American National Life Insurance Review

Life insurance that comes with in-person assistance

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American National

American National

Our Take

American National offers a range of life insurance products, including term, whole, universal, and indexed universal life policies. Whether you want a basic term life policy to cover your family’s essential expenses, a more substantial policy to leave a legacy, or to donate your estate to charity, American National has options available to meet your needs.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple policy options

  • Rapid application reviews on some policy types

  • Multiple riders available

Cons
  • Online quotes not available

  • Insurance must be purchased through an agent

  • No guaranteed issue policies

Key Takeaways
  • American National was founded in 1905.
  • It’s headquartered in Galveston, Texas.
  • It sells term, whole, universal, and indexed universal life policies.
  • It also sells other forms of insurance, including auto and health insurance.
  • American National’s policies are available in all 50 states.
Company Overview

American National was founded in 1905 and is based in Galveston, Texas. With a long history, American National is an experienced and reliable life insurance company. As of December 31, 2020, it has over $128 billion of life insurance policies in force. American National has a reputation for financial stability. It has paid dividends to stockholders for more than 100 consecutive years, reflecting its strong operating performance.

In addition to life insurance, American National also sells business, health, auto, and even homeowners insurance policies. It sells insurance in all 50 states.

  • Year Founded 1905
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, indexed universal
  • Number of Plans 4
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Agent
  • Phone 800-899-6806
  • Official Website www.americannational.com

American National is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • Multiple policy options: While some insurance companies sell just one form of life insurance, such as term life policies, American National has multiple plans. You can purchase term, whole, universal, or indexed universal life policies. 
  • Rapid application reviews on some policy types: Depending on the type of coverage you choose, you may qualify for accelerated underwriting. Applications can be reviewed and approved within 72 hours, and you won’t have to get a medical exam. 
  • Multiple riders available: American National has several riders you can add to your policy to get coverage for your children or access your benefits if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.  

Cons Explained

  • Online quotes not available: Some insurance companies allow you to get quotes online, making it easy to comparison shop. Unfortunately, American National doesn’t list its pricing and doesn’t offer a rate calculator. 
  • Insurance must be purchased through an agent: If you want the convenience of being able to purchase life insurance online, you’ll have to consider another company. To get information on American National policies and rates, you have to go through a local insurance agent. Agents typically work on commission, so they have a financial incentive to sell you certain products. 
  • No guaranteed issue policies: Many insurance companies sell guaranteed issue policies for certain age groups. With a guaranteed issue policy, you cannot be denied based on your health, making it much more convenient if you have ongoing medical issues. Unfortunately, American National doesn’t offer guaranteed issue policies, so you can be denied coverage because of your health history. 

Available Plans

Through American National, you can purchase a life insurance policy that fits your unique needs. Depending on the plan you choose, you can get $50,000 to over $1 million in coverage, leaving your family ample protection. 

American National has four different plans: 

Term Life

As the least expensive form of life insurance, term life provides temporary coverage and a simple, lump-sum death benefit if you pass away while the policy is in effect. 

With American National, you can choose a term of five, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Plus, policies can be converted to permanent coverage using the same underwriting information. 

If you are under the age of 65, you can qualify for express term coverage. You can get up to $250,000 in coverage without a medical exam, and your application can be reviewed and approved within 72 hours.

Whole Life

If you opt for an American National whole life policy, you get permanent coverage with a fixed death benefit. Your policy can also build cash value, and, while not guaranteed, American National has a history of paying dividends to its policyholders. 

Universal Life

Like whole life policies, universal life insurance is a form of permanent coverage. However, it has more flexibility than whole life insurance, allowing you to adjust your premiums and benefit amounts over time. With a universal life policy, you can even take a loan against the plan’s cash value to pay for unexpected emergency expenses. 

Indexed Universal Life

Indexed universal life policies are another type of permanent life insurance, but they offer the potential to grow your cash value. Your policy is tied to a major stock index, such as the S&P 500, and can earn credited interest based on the market’s performance. 

With American National, your policy will never be credited a negative interest rate, and you can increase or decrease your benefit amount as your needs change. 

