Best Life Insurance Companies of January 2023

Generous benefits and happy customers make Nationwide our top pick

Our Process Advertiser Disclosure We help millions of readers find the best life insurance through an independent review process and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend.
91 Companies reviewed
55 Features considered
10 Best of awards

Life insurance is a great way to protect your family or leave a legacy. It can cover funeral expenses, medical bills, or long-term costs like mortgage payments while your estate is sorted out. But many people who need it don't have it. According to a 2022 study by LIMRA and Life Happens, 44% of households said it would take less than six months to feel financial hardship if a primary wage earner passed. This is a problem that life insurance can solve.

To choose the best life insurance companies, we compared 91 life insurance companies in the following key categories: AM Best financial strength ratings, three years of NAIC complaints data, 2022 J.D. Power life insurance rankings, the quote and application process, product transparency, available policies and riders, cost, and the availability of living benefits.

Best Life Insurance Companies of January 2023

If you're over 50 or in poor health, it's best to work directly with an agent to get an affordable policy that meets your needs.

Best Overall : Nationwide

Investopedia's Rating
4.7

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

For the most personalized quote experience, call Nationwide directly at 844-457-7984.

Why We Chose It

Three living benefits included with most policies, generous no-exam requirements, strong financials, and satisfied customers make Nationwide our top pick.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Ranked second in J.D. Power’s 2021 customer satisfaction study

  • Few customer complaints

  • Living benefits included on most policies

  • Allows credit card payments

Cons
  • No live chat available

  • Online quotes are only available for term coverage

Overview

Nationwide is a financially stable life insurance company that's been in business for nearly a century. It offers a wide range of polices that may be available without a medical exam and with fast approval. It's also our top pick for best whole life insurance companies, best no-medical-exam life insurance companies, and best life insurance companies for people over 50.

The company garnered an A+ (Superior) financial stability rating from AM Best, received very few customer complaints over the past three years, and was the second-ranked out of 21 life insurers for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s U.S. Individual Life Insurance study. It also boasts a wide range of policy types and riders, no-exam life insurance for healthy applicants, and most policies include three accelerated death benefit riders at no upfront cost for chronic, critical, and terminal illnesses. Its host of exceptional features puts it squarely at the top of our best life insurance companies list. 

Plans & Pricing

Nationwide offers term policies as well as traditional whole life insurance, universal life insurance (UL), variable universal life insurance (VUL), and indexed universal life insurance (IUL).

  • Guaranteed Level Term
  • Whole Life 100 and 20Pay Whole Life
  • No-Lapse Guarantee UL II (universal life insurance)
  • VUL Accumulator (variable life insurance)
  • VUL Protector
  • Advisory VUL
  • IUL Accumulator II 2020 (indexed universal life insurance)
  • IUL Protector II 2020
  • Survivorship IUL 2020

Nationwide's indexed policies let you participate in stock market gains, but without direct market exposure. Cash value growth is tied to the S&P 500, NASDAQ-100 and/or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Though not as risky as variable life insurance, these policies are complex and can still lose value when market gains aren’t enough to offset policy expense. 

Term pricing

We found that a healthy female would pay $26.25 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders
  • Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Critical illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Long term care accelerated death benefit rider 
  • Accidental death benefit rider
  • Children's term insurance rider
  • Guaranteed insurability benefit rider
  • Waiver of premium rider

Runner-Up, Best Overall : MassMutual

Investopedia's Rating
4.6

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

MassMutual is top-ranked for financial strength, has paid dividends every year since 1869, has few complaints, and a wide selection of policies.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Rated A++ for financial stability

  • Long history of paying dividends

  • Very few complaints

  • Liberal term conversion options

Cons
  • Few accelerated benefit riders included at no cost

  • Doesn’t accept credit card payments

Overview


MassMutual stands out for a number of reasons. It has an A++ (Superior) financial rating from AM Best. This is the highest rating a company can receive and indicates a “superior” ability to pay claims. MassMutual’s dividend-paying history also adds to its clout: Every year since 1869, eligible policyholders have received life insurance dividends. In 2023, MassMutual plans to pay $1.9 billion in dividends, which is its largest payout ever. Plus, the company has received very few complaints, according to NAIC data over the past three years, and offers a wide range of policy types.

