Prudential Life Insurance Review

High coverage levels and a variety of riders, but term coverage is expensive

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Prudential

 Prudential

Investopedia’s Rating
4.0

Our Take

If you’re looking for term life insurance with generous conversion options and living benefits, Prudential is a solid choice. Compared to several industry peers, Prudential’s term policies are not the cheapest, but they come with a wide range of riders you can use to enhance and customize your coverage. Plus, the company has an impressive menu of permanent life insurance policies with high face amounts. 

However, while it has fewer consumer complaints for a company its size, Prudential’s customer satisfaction ratings leave something to be desired.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Few customer complaints

  • Generous term conversion options

  • Living benefit riders included with coverage

  • No-medical-exam life insurance to $3 million

Cons
  • Expensive term coverage

  • Below average customer satisfaction ratings

Company Overview

Prudential was founded in 1875 and was the first company to offer affordable life insurance policies to working-class families. Today, Prudential has a global presence and is the fourth-largest life insurance company in the United States, with more than $10.6 billion in direct premiums, according to the NAIC. The company is headquartered in Newark, NJ.

  • Year Founded 1875
  • Kinds of Policies Term life, universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life
  • Payment Options ACH transfer, check
  • Customer Service Email: service@prudential.com. Online claims. Phone support: Policy numbers starting with V: 1-800-944-8786; Policy numbers starting with FE: 1-833-626-1865; All other policy numbers: 1-800-778-2255
  • Official Website https://www.prudential.com/
specifications
AM Best Rating
A+
NAIC Score (avg.)
N/A
Years In Business
N/A
Policy Types
Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL)
Accepts Credit Cards
No

Pros Explained

  • Few customer complaints: Prudential had fewer complaints over the last three years than expected based on the company’s size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
  • Generous term conversion options: You can convert a Prudential term policy into one of its currently sold permanent life insurance policies until the end of the term period or age 65 without taking a medical exam. This is a nice benefit since some companies limit the conversion period or don’t let you choose which policy to convert into.
  • Living benefit riders included with coverage: Prudential offers its Living Needs Benefit rider free of charge on most policies. With the rider, you can receive a portion of the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, are confined to a nursing home, or require an organ transplant.
  • No-medical-exam life insurance to $3 million: If you’d prefer to skip the medical exam when applying for coverage, you can do it with Prudential as long as you’re 60 or younger and applying for a coverage amount between $100,000 and $3 million. Few companies we reviewed offer that much coverage to anyone over 50 without a medical exam.

Cons Explained

  • Expensive term coverage: Pricing for Prudential’s term policies is more than double the cost of some other companies’ premiums. 
  • Below average customer satisfaction ratings: Many other life insurance companies with similar product offerings were ranked higher in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Life Insurance Study. Prudential came in 15th out of 21 companies.

Complaint Index

Each year, the NAIC calculates a complaint index for every insurance company based on the number of complaints the company receives relative to its size. An index of 1.0 means a company received the expected amount of complaints given its size. Most of the top companies we review don’t score over 1.0 in any given year. Over the past three years, the average complaint index for Prudential was 0.67, which indicates that the company received fewer complaints than expected given its size. 

Third-Party Ratings

Prudential has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best, an independent rating agency focused on the insurance industry. An A+ rating from AM Best means it thinks the company has superior ability to pay claims in the future, an important factor for buyers to consider given the long-term nature of life insurance. We typically don’t recommend any insurance providers that are rated below an A-. 

However, Prudential does less well when it comes to customer satisfaction. The company was ranked below average in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Life Insurance Study. It received a score of 753 out of 1,000, while the industry average was 776. Out of 21 major life insurance companies, 14 scored higher than Prudential in this study. 

Competition

  Prudential  MassMutual  New York Life 
Types of coverage Term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal Term, whole, universal, variable universal Term, whole, universal, variable universal
Online application  Available  Available  Not available 
AM Best rating  A+  A++  A++ 
Price for term policies  Poor  Better than average  Unknown 
NAIC complaint index (averaged over three years)  0.511  0.133  0.279 
J.D. Power ranking  15 

Policies Available

With most of Prudential’s term and permanent life insurance products, except survivorship policies, accelerated underwriting is available to healthy applicants between 18 and 60 who are applying for $100,000 to $3 million in life insurance. An interview is required, but a medical exam is not. However, you won’t know if you qualify for the accelerated underwriting path until you apply. If you’re not eligible, you can still get life insurance from Prudential with a medical exam. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is designed to protect your family during a period of financial obligation, such as while saving for college or paying off a mortgage. If you die outside of the term you choose, your family won’t receive a death benefit. However, term life insurance is much more affordable than permanent life insurance and is sufficient for most people. 

