Continental Life Insurance Review

Final expense policies backed by Aetna

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Aetna Senior

Aetna Senior

Our Take

Continental Life Insurance Company, more commonly referred to as Continental Life, is a part of Aetna, a leading healthcare company that sells Medicare Supplement insurance and health insurance policies. 

Through Continental Life, consumers can purchase final expense whole life policies. However, policies are only available to people of certain ages, and the maximum benefit amount is just $35,000. 

Continental Life final expense policies are not sold in all states; they’re not available to residents of Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Vermont, or Washington.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 30-day free look period

  • No medical exams required

  • Premium rates won’t increase

Cons
  • Online quotes not available

  • Limited coverage amounts

  • Policies limited to certain age groups

Key Takeaways
  • Continental Life was founded in 1983.
  • It’s headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.
  • In 2011, Continental Life became part of Aetna
  • Continental Life sells final expense whole life policies.
  • Continental Life insurance policies are not available in all states.
Company Overview

Continental Life was founded in 1983 in Brentwood, Tennessee. During its time in operation, it established itself as a leader in senior supplemental insurance policies, selling Medicare Supplemental insurance policies and whole life policies. 

Continental Life was acquired by Aetna in 2011, one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States. As of 2020, Aetna serves over 46.7 million people.  

While some companies allow you to purchase life insurance policies online, Continental Life doesn’t offer that feature; you can only get a policy through an agent.

  • Year Founded 1983
  • Kinds of Plans Whole
  • Number of Plans 1
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, annually
  • Customer Service Agent, phone
  • Phone 800-264-4000
  • Official Website www.aetnaseniorproducts.com

Continental 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.

Pros Explained

  • 30-day free look period: Insurance companies typically offer 10-day free look periods. During that time, you can review and cancel your policy and get a full refund. Continental Life takes it a step further and gives its customers a 30-day free look period, giving you more time to review your policy and ensure it’s a good fit. 
  • No medical exams required: Continental Life’s final expense policies don’t require you to undergo a medical exam. You simply have to fill out an application and answer a few questions about your health. 
  • Premium rates won’t increase: Once you purchase a policy, your premiums will never increase. As long as you pay your premiums on time, your policy isn’t cancelable. 

Cons Explained

  • Online quotes not available: You can’t get a rate quote from Continental Life online. The only way to get a quote is to speak with an insurance agent. 
  • Guaranteed issue and final expense policies not available: Continental Life’s final expense policies have fairly low coverage amounts. The maximum amount of coverage you can get is $35,000, which may not be enough to cover your beneficiaries’ needs if you pass away. 
  • Policies limited to certain age groups: Not everyone is eligible for a plan from Continental Life. To qualify for a policy, you must be between the ages of 45 and 89. Otherwise, you cannot purchase a policy. 

Available Plans

While other insurance companies offer a variety of life insurance options, such as term and universal life policies, Continental Life only sells one policy type: final expense whole life coverage. 

Final Expense Whole Life

Final expense whole life plans are relatively small policies intended to cover your burial and funeral expenses. Coverage lasts for your entire lifetime. As long as you make all of your payments on time, your policy’s benefit amount remains unchanged. 

Continental Life has two final expense options: 

  • Level benefit: With a level benefit policy, your beneficiaries will receive the full death benefit regardless of when you pass away. 
  • Graded benefit: If you opt for a graded benefit, your beneficiaries will receive a reduced death benefit if you die during the first two years your policy is in full force. The full benefit isn’t in effect until the third year. 

A graded benefit is usually less expensive because it limits some death benefits in the early years of the policy.

Available Riders

Most life insurance companies allow you to add insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to your policy. By adding a rider, you can get additional coverage or purchase insurance for other family members. However, Continental Life doesn’t offer any riders, so it lacks the flexibility of other companies. 

Customer Service

Continental Life doesn’t sell insurance policies directly to consumers. The only way to get a quote or apply for coverage is by contacting an insurance agent. 

If you are a policyholder, you can reach customer service by calling 800-264-4000 or emailing aetssiphs@aetna.com. However, your local insurance agent is likely your best resource for general questions. 

Complaint Index

When researching life insurance companies, pay attention to their complaint ratios. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) manages a complaint index to compare a company’s performance to its competitors. 

The national complaint index is 1.0. If a company has a complaint ratio over 1.0, that means it received more complaints than is expected for a company of its size. If the company has a ratio below 1.0, it received fewer complaints than is typical for its share of the market. 

As of 2020, Continental Life’s complaint ratio was 0.89, better than the national complaint index. 

What You Need to Know

For the past three years, Continental Life’s complaint ratios have been consistently lower than the national media. In 2020, 2019, and 2017, its ratio was below 1.0.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best, a credit rating agency that evaluates insurance companies, issues its Financial Strength Ratings (FSRs) on companies. A strong FSR indicates that a company is financially sound and able to meet its obligations in the future. In 2020, AM Best affirmed Aetna’s “A” (Excellent) rating. 

Neither Continental Life nor Aetna was included in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, a study that ranked 24 top life insurance companies. 

Cancellation Policy

Most life insurance companies offer 10-day free look periods. However, Continental Life’s policy is more generous; customers have 30 days to review their documents and cancel their coverage if they find it does not suit them. As long as you cancel within 30 days of purchasing your plan, you’ll get a full refund of all premiums you paid. 

Once the free look period expires, there may be cancellation fees associated with canceling your account. Talk to your insurance agent about fees and restrictions. 

Price

Continental Life doesn’t offer online quotes for its final expense whole life policies; you must contact a local insurance agent to get information on rates. However, your pricing is dependent on the information submitted in your application. While Continental Life doesn’t require medical exams, your answers to its health questions can affect your eligibility and rates. 

Along with other insurance companies, Continental Life’s application requires you to choose either “male” or “female;” there’s 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. 

Competition

While Continental Life is backed by a major insurance company and sells final expense policies without medical exams, many people may find its coverage limits too low for their needs. 

Since many customers will want more coverage, we compared Continental Life to Mutual of Omaha, our pick for the best life insurance without a medical exam. 

Unlike Continental Life, Mutual of Omaha sells multiple life insurance policies, including term life, whole, and universal life plans with coverage limits as high as $1 million. It also has a guaranteed whole life policy, allowing consumers to get up to $25,000 in coverage. With its guaranteed whole life policy, you cannot be denied for coverage based on your health. 

Where Mutual of Omaha really stands out from Continental Life is the lengthy list of riders the company offers. You can enhance and customize your coverage by adding optional riders to your policy, such as chronic illness riders or disability income riders.

  Continental Life Mutual of Omaha
Market Share Not applicable 17th in the U.S., 1.4%
Number of Plans 1 11
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive
Service Method Agents, phone Direct, agents, or employer-based (group)
AM Best Rating "A" (Excellent) "A+" (Superior)
Price Rank Not applicable Average
Complaint Ratio 0.89 0.653
Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a basic life insurance policy to cover only your final expenses, Continental Life may be a good fit for you. However, people who need more robust coverage or want more customization options may find Continental Life too limiting and will need to work with another life insurance company.

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.

Article Sources

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  1. NAIC. "Complaint Index - Continental Life Insurance Company Brentwood." Accessed April 8, 2021.

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of CVS Health Corporation’s Aetna Subsidiaries." Accessed April 8, 2021.