Protective Life Insurance Review

Boasting significant savings on term life insurance

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Protective

 Protective

overall rating
4.0

Protective Life has been offering life insurance products since 1907 and currently has over 9.3 million policies and contracts in force. 

The company offers term, whole, and universal life insurance policies, as well as annuities to grow and protect your retirement income. Protective Life makes eye-catching claims about its affordability. According to the company, its term life insurance is usually up to 48% less than the competition’s policies, making it a more affordable option for cost-conscious customers.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Up to $50 million in coverage available

  • Term policies with 40-year terms available

  • Multiple universal life policies to choose from

Cons
  • Online quotes not available for whole or universal life policies

  • Guaranteed issue and final expense policies not available

  • Costly surrender charges may apply

Key Takeaways
  • Protective Life was founded in 1907.
  • It’s headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and has primary offices in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee.
  • In 2015, Protective Life became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company.
  • Protective Life has over 9.3 million policies and contracts in force.
  • The company offers whole, term, and universal life policies.
Company Overview

Protective Life was founded in 1907 in Birmingham, Alabama. While it’s still headquartered in Alabama, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, a Japanese firm, in 2015. Protective Life has over 3,000 employees across the United States. 

While many companies sell insurance through agents and offer face-to-face meetings, Protective Life sells direct-to-consumers online and over the phone. 

Protective Life is also the parent company of several subsidiaries, including Protective Life and Annuity Insurance Company, West Coast Life Insurance Company, MONY Life Insurance Company, and Protective Property and Casualty Insurance Company.

Protective Life is licensed in all 50 states.

  • Year Founded 1907
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal life
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, annually
  • Customer Service Phone, online
  • Phone 844-733-5433
  • Official Website www.protective.com/life-insurance

Protective Life 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

  • Up to $50 million in coverage available: Some life insurance companies have fairly low coverage limits. If you want to provide for your family’s long-term well-being, those coverage amounts may be inadequate. With Protective Life, you can get up to $50 million in coverage. 
  • Term policies with 40-year terms available: Most companies offering term life policies only have 10-, 20-, or 30-year terms. With Protective Life, you can opt for a term as long as 40 years, giving you a longer period of coverage. 
  • Multiple universal life policies to choose from: Protective Life has three different universal life policies to choose from, including custom choice, indexed universal life, and variable universal life. With different options, you can select a policy that works best for your goals and risk tolerance. 

Cons Explained

  • Online quotes not available for whole or universal life policies: Only term life policies are eligible for online quotes. For whole or universal policies, you must call and speak to an agent. 
  • Guaranteed issue and final expense policies not available: Many life insurance companies have guaranteed issue and final expense policies. These are lower-cost policies for smaller coverage amounts that typically don’t require a medical exam. However, Protective Life doesn’t offer these policy types, so you’ll have to find another insurance company if that is the type of plan you want. 
  • Costly surrender charges may apply: Depending on the type of policy you have, you may have to pay a surrender charge if you cancel your plan within the first eight years of your policy. The surrender charge is based on your age at policy issue, gender, and your rate class. The older you were at policy issue, the more substantial the surrender charge. 
Note

Protective Life has $979 billion of life insurance in force as of 2019.

Available Plans

Protective Life offers whole, term, and universal life policies. With a wide range of coverage amounts, you can get as much or as little coverage as you need for your family’s needs or legacy goals. You can get an online quote for term life insurance, but you’ll need to contact an agent for all other policy types. 

Protective Life has five different life insurance plans: 

Custom Choice Universal Life

Custom Choice universal life offers similar benefits to term life policies. With this option, you have level payments for an extended period like you would with a term policy. You can lock in your payments for 10, 20, or even 30 years. 

Once the initial benefit period ends, your premium payments stay the same while the coverage amount begins to decrease. Once it reaches $10,000, your premiums will increase. 

You also have the option of exchanging your policy for permanent coverage within the first 20 years (up to age 70) without going through another medical exam. 

