Ameritas Life Insurance Review

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Ameritas

 Ameritas

Our Take

A well-known insurance company with a long history, Ameritas offers a wide range of life insurance products, including term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal policies. Whether you want a basic term life insurance plan to cover your family if tragedy strikes or a robust policy to provide a legacy, Ameritas has policies you can use to reach your goals. However, all Ameritas policies require medical exams, so it’s not a good option if you have existing health conditions or want coverage right away.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Opportunity to connect with financial professionals

  • Multiple insurance options

  • Several insurance rider options

Cons
  • All policies require medical exams

  • Online quotes not available for all policies

  • No educational materials

Key Takeaways
  • The company was initially founded in 1887.
  • Ameritas is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Ameritas sells term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal policies.
  • The company also sells disability insurance and vision and dental insurance.
  • Ameritas connects individuals to certified independent financial professionals.
Company Overview

Ameritas was founded in 1887 in Lincoln, Nebraska. It serves customers nationwide and has over four million policyholders. Ameritas sells directly to consumers and offers group life insurance policies to employers. Its policies are sold through its website and financial professionals. Beyond life insurance, Ameritas also sells annuities, disability coverage, and dental and vision insurance. 

  • Year Founded 1887
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, indexed universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 9
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Online, financial professional
  • Phone 800-745-1112
  • Official Website www.ameritas.com

Ameritas Mutual Holding Company 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

  • Opportunity to connect with financial professionals: When thinking about your insurance needs, having the insight of a financial professional can be helpful. Ameritas works with a network of certified and independent financial professionals and connects prospective customers and policyholders with them for personalized advice. 
  • Multiple insurance options: While some companies only sell term life insurance, Ameritas has a wide range of policy options. You can choose from term, whole, universal indexed universal, and variable universal coverage.
  • Several insurance rider options: Ameritas has several riders you can add to your policy to customize your coverage, including accidental death benefits, children’s term insurance, and accelerated benefits. 

Cons Explained

  • All policies require medical exams: While some companies allow you to purchase life insurance without undergoing a medical exam, all Ameritas policies require one. 
  • Online quotes not available: You can get term life insurance quotes online, but for all other policy types, you’ll have to speak with a financial professional.
  • No educational materials: Other companies have robust educational materials and tools, including video modules and insurance calculators. Ameritas is more barebones, and doesn’t provide any resources. 
What You Need to Know

As of 2019, Ameritas has $99 billion of life insurance policies in force.

Available Plans

Ameritas has nine different life insurance plans available, ranging from basic term life policies to indexed universal policies that potentially allow for cash value growth. 

While you can get quotes for term life insurance online, you can also consult with a financial professional to discuss your insurance needs. Certified independent professionals can help you figure out where life insurance fits into your financial plan and how much coverage you need. 

Value Plus Term

Value Plus Term is Ameritas’ term life insurance option. You can get temporary coverage for a set term; if you die within the covered term, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit

With Value Plus Term, you can choose a term of one, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Your premiums stay the same throughout your term. When your term ends, you can renew your policy, but your premiums will increase every year. 

During the first five years you have your policy, you can convert your coverage to permanent coverage, often without a medical exam. 

Indexed Universal Life

With an indexed universal life policy, you can potentially grow your cash value by investing in investment accounts that track major stock market indices, such as the S&P 500. Ameritas has two indexed universal life policies: 

  • Growth Index: The Growth Index plan is linked to the S&P 500, Russell 2000, MSCI EAFE, or BNP Paribas Momentum Multi-Asset 5. Or, you can invest in a fixed account with a minimum guaranteed interest rate of 2%. 
  • Value Plus Index: The Value Plus Index has the same investment options as the Growth Index, but also has an index floor rate. Your policy’s account value will never decrease due to negative index performance. 

Universal Life

A form of permanent coverage, universal life policies are more flexible than whole life policies. You can adjust your premiums and death benefit based on your changing needs. The Ameritas Value Plus Universal Life policy comes with a rider that provides a monthly cash flow for the life of the covered person. To qualify, you must select the guideline premium test when you apply. 

Variable Universal Life

With a variable universal life policy, a portion of your premiums is invested in the company’s investment fund, potentially growing your cash value. Ameritas has two variable universal life policies: 

  • Performance II: With the Performance II policy, you can choose from a list of investment options to invest some of your premiums. 
  • Advisor II: The Advisor II plan allows you to invest in funds managed by top investment firms. 

Whole Life

Whole life policies are a form of permanent coverage. Coverage lasts for your entire lifetime, and policies can accumulate cash value over time. Ameritas has three whole life policies: 

  • Access Whole Life: Access policies provide guaranteed cash value growth, and includes accelerated death benefits. 
  • Growth Whole Life: Growth policies build cash value on a guaranteed basis, and are eligible to receive dividends. 
  • Value Plus Whole Life: Value Plus policies typically pay out dividends, and include an accelerated death benefit. 

