Brighthouse Life Insurance Review

Simple life insurance policies to protect your family

We publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.

Brighthouse Life Insurance

Brighthouse Life Insurance

overall rating
3.0

Since splitting off from MetLife a few years ago, Brighthouse has begun establishing itself in the life insurance and annuity world by providing basic term and universal life coverage. The company’s universal life option, SmartCare, is a hybrid product that offers both a death benefit as well as long-term care coverage, as needed.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Variety of policy types to choose from

  • Hybrid policies combine life insurance with long-term care coverage

  • Term coverage can be converted into a whole life policy

  • Brighthouse term policies are renewable up to age 95

  • No medical exams, labs, or long waiting periods for eligible applicants

Cons
  • Phone-only customer support options

  • Policies need to be purchased through a financial professional

  • Some products only available through Policygenius

  • Only a few riders offered

Key Takeaways
  • Formerly part of MetLife, Brighthouse Financial is now a separate entity that offers life insurance and annuity products in all 50 states.
  • Brighthouse has three life insurance products to choose from: one-year term, SimplySelect term, and an indexed universal policy. 
  • In order to get a quote or buy coverage, you’ll need to contact a financial professional or (for some products) go through Policygenius.
  • Simple Underwriting gives eligible applicants an initial decision in 24 hours or less with no medical exam or labs required.
Company Overview

Brighthouse Financial was founded in 2017 as an independent entity after separating from MetLife, Inc. Though a younger company, Brighthouse Financial was ranked number 457 on the Fortune 500 list for 2020 and boasts over 2 million customers, with over $224 billion in total assets. 

In order to buy a policy from Brighthouse, you will need to go through a financial professional. Additionally, Brighthouse SimplySelect coverage is currently only offered through Policygenius; in order to buy one of these term life policies, you’ll need to contact a Policygenius representative directly.

Brighthouse Financial is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, though they also have offices in five other states. The company is licensed to offer life insurance and annuity products in all 50 states; however, some products may have limitations in specific states.

  • Year Founded 2017 (MetLife was founded in 1868)
  • Kinds of Plans One-year term, standard term, hybrid indexed universal life
  • Number of Plans 3
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Telephone only
  • Telephone Number (800) 882-1292
  • Official Website www.brighthousefinancial.com
Important

Brighthouse 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

  • Variety of policy types to choose from: Brighthouse Financial currently offers SimplySelect—term life coverage from 10 to 30 years—and SmartCare, a hybrid universal life product.
  • Hybrid policies combine life insurance with long-term care coverage: SmartCare is a hybrid product combining indexed universal life insurance with long-term care coverage. With this type of policy, you can get both long-term care if you need it while still providing a death benefit to your loved ones.
  • Term coverage can be converted into a whole life policy: If needed, you are able to convert your SimplySelect term life insurance coverage into a Brighthouse Conversion Whole Life policy. 
  • Brighthouse term policies are renewable up to age 95: While you can expect your premiums to increase over time, you are able to renew your Brighthouse SimplySelect policy all the way to age 95.
  • No medical exams, labs, or long waiting periods for eligible applicants: Applicants between the ages of 40 and 75 who are buying a SmartCare policy with a face value of $1 million or less can enjoy Brighthouse Financial’s Simple Underwriting process. Depending on your age (and whether you have a history of certain significant medical issues), you can completely forgo your medical exam, labs, and interview process. Additionally, you can receive an initial decision on coverage in 24 hours or less.

Cons Explained

  • Phone-only customer service options: The only direct contact option that Brighthouse offers is via phone. They do provide various phone numbers so you can be sure that you reach the right department for your needs; however, there are no live chat or email options available.
  • Policies need to be purchased through a financial professional: There are no online purchase options and you cannot buy a policy through Brighthouse directly. Instead, you’ll need to find and work with a financial professional who can broker the policy purchase on your behalf.
  • Some products only available through Policygenius: To buy a 10-, 20-, or 30-year Brighthouse SimplySelect term policy, you’ll need to go through Policygenius. These cannot be purchased directly or through an independent financial professional.
  • Only a few riders offered: Compared with some other insurance companies, Brighthouse has a very limited number of riders to choose from. For instance, the SimplySelect term policy only offers one: an acceleration of death benefit rider.