SimplyTerm

With SimplyTerm, applicants between the ages of 18 and 75 can apply for $100,000 to $1 million in coverage. Applicants aged 55 and younger can choose 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year level premium periods. In addition to a terminal illness rider that is included with the policy at no additional cost, policyowners can obtain an accidental death benefit rider for a fee. The SimplyTerm application can be completed entirely online, and, once issued, the policy can be converted to a permanent policy without a medical exam. 

Term Essential

Prudential calls this its most affordable term life insurance option. Applicants ages 18 to 75 can buy 10, 15, 20, and 30-year term policies with coverage amounts ranging from $100,000 to $65 million. Premiums stay level for the life of the term. Compared to SimplyTerm, the Term Essential policy comes with a wider range of rider options to customize your plan. 

PruTerm One

This is Prudential’s annually renewable policy, which can be a good choice if you only need coverage for a few years. The minimum coverage amounts available are $50,000 for ages 18 to 75 and $250,000 for ages 76 to 85. The maximum face amount you can purchase is $10 million. Premiums stay level for one year and increase each year that you renew the policy. Coverage ends at age 95. A living needs benefit rider can be added at no cost to this policy, which can be converted to a permanent policy in the first five years. 

If you’re looking for coverage for a period of ten years or more, PruTerm won’t be the right choice for you. Since premiums increase each year, this policy can get extremely costly. 

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that offers a guaranteed death benefit as long as premiums are paid. This type of policy also builds cash value, which you can borrow against if you need it. It allows you to adjust your premium payments based on your financial situation, as long as the cash value is sufficient to pay premiums and maintain the policy. 

PruLife Essential UL

This policy offers the option of a fixed death benefit up to $65 million in coverage. The minimum face amount is $25,000 for ages 0 to 75, $100,000 for ages 76 to 80, and $250,000 for ages 81 to 85. The return of premium benefit is only available to ages 0 to 75 and with a minimum of $250,000 in coverage. Only applicants ages 86 to 90 are eligible to convert a term policy to PruLife Essential UL. You’re allowed to decrease the face amount at any time. Loans against the policy are available and you can customize the policy with a variety of riders. 

PruLife SUL Protector

This policy covers two people and pays out upon the death of the second insured. The policy comes with a fixed death benefit, and a no-lapse guarantee feature during the first five years of the policy. You can also add a living benefits rider to this policy. 

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed Universal Life Insurance is a type of permanent life insurance with flexible premiums and the option to assign cash value to both an account with a fixed and declared interest rate and an account that follows an index such as the S&P 500

Holding an indexed universal life insurance policy is not the same as investing in the stock market. You’ll be protected from losses, but your returns will be moderate. 

PruLife Index Advantage

The minimum face amount for this policy is $100,000 for ages 0 to 80, and $250,000 for ages 81 to 85. You can apply for up to $65 million in coverage. You can choose between three death benefit types: a fixed, variable, or return of premium benefit. You can assign cash value to either a fixed-interest account or one of two accounts based on index performance that have a floor of 0% to protect you from losses. 

PruLife Founders Plus UL

This plan is identical to the PruLife Index Advantage except for the account options. One option is a fixed account, one tracks the S&P 500, and the other is the Goldman Sachs Voyager Index, a Prudential exclusive. 

ProLife Survivorship Index UL

This second-to-die policy is available to applicant ages 18 to 85 and offers four interest crediting options, including three indexed accounts. The minimum face amount is typically $200,000 unless you’re 81 or older, and the maximum is $65 million. You can decrease the face amount by a minimum of $10,000 at any time. Loans are available and a variety of riders are available as well. 

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable Universal Life Insurance is a type of permanent life insurance policy that allows for flexible premium payments and gives you the option to invest the cash value component of your policy in the market. With this type of policy, you take a degree of risk (the cash value could decline) for the chance of greater returns. 

VUL Protector

With this policy, you have your choice of over 60 investment options and a fixed account option. You can get up to $65 million in coverage, and minimum face amounts range from $50,000 to $250,000 depending on your age. You can decrease the face amount by a minimum of $5,000 at any time. You also have the option of a fixed or variable death benefit. Loans against the policy are available and you can customize your coverage with riders. 

PruLife Custom Premier II

This product is similar to the VUL Protector Plan except that it also offers a third type of death benefit option, has a differently structured no-lapse guarantee, and allows you to choose from four different investment options. 

PruLife SVUL Protector

With this second-to-die plan, you can get up to $65 million in coverage. The minimum face amount is $200,000. You can choose between a fixed, variable, or return of premium death benefit type. Face amount decreases of a minimum of $10,000 are allowed at any time. You also get access to 50 different underlying investment options and a fixed-rate option. 

Survivorship policies from Prudential are not available without a medical exam. 

Available Riders

Riders are endorsements or add-ons that help you customize your coverage. Prudential offers a wide variety of riders, some of which are included at no additional cost. 