Available Riders

With insurance endorsements, commonly known as riders, you can add to or adjust your life insurance coverage. While they usually come with an additional cost, it can be well worth the expense to customize your policy. 

American National offers the following riders: 

Accelerated Benefit 

If you are diagnosed with a terminal, chronic, or critical illness, you can use a portion of your death benefit while still living to alleviate some of the financial burden. The maximum accelerated benefit available is $2 million for policyholders 65 and younger, and $1 million for people 66 or older. 

Children’s Term

With the children’s term rider, you can get coverage for your children. The policy expires when your child reaches 25, and it can then be converted into permanent coverage. 

Disability Waiver of Premium

If you add the disability waiver of premium to your rider and become unable to work due to a disability, your premiums will be suspended but your policy will remain in effect. 

Customer Service

To get information about American National’s available policies, riders, and premiums, you must contact a local insurance agent. You can find an agent near you with the company’s agent locator tool.

American National has an automated bot chat feature that allows you to get answers to basic questions. However, it is not staffed by a live customer service representative, so you’ll have to call your agent for more involved questions or policy-specific inquiries. 

Policyholders can contact customer support by calling 800-899-6806. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. CST. 

Complaint Index

To get an idea of how strong a company’s customer service is, look at the complaint ratio issued by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index. The NAIC collects consumer complaints and uses them to create company complaint ratios that reflect the number of claims submitted relative to the company’s size. 

The industry standard is 1.0. In general, you would want a company with a complaint ratio that is 1.0 or lower; that indicates that the company received fewer complaints than expected for its share of the life insurance market. 

In 2020, American National’s complaint ratio for its individual life insurance segment was 0.94, slightly better than the national complaint index. 

Third-Party Ratings

In 2020, AM Best, a credit rating agency focused primarily on the insurance industry, gave American National an “A” Financial Strength Rating. An “A” rating indicates that AM Best believes American National has an excellent ability to meet their policy and contractual obligations. 

American National wasn’t included in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The study evaluated and ranked 24 top life insurance companies based on their available plans, pricing, and customer service. 

Cancellation Policy

With all life insurance companies, you are entitled to a free look period. Free look periods are usually 10 days in length, but they can be longer in some states. During the free look period, you can change your mind and cancel your policy and get a full refund. 

How cancellations are handled after the free look period ends is dependent on the type of life insurance you purchase. For example, term life policies can be canceled at any time, but you won’t get a refund of the premiums you paid. With whole, universal, and indexed universal policies, you typically have to pay a surrender charge that reduces the cash value you’ll receive. 

Before purchasing a policy, review the company’s cancellation policy with your insurance agent. 

Price

Unlike some other insurance companies, American National does not publish its policies’ premiums. The only way to get a quote is to contact an insurance agent. Your premiums are based on a range of factors, including your age, gender, health history, and location. 

Like other insurance companies, American National requires you to select “male” or “female” when applying for a life insurance policy. Being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance. However, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

American National offers multiple types of life insurance and riders. However, premium information isn’t available online, and you have to go through an insurance agent—typically working on commission—for policy details and to apply for coverage. 

With those drawbacks in mind, we compared American National to Bestow, an online life insurance company. 

Unlike American National, Bestow doesn’t sell policies through insurance agents; insurance is sold directly to consumers through its website. No medical exams are required, and you can get up to $1.5 million in coverage, making it a good option for people who want simple policies quickly. However, Bestow only sells term life insurance and doesn’t have any riders that you can add to your policy. 

Because it offers more options and flexibility, American National is our choice over Bestow.

  American National Bestow
Market Share Not applicable Not applicable
Number of Plans 4 1
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable  Not applicable 
Service Method Agents Online
AM Best Rating "A" (Excellent) "A+" (Superior)
Price Rank Not available Average
Complaint Ratio 0.94 0.74
Final Verdict

If you want to buy a substantial amount of coverage to provide for your family for several years and don’t mind working with an insurance agent, American National might be a good choice for you. You can get a term, whole, universal, or indexed universal policy and customize your coverage with optional riders.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology 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 those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. NAIC. "American National Insurance Company - Complaint Index." Accessed April 29, 2021. 

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of American National Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed April 29, 2021. 

  3. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed April 29, 2021.