Catholic Life Insurance Review

A faith-based membership organization that sells term and whole life coverage

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Catholic Life Insurance

Catholic Life Insurance

Our Take

A fraternal society, Catholic Life Insurance is a membership-based, non-profit organization. It sells a range of products, including term and whole life coverage. If you are in one of the states where Catholic Life Insurance is licensed and want a substantial amount of coverage, it may be a cost-effective choice. You can get up to $9.99 million in coverage, and your policy may be more affordable than you’d find elsewhere since it’s issued by a non-profit organization.  

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High coverage amounts

  • Open membership

  • Final expense policies available

Cons
  • No online quotes

  • Policies are sold through agents

  • Licensed in only a few states

Key Takeaways
  • Catholic Life Insurance is a fraternal benefit society that was founded in 1901
  • It welcomes people of all faiths and beliefs
  • Term and whole life policies are available
  • The organization has 80,000 members and over $1 billion in assets
  • Catholic Life Insurance also offers annuities, Medicare Supplement insurance, and retirement plans
  • It sells individual whole, universal, and final expense life insurance policies
  • Policies are sold through insurance agents, and medical exams are required for most plans
  • Catholic Life Insurance is only licensed in seven states
Company Overview

Founded in 1901, Catholic Life Insurance was initially only for practicing Catholics. Today, the organization is independent of any other Catholic institution and welcomes people of all beliefs and religions. 

Catholic Life Insurance is a fraternal benefit society and one of the 10 largest fraternal insurers in the country. Fraternal benefit societies must be non-profit organizations and provide charitable efforts to their members and the community. 

In addition to life insurance, Catholic Life Insurance also offers IRAs, annuities, and Medicare Supplement insurance. Members can also take advantage of exclusive discounts on travel, food, movies, and technology products. 

Catholic Life Insurance is only licensed to operate in a few states: Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. If you live in another state, you’re ineligible for insurance through the company. The company’s headquarters is in San Antonio, Texas.

  • Year Founded 1901
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole
  • Number of Plans 8
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Agents
  • Phone 210-828-9921
  • Official Website www.cliu.com

Catholic Life Insurance 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

  • High coverage amounts: Many life insurance companies have coverage maximums as low as $1 million. If that amount won’t sufficiently protect your family, Catholic Life Insurance could be a good alternative. You can get up to $9.99 million in term life coverage and up to $5 million in whole life insurance. 
  • Open membership: There are many membership-based life insurance companies, but most have restrictions on who is eligible for membership. By contrast, Catholic Life Insurance is open to anyone regardless of their religious beliefs, and there’s no added cost to join; you become a member when you buy a life insurance policy, annuity, or another one of its products.
  • Final expense policies: Not all insurers offer final expense policies. If you’re looking for basic coverage to cover your burial expenses and want to skip the hassle of a medical exam, a final expense policy from Catholic Life Insurance can be a smart solution. 

Cons Explained

  • No online quotes: Many insurance companies allow you to get online quotes for life insurance, but Catholic Life Insurance doesn’t offer that feature. The only way to get information about its rates is to speak with an insurance agent. 
  • Policies are sold through agents: Although there are some companies that allow you to apply for simplified issue life insurance entirely online, Catholic Life Insurance doesn’t have that functionality. Instead, you have to meet with an agent and undergo a medical exam and bloodwork. 
  • Licensed in only a few states: Catholic Life Insurance is only licensed in seven states. If you aren’t in one of its service areas, you will have to get coverage from another company. 
What You Need to Know

In 2020, Catholic Life Insurance’s annual premiums totaled $14 million, and it has over $2.2 billion of insurance in force.

Available Plans

Catholic Life Insurance sells term and whole life policies. Most of its plans are fully underwritten, meaning they require an application, health questionnaire, medical exam, and lab work. 

Catholic Life Insurance has eight different life insurance plans: 

Term

Also known as temporary life insurance, term life insurance provides coverage for a predetermined term. Your beneficiaries only receive the policy’s death benefit if you pass away within the covered term. 

There are two term life options from Catholic Life Insurance: 

  • Basic Term: With Basic Term coverage, you can choose a term of 10, 20, or 30 years. Coverage amounts range from $100,000 to $9.99 million. Basic Term policies can be converted to permanent insurance without evidence of insurability
  • Just for Kids: The Just for Kids plan allows you to purchase up to $20,000 of coverage for a child or grandchild. With a one-time premium, the plan covers the child until they reach the age of 22. The plan can be converted to permanent coverage during the 30-day period before their 22nd birthday. 

Whole Life

Those looking for more permanent coverage may prefer whole life insurance. Whole life insurance lasts for your lifetime, and your plan can build cash value over time. You can use the accumulated cash value to supplement your retirement savings, pay for a child’s college education, or cover emergency expenses. 

There are six whole life policies available from Catholic Life Insurance: 

  • Whole Life Plan: The Whole Life Plan is a traditional whole life policy. You get permanent protection and the ability to grow your cash value. 
  • Limited Pay Life: Limited Pay Life is a whole life policy with flexible payment options. You can decide to pay the premiums for 10 or 20 years; after that, you don’t have to pay more money, but your policy remains in effect. You can get up to $5 million in coverage with this plan. 
  • Life Paid Up at 65: If you opt for Life Paid Up at 65, your insurance plan’s premiums will end once you reach age 65, but your policy remains in force. This approach ensures you don’t have to worry about life insurance premiums in your retirement. Coverage amounts range from $25,000 to $5 million. 
  • Single Premium Whole Life: With the Single Premium Whole Life plan, you make just one payment to purchase coverage that lasts for your entire life. Anyone 85 or younger can apply for this option. 
  • Single Premium Whole Life Plus: This plan is for people between the ages of 40 and 79. It combines whole life coverage with accelerated benefits that can be used to pay for care at a qualified nursing facility or at home. 
  • Final Expense: Individuals between the ages of 40 and 80 can qualify for up to $35,000 of coverage without a medical exam. It has level premiums, and the policy can be used to pay for your burial or other final expenses. 

