There are many choices for life insurance that can be a good fit for your financial goals and budget. We evaluated key metrics for term and permanent life insurance from many companies to identify the best life insurance companies.
If you don’t already have life insurance, now is a good time to secure a policy so you can support your family even after you’re gone.
Summary: Best Life Insurance Companies
The largest life insurance company in the United States, based on market share, is Northwestern Mutual. For our ratings we take into account several different factors, like cost competitiveness, historical performance, reliability of policy illustrations and financial strength, to determine the best life insurance companies.
What is life insurance?
Life insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that says the life insurance company promises to pay out a death benefit if you have paid your premiums.
Your beneficiaries can use the money for whatever purpose they choose. Often this includes paying everyday bills, paying a mortgage or putting a child through college. Having the safety net of life insurance can ensure that your family can stay in their home and pay for the things that you planned for.
There are two primary types of life insurance: term and permanent life. Permanent life insurance such as whole life insurance or universal life insurance can provide lifetime coverage, while term life insurance provides protection for a certain period.
How To Find the Best Life Insurance Policy for You
There are many different types of life insurance to consider. But armed with the right information, you can quickly narrow down the options based on your needs in a life insurance policy.
There are some important things to consider when shopping for life insurance:
- Look at financial strength ratings
- Select life insurance as part of a larger financial plan
- Work with an experienced life insurance agent
- Don’t assume insurance companies offer competitive pricing for everyone
- Insist that cost disclosures for universal life insurance be included in any proposals
- Figure out if you want life insurance riders
- Explore life insurance options for military members
Look at Financial Strength Ratings
If you knew that your insurance company would likely be unable to pay out your beneficiaries’ life insurance claim in the future, you’d want to choose a different company. One way to make that kind of determination is to look at the insurance company’s financial strength rating.
The financial strength ratings available from agencies like AM Best and Standard & Poor’s help you assess a company’s ability to pay out claims in the future. Insurers with Superior (A+ to A++) or Excellent (A- to A) ratings are those you can have financial confidence in.
All of the best life insurance companies we have named have either Superior or Excellent financial strength ratings from AM Best.
Select Life Insurance as Part of a Larger Financial Plan
It’s normal to want to avoid death, including even talking about it, but don’t let that hinder you from addressing life insurance needs. If your family depends on you, life insurance should be a part of your overall financial plan so they can continue to thrive even if you’re gone.
A trusted financial advisor can help you to see how life insurance fits into your big financial picture. For example, if you want to use life insurance to supplement future retirement income, a financial advisor will help you determine the right cash value life insurance options to achieve that goal.
Work With an Experienced Life Insurance Agent
Life insurance can be complex, so it is important to find a good life insurance agent who can advise you on the life insurance options that are best for your situation. One way to do that is by asking for insurance agent referrals from friends and family.
An experienced life insurance agent will consider the most influential factors in policy options and rates, like your health, and help identify which life insurance companies are the most likely to offer you the best rates. This will save you time and frustration trying to pinpoint the companies yourself.
Don’t Assume Insurance Companies Offer Competitive Pricing for Everyone
Every life insurance company has its own rules that determine the rates it offers. As a result, your premium can vary significantly depending on the insurer. The accumulation rate of cash value and the policy fees for cash value policies also vary between companies.
Insist That Cost Disclosures for Universal Life Insurance Are Included in any Proposals
A life insurance quote reflects what you’ll be billed for, but it doesn’t always tell you about a policy’s internal costs, such as expenses and fees.
Universal life insurance policies have premiums, like any other life insurance policy, but they also have other costs in the form of policy fees. When shopping for this type of policy, be sure to ask the insurer about premiums, fees and any other costs that may be associated with the policy.
“Current regulations in some states and for some products permit insurers to ‘quote’ a low premium while charging high costs—without disclosing that you may need to pay additional premiums later in order to avoid a lapse,” warns Barry Flagg, founder of Veralytic.
Figure Out if You Want Life Insurance Riders
If you can’t seem to find a life insurance policy that seems perfect, you may want to check into the life insurance riders offered by the insurance company.
Life insurance riders allow you to customize your policy by adding extra coverages. Common riders include benefits you can use while you’re alive, such as accelerated death benefits, long-term care and waiver of premium if you become disabled.
Some riders are included in certain types of life insurance policies without extra charge, such as accelerated death benefit riders. If you’re interested in customizing and expanding coverage, ask your life insurance agent to explain your rider options.
Explore Life Insurance Options for Military Members
Military service members have life insurance options that are specifically for them:
- Active-duty service members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marines, or Coast Guard or those who meet other eligibility requirements qualify for Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI).
- Veterans who had SGLI before retirement qualify for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).
The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act passed in October 2022, increasing the coverage amounts of both SGLI and VGLI from $400,000 to $500,000.
Military members who decide to supplement SGLI or VGLI can do so with a private insurance company, like the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, USAA and many others.
Related: Best Life Insurance Options For Veterans