It’s worth noting that owners of MassMutual term policies can convert to any of MassMutual’s permanent policies. This is important because some companies limit the types of policies you can convert your term policy into. (Convertible term life insurance allows you to exchange some or all of your term coverage for permanent without having to re-qualify for life insurance.)

Plans & Pricing

MassMutual offers term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and variable universal life insurance.

  • MassMutual Term
  • Whole Life 100
  • Whole Life 65
  • Whole Life 10/15/20-Pay
  • Whole Life High Early Cash Value (HECV)

MassMutual’s whole-life policyholders are eligible to receive annual dividends based on the company’s financial performance. Dividends can be used to increase the death benefit or cash value, or pay premiums. 

  • Universal Life (UL) Guard
  • Survivorship Universal Life (SUL) Guard
  • Apex VUL (variable universal life insurance)

Some universal life insurance policies can be structured like term coverage, where the coverage is designed to remain in effect for a fixed period of time.

Term pricing

We found that a healthy female would pay $27.26 per month for a $250,000 30-year MassMutual term policy.

Available Riders
  • Guaranteed insurability rider
  • Waiver of premium rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Long-term care accelerated death benefit rider
  • Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider 

Best Term Buying Experience : Haven Life

Investopedia's Rating
4.6

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Why We Chose It

Haven Life offers a seamless and nearly effortless online quote, application, and buying experience. Plus, it's backed by the A++ (Superior) financial standing of MassMutual.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy-to-navigate website

  • Online application

  • Same-day decision

  • A++ financial strength

  • Excellent pricing

Cons
  • Only term life insurance is available

  • Term policies are non-convertible

  • Limited riders

Overview

Haven Life's website is what all other life insurance websites should aspire to be. The quote and application processes are seamless and entirely online. You don't have to provide any personal information until you decide to apply, and brief educational blurbs are well-placed to guide and address any questions you may have. But if you still need help, an agent is just a click away via live chat; or you can choose to call in instead.

Plus, Haven has some of the lowest term pricing of the companies we reviewed. And if you opt for a no-medical-exam life insurance policy, you may be approved the same day. For these reasons, Haven places prominently in our review of the best term life insurance companies and best life insurance companies for young adults. The only strike against Haven Life is that its term policies are not convertible to permanent coverage—an option that 89% of the term life insurance companies we reviewed offer.

Plans & Pricing
  • Haven Term (medical exam required/higher coverage limits)
  • Haven Simple (no medical exam/lower coverage limits)

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $22.90 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders
  • Waiver of premium rider
  • Accelerated death benefit rider (terminal illness)

Best Term Life Insurance : Protective

Investopedia's Rating
4.6

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Why We Chose It

Protective's term policies are the most affordable of all insurers we reviewed (tied with two others), and it offers terms up to 40 years, which is uncommon.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tied for least-expensive term policies

  • Offers term coverage for up to 40 years

  • Allows credit card payments

  • Offers no-medical-exam coverage

Cons
  • Ranked 16 out of 21 companies for customer satisfaction

Overview

Protective has the cheapest term life insurance of all the companies we reviewed (along with Banner and Haven Life). Its excellent pricing and policy options make it our pick for best term life insurance company, most affordable life insurance company, and best life insurance companies for young adults.

Protective offers 40-year term policies, which is uncommon in the industry—most companies cap terms at 30 years—and it received fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size over the past three years. The company also offers generous child riders on its policies, which makes it a good life insurance company for children.

However, Protective ranked lower than the industry average in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, coming in at #16 out of 21 companies.

Plans & Pricing

Protective offers term, whole life, universal life, variable universal life, and indexed universal life insurance policies.

  • Protective Classic Choice Term
  • Non-Participating Whole Life
  • Custom Choice Universal Life (UL)
  • Advantage Choice UL
  • Lifetime Assurance UL
  • Survivor UL
  • Executive UL
  • Strategic Objectives II VUL (variable universal life insurance)
  • Indexed Choice UL

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $22.88 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

According to Protective, its premiums are usually among the three across all issue ages and face amounts—and our research supports this for term policies.

