The AARP Life Insurance program offers a small range of basic life insurance policies, including term and permanent plans. Designed for people ages 50 and up, their policies are affordable but have low coverage maximums. AARP insurance is best for people who need supplemental policies or have struggled to get coverage before because of the rigors of traditional underwriting. With AARP, you can get up to $100,000 in coverage without a medical exam.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
No medical exams required
Low-cost coverage available for children
Insurance issued by third-party organizations
Coverage options and restrictions vary by state
AARP membership required
Low coverage maximums
- AARP was founded in 1958.
- The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
- The AARP Life Insurance Program is underwritten by New York Life, the fourth-largest life insurance company in the U.S. based on direct premiums written.
- The company sells term and permanent life policies.
- You can get up to $100,000 in coverage without a medical exam.
- Some policies are not available in all states.
AARP was founded in 1958 to promote the independence and well-being of older persons. Its focus is on promoting and supporting its members’ financial security and health. To that end, AARP worked with New York Life, one of the largest and most well-known life insurance companies, to offer the AARP Life Insurance Program. Through the program, AARP members can get affordable term or permanent life insurance.
AARP sells its policies directly to consumers through its website and over the phone. In addition to life insurance, AARP also connects members to banking services, investment accounts, fraud protection, and Medicare supplement plans.
- Year Founded 1958
- Kinds of Plans Term, whole
- Number of Plans 4
- Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly
- Customer Service Phone, online
- Phone 800-607-6957
- Official Website www.nylaarp.com
AARP, through its underwriting company New York Life, was included in Life Insurance: Best Companies.
- No medical exams required: Most life insurance companies require you to undergo a medical exam, and you may have to answer extensive questions about your health. With the AARP Life Insurance Program, no medical exam is required for any of its policies.
- Transparent pricing: While some companies require you to call and speak with an agent to get a quote, AARP allows you to get quotes for all of its policies online. With its transparent pricing, you can choose the right policy for you and even apply for most plans online.
- Low-cost coverage available for children: If you are an AARP member, you can purchase life insurance for a child or grandchild, and it can accumulate cash value over time.
- Insurance issued by third-party organizations: Despite the AARP name, life insurance sold through the AARP Life Insurance Program is not issued by AARP. Instead, policies are underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company.
- Coverage options and restrictions vary by state: Life insurance products and features can vary by state. For example, easy acceptance policies are not available in all states, and juvenile life insurance policies are not offered in Maryland, New York, or Washington.
- AARP membership required: To qualify for the AARP Life Insurance Program, you must be an AARP member. Full AARP membership is limited to people ages 50 and older, and you must pay a fee to join.
- Low coverage maximums: With the AARP Life Insurance Program, the maximum amount of coverage you can get is $100,000 with a term life policy. For many, that amount isn’t enough to cover your family’s needs, so you might want to consider another company that offers policies with higher coverage amounts.
AARP memberships cost as little as $12 per year
AARP has just four insurance plans available. None of the plans require a medical exam; instead, you only have to answer questions about your health. Eligibility is limited to AARP members between the ages of 50 and 74 and their spouses ages 45 to 74.
Level Benefit Term Life
With AARP’s level benefit term life policy, you can get $10,000 to $100,000 in coverage. Unlike other term life insurance plans, you cannot choose your term; instead, your policy expires when you turn 80, regardless of when you enrolled.
Permanent life insurance from AARP provides you with up to $50,000 in coverage. Your rates are guaranteed never to increase, and your policy lasts for your lifetime.
Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance
By purchasing a Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance policy, you can get up to $25,000 of coverage. There is no medical exam, and you only have to answer one health question to apply for coverage. If you aren’t currently terminally ill, acceptance is guaranteed, and your rates will never increase.
Young Start Life Insurance
If you are an AARP member, you can purchase permanent life insurance for your young child or grandchild under 18. You can get up to $20,000 in coverage for them, and it can build cash value over time. Once the child turns 21, they become the account owner and are responsible for the premiums.
Young Start Life Insurance is not available in Maryland, New York, or Washington.
When you purchase a life insurance policy, you usually have the ability to add insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to your plan. Riders can enhance or customize your coverage, allowing you to access benefits early or even covering your premiums if you’re in a nursing home.
The AARP Life Insurance Program offers one rider.
If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a life expectancy of 24 months or less and have an AARP permanent life policy, you can access up to 50% of your benefit amount while still living through the accelerated benefit rider.
In New York, you must be given a life expectancy of 12 months or less to take advantage of this rider.
Also, if you are confined to a qualified nursing home for 180 consecutive days or more, you will not have to pay for future premiums with the waiver of premium rider. Only skilled nursing facilities qualify; assisted living and personal care homes are not eligible for this benefit.
New York Life pays AARP royalty fees to use the organization’s name and intellectual property with the AARP Life Insurance Program, so you’ll contact New York Life for any customer service issues.
With the online customer service center, you can make payments, download necessary forms, and update your beneficiaries. While you cannot file a claim online, you can download the packet you need to begin the claims process.
To contact customer support, call 800-607-6957. Customer service is available during the following times:
- Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
- Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners collects all complaints about insurance companies and releases company complaint ratios. The ratios are the number of complaints received relative to the company’s share of the insurance market.
