Knights of Columbus Life Insurance Review

A faith-based organization offering term, whole, and universal life coverage

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Knights of Columbus Life Insurance

Knights of Columbus Life Insurance

Our Take

The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization. As a membership-based non-profit, it offers term, whole, and universal life insurance to its members and their families. If you are a practicing Catholic and eligible for membership, a plan through Knights of Columbus could be a cost-effective choice. However, the organization’s insurance plans are limited to members, and it has strict eligibility requirements. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple optional riders available

  • One-on-one assistance

  • Additional benefits included for members

Cons
  • Membership is limited to Catholic males

  • Agents work on commission

  • No rate quote tools

Key Takeaways
  • The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 and it’s based in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • It sells life insurance, long-term care insurance, and retirement annuities to its members, their spouses, and their dependent children.
  • Term, whole, and universal life insurance policies are available.
  • Membership is limited to Catholic males 18 and older.
  • All policies are sold through agents that are also members.
  • The Knights of Columbus is licensed to sell life insurance in all 50 states.
Company Overview

The Knights of Columbus is a global fraternal benefit society. Founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, the organization was created to give financial aid to its members and their families. Today, the organization is based in New Haven, Connecticut. It is made up of nearly 16,000 councils and it has approximately two million members worldwide. 

The Knights of Columbus sells a range of life insurance products, including term, whole, and universal life policies. It also offers long-term care insurance and retirement annuities to its members and their immediate family. 

To qualify for insurance from the Knights of Columbus, you must be a member of the organization. Membership is limited to males 18 or older that have been baptized and are practicing Catholics. 

The Knights of Columbus is licensed to sell life insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Year Founded 1882
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole life, universal
  • Number of Plans 7
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Agents
  • Phone 203-752-4000
  • Official Website www.kofc.org

The Knights of Columbus 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

  • Multiple optional riders available: When you purchase a life insurance policy from the Knights of Columbus, you have the option of adding riders to your policy for an additional cost to customize your coverage. The organization has several rider options, including accelerated death benefit and term conversion endorsements.  
  • One-on-one assistance: If you need help choosing the right plan, you can meet with a Knights of Columbus insurance agent. All agents that sell the organization's policies are also members, and they can meet with you at your home to discuss your options. 
  • Additional benefits included for members: As a member of the Knights of Columbus, there are some additional benefits that are included with your membership, such as accidental death coverage for members and their spouses. 

Cons Explained

  • Membership is limited to Catholic males: The Knights of Columbus’ life insurance policies are only available to the organizations’ members, their spouses, and dependent children. Membership is limited to males 18 and older that have been baptized and are practicing Catholics. Catholic women, as well as men and women of other faiths, are ineligible for coverage unless they are married to a member of the Knights of Columbus.  
  • Agents work on commission: All of the Knights of Columbus’ policies are sold through member insurance agents. Before contacting an agent, keep in mind that they work on commission and have a financial incentive to sell certain policies to you over others. 
  • No rate quote tools: The Knights of Columbus doesn’t have an online quote tool on its site. To get a quote for a policy, you must work directly with an insurance agent. 
What You Need to Know

As of 2021, the Knights of Columbus had over $114 billion of life insurance policies in force.

Available Plans

The Knights of Columbus sells term, whole, and universal life policies. Most of its policies are fully underwritten, and all of its plans must be purchased through a member insurance agent. 

The Knights of Columbus offers seven different life insurance plans: 

Term

Term life insurance is a popular choice because it tends to be less expensive than permanent life insurance. If you purchase term life coverage, you are insured for a predetermined period, such as 10 or 20 years. Your beneficiary will receive a death benefit only if you pass away during the policy’s term.

The Knights of Columbus has three term options:

  • Accelerator Term: With the Accelerator Term plan, you can choose a term of 10, 15, or 20 years. This plan increases your death benefit by 25% to keep up with inflation for a low cost. 
  • Annual Renewable Term: If you aren’t sure what your insurance needs are but know that you need some protection, you can take advantage of an Annual Renewable Term policy. You can purchase insurance and review and renew your policy every year with adjusted premiums and a level death benefit. 
  • Young Adult: The Young Adult plan is designed for members and their spouses between the ages of 18 and 29. It is an annual renewable term life plan with relatively low coverage amounts at a lower-than-average cost. 

Whole Life

Unlike term life coverage, whole life insurance is a form of permanent coverage that lasts for your lifetime. The policies offer a death benefit for your beneficiaries, but your plan can also accumulate cash value over time. 

The Knights of Columbus has three whole life policies:

  • Limited Pay Whole Life: With this plan, you can choose how long you want to pay premiums, with a five-year minimum payment period. The payments are fixed and guaranteed never to increase. 
  • Single Premium Whole Life: If you don’t want to worry about paying premiums every month, the Single Premium Whole Life plan allows you to make just one lump sum payment and get coverage for your entire life. 
  • Graded Death Benefit Whole Life: While the other policies are fully underwritten, the Graded Death Benefit Whole Life Plan requires no underwriting for U.S. members. It is a final expense policy with relatively low coverage amounts that is designed to cover your burial expenses. Because it is a graded benefit plan, your policy’s death benefit will be lower during the first few years of coverage, but will increase over time until it reaches the full face amount of the policy. 

