John Hancock Life Insurance Review

Best term life insurance for seniors, but no whole life insurance available

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John Hancock

 John Hancock

Investopedia’s Rating

Our Take

John Hancock offers a broad selection of policy types, an innovative wellness program, and makes its policies available to older applicants. In fact, it’s one of our best life insurance companies for seniors. Additionally, the company receives high marks from third-party rating companies for its superior claims-paying capacity and low incidence of customer complaints.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
  • Term coverage is available to 80-year-old applicants

  • No-medical-exam life insurance up to $3 million

  • Offers a wellness program

  • Sells life insurance to diabetics

  • Most accelerated death benefit riders are not free

  • Can’t get a quote or apply online

  • Whole life insurance is not available

Company Overview

John Hancock was founded in 1862 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s currently the 8th largest life insurance company in the United States, with 2.65% of the total market share, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In 2020, the company wrote nearly $4.7 billion in life insurance premiums, and it serves more than 3.5 million customers. John Hancock sells a variety of life insurance products in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

  • Year Founded 1862
  • Kinds of Policies Term life, universal life, variable universal life, index universal life
  • Payment Options ACH transfer, check
  • Customer Service Phone: 1-800-732-5543
  • Official Website
AM Best Rating
NAIC Score (avg.)
Years In Business
160 Years
Policy Types
Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Variable Universal (VUL)
Accepts Credit Cards
Why Trust Us
Companies reviewed
Features considered
Data points analyzed
We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then evaluated each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews.
John Hancock

 John Hancock

overall rating

Pros Explained

  • Term coverage available until age 80: You can buy term life insurance from John Hancock until age 80, whereas many carriers stop selling coverage at 75 or younger. In our review of the best life insurance companies for seniors, John Hancock was our top pick for term life insurance.
  • No-medical-exam life insurance up to $3 million: If you're 60 or younger, you're eligible to get coverage for up to $3 million without a medical exam. Of the few companies that offer that much coverage sans exams, most have an age limit of 50.
  • Offers a wellness program: John Hancock’s wellness program, called Vitality, gives members access to perks like discounts on fitness trackers, savings at retail stores and hotels, and potential savings on their life insurance premiums. There are two versions of the program, Vitality GO and Vitality PLUS, and some policies come with a free membership. 
  • Sells life insurance to diabetics: John Hancock’s Aspire program makes it easier for people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to get life insurance. Through the Aspire program, you can also get access to diabetes management tools, discounts on healthy foods, and virtual consultations with diabetes experts.

Cons Explained

  • Most accelerated death benefit riders are not free: Unlike some of the other top life insurance companies we reviewed, John Hancock charges extra for most accelerated death benefit riders, like critical illness and long-term care riders.
  • Can’t get a quote or apply online: John Hancock does not offer online quotes for any of its life insurance policies (some other providers, like MassMutual and Nationwide, offer online quotes for term life). In addition, you must work with an agent to submit an application and purchase coverage.
  • Whole life insurance is not available: If you’re in the market for whole life insurance, you will need to find a different provider. John Hancock doesn’t offer whole life policies.

Complaint Index

The NAIC’s complaint index is a measure of an insurance company’s complaints in relation to its size. A company with the same number of complaints expected for its size is given an index of 1.0. If a company has fewer complaints than expected, it receives a score below 1.0. Companies with more complaints than expected receive a score above 1.0.

John Hancock’s complaint score is 0.34 (averaged over three years), which means the company has far fewer complaints than expected. Out of the 91 life insurance companies in our database, John Hancock has one of the lowest complaint scores, beating carriers like Mutual of Omaha (1.067) and Protective (0.730).

Third-Party Ratings

John Hancock is highly rated by many third-party research organizations. It has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, which is calculated based on factors including balance sheet strength, operating performance, and debt. This indicates that John Hancock has a superior ability to pay claims and meet other policyholder obligations.

In addition, John Hancock was rated above average for overall customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. John Hancock was ranked 8th on the list of 21 life insurance providers. 


To see how John Hancock stacks up against some of its competitors, we compared the company to Transamerica and State Farm based on a handful of important features.