Because New York Life underwrites AARP policies, we reviewed New York Life’s complaint index.
New York Life received fewer complaints in 2020 than you’d expect for a company of its size. In 2020, its complaint ratio was just 0.24, well below the industry national complaint index of 1.0.
For the past three years, New York Life’s complaint ratio has been lower than the national complaint index, meaning the company has received a relatively small number of complaints for its share of the market.
New York Life, the company that underwrites the AARP Life Insurance Program policies, has an excellent reputation. In the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, New York Life was ranked sixth out of 24 insurance companies based on pricing, communication, and product offerings. Its score was well above the industry average, denoting its strong customer satisfaction.
New York Life also has an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, the agency’s highest rating. AM Best’s Financial Strength Ratings reflect a company’s stability and credibility. A high rating from AM Best means that you can be assured that the company will pay out any claims and contractual obligations.
While most companies offer a 10-day free look period, AARP’s insurance policies have a 30-day free look period, meaning you have 30 days to review your policy and to cancel it without penalty. You’ll also get a full refund on all premiums paid.
After the 30-day free look period expires, the cancellation policy is dependent on your plan type. If you cancel term life insurance, your contract will be canceled, but you won’t receive a refund of the premiums you paid. With permanent insurance, you may surrender your policy before its maturity date. If you do so, you’ll receive the accumulated cash value or pre-paid premiums less any fees.
Review plan documents carefully before applying and contact customer support if you have any questions. You can cancel your policy by calling 800-607-6957.
With the AARP Life Insurance Program, you can get instant quotes online. If you opt for term life insurance or permanent life insurance, you can even submit your application online too.
The AARP Life Insurance Program policies are relatively affordable, especially considering that policies are designed for people 50 and up—a group that typically pays more for life insurance than younger persons.
Like other insurance companies, the AARP Life Insurance Program bases your premiums on a range of factors, including gender, age, and tobacco use. To illustrate how different factors affect your costs, we got quotes for 50-year-old men and women in excellent health who did not use tobacco.
For term life insurance, your rates will increase over time. Premiums increase as you enter each new five-year age band and are based on current rates at that time. Below are the current rates for a $100,000 policy.
|Age Band||Monthly Premium for a Woman||Monthly Premium for a Man|
With permanent life insurance, your rates never increase. Below are the quotes for 50-year-old men and women in excellent health who never used tobacco.
|Coverage Amount||Monthly Premium for a Woman||Monthly Premium for a Man|
Easy Acceptance Life
With Easy Acceptance Life, your rates are based on your age when you apply and they’ll never increase. Below are the quotes for 50-year-old men and women.
|Coverage Amount||Monthly Premium for a Woman||Monthly Premium for a Man|
For the Young Start insurance policy, rates are based solely on your coverage amount.
|Coverage Amount||Monthly Premium|
AARP Application Process
As with other life insurance companies, the AARP Life Insurance Program requires you to select either “male” or “female” when getting a quote or submitting an application for a policy. While being nonbinary will not disqualify you from getting insurance, you should know that most insurance companies haven’t updated their processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues and aren’t as inclusive with their applications.
Competition: AARP vs. John Hancock
While the AARP Life Insurance program can be a useful supplement to existing insurance, it has its limitations. Its coverage amounts are low, with a maximum of $100,000 in term life insurance. And, AARP’s policies are only available to AARP members 50 and older and their spouses 45 to 74.
If you need a larger policy or don’t qualify for AARP membership yet, consider getting coverage through John Hancock instead.
John Hancock has two different plan options, term and permanent, and allows you to get up to $65 million in coverage. It also has multiple insurance riders you can add to your policy to customize your coverage, such as critical illness benefits, long-term care, and return of premium.
|Market Share||Fourth-largest in the U.S., 4.6%||Sixth-largest in the U.S., 3.6%|
|Number of Plans||4||2|
|Dividends for 2020||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives||Not applicable||Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive|
|Service Method||Direct, phone||Phone, web, agents|
|AM Best Rating||A++ (Superior)||A+ (Superior)|
|Price Rank||Great - Better Than Most||Fair|
For those 50 or older, the AARP Life Insurance Program can be an easy way to get life insurance policies at a relatively affordable rate. Backed by New York Life Insurance Company, the AARP policies are underwritten by a top-notch insurer with an excellent reputation.
AARP can be a useful supplemental option if you have insurance through an employer or a separate individual policy. However, AARP’s maximum coverage amounts are quite low. Many families will need more than $100,000 of coverage for their protection, so you’ll need to work with another insurer if you need a higher coverage amount.
Enrollment in the AARP Life Insurance Program is restricted to AARP members. If you aren’t a current member and aren’t eligible for AARP membership at this time, you’ll need to get a policy from another source.
How We Review Life Insurance Companies
Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative approach that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with that of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how third-party organizations rate the company to determine its reliability and overall reputation.
Learn more: Read our full Life Insurance Methodology here.
NAIC. "New York Life Insurance Company - Complaint Index." Accessed Oct 6, 2021.
J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 3, 2021.
AM Best. "New York Life Insurance Company." Accessed Oct. 3, 2021.