Available Riders
  • Protected insurability rider (guaranteed insurability rider)
  • Children’s term rider
  • Waiver of premium
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • ExtendCare rider (terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider)

Best Whole Life Insurance : New York Life

Investopedia's Rating
4.0

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

New York Life is the second-largest life insurance company, according to the latest available NAIC data, and has been paying dividends to eligible policyholders every year for the past 169 years.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • A++ (Superior) AM Best rating

  • Long history of paying dividends

  • Some policies available to applicants up to 90 years old

  • Broad selection of riders

Cons
  • Very limited policy details on the website

  • Can’t get much information without contacting an agent

  • Online quotes and applications not available

Overview

New York Life, founded in 1845, is the oldest company in this list and has paid dividends for 169 consecutive years. In 2023, it plans to pay $2 billion in dividends, which is the largest payout in company history.

New York Life earns an A++ (Superior) AM Best rating and receives very few customer complaints.It also issues whole life policies to eligible 90-year-old applicants. Its stellar reputation and financial stability are two reasons it's a top-ranked company for best life insurance for seniors and best whole life insurance companies.

The company offers term, whole life, and universal life policies, including variable universal life (VUL) insurance, plus a diverse mix of riders and options for plan customization. Among these are living benefits riders and a Spouse’s Paid-Up Purchase Option (SPPO). The SPPO is an uncommon offering that lets the spouse of the insured person use the death benefit to purchase a fully-paid up life insurance policy on their own life (without medical underwriting) upon their spouse's passing.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to locate policy-specific information on the website. If you have questions or want a quote, you’ll need to provide your name and number and wait for an agent to contact you. 

Plans
  • Level Premium Convertible Term
  • 10-20 Yearly Convertible Term
  • Million Plus Level Term 10
  • Whole Life Insurance
  • Custom Whole Life Insurance
  • Basic Universal Life Insurance
  • Custom Universal Life Guarantee 
  • Protection Up to Age 90
  • Variable Universal Life Accumulator II
Available Riders
  • Spouse’s Paid-Up Insurance Purchase Option (SPPO)
  • Guaranteed insurability rider 
  • Child term rider
  • Disability waiver of premium rider 
  • Disability income rider
  • Accidental death benefit rider 
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider 
  • Long-term care accelerated death benefit rider
  • Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Critical illness accelerated death benefit rider 
  • Paid-up additions (PUA) rider
  • Money back option rider

Best Life Insurance Living Benefits : Mutual of Omaha

Investopedia's Rating
4.4

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Why We Chose It

Mutual of Omaha offers a wide range of riders, and most include at least two living benefits. Plus, the company has an express-issue indexed life insurance policy and offers a return-of-premium (ROP) term life insurance plan.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Many plans with living benefits

  • Wide range of riders available

  • Guaranteed issue options

  • Return of premium term available

Cons
  • Online applications unavailable for term policies

Overview

At no upfront cost, Mutual of Omaha includes three accelerated benefit riders on its Term Life Express and IUL Express policies (for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses), and most other policies include two of these benefits. These attributes make it our choice for the best life insurance company for living benefits. Accelerated benefit riders add flexibility to a life insurance policy by letting you tap the death benefit early if you have a qualifying illness.

Plus the company offers at least two uncommon features: a disability income rider and a return of premium benefit on select term policies (both for an extra cost). With return of premium (ROP) term life insurance, you can receive up to 100% of premiums back if you outlive the term. Only 11 of the 91 life insurance companies we reviewed make this type of coverage available. Mutual of Omaha is also our top pick for the best burial insurance companies.

Plans & Pricing
  • Term Life Answers
  • Term Life Express
  • AccumUL Answers (universal life insurance)
  • Income Advantage IUL (index universal life insurance)
  • Life Protection Advantage IUL
  • IUL Express
  • Children’s Whole Life Insurance
  • Guaranteed Whole Life Insurance

Most permanent policies have a surrender period, during which time you’ll pay a surrender charge for withdrawing from the cash value or canceling the policy. Ask how long the surrender period is on any permanent life insurance you might buy.

