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Published: Aug 14, 2023 12 min read

In an unpredictable world, a reliable life insurance policy offers peace of mind and financial security for you and your loved ones. Guardian Life Insurance sells both term and permanent (including whole life and universal) life insurance. It stands out among life insurance providers, though, because it offers whole life insurance policies that consistently pay dividends.

In this Guardian Life Insurance review, we'll explore the pros and cons of a Guardian Life Insurance policy, focusing on its whole life coverage, which is the most distinctive. We'll look at Guardian's pricing, accessibility and reported customer satisfaction. Our aim is to help you research and choose the best life insurance company for your needs.

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Death benefit from $100,000 to $2 million

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  • A Trusted Partner since 1995: Formerly AIG Direct
  • Customizable Policies that Fit Your Needs and Budget
  • Term Life Insurance up to $10M+
  • Apply 100% Online or with the Help of an Agent

Instant coverage available for ages 20 to 60

  • 100% online process from start to finish for coverage up to $3M.
  • Instant coverage available for ages 20 to 60 if approved
  • Policies available with 10- to 30-year terms
  • Save money on premiums over time with Ladder’s flexible coverage feature
  • No policy fees, 30-day money-back guarantee, cancel anytime
  • Licensed and experienced customer service reps available to answer questions

Best dividend-paying whole-life insurance policy

A dividend-paying whole life insurance policy, in addition to providing a death benefit, accumulates cash value that grows at a guaranteed rate over time. Policyholders receive dividends if the company's performance exceeds expectations.

Since they depend on that performance, dividends are not guaranteed. If they do materialize, the payments typically start after the policy’s third year. Also, premiums may be higher for companies that pay dividends.

When it comes to dividend-paying whole life insurance policies, Guardian Life Insurance stands as a top contender. The company has a long history of providing reliable coverage and returns on its policies. In fact, they report that they have paid dividends every year since 1868.

Guardian Life Insurance pros and cons

  • Decent odds of dividends on whole life policies
  • Reputation for good customer service
  • Must purchase policies through an agent
  • The website is problematic

Pros explained

Decent odds of dividend payments on whole-life policies

Guardian Life Insurance's dividend-paying whole life insurance policy allows policyholders to enjoy potential returns on their investments. The company claims a strong track record for paying dividends. If Guardian Life Insurance continues to perform well financially, you can expect dividends on your whole life insurance policy each year starting with the third year. This can be especially appealing to those looking for both life insurance protection and a way to grow their wealth.

Good reputation for customer service

Guardian Life Insurance has earned a reputation for better-than-the-norm customer service. The insurer received a score of 787 out of 1000 points on J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, a little above the survey’s average of 774. For five years, J.D. Power also cited Guardian Life as providing “Outstanding Customer Service Experience” for phone support. Guardian holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), has had fewer customer complaints than the industry norm over the last three years.

Cons explained

Must purchase policies through a financial professional

As with many insurers, you can receive online quotes for term life insurance from Guardian Life – though not for universal life coverage. But, unlike some competitors, you can’t actually purchase a policy online. Instead, you must contact a Guardian agent in order to buy. This requirement won't be an issue if you want personalized guidance, but it can be a nuisance if you prefer a more direct and independent approach to purchasing insurance.

The website is problematic

Guardian Life Insurance's website can be challenging to navigate. It presents products and resources for consumers, employees, employers and financial partners, and it can be laborious to reach the information you need. Additionally, while conducting our research for this Guardian Life Insurance review, the website returned several "502 bad gateway" errors, which may indicate a server problem.

Guardian Life Insurance Plans

Guardian Life Insurance offers a range of insurance plans to cater to different needs and budgets.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance policies provide coverage for a specified term, typically 10, 20 or 30 years. This is a cost-effective option for coverage for a specific period, and it's usually more straightforward and cost-effective than a whole life policy. Policyholders who wish to protect their family during their mortgage-paying years or whose children are financially dependent on them may prefer a term life insurance policy.

On the other hand, term life policies lack the cash value that whole life policies offer. Once the policy term ends, there's no value or payout to the family.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance provides lifelong coverage and accumulates cash value over time. Policyholders can access the cash value through loans or withdrawals, and the policy remains in force as long as premiums are paid. Included in a category known as permanent life insurance, whole life insurance policies are customized to match the needs of each applicant, making premiums difficult to estimate. You can expect whole life insurance to be more expensive than term life insurance.

Be aware that not every whole life insurance policy will gain cash value during the initial two years of the policy, and dividend payments may not be made until the policy's third year.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance, another form of permanent coverage, offers flexible premium payments, permanent life insurance coverage and cash value growth. Premiums are adjustable, which makes this type of life insurance ideal for individuals with varying incomes. However, the complex nature of universal life insurance policies requires active management. You will need to make investment choices and monitor your cash value balance to prevent potential policy lapses or premium increases.

Critical Illness Insurance

This type of insurance pays a lump sum (in this case, up to $50,000) if the policyholder is diagnosed with a covered critical illness. Guardian's critical illness insurance covers over 30 major illnesses, including stroke, heart attack, Parkinson's disease and cancer. Critical illness insurance provides a solution to address high medical expenses, although benefits can be used by policyholders in any way they choose.

