance - This type of policy provides lifelong coverage. It may have a cash value component, meaning you can access money paid into the premium. Permanent life insurance types include whole life insurance, universal life insurance, variable life insurance, joint life insurance (covers two people) and final expense insurance.
  • Term life insurance - This kind of life insurance provides coverage for a set number of years (anywhere from 10 to 40). A cash value component is not included. Types of term life insurance include level term insurance, decreasing term life, renewable term and convertible term.

Most traditional life insurance policies require a medical examination. If you're looking for term or whole life coverage without a full medical exam, consider a no-exam life insurance policy. As the name suggests, these policies don't require a medical exam, just a health questionnaire. You may see them advertised as simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies.

How to compare life insurance policies

Here are some steps to follow when shopping around for life insurance and comparing policies:

1. Understand how different types of life insurance policies work: Your first step should be to learn about the differences between term versus whole life insurance. Term life could be a good option if you fit the following profile. You're relatively young and healthy and looking to replace your income for a specified period, such as the duration of your mortgage or your children's school years. If you need lifetime coverage, want your investment to grow over time and can afford higher premiums, a permanent life insurance policy could be right for you.

2. Choose a policy term: If you're sold on term life insurance, your next step should be to choose a life insurance term length. To do that, consider how long you need to provide for your dependents and the duration of other financial obligations like student loans and mortgage payments. The longer the term, the higher your premium, so account for that as well.

3. Determine how much coverage you need: Calculate how much life insurance you really need to replace your income for your dependents. Factor in end-of-life expenses, potential lifestyle changes for your family (like moving), debts (credit cards, mortgage) and hidden income you might be receiving (like employer-sponsored benefits). Then, subtract other potential sources of income for your loved ones (like Social Security benefits) and account for inflation.

4. Shop for quotes: Once you've decided on a type of policy and coverage amount, get life insurance quotes from several different companies. Insurers price risk differently, so you could get widely different estimates based on your age, gender, health and lifestyle.

5. Make an apples-to-apples comparison: Ensure you're evaluating policies on equal grounds by getting quotes for the same type of policy, term length (if applicable) and coverage amount. You should also account for unique policy features or benefits, optional riders and discounts. Lastly, consider the insurers' reputation for customer service and financial stability.

How to Purchase Life Insurance

Once you've chosen a policy and shopped for quotes, consider how you want to purchase life insurance. You can buy some types of policies online — particularly term, no-exam and guaranteed-issue ones — but applying for certain types of permanent coverage may require speaking with an insurance agent.

Alternatively, doing business with an insurance broker could save you some legwork, as they can help you compare different life insurance options.

Before finalizing your purchase, thoroughly evaluate both the insurance provider and the policy to confirm they match your specific requirements. Also, consult a financial advisor to ensure the policy aligns with your personal finance goals.

How to choose the best life insurance company for you

When searching for the best life insurer, consider the following factors.

Policy types

Not every company offers both term and permanent life insurance plans. Newer insurers offering coverage you purchase entirely online may offer only term life and guaranteed-issue policies.

Application process

Some life insurance companies offer a fully online process. Others require you to work with an agent during the underwriting process.

Medical exam requirements

Depending on the type of policy and carrier you choose, you may need to undergo a medical exam. Some, but not all, companies offer no-exam life insurance.

Riders

Insurance policies can be modified with additional benefits known as riders. Some companies include riders in the cost of the policy, while others sell them separately. However, the availability of riders varies by company, and some don't offer any.

Coverage

Minimum and maximum coverage amounts can vary significantly from one insurance company to another.

Pricing

Again, since insurance companies price risk differently, you could get widely different premiums depending on the insurance you choose to do business with. With that in mind, it's always best to compare rates from various companies before committing to a policy.

Company reputation

Make sure you're doing business with a reputable company that's on strong financial footing and is known for its excellent customer service.

For insights into the financial strength of most U.S. life insurance companies, consult AM Best. For customer reviews and complaint data, look to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the American Customer Satisfaction Index and the latest J.D. Power Individual Life Insurance Study.

Cost of Life Insurance

More than half of Americans believe the cost of life insurance is three times higher than it actually is, according to LIMRA's 2023 Life Insurance Barometer Study. This common misconception can leave families in financial hardship upon the death of their primary breadwinner.

In reality, life insurance costs vary widely depending on a number of variables. Besides the type of policy, coverage amount and term length you select, factors such as your sex, age, health history, occupation and even your lifestyle and hobbies can influence your premiums.

People who drink, smoke or participate in high-risk activities like skydiving or rock climbing will pay higher premiums. The same applies to applicants with chronic health conditions or dangerous jobs such as fishers, roofers or construction workers.

Below you’ll find sample rates from multiple insurance companies in the U.S. We obtained some of this information directly from company representatives and/or rate calculators featured on the carriers' websites.

Disclaimer: The following are sample rates for a 35-year-old female or male in excellent health. Your own rate will depend on your age, health and sex, among other factors.