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $28.38 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders

Chronic, critical, and terminal illness riders are included free of charge on Mutual of Omaha’s Term Life Express and IUL Express policies. Most other policies include chronic and terminal illness riders at no additional cost. 

  • Critical illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Accidental death benefit rider
  • Dependent children's rider
  • Guaranteed insurability benefit rider
  • Waiver of premium rider
  • Disability income rider

Fewest Complaints : Guardian

Investopedia's Rating
4.4

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

Guardian received an exceptionally low number of customer complaints, has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating, and pays dividends to eligible policyholders.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Below average number of complaints in 2021

  • Receives an A++ for financial stability

  • Whole life policies are eligible for dividends

Cons
  • Online application and claim filing not available

  • Credit card payments not accepted

Overview

Along with MassMutual and New York Life, Guardian is one of only nine companies we reviewed to earn a top financial strength rating of A++ from AM Best, reflecting superior financial stability. Also like MassMutual and New York Life, Guardian offers dividends to eligible whole life policyholders and announced its largest dividend payment ever for 2023 at $1.26 billion to eligible policyholders. For these reasons it ranked highly for:

Guardian Life received a below average number of complaints with the NAIC over the past three years of available data. Additionally, the company offers no-exam policies to eligible applicants.But if you’re seeking a streamlined online experience, Guardian falls short. It doesn’t offer an online application process (without an agent), online claim filing, or credit card payments, and information on its individual product offerings is hard to find.

Plans & Pricing
  • Guardian Level Term
  • Guardian Level Premium Whole Life
  • Limited Pay Whole Life
  • Variable Universal Life Insurance

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $27.47 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders
  • Waiver of premium rider
  • Accidental death benefit rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Long-term care accelerated death benefit rider
  • Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Paid-up additions (PUA) rider

Best for Military Members : USAA

Investopedia's Rating
4.4

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

USAA offers military-specific benefits that pay out if you become injured in the line of duty and cover you during war.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Severe injury benefits

  • Add to your term coverage without taking another exam

  • Included term conversion rider

  • A++ AM Best rating

Cons
  • Doesn’t take credit card payments

  • No-exam coverage options are limited

Overview

What makes USAA a solid choice for military families are its military-specific riders. Level Term V policies include a severe injury rider that pays out $25,000 for specific injuries incurred during military service. USAA also offers guaranteed insurability riders at no additional cost that give you the option to increase coverage after leaving the military (and without having to prove insurability) or if you experience certain life events, like having a child. Level Term V policies also include a conversion option that allows you to convert to permanent coverage without a medical exam or questions after you've had your term policy for at least one year.

Drawbacks are that USAA life insurance does not accept credit cards payments and has limited no-medical-exam options. USAA sells Mutual of Omaha's guaranteed issue whole life policies that have a minimum age of 45 and a coverage maximum of just $25,000.

Plans & Pricing
  • Level Term V 
  • Essential Term
  • Simplified Whole Life
  • Guaranteed Issue Whole Life (via Mutual of Omaha)
  • Universal Life Insurance (via John Hancock)

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $26.86 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders
  • Guaranteed insurability rider
  • Term Life Event Option Rider
  • Life Event Option Rider
  • Child rider
  • Waiver of premium rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider

Best for Dividends : Penn Mutual

Investopedia's Rating
4.3

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Why We Chose It

Penn Mutual has paid dividends for nearly 175 years and offers up to $7.5 million in coverage for no-medical-exam life insurance to eligible applicants—the highest limit we've seen.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Strong dividend-paying history

  • High coverage no-medical-exam life insurance

  • Well-priced term policies

  • Very few customer complaints

Cons
  • Limited website information

  • Quotes not available on the website

Overview

Penn Mutual is a well-established insurer with superior financial strength and an impressive track record of customer satisfaction. It has the longest dividend-paying history of companies on this list and announced that it plans to pay eligible policyholders $1.63 million in dividends in 2023, which is a record payout.

Penn Mutual is also an excellent choice for those with high-coverage needs. The company offers $7.5 million in coverage to very healthy applicants up to age 65 without a medical exam. This is the highest no-exam limit we've seen, and the highest age limit we've seen for no-exam policies, which is why it's a top pick for:

But Penn Mutual doesn't just cater to those looking for high coverage or permanent policies. Its quotes for term coverage were the fourth most affordable of the 32 companies we collected quotes for. That said, the company does not make term quotes available on its website. For details and to apply for any type of coverage, you'll need to get in touch with an agent.

