Best Term Life Insurance Companies of February 2023

Protective offers cheap rates and term lengths up to 40 years

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91 Companies reviewed
55 Features considered
5 Best of awards

Term life insurance offers protection for a specific period of time—anywhere from one to 40 years, depending on the carrier. This is particularly popular for young families and individuals seeking affordable protection, especially those looking for quick-issue coverage online. While term life insurance is sufficient for some, it can be purchased alongside permanent life insurance for increased coverage and lifelong protection.

Best Term Life Insurance Companies of February 2023

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Best Term Life Insurance Companies of February 2023
Best Term Life Insurance Companies of February 2023

Best Overall : Protective

Investopedia's Rating
4.8

  • 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
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tied for the cheapest term life insurance

  • Offers term lengths up to 40 years

  • Can apply online without an agent

  • Allows credit card payments

Cons
  • Rated below average by J.D. Power for overall customer satisfaction

Why We Chose It

Protective is our pick for best term life insurance thanks to its cheap coverage, no-exam policies (no agent contact required), strong financials, and stellar online features. It's also our top pick for best life insurance companies for young adults.

Protective tied with our number two choice, Banner, for the cheapest term life insurance, based on the sample applicants we gathered quotes for. On top of that, Protective and Banner are the only two companies we found that offer a 40-year term. That’s one the longest terms we’ve found. And while both companies boast a range of great features like no-exam life insurance and online life insurance quotes and applications, Protective wins by offering something Banner doesn’t: credit card payments.

But if customer satisfaction is more important to you than cost and convenience, note that J.D. Power ranked Protective below average in its 2021 study of customer satisfaction with U.S. life insurers. It ranked 16th out of 21 companies in the survey.

Best for Cheap Insurance : Banner

Investopedia's Rating
4.5

  • 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
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tied with Protective for the cheapest term life insurance

  • Option to “stack” your coverage with term riders for potential savings

  • Very few company complaints

  • Offers term lengths of up to 40 years

Cons
  • Doesn’t accept credit card payments

Why We Chose It

Banner, which is owned by Legal & General America, was a close second to Protective for our pick for best term life insurance company. It tied for the lowest premiums and, like Protective, offers 40-year term policies (most companies cap coverage at 30 years). Plus, Banner received very few customer complaints over the last three years relative to its size (fewer than Protective), according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Banner makes getting coverage easy with online life insurance quotes and an online application, and it lets you “stack” your policy with term riders. Stacking is a way to temporarily increase the coverage on your base policy while reducing long-term costs. Our only complaint about the company: If you want to pay premiums with a credit card, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Best for Same-Day Coverage : Haven Life

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
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Streamlined quote and application process

  • Can apply online without an agent

  • Online chat feature

  • Competitive pricing

Cons
  • Coverage only available to people up to 64 years old

  • Lower no-med-exam coverage limits than other providers we reviewed

  • Policies cannot be converted to permanent coverage

Why We Chose It

Haven makes our list as a great term life insurance company that offers an easy same-day approval process for qualified applicants with excellent pricing. When researching Haven Life, we were impressed with its user-friendly website, and the online quote and application process is a breeze. Informative popups guide you and you can submit an application online without an agent in just a few minutes. You can also use Haven Life’s live chat feature to connect with an agent, but you don’t have to speak with a company rep in order to apply. And healthy applicants up to 55 years old looking for up to $500,000 in coverage may be able to get a decision in minutes for coverage that begins immediately. 

When you get a policy from Haven, it’s issued by parent company MassMutual, which means it’s backed by the company we named best for financial stability (below). But unlike every other company on this list, Haven’s term policies don’t let you convert to permanent life insurance. And if you’re over 64 or looking for no-medical-exam coverage above $500,000, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Best for Living Benefits : Mutual of Omaha

Investopedia's Rating
4.1

  • 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
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Wide range of living benefits included at no additional cost

  • One of the only top rated carriers that offers a disability income rider

  • Option to connect with an agent via live chat

  • Offers return-of-premium (ROP) term

Cons
  • Received an “expected” number of complaints

  • Can’t apply without an agent

Why We Chose It

If you want more than just death benefit protection on a term policy, Mutual of Omaha is hard to beat. Out of our top picks, it provides the widest range of living benefits included at no additional cost on its term policies. Non-ROP policies include three accelerated death benefit riders free of charge: terminal illness, chronic illness, and critical illness. (ROP policies include a terminal illness rider). These riders let you access the death benefit before death if you’re diagnosed with a qualifying illness. 