 John Hancock  Transamerica State Farm
Types of Coverage Term, universal, variable universal, index universal Term, whole, index universal, final expense Term, whole, universal, final expense
Online Application  Not available  Not available  Not available 
AM Best Rating  A+  A A++ 
Price for Term Policies  Not available  Better than average  Poor 
NAIC Complaint Index (averaged over 3 years)  0.344  1.370  0.295 
J.D. Power Ranking  19 

Our ratings take into account NAIC complaint index scores and AM Best ratings. The NAIC complaint index indicates how many complaints a company receives relative to its size. AM Best assesses a company's ability to pay its claims on a graded scale, with A++ being the highest. All our best life insurance companies have at least an A rating.

Policies Available 

John Hancock offers a good mix of life insurance products. Here are the options available:

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance offers coverage over a specific period of time, often between 10 and 30 years. If you pass away during the term, your beneficiary receives a death benefit. Term life insurance has fixed premiums that stay the same for the duration of the term. John Hancock’s term life policies are convertible and renewable on an annual basis at the end of the level term period. But renewing the policy will mean paying a higher premium. 

Vitality Term: John Hancock’s Vitality Term policy provides coverage over 10, 15, 20, or 30 years, with up to $20 million in coverage. Before the end of the term, you have the option to convert your term policy into permanent coverage, up to age 70. This policy automatically comes with membership to John Hancock’s Vitality PLUS program.

Protection Term: The Protection Term policy provides coverage over 10, 15, 20, or 30 years, comes with guaranteed fixed premiums for the duration of the term, and is convertible until age 70. A total disability waiver rider is available only at issue. If you choose the Protection Term policy, you can enroll in Vitality Go for free and in Vitality PLUS for a fee. 

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance (UL) is a type of permanent coverage that builds cash value. You have the option to change the frequency and amount of your premiums by leveraging the cash value from your policy. In addition, John Hancock’s UL policies have a no-lapse guarantee, which means the policy stays in force even if the cash surrender value falls to zero or below. 

Protection UL: The Protection UL, John Hancock’s standard universal life policy, builds cash value and has adjustable premiums. When you purchase the Protection UL policy, you get free access to the Vitality GO program, or you can upgrade to the Vitality PLUS program for an added fee. 

Protection Survivorship UL: The Protection Survivorship UL policy includes the same basic coverages as the Protection UL policy. The difference is that the survivorship policy provides coverage for two people and pays a death benefit after the surviving insured has passed away. 

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life insurance (VUL) is another form of permanent coverage with flexible premiums and a cash value component. With a VUL policy, your cash value is invested and grows based on stock market performance. Although VUL policies are often seen as risky, both of John Hancock’s VUL policies include a no-lapse guarantee, which prevents your policy from lapsing, as long as the minimum premium is met. 

Accumulation VUL: The Accumulation VUL policy is John Hancock’s standard VUL policy. It has flexible premiums and accumulates cash value that grows based on your personal investment choices. This policy comes with free access to the Vitality GO program.

Accumulation Survivorship VUL: The Accumulation Survivorship VUL policy can be purchased to insure two people, like spouses or business partners. It pays a death benefit after the surviving insured has passed away.

Protection VUL: The Protection VUL policy is very similar to the Accumulation VUL policy, except that it does not have a no-lapse guarantee. That means your insurance coverage could lapse if your policy value drops to zero or lower based on the performance of your investments.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life insurance (IUL) builds cash value, plus it has adjustable premiums and a flexible death benefit. IUL cash value grows based on stock market performance, usually in an index, like the S&P 500. Although IUL policies have high growth potential, there’s no guaranteed return, so there is some risk involved with this type of life insurance. 

Protection IUL: The Protection IUL is John Hancock’s standard IUL policy. It comes with a built-in no-lapse guarantee, which prevents your policy from lapsing if the policy value falls below zero.

Accumulation IUL: With the Accumulation IUL policy, you have the option to use a Preliminary Funding Account (PFA) to pay your premiums. To open the account, you deposit a lump sum payment, and the company transfers your scheduled premium payments from your PFA into your policy. The benefit of opening a PFA is that it has guaranteed returns. 