Accident Insurance

Accident insurance is a counterpart to critical illness coverage, targeted to help after a mishap rather than an illness diagnosis. When you experience a covered injury, such as severe burns or broken bones, accident insurance offers a lump sum benefit to help cover unexpected expenses. Policyholders can use the funds to help cover the cost of X-rays, ambulance services, deductibles and even non-medical costs like rent or groceries. In some states, Guardian accident insurance policies may be purchased to insure children injured while participating in organized sports.

Guardian Life Insurance Pricing

The cost of life insurance premiums varies depending on several factors, including policy type, coverage amount and the policyholder's age, gender and health status. Guardian Life Insurance offers competitive pricing, but you'll need to contact a financial representative for a personalized quote.

These are some sample Guardian life insurance rates from the company’s website and its term life insurance quote tool:

Policy type Monthly premium Coverage
35-year-old female nonsmoker Term Life (20 years) $57 $1 million
40-year-old female smoker Term Life (20 years) $265 $1 million
55-year-old male nonsmoker Term Life (20 years) $359 $1 million
40-year-old male nonsmoker Universal Life $667 $1 million

Guardian Life Insurance financial stability

Founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has a longstanding history of financial stability. The company's high ratings from independent rating agencies mean it can fulfill its obligations to policyholders even during challenging economic times.

Guardian Life Insurance accessibility

Guardian Life Insurance makes its insurance products accessible to individuals across the United States. Guardian Life insurance can be purchased directly through a financial representative and is also made available through many employers.


Guardian Life Insurance is licensed to operate in all U.S. states. However, not every product is available in every state. If you’re interested in any Guardian Life Insurance products, you will have to check their website to see if they offer those products in your state of residence.

Contact information

For more information about Guardian's insurance products, you can enter your zip code on the website for a list of local agents. You can also submit a request for a response using the website’s contact form. Guardian Life offers customer support by phone Monday through Thursday 8 AM to 6 PM ET, and Fridays from 8 AM to 5 PM ET.

  • Guardian Life Insurance phone number: 1-888-Guardian (1-888-482-7342)

User experience

The company's website aims to serve a broad cross-section of customers: consumers, employers, employees, brokers and financial representatives. This makes the site more complicated and less user-friendly than many competing life insurance websites.

Besides life insurance, Guardian’s website includes dental, vision and disability insurance, but the only online quote tool available is for term life policies. For all other Guardian Life Insurance quotes, you’ll need to reach out to a financial representative even for a quote. All policies must be purchased from a Guardian agent.

Policyholders can register online for access to their accounts and policies with a Guardian Life Insurance login. The site offers various forms for download and a secure channel to submit queries.

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Guardian Life Insurance customer satisfaction

Guardian Life Insurance customer service has received many positive reviews from third-party platforms. The company received a score of 787 out of 1000 points in J.D. Power's 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, surpassing the industry average of 774. J.D. Power also recognized Guardian Life for its "Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for phone support over five years. Moreover, Guardian holds an A+ rating from the BBB.

In addition, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Guardian Life Insurance has garnered fewer customer complaints to state regulators than the industry average over the past three years.

Even well-regarded companies can gather some negative reviews, however, and Guardian Life Insurance has its share on the BBB site. In particular, a number of disgruntled customers complain that Guardian will go to great lengths to avoid paying out claims. Despite JD Power's recognition of Guardian Life Insurance's customer service, some customers say they have had very negative experiences with customer service.

Guardian Life Insurance FAQs

What is Guardian Life Insurance?

Guardian Life Insurance is an insurer that offers a range of insurance products, including term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance, critical illness insurance and accident insurance.

Is Guardian Life Insurance good?

Guardian Life Insurance has a strong reputation for financial stability, excellent customer service, low complaints and a diverse range of insurance options. Its dividend-paying whole life insurance policy stands out for those looking to combine life insurance coverage with potential wealth accumulation. However, despite a generally positive record for customer service, Guardian Life Insurance gas gathered some reviews on the BBB website that complain of poor customer service, including delays in paying claims.

Is Guardian Whole Life Insurance a good investment?

Whole life insurance, including Guardian Life Insurance's whole life policies, can be considered a long-term investment due to its cash value accumulation and potential dividends. However, bear in mind that life insurance is primarily a means of financial protection for your loved ones. For most policyholders, the investment aspect is secondary to the death benefit. Other investments may yield a better return, especially when the high premiums (compared with term insurance) of whole life coverage is factored into its financial worthiness.

How we evaluated Guardian Life Insurance

In our evaluation of Guardian Life Insurance, we considered several key factors:

  • Financial stability: We analyzed Guardian Life Insurance Company's ratings for financial stability from third-party agencies.
  • Insurance products: We considered the types of insurance products available from Guardian Life.
  • Availability: We determined how accessible Guardian Life is including website navigation, online quote tools and its lack of online applications.
  • Pricing: We explored sample quotes and compared them with other providers.
  • Customer satisfaction: We looked at how Guardian ranks on third-party sites and also considered customer feedback.

Summary of Money's Guardian Life Insurance review

Guardian Life Insurance is a reliable insurance provider that offers a diverse portfolio of insurance products. Its dividend-paying whole life insurance policy might be an attractive option, assuming whole life coverage actually makes sense for you, rather than a term insurance policy. Downsides to the company include a lackluster website and an inability to purchase any products online, or even to get a quote in most cases. Guardian might appeal more to individuals who prefer not to research, purchase or manage their life insurance accounts online

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