Indexed Universal Life 

Indexed universal life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance that also has the potential for cash value growth tied to stock market indices. 

With an indexed universal life policy, you get lifetime death benefit coverage. You can choose to allocate your premiums to a fixed account that earns interest at a specific rate, or you opt for an indexed account that is based on the performance of a specific index, such as the S&P 500. While the indexed option is riskier, it also has the potential for more growth. 

Term Life

Term life insurance is designed to cover you only for a set period. With Protective Life’s Classic Choice Term Life insurance, you can get $100,000 to $50 million in coverage, and choose term periods of 10 to 40 years. The policy has guaranteed, level premiums, and your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit free of income taxes. 

You have the option of converting term life policies to permanent coverage without undergoing another medical exam if your needs change. 

According to Protective Life, its term life insurance is up to 48% cheaper than other life insurance companies’ policies. 

Variable Universal Life

Variable life insurance combines permanent coverage with the potential to earn cash value. A portion of your insurance premiums is allocated to the investment options offered through your policy, selected based on your risk tolerance and financial goals. Variable universal life policies are a good choice if you are comfortable with higher levels of risk and want to have a more hands-on approach with your investments. 

Whole Life

While whole life policies are more expensive than term life coverage, they provide coverage for your entire lifetime. As long as you pay your premiums on time, your benefits are guaranteed. And, whole life insurance earns cash value at a set, fixed rate. You can access that cash value through loans for future needs, or even supplement your retirement benefits later on. 

Available Riders

Supplemental insurance riders, also known as endorsements, may be added to your policy. Insurance riders are provisions that adjust or enhance your coverage to customize your policy to better meet your needs. The availability of certain riders can vary by state, and they usually come at an additional cost. 

Protective Life offers the following riders: 

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

If the insured’s death results from covered accidental causes, the company will pay an additional death benefit. 

Children's Term Life Insurance Rider   

Upon the death of a covered child, this rider will provide a death benefit. More than one child can be covered with this rider.       

Disability Benefit Rider  

If you add the disability benefit rider to your policy, a specific premium will be credited to your policy on each monthly anniversary during the time you’re disabled. 

Flexible Coverage Rider

By adding the flexible coverage rider, you can increase the benefit payable on death without increasing the policy’s face amount. The rider can be canceled separately from the policy, and it has no cash value. 

Guaranteed Insurability

With this rider, you have the right to increase the face value of your policy either at designated future points in time or when a designated person dies.    

Protected Insurability Rider

By adding the protected insurability rider to your policy, you can increase the face value of your policy at the designated option ages of 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, and 40 without providing evidence of insurability.

Terminal Illness Accelerated Death Benefit

If you have a qualifying terminal illness and have added this rider to your policy, you can access a portion of your death benefit early to cover your care and other expenses. 

Customer Service

Protective Life sells insurance directly to consumers. You can purchase life insurance over the phone or online. 

You can reach customer service at 844-733-5433. Protective Life also has a virtual assistant that can answer basic questions online 24/7.

As a policyholder, you can manage your account online. You can update your policy, add or change a beneficiary, make payments, and start the claims process. 

Protective Life also offers robust online learning resources. Whether you want to learn about life insurance, calculate how much insurance you need, or get information about will and estate planning, the company provides articles and guides that can help you. 

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) maintains a complaint index to compare a company’s performance to other insurance companies in the market. The national complaint index baseline is 1.0. If a company has a complaint ratio over 1.0, that means they received more complaints than is expected for a company of its size. If the company has a ratio below 1.0, it received fewer complaints than expected for its size. 

In 2019, Protective Life’s complaint ratio was 0.37 for individual life insurance, far better than the national complaint index. 

Note

For the past three years, Protective Life’s complaint ratios have been consistently lower than the national median, receiving fewer complaints than is expected for its size in 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best releases Financial Strength Ratings on the insurance industry, measuring companies’ financial strength, stability, and the likelihood they will meet their contractual obligations. 