Mutual of Omaha is also the only one of our top-rated carriers that offers an optional disability income rider and ROP term policies. The former provides supplementary income if you become disabled and are unable to work. Return-of-premium policies refund your premiums if you outlive the term. They cost more, but amount to a forced savings vehicle that may be right if you struggle to save and are uncomfortable with the idea of paying for coverage you might not use.

One potential downside of Mutual of Omaha is that it has the worst customer complaint score of all our top picks. NAIC data shows that over three years, it received the amount of complaints that is expected for a company of its size. Not bad, but its competitors received fewer complaints than expected. Other things to consider: While Mutual of Omaha does offer a live chat tool for online convenience, you can’t apply without contacting an agent.

Best for Financial Stability : MassMutual

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: Yes
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • A++ financial strength rating from AM Best

  • Very few complaints for a company of its size

  • Broad choice of term conversion options

  • Generous no-med-exam options for applicants up to age 64

Cons
  • Does not accept credit card payments

  • Fewer free living benefits included than competitors

Why We Chose It 

Founded in 1851 MassMutual has earned a rating of A++ (Superior) from AM Best (the highest rating available), winning our award for the most financially stable of the top term insurers. We also like that the company gets very few complaints relative to its size. And it offers convertible term life insurance that you can convert into any type of permanent policy it offers—most companies give you fewer choices. To top it all off, MassMutual makes policies available to a wide range of applicants for a respectable amount of coverage. Applicants up to age 64 who are applying for up to $1 million in coverage may be able to skip a medical exam by answering a series of health questions instead.  

However, we found that MassMutual offers fewer free term life riders than some other companies on our top pick list. Although every term life policy from MassMutual includes a terminal illness rider at no added cost, rivals Mutual of Omaha and Nationwide also provide free critical and chronic illness riders with term policies.

Learn more in our MassMutual life insurance review.

Compare the Best Term Life Insurance Companies of February 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
Protective
4.8
Best Overall A+ $22.92/month Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get A Quote
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Banner
4.5
Best for Cheap Insurance A+ $22.92/month Term, Universal (UL) No Get A Quote
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Haven Life
4.4
Best for Same-Day Coverage A++ $22.91/month Term Yes Get A Quote
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Mutual of Omaha
4.1
Best for Living Benefits A+ $28.38/month Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL) Yes Get A Quote
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MassMutual
4.0
Best for Financial Stability A++ $26.97/month Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get A Quote
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*Quotes above are examples of what a 40-year-old in excellent health might pay for a 30-year $250,000 policyGet life insurance quotes from multiple companies to find your best rate.

Final Verdict

Term policies, in general, aren’t very expensive. So when choosing a life insurance company, make sure you can afford the coverage you need, but don’t overlook each company’s unique offerings. That said, your go-to options for cheap coverage with excellent perks are Protective and Banner. They’re also go-to options if you want a 40-year policy. Fortunately, both companies offer an online no-agent-required application process as well. 

But for the most seamless, almost effortless application experience, choose Haven Life. You can get same-day coverage for up to $1 million without an exam if you’re under 59. Plus the company is backed by MassMutual, with 171 years of experience and AM Best’s top-tier A++ (Superior) rating for financial stability. If you prefer an agent experience or are older than 64 and need term coverage, choose MassMutual over Haven.

For those who prefer a return-of-premium policy, go to the only provider on this list to offer one—Mutual of Omaha. The company also includes three accelerated benefit riders on some of its term policies, and makes a life insurance disability income rider available for purchase. 

How Does Term Life Insurance Work?

When you purchase term life insurance, you get protection for a fixed number of years. For this reason, term life insurance is usually the most affordable life insurance you can purchase.

Most life insurance providers sell term life policies with term lengths of 10 to 30 years, but shorter and longer terms can be found, like 40-year terms from Protective and Banner. If you pass away during the term, your beneficiary receives the death benefit, which is tax-free money that can be used for any purpose.

