John Hancock Life Insurance Review

Get discounts on your life insurance premiums for healthy habits

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John Hancock

 John Hancock

overall rating

John Hancock is a life insurance company offering term, permanent, and final expense with guaranteed acceptance policies. It was the first insurance company to offer discounts for healthy habits. Through the John Hancock Vitality program, you can get up to 25% off your insurance premiums for exercising, buying healthy food, and going to the doctor for your annual physical. 

With multiple life insurance options and high coverage amounts, John Hancock can be a good choice for those who want to get a quote and purchase a policy online.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
  • Save up to 25% through the John Hancock Vitality program

  • Guaranteed acceptance policies available

  • People with diabetes can qualify for the Aspire program

  • Term life policies cannot be converted to permanent coverage

  • Guaranteed acceptance policies capped at $20,000

  • Lower-than-average customer satisfaction ranking

Key Takeaways
  • John Hancock is based in Boston and serves over 2.6 million policyholders.
  • In 2019, John Hancock wrote over $4.8 billion in direct premiums.
  • The company offers term, permanent, and final expense policies with guaranteed acceptance.
  • You can qualify for up to 25% in premium discounts through the Vitality program, and even get perks like an Apple Watch or Fitbit.
  • John Hancock has a Quit Smoking Incentive; stop smoking and you can qualify for lower rates.
Company Overview

Founded in 1862, John Hancock is based in Boston, Massachusetts. It allows customers to purchase some policies online, but it also has agents available for personalized service. 

As of 2021, John Hancock serves over 3.5 million policyholders and pays over $7.2 billion in claims annually. 

John Hancock is licensed in all 50 states. A division of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading financial services group, John Hancock also provides financial advice and wealth and asset management services including annuities, investment accounts, and retirement planning.

  • Year Founded 1863
  • Kinds of Plans Final expense, permanent, term life insurance
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, annually, quarterly
  • Customer Service Phone, online, agent
  • Phone (800) 721-3774
  • Official Website

John Hancock 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

  • Save up to 25% through the John Hancock Vitality program: With the John Hancock Vitality program, you can save up to 25% on your insurance premiums for completing activities like exercising or eating healthy foods. 
  • Guaranteed acceptance policies available: John Hancock offers final expense policies with guaranteed acceptance, meaning you don’t have to undergo a medical exam or answer questions about your health. 
  • People with diabetes can qualify for the Aspire program: The Aspire program is for people living with diabetes. Under this program, you can combine John Hancock’s term or permanent life insurance policies with Onduo, a diabetes management program. 

Cons Explained

  • Term life policies cannot be converted to permanent coverage: While other insurance companies allow you to convert a term life insurance policy into permanent coverage, John Hancock doesn’t offer that option. 
  • Guaranteed acceptance policies capped at $20,000: Final expense insurance with guaranteed acceptance policies are limited to a maximum of $20,000 in coverage. Other insurance companies have guaranteed issue policies with coverage limits as high as $50,000. 
  • Lower-than-average customer satisfaction ranking: In the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, John Hancock was ranked 17th out of 23 life insurance issuers in terms of customer satisfaction, with a rating below the industry average. 

John Hancock is the seventh-largest life insurance company in terms of direct premiums written.

Available Plans

John Hancock offers five different life insurance plans, ranging from small final expense policies to term or permanent policies with millions in coverage. While you can get a quote for final expense and term life policies online, you’ll have to speak with an insurance agent if you’d like to get a permanent life insurance policy. 

Final Expense With Guaranteed Acceptance

If you’re between the ages of 55 and 80, you’re eligible for John Hancock’s Final Expense with Guaranteed Acceptance policy. The coverage amounts range from $2,000 to $20,000, and you can get coverage without a medical exam or questions. According to the company, premiums start at $11.60 per month for $2,000 worth of coverage. 

Term Life Insurance

With John Hancock’s term life insurance, you can choose how much coverage you need with a term of 10, 15, or 20 years. At a lower cost than permanent coverage, you can get a plan that covers your mortgage payments, children’s’ college expenses, or replaces your income if you pass away. 

