Kansas City Life Insurance Review

A wide variety of policies and riders

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Kansas City Life

Kansas City Life

Investopedia’s Rating
3.5

Our Take

Kansas City Life Insurance has a comprehensive lineup of policy types and riders plus fewer complaints than expected. However, AM Best reports that the insurer’s financial strength is declining, although it still has a good financial strength rating. You also can’t get same-day decisions on life insurance applications or get a quote or apply online for coverage.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extensive rider selection

  • Wide range of policies available

  • Fewer complaints than expected

Cons
  • Declining financial strength, although still adequate

  • Online quotes unavailable

Company Overview

Kansas City Life Insurance Company was founded in 1895 in Kansas City, Missouri, and the company’s headquarters is still there today. The insurer markets individual life insurance products, as well as annuity and group products, through more than 2,500 agents across the U.S. Over half a million policyholders are insured by Kansas City Life Insurance in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Policies are not available in New York.

specifications
AM Best Rating
A-
NAIC Score (avg.)
N/A
Years In Business
127 Years
Policy Types
Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole
Accepts Credit Cards
No
Why Trust Us
91
Companies reviewed
55
Features considered
5,005
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.
Kansas City Life

Kansas City Life

Investopedia’s Rating
3.5

Pros Explained

  • Extensive rider selection: An extensive collection of riders are available including a nursing care rider which is included at no cost. 
  • Wide range of policies available: Policyholders can select from a wide range of life insurance policy types, including no exam policies for up to $1 million in coverage for qualifying applicants.
  • Fewer complaints than are expected: The NAIC reports that this insurer gets fewer complaints than are expected for a company of its size.

Cons Explained

  • Declining financial strength, although still adequate: AM Best reported a decline in the company’s financial strength from an A (Excellent) to an A- (Excellent). Though still a decent financial strength rating, it’s lower than many other insurers we reviewed. 
  • Online quotes unavailable: Unlike many of the best life insurance companies, Kansas City Life does not provide online quotes.

Complaint Index

The Kansas City Life Insurance Company has received fewer complaints than are expected for a company with its market share, according to complaint index data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

The NAIC collects complaint data and computes a complaint index according to the number of complaints an insurance company receives and its market share. An index that’s higher than 1.00 means that the insurer has more complaints than are expected for its size, while an index below 1.00 means the insurer has fewer complaints than are expected. 

The Kansas City Life Insurance Company has had consistently low complaint indexes. Their indexes were 0.21, 0.15, and 0.10 for the years 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively. These indexes signify that the company has received fewer complaints than expected for its size.

Third-Party Ratings

Kansas City Life Insurance earns decent marks for its financial stability from the credit rating agency, AM Best. AM Best evaluates the creditworthiness of over 16,000 insurers worldwide by analyzing factors such as balance sheet strength, operating performance, and enterprise risk management (ERM). The highest possible rating from AM Best is an A++ and the lowest is a D. 

Kansas City Life Insurance most recently earned an A- which means it has an excellent ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations. However, the insurer’s rating recently dropped from an A, and AM Best cites declining balance sheet metrics resulting from negative operating trends. Further, when compared to 76 other insurers we reviewed that had AM Best ratings, Kansas City Life’s A- put it in the bottom 12%. Most received an A rating or better. 

Policies Available 

Kansas City Life Insurance offers a comprehensive lineup of policy options including term, whole life, universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life. Here’s a closer look at the basics of each policy type. 

Term Life Insurance

If you’re looking for an affordable life insurance policy to cover you for a specific period, such as until you pay off your mortgage, term life insurance can be a good fit. It’s a policy that will pay your beneficiaries a death benefit if you pass away during the term, which often ranges from 10 to 30 years. Before the term ends, insurers often give you the option to convert your policy to a permanent one. You’ll frequently have the option to renew your policy once the term ends as well, but usually at a higher cost. 

Whole Life Insurance

For those who want a more permanent solution, whole life insurance is a popular choice. It’s a policy that will cover you for the rest of your life, as long as you pay your premiums. You can enjoy a fixed premium amount so don’t have to worry about your policy’s cost rising as you age or encounter health problems. When you pass away, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. These policies also accumulate a cash value that you can use or borrow against during your life.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life (UL) insurance is also a permanent life insurance option with a cash value component. Features that differentiate it from whole life insurance are that you’re able to adjust your  premium payments, and the cash value is credited gains based on current interest rates. With UL, you gain flexibility but lose security. These plans are often more affordable but you may need to increase the premium in later years to keep the policy in force. 

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life (VUL) policies have many of the same features, benefits, and drawbacks as regular UL insurance. However, they also allow you to invest your contract value directly in the stock market via a variety of sub-accounts (like mutual funds) that can potentially earn you greater returns. The downside is that you can also lose money, which makes this the riskiest type of life insurance.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life (IUL) policies are UL policies but the cash value is tied to a stock market index, such as the S&P 500. Your insurer determines an indexed credit to add to your cash value based on the performance of the index.  

IUL policies often come with caps, participation rates, and spreads which limit the amount of money you can earn. On the plus side, you typically can’t lose value in an indexed policy due to negative index returns. 

Available Riders

Next, here’s a look at the different rider options offered by Kansas City Life Insurance which can help you customize your coverage to better suit your needs. Additional riders may be available and you should contact an agent to learn about all of the options.

Children's Life Insurance

Child riders let you add your children to your life insurance policy. In most cases, it’s term coverage that expires when your child reaches a certain age—such as 25. However, in many cases, the grown child can convert the term policy into permanent coverage without needing to show evidence of insurability. 

Waiver of Premium 

Waiver of premium riders waive premium payments on your life insurance policy if you become totally disabled. To qualify, insurers often require that you are disabled for a minimum number of consecutive months and that you become disabled before a certain age. 

Accidental Death Benefit

If you happen to pass away due to a covered type of accident, the accidental death benefit rider will pay your beneficiary an additional death benefit. Insurers may limit this rider to policyholders under a certain age.

ADB: Terminal Illness Rider

In the event that you are diagnosed with a terminal illness by a physician, the terminal illness rider pays you an accelerated death benefit (ADB). Insurers will generally require you have a certain life expectancy, such as 12 months or less, and will only advance a percentage of your death benefit. 

Enhanced Living Benefits Rider

Kansas City Life Insurance also offers an accelerated death benefit if you are receiving care in an eligible nursing home and meet a 90-day nursing home confinement elimination period.

Chronic Condition Benefit Rider

Additionally, you can receive an ADB if a physician certifies that you have a chronic condition that limits your ability to independently perform two activities of daily living (ADL). To qualify, you’ll typically need to be unable to perform two ADLs or or have a severe cognitive impairment for a certain period of time, such as 90 consecutive days. 

The six activities of daily living include continence, bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, and transferring. 

Customer Service

Kansas City Life insurance has a toll-free customer support phone line at 800-821-6164. You can leave a voice message during non-business hours and someone will call you back. You can also contact customer support by filling out an online form on the insurer’s website and the team will respond via email. If you’d prefer to get assistance through a local agent, you can use the Kansas City Life Insurance website to find an agency near you. 

Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers

We designed a comprehensive ranking 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.

To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.