In 2020, AM Best affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) for Protective Life and its subsidiaries. The rating reflects Protective Life’s strong operating performance and favorable business profile. 

In the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Protective Life was ranked 10th out of 24 life insurance companies. It was given an “about average” rating based on its product offerings, pricing, customer interactions, and communications. 

Cancellation Policy

With Protective Life, you are entitled to a free look period where you can review your policy and cancel without penalty. Depending on your state, the free look period expires either 10 days after you receive your policy or 45 days after you sign your application, whichever is later. 

To cancel your policy, you must notify the Protective Life home office or the sales representative who sold you the plan and submit a written cancellation request. Within seven calendar days of receiving the request, Protective Life will refund all premiums paid, minus any outstanding debt. 

Once the free look period expires, cancellation policies vary based on the type of insurance plan you have, so review your contract carefully. For example, universal life policies may have substantial surrender charges. With Protective Life’s variable life insurance plan, a surrender charge applies to the first eight years of the policy’s life. The surrender charge is based on your age when the policy was issued, your gender, and the rate class of your policy. 

Price

In terms of pricing, Protective Life is about average. Your premium is dependent on several factors, including your age, gender, health history, and current health habits. 

Below, we show quotes for a 35-year-old non-smoking man in excellent health in Pennsylvania for term life insurance. The quotes are for a 15-year and 30-year policy.

Coverage Amount 15-Year Policy 30-Year Policy
$250,000 $10.80 $21.39
$500,000 $15.99 $35.25
$1 million $25.49 $64.51
$2 million $46.30 $124.34
$3 million $67.10 $184.17

Along with other insurance companies, Protective Life’s online quote and insurance application requires you to choose either “male” or “female”—there’s isn’t an option if you identify as nonbinary. While being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues. 

Competition

While Protective Life offers whole, term, and universal life policies with high coverage amounts, it may not be the best life insurance company for everyone. Protective Life doesn’t have guaranteed or final expense policies, and it has a limited range of riders for customizing your policy. 

Another option to consider is John Hancock. If you’re between the ages of 55 and 80, you can qualify for John Hancock’s Final Expense with Guaranteed Acceptance policy. You can get up to $20,000 in coverage without a medical exam, and you don’t have to answer any questions about your health. 

John Hancock has some useful riders that Protective Life doesn’t offer, including long-term care, return of premium, and critical illness benefit. 

Another factor that gives John Hancock the edge is its Vitality program. You can save up to 15% on your insurance premiums for engaging in healthy habits, like exercising or visiting your doctor for your annual physical.

  Protective Life John Hancock
Market Share Not applicable Sixth-largest in the U.S., 3.6%
Number of Plans 5 5
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive
Service Method Phone, web Phone, web, agents
AM Best Rating A+ (Superior) A+ (Superior)
Price Rank About Average Fair
Complaints Trend 0.51 0.35
Verdict

If you’re looking for a robust life insurance policy with a high coverage amount to leave your family a substantial amount of protection, Protective Life may be for you. With this company, you can get up to $50 million in term, whole, or universal life coverage. And, it’s term life policies may be significantly cheaper than its competitors. 

The company has a strong reputation in the insurance industry and a low complaint ratio, indicating that it has good customer service. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to call to get quotes for most policies and you should read your contract carefully before signing to avoid any surprise penalties or fees.

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 Review Methodology.

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. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Index." Accessed September 10, 2020. 

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Protective Life Corporation and Its Key Life Subsidiaries." Accessed September 10, 2020. 

  3. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance and Annuity Providers Are More Customer-Centric but Gaps Remain, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed September 10, 2020. 

  4. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Protective Life Insurance Company Form N-6," Page 13. Accessed September 10, 2020. 

  5. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Protective Life Insurance Company Form N-6," Page 37. Accessed September 10, 2020.