Term life insurance - $500,000 policy

Company

Term

Female

Male

Haven Life - Term

20-year

$18.82/month

$22.26/month

Bestow

20-year

$27.33/month

$37.53/month

USAA

20-year

$19.99/month

$22.90/month

Mutual of Omaha

20-year

$22.15/month

$26.02/month

Ladder Life

20-year

$19.53/month

$22.32/month

State Farm

20-year

$24.34/month

$30.44/month

Nationwide

20-year

$20.56/month

$22.75/month

MassMutual
 

20-year

$20.42/month

$23.33/month

Sproutt

20-year

$17.27/month

$20.22/month

Policygenius (life insurance broker)

20-year

$17 - $32/month

$20 - $40/month


Permanent Life Insurance - $250,000 policy

Company

Term

Female

Male

New York Life

Whole Life

$244.58/month

$285.42/month

USAA**

Whole Life - Pay for Life

$166.65/month

$185.40/month

Nationwide

20-pay Whole Life

$288.41/month

$266.66/month

MassMutual

Whole Life

$232.50/month

$275.42/month

Policygenius (life insurance broker)

Whole Life

$219 - $226/month

$261 - $279/month

Most common reasons life insurance won’t pay out

Life insurance carriers may withhold the death benefit from your beneficiaries in the following circumstances:

  • You withheld information or lied in your insurance application regarding your health, family history, hobbies or upcoming travel plans.
  • You die by suicide within one to three years of getting the policy and there’s a suicide clause in place.
  • You die participating in a risky hobby for which there’s an exclusion clause.
  • You’re murdered by someone who is a designated beneficiary in the policy.
  • Your death took place during the policy’s contestability period.

What’s the best place to get life insurance quotes?

You can get life insurance quotes directly from insurance companies. In fact, most of the companies in our top picks offer online life insurance quotes. However, that will entail doing the legwork yourself if you plan to compare quotes from multiple insurers (which we highly recommend).

Alternatively, you can look for an independent life insurance agent or broker who can help you compare policies from different carriers. An insurance marketplace like Policygenius could also be a great alternative if you'd rather explore products and compare premiums yourself.

If you have questions, our picks for the best life insurance companies have insurance agents available to help by phone. For example, if you are a transgender or non-binary person, an agent can better help you navigate the application process. They can also help you choose riders and identify discounts for which you may qualify.

What is the difference between term, whole and universal life insurance policies?

Term Life

Whole Life

Universal Life

The most affordable and simplest form of life insurance: you pay a premium in exchange for a death benefit

Can be the most expensive out of these three options, as it provides a cash value and a guaranteed death benefit that doesn't expire if you pay your premiums

Also includes a cash value, but the death benefit is not guaranteed

Coverage lasts a predetermined period or term (typically 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, but there may be other term options available)

Premiums fixed but guaranteed never to increase

Provides more flexibility, as you can adjust your coverage amount and premiums (within limits)

If you die within the policy term, your designated beneficiaries receive a death benefit as either a lump sum or in installments

Cash value growth is guaranteed

Cash value can be invested in different ways and may fluctuate over time based on market conditions (but you're generally guaranteed a minimum rate)

Best Life Insurance FAQs

What is the best life insurance?

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The best life insurance for you is one that aligns with your particular financial situation. Before choosing a plan, assess how you plan to use the policy. Do you need coverage for funeral expenses or want to ensure your family’s financial stability in your absence? For more information, explore our step-by-step guide to choosing a policy.

How much is life insurance per month?

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The cost of a life insurance policy will depend on factors such as the applicant's age, sex and overall health as well as the type of policy and coverage amount they select. Monthly premiums typically range from $20 to upwards of $300. Our section on the cost of life insurance includes sample rates for permanent and term life insurance policies.

Does life insurance pay for suicidal death?

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Whole and term life insurance generally pay for death by suicide, unless the policy contains a suicide clause. According to this clause, the policy won't pay out if the policyholder dies by suicide within one to three years after the policy went into effect.

Group life insurance policies typically don't have suicide clauses, but you should contact your company's benefit manager for more information.

What is the cash value of a life insurance policy?

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Permanent life insurance policies, such as whole or universal life insurance, accumulate cash value as you pay premiums. Once you have accumulated enough cash value, you can borrow against your policy or use the funds to cover premium payments or purchase additional coverage. However, if you borrow against the policy and don’t fully repay the loan before your death, the amount you owe will be deducted from the death benefit.

Can you get life insurance if you have cancer?

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Yes, if you have cancer you may be eligible for term or whole life insurance. Another option is a no-exam, guaranteed issue policy. This is a type of permanent life insurance that doesn't require a medical exam and, with most carriers, you're guaranteed approval.

However, no-exam life insurance premiums are higher and coverage amounts are often limited to $50,000 to $100,000. Some policies have a waiting period before coverage goes into effect, while others, like the Guaranteed Issue policy from Ethos, don't.

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How We Chose The Best Life Insurance Companies

Our methodology for the Best Life Insurance Companies list is extensive. As part of the review process for each company, we:

  • Assessed each company’s ability to pay claims on time
  • Compared product offerings and pricing against industry competitors
  • Examined financial strength ratings as reported by credit rating agencies like AM Best
  • Analyzed customer satisfaction ratings as reported by J.D. Power in the latest U.S. Life Insurance Satisfaction Study
  • Studied complaints regarding their individual life insurance policies, based on National Association of Insurance (NAIC) data
  • Evaluated the simplicity of their underwriting process

In the course of our research, we also interviewed representatives from different companies. However, while we always try to include accurate and up-to-date information on regulatory and legal actions, we don’t claim this information is complete or fully up to date. Rates are subject to change. As always, we recommend you do your own research as well.

Summary of Money’s Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023

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