Available Plans

There are three life insurance policies that Brighthouse Financial offers: two of them are for term coverage and one is a hybrid universal life policy.

Term policies can be converted to whole life coverage after the first year.

Brighthouse One-Year Term 

If you only need term life insurance for a short period of time—to protect you during a gap in jobs, offer protection during a long trip or extended travel, or cover a short-term business loan, for example—Brighthouse’s one-year term life insurance policy could be worth a look.

This plan offers 12 months of protection; your term will end after the first year but with the addition of the Convertible and Renewable Options rider, you’re able to renew up to four more times, extending your policy to a maximum of five years’ coverage. After the first year, your policy can also be converted into a Brighthouse Conversion Whole Life policy, if desired.

Brighthouse one-year term policies can be purchased through a financial professional only.

Brighthouse SimplySelect Term

You can choose either 10-, 20-, or 30-year term life insurance coverage with Brighthouse SimplySelect. Coverage limits range from $100,000 all the way up to $2 million, through a simple underwriting process that can eliminate required medical exams, labs, and/or delayed approvals for many applicants.

An accelerated death benefit rider is available, if desired, for an additional cost. Your policy can also be converted into a Brighthouse Conversion Whole Life policy after the first year, without the need for a medical exam.

Currently, SimplySelect can only be purchased through Policygenius, making it a bit less accessible than some other term life insurance coverage options.

Brighthouse SmartCare Indexed Universal Life Insurance

SmartCare is Brighthouse Financial’s hybrid product, offering indexed universal life insurance along with built-in long-term care coverage. This policy provides a guaranteed death benefit along with guaranteed long-term care protection, in case you need it to cover things like home health care, assisted living, hospice, and more.

Each SmartCare policy includes a long-term care acceleration of death benefit rider as well as an extension of benefits rider. Long-term care coverage, if needed, has a 90-day waiting period before benefits will be paid out.

SmartCare policies offer both a death benefit and long-term care coverage, if needed.

If you’re between the ages of 40 and 75 and want to buy a SmartCare policy, Brighthouse’s simple underwriting process can save you the hassle of a medical exam, labs, and even an interview. Most applicants will receive a decision in 24 hours or less.

In order to purchase a SmartCare universal life policy from Brighthouse, you’ll need to work directly with a financial professional. 

You cannot price out coverage, begin the application process, or buy a policy through Brighthouse directly. Instead, you’ll need to contact a financial professional who can work with the carrier on your behalf; for SimplySelect policies, you will buy through Policygenius.

Available Riders

There are three riders that are available to you when buying life insurance coverage through Brighthouse. Not all riders are available on all policy types, so you’ll want to be sure to check the options offered to you based on the type of coverage you plan to buy.

Convertible and Renewable Options Rider

This rider allows you to convert your one-year term life insurance policy into a conversion whole life policy after the first year, but before the end of the fifth year (between years two to five). You also have the option to renew your policy four times (for up to five total years) with this rider; without it, you will need to apply for a brand new policy if you want coverage beyond year one. 

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

The accelerated death benefit rider gives you access to funds from your life insurance policy’s death benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness or need qualifying care. Depending on your policy, this rider allows you to tap into as much as 95% of your policy’s face value.

Extension of Benefits Rider

The Brighthouse SmartCare hybrid policy allows for long-term care benefits for up to two years. Once that period ends, though, the extension of benefits rider (if included) can extend your LTC benefits for an additional two or four years. These benefit payments do not reduce your policy value, either.

Customer Service

You’re a bit limited when it comes to contacting Brighthouse Financial’s customer service department: they are only available by phone.