Universal Life

Universal life insurance is another form of permanent coverage. It has an investment savings component and flexible premiums that you can adjust as your needs or budget change. 

The Knights of Columbus’ universal life plan is Survivorship Universal Life. As a survivorship plan, it insures two people. However, it only pays out a death benefit after both covered persons pass away. It is a tool that is frequently used for estate planning or conservation. 

Available Riders

Whenever you purchase life insurance from a major insurer, you usually have the option of adding optional insurance endorsements, also known as riders, to your policy. While riders can increase your premiums, you can use them to purchase additional insurance, get coverage for family members, or to use your benefits if you become seriously ill. 

The Knights of Columbus offers the following riders: 

Accidental Death

If you add the accidental death rider to your policy, your beneficiaries will receive an additional benefit in the event of an accidental death. 

Children’s Term

Available on most term and permanent insurance policies, the children’s term rider provides term life coverage to a covered child until the child turns 25 or the parent turns 65, whichever occurs first. 

Chronic Illness Accelerated Benefit

If you add the chronic illness accelerated benefit rider to your policy, you can use some of your plan’s death benefit while you’re living if you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness. 

Term Conversion

With the term conversion rider, you can convert your term life coverage to permanent insurance without providing proof of insurability. 

Terminal Illness Accelerated Benefit

You can use the terminal illness accelerated benefit rider to get a portion of your death benefit while you’re still living if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of 12 months or less. 

Customer Service

The Knights of Columbus sells its policies solely through its insurance agents. All insurance agents are members of the organization and are available for in-person meetings. You can use the locator tool to find an agent near you. 

For general questions about the Knights of Columbus or your insurance options, you can send a secure message or call 203-752-4000. 

Membership Criteria

The Knights of Columbus’ insurance policies are only available to its members, their spouses, and their dependent children. To become a member, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be male
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be baptized
  • You must be a practicing Catholic
  • You must be in good standing with your parish

You can join the Knights of Columbus by contacting a local council. If you don’t have a council nearby, you can also join online. The online membership requires $30 in annual dues. 

Complaint Index

When you are researching life insurance companies, a key indicator of a company’s customer service is its complaint ratio. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) issues ratios every year that reflect the number of complaints a company receives relative to its share of the insurance market. The industry standard for complaint ratios is 1.0. A company with a ratio over 1.0 performed worse than expected, while a company with a ratio below 1.0 received fewer complaints than companies of its size typically receive. 

In 2020, the Knights of Columbus had a 0.73 complaint ratio for its individual life insurance segment. For the past three years, its complaint ratios have been better than the industry index. 

Third-Party Ratings

As a smaller insurance company, the Knights of Columbus were not included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.

At the end of 2020, AM Best, the credit rating agency that is focused in the insurance industry, affirmed the A+ (Superior) Financial Strength Rating for the Knights of Columbus. AM Best recognized the organization’s balance sheet strength and operating performance in its decision. 

Cancellation Policy

When you purchase a life insurance policy from the Knights of Columbus or any other insurer, you are granted a free look period. In most states, the free look period lasts for 10 days, but it can be longer in some states. During the free look period, you can cancel your policy if you change your mind and get a full refund. 

Once the free look period ends, cancellation terms are dependent on the type of policy you have. Term life coverage can be typically canceled at any time, but you won’t receive a refund of the premiums you paid to date. With whole and universal life policies, there may be a surrender charge. 

To cancel your policy, contact your Knights of Columbus insurance agent. 

Price

The Knights of Columbus doesn’t have an online quotes tool or public rate information. To get a quote, you’ll have to contact an insurance agent. 

When you apply for life insurance from the Knights of Columbus 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 from most companies, but you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

Although the Knights of Columbus offers a range of insurance options, its availability is limited. Only people eligible for membership—Catholic males, their spouses, and their children—can qualify for life insurance. 

If you’re looking for a company that doesn’t have membership restrictions, consider Prudential. One of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S., Prudential was our choice for the best overall life insurance company. 

Like the Knights of Columbus, Prudential is licensed in all 50 states and sells both term and permanent life insurance. However, Prudential allows customers to get quotes for coverage online. With some policies, you can even complete your application and purchase insurance through its website, eliminating the need to speak with an agent. 

While Prudential has a much higher complaint ratio than the Knights of Columbus, it sells policies to all adults regardless of their gender or religion. 

  Knights of Columbus Prudential 
Market Share Not applicable Fifth-largest in the U.S., 5% 
Number of Plans  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+ (Superior)  A+ (Superior) 
Complaints Trend  0.73  4.09 
Final Verdict

If you’re a Catholic male over the age of 18, a life insurance plan from the Knights of Columbus could give you affordable protection for you, your spouse, and your dependent children. However, other people aren’t eligible for coverage, so most individuals will be better off shopping around and buying insurance from companies without a religious affiliation. 

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

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  1. LIMRA. "Life Insurance Awareness Month Highlights the Importance of Owning Life Insurance." Accessed September 12, 2021. 

  2. NAIC. "Knights of Columbus - Complaint Index." Accessed September 9, 2021. 

  3. AM Best. "Knights of Columbus." Accessed September 12, 2021.