BenefitAccess Rider

This rider makes the death benefit available to you while you’re alive should you be diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. It’s available at an additional cost with the following policies:

  • PruLife Essential UL
  • PruLife Founders Plus UL
  • PruLife Index Advantage UL
  • VUL Protector
  • PruLife Custom Premier II

Survivorship BenefitAccess Rider

Available with the PruLife Survivorship Index UL policy, this rider provides access to the death benefit if both insureds become chronically or terminally ill at the same time or if the survivor becomes chronically or terminally ill.

Living Needs Benefit

This rider is included at no additional cost, but there is a charge if you use it. It allows you to access the death benefit while you’re alive if you become terminally ill, must be permanently confined to a nursing home, or need a vital organ transplant in some states. It’s available with the following policies:

  • Term Essential
  • PruTerm One
  • PruLife Essential UL
  • PruLife Founders Plus UL
  • PruLife Index Advantage UL
  • VUL Protector
  • PruLife Custom Premier II

Terminal Illness Rider

Included in SimplyTerm policies at no additional premium charge, this rider provides access to the death benefit in the event you become terminally ill. A one-time fee applies for using the rider. 

Waiver of Premium

Available with Term Essential, this rider lets you pause premium payments if you become disabled and are unable to work.

Enhanced Disability Benefit Rider

Similar to the waiver of premium rider, this is available with PruLife Index Advantage UL, VUL Protector, and PruLife Custom Premier II. 

Waiver of Monthly Deductions

With this rider, you must be totally disabled for a waiting period of six months before Prudential will start covering monthly charges. It’s available with PruLife Essential UL and PruLife Founders Plus UL. 

Children’s Protection Rider

Available with Term Essential for an additional cost, this rider provides life insurance for your children, and can be converted to a permanent individual policy at certain ages. 

Children Level Term Rider

This is similar to the Children’s Protection Rider, except that it can be added to plans at an additional cost:

  • PruLife Essential UL
  • PruLife Founders Plus UL
  • PruLife Index Advantage UL
  • VUL Protector
  • PruLife Custom Premier II

Accidental Death Benefit

This rider pays an additional death benefit if you die in an accident. It’s available at an additional cost with:

  • SimplyTerm
  • Term Essential 
  • PruLife Essential UL
  • PruLife Founders Plus UL
  • PruLife Index Advantage UL
  • VUL Protector
  • PruLife Custom Premier II

Overloan Protection Rider

This helps keep your policy from lapsing if you have an outstanding loan against your policy. There’s a one-time charge to use it. It comes with these policies:

  • PruLife Essential UL
  • PruLife Founders Plus UL
  • PruLife Index Advantage UL
  • VUL Protector
  • PruLife Custom Premier II
  • PruLife SVUL Protector

Enhanced Cash Value Riders

This gives you higher cash surrender values if you need to cancel your policy in the early years. It’s not available in New York. It comes with the following policies:

  • PruLife Essential UL
  • PruLife Founders Plus UL
  • PruLife Index Advantage UL
  • VUL Protector
  • PruLife Custom Premier II
  • PruLife SVUL Protector
  • PruLife Survivorship Index UL

Guaranteed Policy Split Rider

Available with survivorship policies, this rider allows you to split the policy into two in the event of a divorce or change in estate laws. 

Estate Protection Rider

Available at an additional cost with survivorship policies, this rider increases the death benefit by up to 100% if both insureds die within the first four years. 

Customer Service

If you need assistance with online account access, you can call 1-800-PRU-HELP on weekdays between 8am and 10pm ET. If you need help with your policy, use one of the following phone numbers:

  • Policy numbers starting with V: 1-800-944-8786 (8am to 8pm ET)
  • Policy numbers starting with FE: 1-833-626-1865 (8am to 6pm ET)
  • All other policy numbers: 1-800-778-2255 (8am to 8pm ET)

You can also file a claim online 24/7. 

Price

Pricing for Prudential’s term policies is relatively expensive when compared to other life insurance providers. We gathered premium information for 30-year term policies with a face value of $250,000 for different ages. These quotes are for applicants in excellent health. The resulting monthly premiums are below. 

  Male Female 
Age 25 $23.84 $21.00
Age 40  $39.81  $33.91 
Age 55  $188.13  $132.78 

Significantly cheaper rates are available elsewhere for all ages and genders. As an example, a 40-year-old male would pay only $28.44 for the same coverage through Protective. 

Is Prudential Life Insurance Right for Me?

Prudential has a bevy of term and permanent life policies for anyone in the market for life insurance to choose from, along with an assortment of riders that you can use to enhance and customize your coverage. You will also find at Prudential a broad selection of permanent policies, including universal life coverages with many investment options. If you are a cost-sensitive shopper, however, be aware that Prudential’s term policies are priced on the higher side compared to many peers.

Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers

We designed a comprehensive rating 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.

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. "Prudential Ins Co Of Amer National Complaint Index Report."

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

  3. J.D. Power. “2021 US Individual Life Insurance Study | JD Power.”