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If you’re worried about paying for your care as you age, a life insurance policy from Baltimore Life Insurance Company can give you some peace of mind with its many optional riders. Depending on the type of coverage you have, you could use some or all of your death benefit while you’re living if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, are admitted into a qualified nursing facility, or if you need extended care for a chronic illness. These riders are above and beyond what many life insurance companies offer.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
24-hour customer service
Multiple optional riders available
Extensive educational tools
High number of consumer complaints
Some policies aren’t available in all states
Most policies require medical exams
- The Baltimore Life Insurance Company was founded in 1882 and is based in Owing Mills, Maryland.
- It offers term, whole, universal, and final expense life insurance policies for individuals.
- Policies are sold through insurance agents, and medical exams are required for most plans.
- Baltimore Life has a robust list of optional riders available.
- It is not licensed to sell life insurance in New York.
The Baltimore Life Insurance Company, also known as Baltimore Life, was founded in 1882 by five businessmen. The company is based in Owing Mills, Maryland, and sells annuities, supplemental group life policies, and individual life and critical illness insurance. All of its policies are sold through company sales agents and independent agents.
Today, the company serves over 300,000 individuals, families, and businesses and has over $1 billion in assets. Baltimore Life is licensed in 49 states and the District of Columbia; the only state it doesn’t sell insurance in is New York.
- Year Founded 1882
- Kinds of Plans Term, whole life, universal life, final expense
- Number of Plans 6
- Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
- Customer Service Agents, phone
- Phone 800-628-5433
- Official Website www.baltlife.com
Baltimore Life 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.
- 24-hour customer service: With many life insurance companies, customer support is only available Monday through Friday during certain hours. However, Baltimore Life’s customer service center is open 24 hours a day, seven day a week to answer your questions.
- Multiple optional riders available: While some companies offer just a couple of riders, Baltimore Life has a lengthy list of optional riders you can add to your policy. Available riders include accelerated death, accidental death, children’s insurance, guaranteed insurability, and waiver of premium for disability.
- Extensive educational tools: Baltimore Life’s website contains a wealth of information about life insurance and financial planning. It has videos and articles, printable guides, and calculators you can use to determine how much coverage you need. All of these tools can give you the foundation you need to make a decision about what policy to buy and feel confident in your choice.
- High number of consumer complaints: In 2020, Baltimore Life’s individual life insurance segment received a complaint ratio that was more than twice as high as the industry index.
- Some policies aren’t available in all states: While Baltimore Life is licensed in 49 states, it doesn’t sell all of its policies in each state. Depending on where you live, you may not be eligible for certain types of insurance. For example, residents of Kentucky, New York, Montana, or Washington are ineligible for whole life coverage.
- Most policies require medical exams: Nearly all of the company’s life insurance policies are fully underwritten. As an applicant, you’re required to get a medical exam, including bloodwork, to apply for coverage.
In 2020, Baltimore Life collected $82 million in annual life insurance premiums. While that’s a large amount of money, consider that Prudential—the fifth-largest life insurance company based on direct premiums written—collected $8.5 billion in annual life insurance premiums during the same period.
The Baltimore Life Insurance Company sells term, whole life, universal life, and final expense policies. Most of its policies are fully underwritten and require medical exams, and you’ll have to contact an agent for details about the policies and to apply for coverage.
Baltimore Life has six life insurance options:
Because term life insurance is temporary and provides you with coverage for a specific term, it tends to be cheaper than permanent life insurance.
With term life insurance from Baltimore Life, you have level premiums for your policy’s initial term, and you can choose a term of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. After that, you can keep your policy in effect by renewing it until you reach the age of 100, but your premiums will increase as you age. Coverage amounts range from $25,000 to $1 million.
If you want the security of permanent protection, a whole life policy may be a better option for you despite its higher cost. Whole life plans last for your lifetime; as long as you pay your premiums on time, your policy won’t expire.
Whole life plans also have a savings component and can build cash value. As it grows, you can tap into it by taking out loans or withdrawals for major expenses, like a child’s college education.
Baltimore Life’s whole life policies have guaranteed cash values that increase every year, and dividends may also be paid annually. The minimum face amount is $15,000. Whole life policies are not available to residents of Kentucky, New York, Montana, or Washington.
Single-Premium Whole Life
Baltimore Life’s single-premium whole life plan is for individuals that want to pay a one-time lump sum for a whole life policy. It's best for those that want to reallocate their assets or provide an income tax-free inheritance to their beneficiaries.
Coverage amounts start at $5,000. It’s possible to get more than $500,000 in coverage, but your agent will have to work with Baltimore Life‘s main office to get approval.
Senior Life: Silver Guard Whole Life
The Silver Guard plan is a final expense policy that is designed to pay for your burial and other expenses. It has guaranteed level premiums and guaranteed cash value accumulation. This insurance plan is available without a medical exam. Coverage amounts range from $2,500 to $25,000, and the policies are available to people between the ages of 50 and 80.
With universal life coverage, you get permanent protection. However, universal life policies offer more flexibility than whole life policies. You can adjust your premiums and even your death benefit if your finances change. Baltimore Life’s coverage amounts for universal life policies start at $25,000.
Baltimore Life’s Generation Legacy plan combines life insurance with an annuity. When you purchase a policy, you get two separate contracts: a single-premium immediate annuity and a limited premium payment whole life policy. Only people between the ages of 60 and 80 are eligible.