You can get up to $3 million in term life coverage through John Hancock. Pricing starts at $34.20 per month for $1 million in coverage with a 10-year term. 

Some applicants will qualify for an instant decision, while others will have to undergo a medical exam. 

Permanent Life Insurance

With permanent life insurance, you have coverage for your entire lifetime and not just a set term. Your policy will have a death benefit, but it can also build cash value that you can use to supplement your retirement income. 

John Hancock has three different permanent life insurance plans: 

  • Universal Life: With Universal Life, you can customize your premiums and your account value can grow based on a credited interest rate. Your money is accessible via withdrawals and loans. 
  • Indexed Universal Life: Indexed Universal Life has the same benefits as Universal Life, but adds the opportunity to earn interest based on a linked index account. These plans have more growth potential depending on the index’s performance. 
  • Variable Universal Life: Variable Universal Life policies combine a death benefit with the ability to gain cash value by investing across different risk categories. Variable policies have the potential for growth, but there’s also more risk associated with these plans. 

To get a permanent life insurance policy, you’ll have to contact an agent directly and undergo a medical exam. 

Available Riders

A rider or insurance endorsement is a policy provision that adds benefits or covered persons to your insurance policy. There is typically an additional cost to add a rider to your policy, but they can be used to enhance and customize your insurance plan or to purchase additional coverage. 

John Hancock offers the following riders: 

Accelerated Benefit

With the accelerated benefit rider, you can receive a portion of your death benefit early if you are terminally ill with a life expectancy of one year or less. You can receive up to 50% of the death benefit, up to a maximum of $1 million. 

Critical Illness Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a covered critical illness, you can receive a one-time, lump-sum benefit, up to $250,000. The benefit can be used for your care, immediate medical expenses, or to replace your income while dealing with a critical illness. 

Disability Payment of Specified Premium

If you become totally disabled, this rider will cover your premiums. There is a $5 million maximum total face amount on all policies. 

Long-Term Care

The long-term care rider provides funds to help pay for a portion of your qualified long-term care expenses by accelerating your death benefit. The maximum monthly benefit amount is 1%, 2%, or 4% of the policy death benefit elected at issue. 

Vitality PLUS Program

You can add the Vitality PLUS Program to your policy for an additional $2 per month. With this program, you can earn credits for health-related activities. Your credits can be used to reduce your monthly premiums or for other rewards. 

Return of Premium

With the return of premium rider, you can get an additional insurance amount equal to the premiums you paid, capped at 100%. 

Customer Service

With John Hancock, you can get quotes for some policies online. You also have the option of speaking with an agent if you need more personalized assistance. 

Unlike some other insurance companies, John Hancock doesn’t have an online chat feature. However, you can submit questions via email or call customer service at 800-732-5543. Customer support is available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. ET. 

If you have a policy, John Hancock does allow you to manage your account online. You can make payments or start a claim through its website. 

Complaint Index

When comparing insurance companies, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the complaint ratios released by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Each year, the NAIC releases insurance companies’ complaint ratios, meaning the number of complaints they received relative to their share of the insurance market.  

The NAIC considers a complaint ratio of 1.0 to be the average. A score over 1.0 is worse than average, while a score below 1.0 is better than average.

In 2020, John Hancock’s complaint ratio was 0.66, a much better-than-average ratio. 

For the past three years, John Hancock has had better-than-average complaint ratios.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best is a credit rating agency that releases Financial Strength Ratings on insurance companies. These ratings measure companies’ abilities to meet their policy and contractual obligations. In 2020, AM Best affirmed John Hancock’s rating of A+ (Superior). 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2020, John Hancock wrote over $4.7 billion in direct premiums.

John Hancock was ranked by J.D. Power in its 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The study evaluated companies based on their product offerings, pricing, communications, and customer interactions. John Hancock was ranked 17th out of 23 companies, with a rating that was lower than average. 