Plans & Pricing
  • Guaranteed Convertible Term
  • Protection Non-Convertible Term
  • One-Year Term
  • Guaranteed Whole Life II
  • Survivorship Whole Life
  • Guaranteed Protection UL (universal life insurance)
  • Protection UL
  • Diversified Advantage Variable Universal Life (VUL)
  • Protection VUL
  • Accumulation Builder Flex Indexed Universal Life (IUL)
  • Survivorship Plus Select IUL

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $23.92 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders
  • Guaranteed Increase Option (guaranteed insurability rider
  • Children's term rider
  • Disability waiver of premium rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider
  • Accidental death benefit rider

Tied for Cheapest Term : Banner

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

Term premiums were the lowest of all insurers we reviewed (tied with two other companies), and Banner offers terms up to 40 years.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Term coverage is very affordable

  • 40-year terms available

  • Generous term conversion period

  • Online application available

  • Very few customer complaints

Cons
  • Few policy types available

  • Limited riders

Overview

Banner, along with Protective and Haven, is an excellent choice if you're looking for the cheapest term life insurance. Banner is also one of only two companies that offers 40-year term policies (Protective is the other). Additionally, Banner boasts generous term conversion options—you can convert your term policy through the end of the level-premium period or until you turn 70, whichever happens first. This is important because some companies limit the conversion period to the first 10 years of the policy.

While there's a lot to like about Banner, it doesn't offer many policy options—just term and universal life policies. It also doesn't offer as many riders to customize policies as some of its competitors.

Plans & Pricing
  • OPTerm
  • Life Step UL (universal life insurance)

Term Pricing

We found that a healthy 40-year-old female would pay $22.89 per month for a $250,000 30-year term policy.

Available Riders
  • Child term rider 
  • Waiver of premium rider
  • Terminal illness accelerated death benefit rider

Compare the Best Life Insurance Companies of January 2023

Overall Rating Best For
AM Best Rating
AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “D.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations.
Term Life Sample Cost
Policy Types
Accepts Credit Cards
Reset All
Nationwide
4.7
Best Overall A+ $26.25/month Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
MassMutual
4.6
Runner-Up, Best Overall A++ $26.97/month Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole No Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Haven Life
4.6
Best Term Buying Experience A++ $22.91/month Term Yes Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Protective
4.6
Best Term Life Insurance A+ $22.92/month Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
New York Life
4.0
Best Whole Life Insurance A++ N/A Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole No Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Mutual of Omaha
4.4
Best Life Insurance Living Benefits A+ $28.38/month Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL) Yes Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Guardian
4.4
Fewest Complaints A++ $27.47/month Term, Universal (UL), Whole No Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
USAA
4.4
Best for Military Members A++ $26.86/month Term, Universal (UL), Whole No Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Penn Mutual
4.3
Best for Dividends A+ $23.92/month Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Banner
4.2
Tied for Cheapest Term A+ $22.92/month Term, Universal (UL) No Get A Quote
Hide, not for me
Best Life Insurance Companies

Final Verdict

When choosing a life insurance company, it’d be hard to go wrong with any of the companies on this list. But if you’re not sure which type of policy you want, start with Nationwide. It makes the process easy with online quotes and applications, a wide range of policy types, and up to $5 million in no-med-exam coverage to eligible applicants.

Most companies on this list received at least an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best for financial strength. But if only the absolute best will do, MassMutual, Guardian, USAA, and New York Life all have A++ (Superior) AM Best ratings. And most are solid choices for dividend-paying policies as well. 

If you want the most affordable term life insurance, Protective, Banner, and Haven are top picks. And for a policy packed with no-cost living benefits, consider Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, or USAA (if you’re in the military).

1:28
What Is Life Insurance?

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

Term life insurance can cost as little as $13 per month, on average, for a $250,000 30-year policy for a healthy 25-year-old. Or, the same policy could cost around $400 for a 65-year-old smoker. The cost of life insurance varies widely depending on factors like your age, health, occupation, hobbies, and whether you want permanent or temporary life insurance coverage (term life insurance).