Protection Survivorship IUL: The Protection Survivorship IUL policy is designed to insure two people. After the second insured passes away, the beneficiary receives a death benefit. 

Available Riders

A life insurance rider is an endorsement that can be added to your life insurance policy for protection in certain situations that your standard policy excludes. Most of John Hancock’s riders can be added to your policy for a fee. Here are the riders that John Hancock offers:

Waiver of Premium Rider

If you are disabled for six months or longer and can’t work, John Hancock’s waiver of premium rider, called the Total Disability Waiver, will waive your annual premium up to $5,000 per month. It provides coverage for the length of your covered disability or the duration of your policy. This rider can be added to a Vitality Term policy for no added cost. 

Disability Income Rider 

A disability income rider will provide supplemental income if you are disabled and are unable to work. Typically, you need to be disabled for at least 90 days for the rider to kick in. 

Terminal Illness Rider

John Hancock’s terminal illness rider allows you to access up to 50% (or a maximum of $1 million) of your death benefit while you are still living if you get diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness and are expected to live less than 12 months. This rider can be added to a Vitality Term or Protection Term life policy for no additional cost. 

Long-term Care Rider 

A long-term care rider allows you to take money out of your death benefit to use for long-term care costs, like a nursing home, adult daycare, or hospice. This rider can be added to any of John Hancock’s permanent life insurance policies for a fee. 

Critical Illness Rider

A critical illness rider provides funds if you're diagnosed with a qualifying critical illness. You can add this rider to any permanent policy for an added fee. Unlike most other life insurance companies, John Hancock’s critical illness rider doesn’t reduce the death benefit if you use the rider. If you need to use this rider, John Hancock will reimburse you for qualified long-term care expenses each month based on an amount of your choosing, without pulling money out of your death benefit.

Unemployment Protection Rider

John Hancock’s Unemployment Protection Rider can be added to a Vitality Term or Protection Term policy for an additional fee. It will waive your premium if you become unemployed and provide up to $10,000 per year (for policies with $5 million in coverage or less). You are allowed to use this rider twice during the level term period. 

Certain life insurance riders have restrictions, such as the maximum age you can use them or the amount of money you can collect. Make sure you understand rider restrictions before you add them to ensure that they will meet your needs.

Customer Service

To get in touch with John Hancock, you can call the company during business hours, which are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Here are the main numbers: 

  • General information: 1-800-732-5543
  • Claims: 1-888-887-2739
  • Vitality programs: 1-888-333-2659

John Hancock offers a few online tools to help you manage your policy. You can start claims, find forms, access your policy documents, and make payments by logging into your personal account.

Final Verdict

If you are an older applicant in the market for a term life or a permanent life policy, John Hancock is a good option to consider. Whereas many companies limit term coverage to applicants 75 or younger, John Hancock’s term coverage is available to applicants up to age 80. It also offers two term policies that are convertible until age 70. Plus, the company offers attractive living benefits, such as a critical illness rider that does not reduce the death benefit for beneficiaries and a program tailored for people living with diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you file a claim with John Hancock Life Insurance?

File a claim with John Hancock Life Insurance by reporting the passing of the claim holder, either online or over the phone, completing the claim form, and submitting the necessary requirements. After the claim is reviewed, the benefit proceeds will be disbursed via a check, a Safe Access Account, or by electronic transfer.

What is a John Hancock Life Insurance express claim?

A John Hancock Life Insurance express claim is an expedited claim filing process. It requires that the death benefit amount (for all policies) be under $50,000 per beneficiary, the beneficiary must be an adult individual residing in the U.S., the death to have occurred in the U.S., and the date of death to two or more years after the policy issue date.

Who is the current owner of John Hancock?

John Hancock is now a subsidiary of Manulife Financial. Manulife Financial Corporation and John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. completed their merger on April 28, 2004. Manulife Financial Corporation is privately owned by its policyholders.


We designed a comprehensive rating methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.

In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.

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. "Results by Complaint Index."

  2. AM Best. "Guide to Best's Financial Strength Ratings."

  3. J.D. Power. "2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study."