The Brighthouse contact page lists six different phone numbers, depending on the product you are interested in or already own. The department that manages SmartCare and SimplySelect policies is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST. However, there are no live chat, email, or in-portal contact options. 

Customer service through Brighthouse is limited to phone calls. There are no email or live chat options, so if you need immediate help you’ll either need to call during business hours or contact your financial professional.

Since Brighthouse Financial’s life insurance policies need to be purchased through third parties—either with your own financial professional or through Policygenius—you may also be able to contact those representatives directly if you have questions or need help.

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) publishes what’s called a Complaint Index for each insurance company. This number demonstrates the volumes of complaints that an insurer receives in a given year, and how that compares with the rest of the industry (adjusted for market share).

The NAIC baseline complaint index—or average—is always 1.00. Anything greater than that is considered an above-average number of complaints; conversely, an index smaller than that indicates a below-average number of complaints.

According to the NAIC database, Brighthouse Financial performed better than expected in 2019. The overall company’s complaint ratio for the year was only 0.4431, which is less than half of the expected reports based on market share. For Brighthouse Life Insurance Company of New York, this number was even lower at 0.2625. 

Third-Party Ratings

Both Brighthouse Life Insurance Company and Brighthouse Life Insurance Company of New York have been assigned A (Excellent) financial strength ratings from AM Best. Both also received A+ ratings from Standard & Poor’s. While these are not the highest ratings possible, they do indicate a high likelihood that the company will be able to pay out an approved claim if and when it’s needed.

Cancellation Policy 

If you want to cancel or make other changes to your Brighthouse Financial life insurance policy, you are encouraged to directly contact the financial professional managing your policy. Each state has its own regulations regarding policy cancellation terms. Additionally, different products may have their own associated rules and/or fees if you need to make changes or end your coverage.

Price

As with most life insurance products, the amount you pay for coverage will depend on a variety of personal factors. These include your age, medical and family history, gender, location, and the amount of coverage you want to purchase. 

Additionally, the type of policy you choose will impact your cost: for instance, term life insurance is generally much cheaper than permanent life insurance coverage. Any policy features that you may add on, such as riders, will also increase your premiums.

Most life insurance carriers will base premiums on your assigned gender at birth, though there are a few exceptions. Being non-binary won’t preclude you from buying life insurance coverage nor will it increase the price you’ll pay; however, you’ll want to speak with your chosen financial professional to learn more details about Brighthouse’s underwriting policies.

Competition 

Any time you’re shopping around for a new life insurance policy, it’s smart to not only research all of a carrier’s available products, but also compare multiple companies against one another. This helps ensure that you’re buying the product that suits you best, with the options, pricing, and financial security you need.

To help with this process, we have compared Brighthouse with Transamerica to see how the two stack up. Each carrier offers a handful of different policy options to choose from, such as term and indexed universal life coverage, and both are licensed to sell policies in all 50 states. While Transamerica is larger than Brighthouse, both companies are also on the smaller end in terms of market share.

Brighthouse has the edge over Transamerica if you are looking for a policy that also covers long-term care. Transamerica wins for having a bigger pool of representatives to assist you.

  Brighthouse Transamerica
Market Share 16-largest in U.S., 1.6% Ninth-largest in the U.S., 2.8%3
Number of Plans 3 8
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/ Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Not applicable
Service Method Independent Financial Professionals, Policygenius Agents
AM Best Rating A A
Price Rank About Average About Average
Complaints Trend 0.4431 Very Good 1.309 Below Average
Verdict

While Brighthouse Financial is a bit limited in terms of policy options, accessibility, and purchase options, they do provide both one-year and convertible coverage to suit your needs. Their Simple Underwriting process offers 24-hour approvals with no medical exam or labs, and some policies are renewable up to age 95. 

Since you will need to speak with a financial professional in order to get a quote and buy a policy, Brighthouse might not be the best choice for folks looking to buy directly or purchase coverage online.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative 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.

Learn more: Read our full Life Insurance Methodology here.

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. "Brighthouse Life Insurance Company." Accessed August 18, 2020.