National Life Insurance Review

Living benefits and highly customizable policies, but poor term pricing

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National Life Group

National Life Group 

Investopedia’s Rating
3.9

Our Take

National Life is a financially sound life insurance provider that offers a variety of policies and riders, including some unique options, and pays dividends on participating policies.
Plus, it offers no-medical-exam life insurance for up to $3 million in coverage. However, we found National Life’s term prices to be expensive, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of policy information or quotes without the help of an agent.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No-medical-exam policies

  • Dividend-paying whole life insurance

  • Variety of riders

  • Very few complaints

Cons
  • No quotes on the website, so you must apply through an agent

  • High term premiums

Company Overview

National Life Insurance was founded in 1848, which makes it one of the oldest life insurance companies we reviewed. It’s also the 22nd-largest life insurance company in the country. The company has two headquarters, one in Montpelier, Vermont, and another in Dallas, Texas. and is committed to corporate social responsibility through the National Life Group Foundation. You can purchase a life insurance policy from National Life Insurance in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Year Founded 1848
  • Kinds of Policies Term life, whole life, universal life, indexed universal life
  • Payment Options ACH transfer, check
  • Customer Service Phone: (800) 732-8939; Contact form
  • Official Website www.nationallife.com
National Life Group

National Life Group 

Investopedia’s Rating
3.9

Pros Explained

  • No-medical-exam policies: You may qualify to purchase life insurance without a medical exam for up to $3 million in coverage if you’re 50 or younger and in reasonably good health. Coverage without a medical exam is up to $1 million if you're between 51 and 60, and up to $250,000 up to age 65. All of National Life’s products are eligible for no-medical-exam underwriting.
  • Dividend-paying whole life insurance: Whole life insurance policies from National Life are eligible to receive dividends based on company performance. 
  • Variety of riders: National Life offers a wide variety of life insurance riders, which is ideal if you want to customize your policy and get coverage for certain circumstances like if you develop a critical, chronic, or terminal illness.
  • Very few complaints: The company receives fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Cons Explained

  • No quotes on the website: You can’t get a quote for a National Life policy on its website. You must contact the company or go through a life insurance broker. And you must apply for a policy through an agent.
  • High term premiums: Based on term quotes from 32 life insurance providers, National Life Insurance has poor pricing, so it may not be the best option if you are looking for affordable term coverage.

Complaint Index

National Life has fewer complaints than expected, according to the NAIC Complaint Index. This indicates that policyholders and beneficiaries are generally satisfied with the customer experience and have no major issues with the company.

The NAIC Complaint Index is based on the number of complaints a company receives and its size. An index of 1.0 means the insurance company received an expected number of complaints for its size. Companies with more complaints than expected receive an index greater than 1.0, and companies with fewer complaints than expected receive an index below 1.0. The lower the complaint index, the better.

We considered National Life’s complaint indexes over a three-year period. Its three-year average complaint score is 0.389, which means National Life has far fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size. Most of the best life insurance companies we reviewed, including some of our top picks, have complaint indexes below 1.0.

Third-Party Ratings

National Life has an A+ rating from AM Best, a credit ratings agency that scores companies based on their financial strength. An A+ indicates that National Life has a superior ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations. Some of the factors that contribute to AM Best letter grades include a company’s balance sheet strength, operating performance, and outstanding debt. 

Policies Available 

There are several types of life insurance you can purchase from National Life. If you meet the company’s “EZ” accelerated underwriting guidelines, you can skip a medical exam and any lab requirements. 

Choosing the right amount of life insurance for your needs is important. National Life offers an online coverage calculator to help you figure out how much coverage you should get for sufficient financial protection.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is a temporary life insurance policy that provides coverage over a fixed period of time. Over the course of the policy, the premiums stay level, and your beneficiaries receive a death benefit if you pass away during the term. Unlike permanent life insurance, most term life insurance policies do not have cash value.

National Life’s term life insurance policies are convertible. When the term ends, you have the option to convert your coverage into a permanent life insurance policy, without taking a medical exam. 

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that has fixed premiums, a guaranteed death benefit, and cash value. You have the option to borrow or withdraw money from your cash value while you are still living. In addition, National Life’s whole life insurance policies can receive dividends at the end of the year based on the company’s performance. 

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life (UL) insurance is another type of permanent coverage that builds cash value. The cash value accumulates with each premium payment and grows based on current interest rates. Unlike a whole life policy, UL insurance has adjustable premiums and a flexible death benefit. But if the cash value doesn’t grow as expected, you may need to increase premium payments in later years to keep the policy active. 

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life (IUL) insurance is a UL policy, however the cash value grows based on the performance of a stock market index, such as the S&P 500. The cash value has the potential to make gains based on market performance to a limited extent, and it won’t lose value based on market downswings.  

Available Riders

National Life Insurance has a broad selection of riders. Life insurance riders are endorsements that can provide additional coverage or extend your existing coverage. 

Child’s Term Rider

A child’s term rider provides a small amount of term life insurance for your children. You generally have the option to convert the child’s term rider to permanent coverage for a larger amount when your child becomes an adult. Adding this rider to your policy will raise your premium.

Waiver of Premium Rider 

With a waiver of premium rider, National Life will waive your life insurance premiums if you become disabled. This rider costs extra to add to your term life or permanent life insurance policy. 

Accelerated Benefit Riders

National Life’s living benefit riders are no-cost riders that let you receive a portion of the death benefit if you experience certain conditions, specified below: 

  • Terminal illness rider: If you're diagnosed with a terminal illness and are given a life expectancy of 24 months or less, this rider allows you to receive a portion of your death benefit while you are still living.
  • Chronic illness rider: A chronic illness rider allows you to access a portion of your death benefit early if you get diagnosed with a chronic illness. To use this rider, a doctor must certify that, within the past year, you have been unable to perform two out of the six activities of daily living (ADLs) for at least 90 days, or that you have a cognitive impairment. 
  • Critical illness or injury rider: With this rider, you can access the death benefit if you get diagnosed with a qualifying critical illness or experience a critical injury. Some examples of covered conditions include cancer, heart attack, stroke, cystic fibrosis, blindness, paralysis, coma, and severe burns. 

Lifetime Income Benefit Rider

The lifetime income benefit rider is an uncommon offering among life insurance carriers and is designed to supplement retirement income. It guarantees lifetime payments to the policyholder based on the policy’s value, and uses policy loans to make those payments. But payments will continue if you’ve exhausted the cash value and remain alive. It also guarantees a death benefit of at least $15,000 to your heirs or the remainder of your cash value, once loans have been accounted for, whichever is greater.

Charitable Matching Gift Death Benefit Rider

If you elect this rider and name a charity as a beneficiary on your policy, National Life will match the donation up to a certain amount. 

Additional Protection Benefit Rider 

An additional protection benefit rider allows you to purchase additional term coverage to supplement your existing permanent policy. This rider will increase your total death benefit without significantly increasing your premium.

Overloan Protection Rider

If you take a loan from your cash value and your life insurance policy lapses, the overloan protection rider will restructure your policy so it remains in force. 

Customer Service

If you have questions about getting a policy from National Life, you can reach a representative by calling (800) 732-8939. You can also fill out the online contact form if you prefer to reach out via email. In addition, National Life has a free mobile app where you can access your policy details, make payments, change your beneficiary, and more.

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.

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 Code.”

  2. AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSR).”