Average Life Insurance Cost ($250,000 30-year term policy)
Company  25 years old (average)  40 years old (average)  55 years old (average)
Nationwide  $20.89  $28.88  $99.97 (Female only)
MassMutual  $18.15  $29.58  $122.46
Haven Life  $18.15  $25.51 NA
Protective  $16.06  $25.66  $107.12
Banner  $16.07  $25.71  $107.91
Mutual of Omaha  $19.68  $31.39  $137.39
Guardian  $19.53  $31.65  $110.49
USAA  $20.82  $30.09  NA
Lincoln Financial  $17.25  $26.36  $114.05
Penn Mutual  $16.78  $26.48  $110.38
Transamerica  $16.99  $35.70  $128.68
New York Life  --  --  --

*Quotes above are examples only and were collected for 30-year $250,000 term life insurance policies for non-smoking males and females ages 25, 40, and 55 in excellent health.

Does Life Insurance Cover Covid-19?

Yes, life insurance covers death from Covid-19 if the policy is active when the insured person passes away. The life insurance industry had two record-breaking years in 2020 and 2021 for life insurance payouts (data is not yet available for 2022); with over $100 billion paid out to beneficiaries in 2021, according to the American Council of Life Insurers.Though the industry doesn't specify the causes of death, the 2020 payout was the largest year-over-year increase since the 1918 influenza epidemic.

Term vs. Whole Life Insurance

Life insurance can be divided into two main types: term and permanent. Term life insurance policies only provide coverage for a certain period of time, such as 30 years. Permanent policies are sold as either universal or whole life insurance; they’re designed to offer coverage for the duration of your natural life.

Insurance companies often allow you to convert your term coverage to a permanent policy before the term expires without having to prove that you’re still insurable. But premiums will increase when recalculated according to your age at the time you convert.

Term Life Insurance

Best Term Life Insurance Companies
Best Term Life Insurance Companies Investopedia's Rating Best For AM Best Rating Compare Quotes
Protective 4.8 Best Overall A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Banner 4.5 Lowest Cost A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Mutual of Omaha 4.1 Best Living Benefits  A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Haven Life  4.0 Best for Same-Day Coverage A++ Compare Quotes on Haven Life
MassMutual 4.0 Best for Financial Stability A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius

Whole Life Insurance

Best Whole Life Insurance Companies
Best Whole Life Insurance Companies Investopedia's
Rating
Best
For
AM Best Rating Compare
Quotes
Nationwide 4.7 Best Overall  A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
New York Life 4.6 Best Riders A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Guardian 4.4 Highest Issue Age A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
MassMutual 4.3 Best for Financial Stability A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Penn Mutual 4.3 Best for Dividends A+ Get a Quote
State Farm 4.2 Best Customer Satisfaction A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
Northwestern Mutual 4.1 Fewest Complaints A++ Compare Quotes on Policygenius

Other Types of Life Insurance

Though all life insurance can be considered either term or permanent, there are other types of permanent life insurance available.

Guaranteed issue policies cost the most per death benefit dollar and the death benefit is often “graded” or limited to a return of premiums for the first two to three years, depending on the company. Be sure to compare each policy's graded benefit period and check out our review of the best burial insurance companies.

Best Burial Insurance Companies
Best Burial Insurance Companies Investopedia's Rating Best For AM Best Rating Compare Quotes
Mutual of Omaha  4.8 Best Overall A+ Compare Quotes on Policygenius
 SBLI  4.7 Best Instant Issue A- Get a Quote
 TruStage  4.6 Best for Guaranteed Issue A Get a Quote
 State Farm  4.4 Best for Financial Stability A++ Get a Quote

How Does Life Insurance Work?

Life insurance is a contract between a policyowner and an insurance company. In exchange for premium payments, an insurance company will pay a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you pass away while the policy is in force. The money is received tax-free, and beneficiaries can use it for whatever purpose they choose.

How To Choose the Best Life Insurance Company

To choose the best life insurance company, consider financial strength, customer complaints, customer satisfaction, available policy types, available and included riders, and ease of application. Then, collect quotes among your top picks. Doing this homework will ensure you choose a company that offers a policy that suits your needs and will be there when your family needs it.