When the term ends, your coverage usually ends, but you may have options to keep it, depending on your policy. Many insurance companies allow you to renew your coverage on an annual basis, but at a higher premium each year based on your current age. Some insurance companies also allow you to convert your term coverage into a permanent policy without taking a medical exam (permanent coverage is designed to last your entire life). If your insurance carrier does not offer convertible life insurance, such as Haven Life, you’ll have to apply for another policy if you want to continue coverage.

Many term life insurance policies don’t require a medical exam. Providers that offer no-med-exam life insurance, like MassMutual, often have applicants complete a detailed health questionnaire to gauge their overall level of health.

Term vs. Whole Life Insurance

Term life insurance and whole life insurance are similar in some ways, but they have a number of differences that are important to understand. Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that provides coverage from the moment your policy takes effect until you pass away—as long as premiums are paid. Unlike a term life policy, you cannot “outlive” a whole life policy unless you cancel your coverage.

In addition to a guaranteed death benefit, whole life insurance policies also build cash value, which term life policies do not do. Cash value is similar to a savings account. When you pay your premium, a portion of the money goes toward the cash value. You may be able to withdraw the money, or borrow a portion of the money like a loan. If you don’t repay the amount you borrowed, it gets taken out of your death benefit.

Another big difference between term life and whole life policies is cost. Because whole life insurance offers a longer period of coverage and has a cash value component, the premiums are typically a lot higher.

What Is the Maximum Age for Term Life Insurance?

The maximum age for term life insurance varies, depending on the insurance company. For example, Guardian and John Hancock make term life policies available to applicants as old as 75, while Haven limits term coverage to those age 64 or younger. What also varies is the term length you're eligible for. If you're 55, for example, you may be eligible for a 30-year term policy with one company, but only a 20-year policy with another.

Do You Lose Money With Term Life Insurance?

When you buy insurance, you're purchasing protection. And even if you don't end up using it, that protection is there and available for your family should you pass away from an untimely death. But you can get return-of-premium term life insurance, or ROP term life insurance, which refunds your premiums if you outlive the term.

What Is No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance?

No-med-exam life insurance is not a specific type of coverage. Rather, it’s any life insurance policy that doesn't require you to complete a medical exam in order to get approved. There are two main forms of no-medical-exam life insurance for term policies—accelerated issue and simplified issue. Accelerated-issue policies can be more affordable, but ask more thorough health questions.

Accelerated issue: With accelerated issue life insurance, the application starts with a comprehensive health questionnaire and phone interview. If the underwriter determines that you are a healthy candidate, you get to skip the medical exam, which “accelerates” your application.

Simplified issue: These policies typically only require a few basic health questions and not an interview. Some simplified issue policies can provide you with an instant decision, meaning you will know right away if you are approved or not based on your responses. But this type of coverage tends to be more expensive than policies that rely on accelerated underwriting or require an exam.

How We Chose the Best Term Life Insurance Companies

In order to compile our list of the best term 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 2021 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 of term policies, term policy features, online tools, no-exam options, and available riders. 

Our review process gave preference to companies with a streamlined application process, affordable premiums, valuable term features, and long coverage terms available. In particular, we valued online quoting and application tools, transparent pricing, and no-medical-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.

  • 40%: Ease of application (such as online quotes, online applications, same-day coverage, and no-med-exam policies)
  • 20%: Policy features (such as renewal options, convertibility, and available terms) 
  • 20%: Cost
  • 20%: Customer service features (such as live chat and credit card payments)

To finalize our list, we compared individual offerings between top companies by considering third-party ratings and by delving deeper into product specifics, including maximum coverage amounts without a medical exam, maximum issue ages for term policies, and included riders. We used this research to determine the best term life insurance companies.

Term Life Insurance
Article Sources
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  1. J.D. Power. “Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds."

  2. National Association Of Insurance Commissioners. "Banner Complaint Score."

  3. National Association Of Insurance Commissioners. "Mutual of Omaha Complaint Score."

  4. AM Best. "Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR)."

  5. J.D. Power. "2021 US Life Insurance New Business Study | JD Power."

  6. Life Happens. "Life Insurance Is on People's Minds."