Cancellation Policy

After you enroll in a plan, John Hancock has a 10-day free-look period. You have 10 days after enrolling to cancel the plan. If you cancel within that time frame, the company will refund the premiums you paid. 

If you would like to cancel your John Hancock life insurance policy after the free-look period, you must complete a surrender request form. You can submit the form online or print it out and mail it in. The company will pay you the policy value minus any policy debt and surrender charges that apply. Charges can vary by state, so be sure to review your policy contract before signing. 


John Hancock does require medical exams for most policies. Like most insurers, it will require you to select either “male” or “female” on the insurance application. Being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance or necessarily impact your rates. However, many companies’ underwriting processes haven’t been updated to reflect their awareness of gender issues, so you may find the application process frustrating. 

In terms of pricing, John Hancock was ranked as about average in the J.D. Power Life Insurance Study. Rates are dependent on the type of policy you want, your age, gender, and health. 

Prices for term life coverage start at $34.20 for $1 million in coverage and a 10-year term, while final expense policies with guaranteed acceptance start at $11.60 for $2,000 of coverage. 

We got quotes for term life policies with 10-year terms for individuals in excellent health: 

Coverage Amount 35-Year-Old Female 35-Year-Old Male
$1 million $36.10 $45.90
$1.5 million $49.15 $63.85
$2 million $62.20 $81.80

John Hancock has two discount and incentive programs.

Quit Smoking Incentive

If you’re a smoker, John Hancock has the Quit Smoking Incentive. You can get the same rates as non-smokers for the first three years of your policy. After three years, you must prove that you have quit smoking for at least 12 consecutive months, or your premiums will switch to the rate for smokers. This program gives you an incentive to quit smoking so you can take advantage of the lower premium. 

Vitality Program

The Vitality program is a wellness program that rewards you for healthy habits. By choosing either Vitality GO or Vitality PLUS, you can earn perks like 25% cashback on your annual premiums, an Apple Watch for $25 or a free Fitbit, and a free one-year Amazon Prime membership. 


While John Hancock has a range of term, permanent, and guaranteed issue policies to choose from, it has some limitations. Its life insurance policies cannot be converted into permanent coverage, and its pricing and customer satisfaction rankings are lower than the industry average. 

Another insurer to consider is New York Life. New York Life has 10 different plan options, including whole, term, universal, and variable universal life policies. It allows you to convert term life policies into permanent coverage without undergoing another medical exam. And, New York Life has a better ranking in customer satisfaction and pricing than John Hancock. 

If you need more personalized advice with your insurance needs, New York Life has financial professionals you can consult to come up with a plan. That customized approach to insurance makes New York Life a stronger choice for life insurance than John Hancock.

  John Hancock New York Life
Market Share Seventh-largest in the U.S., 3.6% Second-largest in the U.S., 6.0%
Number of Plans 5 10
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable $1.9 billion
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive Not applicable
Service Method Phone, web, agents Agents
AM Best Rating A+ (Superior) A++ (Superior)
J.D. Power’s Price Rank Fair Better Than Most
Complaints Trend 0.66 0.16

If you’re looking for a life insurance policy that also rewards you for your healthy habits, John Hancock may be a smart option for you. With its Vitality Program, you can earn points and rewards for your health-positive lifestyle and use it to get cash back on your annual premiums. If you’re a smoker, John Hancock’s Quit Smoking Incentive program can help you secure lower rates as you quit the habit. 

However, its pricing and customer satisfaction are worse than the industry average, so it makes sense to shop around and compare quotes and plans from different insurance companies. If you’re in good health and willing to undergo a medical exam, you may be able to get comparable coverage at a lower cost.

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. J.D. Power. “2020 J.D. U.S. Life Insurance Study.” Accessed July 4, 2021.

  2. Insurance Information Institute. "Life Insurance: Facts and Statistics." Accessed July 4, 2021.

  3. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Index." Accessed July 4, 2021.

  4. AM Best. “AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Manulife Financial Corporation and Its Subsidiaries.” Accessed July 4, 2021.