Consider these factors when choosing your life insurance company:

  • Financial strength: Check AM Best ratings for financial stability. A++ and A+ ratings are considered “superior,” while A and A- are considered “excellent.”
  • Customer complaints: Use the NAIC complaint index to see how many complaints a company received, based on its market share. An index lower than 1 means the company received fewer complaints than expected. 
  • Customer satisfaction: Not all companies are ranked by J.D. Power, but check J.D. Power’s U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study to see if companies you’re considering are.
  • Available policy types: If you know which type of insurance you need, make sure each company you’re considering offers it.
  • Available and included riders: This is a major way that same-named policies can differ. A UL policy with one company might include accelerated death benefit riders at no cost, while a UL policy with another company may not. Research riders to know what you’re paying for.
  • Ease of application: Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting a life insurance policy is the application process. It’s often better to get some coverage in place—especially if you have dependents—than it is to find the absolute best coverage you can.

If you’re healthy, you want to choose companies that offer an accelerated underwriting process, which means they’ll ask thorough health questions on the application. Otherwise, you could end up paying more than you need to.

Methodology

In order to compile our list of the best life insurance companies, we developed a comprehensive life insurance methodology. We started off by researching what consumers want from life insurance companies, and for that, we looked to third-party consumer studies, including J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance New Business Study and the 2022 Insurance Barometer Study, by Life Happens and LIMRA. With those findings in mind, we gathered more than 50 data points on 91 life insurance companies, including ratings for financial strength, customer satisfaction, and customer complaints, as well as information about years in business, cost, online tools, no-exam options, policy types and features, and available riders. 

Our review process gave preference to companies with superior financial stability, few customer complaints, and a robust suite of products and resources. In particular, we valued online quoting and application tools, transparent pricing, and no-exam policy options. Companies received ratings boosts if customer service was accessible via features like live chat. We ranked each company according to the following categories and weights.

  • Customer education, application, and online service features: 32%
  • Policy types, features, and riders: 29% 
  • Financial stability: 17% 
  • Customer satisfaction ratings: 15%
  • Cost: 8%

We compared individual offerings between companies by delving deeper into product specifics, including maximum coverage amounts, maximum issue ages, included riders, and product-specific application processes. We used this research to determine the best companies for different products and consumer groups, including term life insurance and seniors. 

Of the companies we considered, those with the greatest financial stability, fewest complaints, lowest cost, and most generous no-medical-exam options scored the highest across categories, as we believe these companies are best positioned to help customers secure the life insurance coverage they need and keep it long-term.

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. LIMRA. "2022 Barometer Study Reveals the Secret to Financial Security Is Owning Life Insurance."

  2. NAIC. "Nationwide Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  3. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Its Key Operating Subsidiaries."

  4. J.D. Power. “Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds.” 

  5. AM Best. "AM Best Comments on Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co’s Acquisition of American Financial Group Inc’s Life Subsidiaries."

  6. MassMutual. "Record Policyowner Dividend Announced by MassMutual."

  7. NAIC. "Massachusetts Mut Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  8. NAIC. "Protective Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  9. J.D. Power. "Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds."

  10. NAIC. "Life and Fraternal Insurance Industry."

  11. New York Life. "New York Life Declares Largest Dividend in Company History With $2.0 Billion Total Payout Expected in 2023."

  12. NAIC. "New York Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  13. AM Best. "New York Life Insurance Company."

  14. Guardian. "Guardian Announces Largest Dividend in its 162-Year History, With Its Dividend Interest Rate Increasing to 5.75%."

  15. AM Best. "AM Best Comments on Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co’s Acquisition of American Financial Group Inc’s Life Subsidiaries."

  16. NAIC. "Guardian Life Ins Co Of Amer National Complaint Index Report."

  17. PennMutual. "The PennMutual Life Insurance Company Announces Record Dividend Payout."

  18. Business Wire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Its Subsidiaries."

  19. AM Best. "A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of USAA, Its Subsidiaries and USAA Capital Corporation."

  20. ACLI. "2022 Life Insurers Fact Book," page 67.