The Baltimore Life Insurance Company allows policyholders to add optional insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to their plans to customize their coverage or to access their death benefits while living in certain circumstances. Not all riders are available on all policies or in all states, so talk to your agent about your options.
Baltimore Life has the following riders:
Accelerated Death Benefits
With this rider, you can use up to 100% of your death benefit while you’re living in the following circumstances:
- You are terminally ill with a life expectancy of 12 months or less
- You are chronically ill and in a qualified nursing care facility
- You are chronically ill and receiving extended care by a licensed home health agency or state-certified adult daycare
Accidental Death Benefit
By adding the accidental death benefit rider to your policy, your beneficiaries will receive a larger death benefit if you die as a result of an accident.
When you add the children’s insurance rider to your policy, you can purchase term life coverage for your child that lasts until they turn 25 or you turn 70, whichever occurs first.
Disability Income Rider
By adding the disability income rider to your policy, you get coverage for non-occupational disabilities and illnesses.
Disability Waiver of Premium
If you become disabled and are unable to work, the disability waiver of premium rider will allow you to stop paying your premiums while keeping your policy in force.
With the guaranteed insurability rider, you can purchase additional insurance without evidence of insurability.
Baltimore Life has a 24-hour customer service center that is available by phone or secure online message. To contact customer support, call 800-628-5433.
All of Baltimore Life’s insurance policies are sold through agents. To reach an agent near you, fill out the contact form on the company’s website, and an agent will follow up with you.
Baltimore Life has a robust website with educational materials. It has articles and videos that explain the different types of life insurance, printable resource guides, and calculators you can use to estimate how much coverage you need.
Unfortunately, it has limited online functionality for policyholders. You can make payments through the site, but you have to start the claims process over the phone.
When shopping for life insurance, pay attention to companies’ complaint ratios released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). They are numerical scores that reflect the number of complaints that consumers submitted about a company relative to its share of the insurance market.
The industry standard is 1.0; a ratio above that number means the company received more complaints than expected, and a ratio below 1.0 means the company received fewer complaints than expected.
In 2020, Baltimore Life’s complaint ratio for its individual life insurance segment was 2.46, more than twice the expected ratio. Because it was so high, we looked up the types of complaints that were submitted. Complaints were submitted by current policyholders and their issues concerned unsatisfactory settlements and denials of claims.
For the past three years, Baltimore Life’s complaint ratio was above the industry standard.
In 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Baltimore Life Insurance Company. The suit alleged that the company made unsolicited telemarketing calls to sell life insurance policies without the consumers’ consent.
When you buy life insurance, you want to be confident that the company you choose will be financially sound and able to pay out any claims in the future.
Baltimore Life has a B++ (Good) Financial Strength Rating from AM Best, the credit rating agency that evaluates insurance companies’ financial stability. While its rating isn’t poor, it is significantly lower than many of its major competitors.
The three largest individual life insurance companies based on direct premiums written—Northwestern Mutual, New York Life, and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company—all have A++ (Superior) ratings, the highest available from AM Best.A lower rating indicates that AM Best believes that Baltimore Life is more vulnerable to underwriting and economic changes in the future than companies with higher ratings.
Baltimore Life was not included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study that evaluated and ranked top life insurance companies.
As with all insurance companies, you have a "free look" period when you buy a life insurance policy from Baltimore Life. You have 10 days—longer in some states—to change your mind and cancel your policy to get a full refund.
After the free look period expires, cancellation policies vary based on the type of insurance you have. With whole and universal life policies, there may be a surrender charge. With term life coverage, you can cancel without penalty, but you won't receive a refund of any premiums paid.
Contact your agent to discuss your contract and to cancel your coverage.
Baltimore Life does not offer online quotes. To get a quote for any of its policies, you have to contact an insurance agent. In general, your premiums will be based on the results of your medical exam and application answers.
Like other life insurance companies, Baltimore Life does require you to choose either “male” or “female” when getting a quote or submitting a life insurance application; there isn’t an option if you identify as nonbinary. While being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues.
Baltimore Life offers a range of insurance products and a lengthy list of optional riders. However, almost all of its policies require medical exams, and the company has received more complaints than is typical for a company of its size.
If you’re looking for a company that sells simplified issue policies and has a better record of service, consider Haven Life.
Haven Life is owned by MassMutual, a major insurance company. It sells fully underwritten whole life and simplified issue term life policies, so you can get up to $500,000 in coverage without a medical exam. Because the policies are underwritten by MassMutual, a company with an A++ rating from AM Best, you can be confident that the company will be able to pay out its claims or contractual obligations.
MassMutual also has a much better complaint ratio than Baltimore Life; in 2020, its ratio was just 0.07, much lower than the industry standard.
|Baltimore Life Insurance Company||Haven Life by MassMutual|
|Market Share||Not applicable||MassMutual is the third-largest in the U.S., 5.9%|
|Number of Plans||2||2|
|Dividends for 2020||Not available||Not applicable|
|Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Service Method||Agents||Online, phone|
|AM Best Rating||B+ (Good)||A++ (Superior)|
If you are worried about your long-term care needs, such as needing to live in a nursing facility or requiring the help of a home health aide, Baltimore Life’s policies stand out from the competition. Its riders allow you to use some or all of your benefits while living to pay for your care in certain circumstances, relieving some of the financial burden.
However, it does require medical exams for most policies. If you want to get coverage right away and don’t want to go through the hassle of a medical exam, you’ll have to work with another insurer that sells simplified issue policies.
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.