Available Riders

Like most large insurance companies, Ameritas has multiple insurance riders or insurance endorsements you can add to your policy to get additional coverage. Riders typically have an additional cost, and can help you customize your coverage: 

Accelerated Death Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can receive a portion of your death benefit while you’re living to pay for your care or other expenses. In most states, this rider is included with policies at no additional charge. 

Accidental Death 

If you die as a result of an accident, the accidental death benefit rider will give your family an additional death benefit. 

Child Term Coverage

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you can also get term life insurance for your child with the child term rider. 

Waiver of Premium

If you become disabled, the waiver of premium rider keeps your policy in force and waives your obligation to pay your premiums. 

Customer Service

With Ameritas, you can get quotes for term life insurance online. For other policies, you’ll have to contact Ameritas and work with a financial professional to get quotes. However, working with a financial professional can be advantageous, giving you detailed advice on your insurance needs and what type of insurance to purchase to accomplish your goals. 

You can reach Ameritas’ customer service team by sending a secure message online or calling 800-745-1112. 

Complaint Index

Every year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC) collects and codes complaints submitted by consumers concerning insurance companies. To help customers compare companies, the NAIC releases complaint ratios each year. 

The industry standard complaint ratio is 1.0. A ratio below 1.0 is considered better than average, indicating that the company received fewer complaints than expected. 

In 2019, Ameritas’ complaint ratio was 0.31. 

Important

For the past three years, Ameritas’ complaint ratio has been better than the national complaint index.

Third-Party Ratings

Before choosing an insurance company, it’s wise to check third-party ratings to ensure the company is financially sound. 

AM Best, a credit rating agency focused on insurance companies, issues Financial Strength Ratings on companies, evaluating them based on financial strength and their ability to meet their policy obligations. 

In 2020, AM Best affirmed Ameritas’ A (Excellent rating), noting the company’s balance sheet strength and solid operating performance. 

Ameritas is not included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. In the study, J.D. Power evaluated 24 top life insurance companies and ranked them based on their prices, products, and customer service. 

Cancellation Policy

Like most insurance companies, Ameritas has a 10-day free look period. You have 10 days after receiving your policy to review your plan documents and cancel your policy for a full refund. 

After the free look period ends, how cancellations are handled are dependent on your policy type. For example, term life policies can be canceled without penalty, but you won’t receive a refund of premiums paid. If you have a whole life policy, you can receive a surrender cash value. Review your policy documents carefully, and contact Ameritas if you have any questions. 

You can cancel your policy by calling 800-745-1112. 

Price

We found that Ameritas’ policies are competitively priced. For those who are in excellent health, you may qualify for preferred plus status and get the lowest premiums. 

For example, we got the following quotes for a 30-year-old woman. Policies are for $250,000 in term life coverage across various rate classes.

Term Standard Select Preferred Preferred Plus
 10 Years  $15.36  $14.71  $11.89  $10.81
 15 Years  $18.40  $16.45  $13.19  $11.24
 20 Years  $20.35  $17.97  $14.28  $12.11
 30 Years  $29.25  $26.65  $20.14  $16.67

Like other insurance companies, Ameritas requires you to select “male” or “female” when submitting your information online. 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

Ameritas has a wide range of insurance products with multiple optional riders. However, it doesn’t have guaranteed acceptance plans, and all of its policies require a medical exam. 

We compared Ameritas with John Hancock, another major insurer, because it offers multiple coverage options. With John Hancock, you can choose from term, universal, and whole life policies, but it also has basic final expense and guaranteed issue options. 

What makes John Hancock stand out from Ameritas is its Vitality program. When you enroll, you can get up to 15% off your premiums by using healthy habits, like going to the doctor for your annual physical and exercising. 

  Ameritas John Hancock
Market Share Not applicable Sixth-largest in the U.S., 3.6%
Number of Plans 9 5
Dividends for 2019 $33.7 million Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive
Service Method Online, financial professional Phone, web, agents
AM Best Rating A (Excellent) A+ (Superior)
Price Rank Average Fair
Complaints Trend 0.31 0.35
Final Verdict

For those looking for multiple coverage options and the personalized assistance of a financial professional, Ameritas can be a good match. You can choose from a range of policies, and add riders to your plan to customize your coverage. 

However, Ameritas is best for those in good health who are willing to undergo a medical exam. If you have a history of medical problems or want coverage without a medical exam, you’ll have to work with another insurance company.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology 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 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. "Ameritas Life Insurance Company - Complaint Index." Accessed February 19, 2021. 

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and Its Subsidiary." Accessed February 19, 2021.

  3. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed February 19, 2021.