Available Riders

When you purchase life insurance from most companies, you can use insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to adjust your policy’s benefits. For example, you can use riders to get coverage for a spouse, purchase more coverage without going through the underwriting process again, or to waive your premiums if you become disabled. However, Catholic Life Insurance doesn’t have any available riders.

Instead, some benefits that are available as riders from other insurers are included in Catholic Life Insurance’s policies. For example, Single Premium Whole Life Plus includes accelerated death benefits that allow you to use some of your death benefit while you’re living if you’re diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness.

Customer Service

All of Catholic Life Insurance’s policies are sold through agents. If you live in one of the states where Catholic Life Insurance is licensed, you can use the locator tool to find an agent near you. 

If you have general questions and want to contact customer service, you can reach its customer support team by calling 800-262-2548. The office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. CST, and on Fridays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

Compared to some other companies’ sites, Catholic Life Insurance’s website is fairly simple, with few educational tools or policyholder services. It doesn’t have online quote tools or calculators to estimate your insurance needs, and it doesn’t have any informational videos or policy brochures available for download. 

Complaint Index

Typically, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a good resource for evaluating life insurance companies. The NAIC’s complaint index is a measure of how many complaints a company received relative to its market share. 

In Catholic Life Insurance’s case, there were no complaints submitted to the NAIC about the organization in 2020. In fact, no complaints have been filed in the past three years.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that customers didn’t have any complaints about the organization. According to Catholic Life Insurance’s bylaws, policyholders and their beneficiaries must forgo formal legal proceedings. Instead, they are required to contact the home office with any issues. If a resolution isn’t reached, the issue is submitted for mediation and binding arbitration. 

Third-Party Ratings

As a small regional insurer, Catholic Life Insurance was not included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. However, the organization is still recognized as a reputable insurer and has been recognized for its financial strength. 

AM Best, the credit rating agency that researches and rates insurance companies, issued Catholic Life Insurance an A- (Good) Financial Strength Rating in 2020. The rating reflects AM Best’s belief that the company is financially stable and is likely able to pay out its obligations in the future. 

Cancellation Policy

When you purchase life insurance from Catholic Life Insurance or any other company, you are legally entitled to a "free look" period. The free look period is usually 10 days, but it can be longer in some states. During that time, you can decide to cancel without any penalty and get a full refund. 

Once the free look period expires, you can still cancel your coverage, but there may be fees involved. With whole life policies, there may be a surrender charge. If you have term life coverage, there isn’t a cancellation fee, but you won’t receive a refund of your premiums. 

To cancel your policy, contact your Catholic Life Insurance agent. 

Price

Catholic Life Insurance doesn’t publicly post its rate classes, nor does it offer an online quote tool. As a non-profit organization, its life insurance premiums may be cheaper than you’d find from a for-profit company, but your premiums can vary based on your age and health. Contact an agent to discuss your insurance options and your premium rates. 

When you apply for life insurance from Catholic Life Insurance or another company, you will be asked to choose either “male” or “female” on the application. If you identify as non-binary, you will still have to select one of those two options. Being non-binary doesn't disqualify you from getting coverage, but you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

Catholic Life Insurance offers term and whole life plans with high coverage limits. However, it’s available in only seven states. If you live in a state where Catholic Life Insurance isn’t licensed, you’re ineligible for the organization’s life insurance policies. 

Instead, consider a major life insurance company like Prudential, our choice for the best overall life insurance company. 

Prudential is licensed in all 50 states and sells term, whole life, universal, indexed universal, and variable universal policies. Besides its availability and variety of life insurance options, it also stands out from Catholic Life Insurance because of its long list of optional riders. Policyholders can customize their coverage by adding accidental death, children's level term, enhanced disability benefit, and other riders to their policies.

  Catholic Life Insurance Prudential 
Market Share Not applicable Fifth-largest in the U.S., 5%
Number of Plans  8 11 
Dividends for 2020  Not available Not applicable 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Not applicable  Not applicable 
Service Method  Agents  Financial professional, online 
AM Best Rating  A- (Good) A+ (Superior) 
Complaints Trend  0.00 4.09 
Final Verdict

If you live in one of Catholic Life Insurance’s service areas and want a life insurance policy with a large face amount, the organization could be a good fit. Membership is open to the public regardless of religious affiliation, and you can get up to $9.99 million in coverage. However, it’s only available in a few states, so the majority of people in the country won’t qualify for its policies.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer on its 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. PR Web. "Catholic Life Insurance Launches First Digital Medicare Supplement Insurance Application." Accessed August 26, 2021. 

  2. NAIC. "Chapter 21: Fraternals and Small Mutuals," Page 1. Accessed August 26, 2021. 

  3. NAIC. "Complaint Index - Catholic Life Insurance." Accessed August 26, 2021. 

  4. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed August 25, 2021. 

  5. AM Best. "Catholic Life Insurance." Accessed August 26, 2021.