SBLI Life Insurance Review

Simple, affordable coverage with no medical exams for policies under $750,000

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SBLI Life Insurance

SBLI Life Insurance

Our Take

SBLI offers life insurance coverage in every state but New York, providing term life, whole life, and final expense coverage with a variety of riders and high coverage limits. No medical exam is required for qualified applicants, and you can get a quote for term coverage online in just a few seconds.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Paramedical exams are not required for policies $750,000 or less

  • Online quotes offered

  • Accelerated underwriting available

  • High coverage limits

Cons
  • Not available in all states

  • Medical exams required for all policies over $750,00 and applicants over 60

  • Online quotes not offered for whole life

Key Takeaways
  • SBLI offers term, whole life, and final expense coverage in 49 states plus Washington, D.C., but not in New York.
  • Online quotes are available for both term life and final expense policies.
  • Representatives are available six days a week via phone or online chat.
  • The company has high consumer satisfaction ratings as well as a low National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index.
Company Overview

SBLI, which stands for Simply Better Life Insurance, is owned by The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts and calls itself the “no-nonsense life insurance company.” Its parent company was founded in 1907 by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and today it provides both term and whole life policies, as well as annuities, in 49 states plus the District of Columbia.

SBLI has written more than a million policies since its founding and still operates with three of Justice Brandeis’ original values in mind:

  • To always act in the customer’s best interest
  • To make getting life insurance painless and affordable
  • To treat the customer with respect at all times

Geographical Restrictions

Life insurance policies through SBLI are offered in 49 states, excluding New York, as well as the District of Columbia.

  • Year Founded 1907
  • Kinds of Plans Term life, whole life, final expense
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Online chat or phone: (888) 630-5000; both are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.
  • Official Website www.sbli.com

SBLI 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

  • Paramedical exams are not required for policies $750,000 or less: If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, and looking to buy $750,000 or less in coverage, you can purchase a policy without the need for a medical exam. Some health questions may be asked over the phone, but there will be no physical exam or labs required.
  • Online quotes offered: You can calculate coverage needs, get a quote, and even begin your application for coverage online through the SBLI website.
  • Accelerated underwriting available: Nearly half of all SBLI policy application decisions are made within a week, and paramedical exams are not required for all applicants.
  • High coverage limits: SBLI offers coverage up to $20 million to applicants who qualify.

Cons Explained

  • Not available in all states: SBLI does not write policies in New York, though they are available in the remaining 49 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Medical exams required for all policies over $750,00 and applicants over 60: If you are over age 60 or looking to purchase more than $750,000 in coverage, a standard paramedical exam is required.
  • Online quotes not offered for whole life: You can only get an online quote for term life or final expense coverage. If you’re looking to buy whole life, however, you’ll need to speak with a representative to get pricing information.

Available Plans

There are a few different term and whole life policies to choose from at SBLI. Not all policies are available in all states.

SBLI Term Life

The SBLI term life policy offers affordable, level coverage of $100,000 or more, with level premiums for 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. This policy is guaranteed renewable through age 95 and can be converted to a permanent life insurance policy up to age 75. Applicants ages 18 to 60, who are buying coverage of $750,000 or less, can purchase a policy without a medical exam. Optional riders include the waiver of premium and accelerated death benefit. 

SmartTerm 360

As your assets grow and your children get older, chances are that you won’t need as much coverage in 30 years as you do today. The SmartTerm 360 policy accounts for that and combines three separate guaranteed level term policies (10-, 20-, and 30-year) to adapt to your family’s changing financial needs. With this policy, you can reduce your coverage, opting for 10 years of the highest coverage level (and therefore, the highest premiums), 10 years of medium coverage (at a reduced premium), and another 10 years of your lowest coverage amount (at an even lower premium). Term coverage starts at $100,000.

One-Year Non-Renewable Term Life

Available to issue ages 18 through 90, SBLI’s non-renewable, one-year term life policy offers short-term protection for a variety of needs. This coverage, while non-renewable, can be converted to a permanent life policy without the need for a medical exam

This one-year term policy is non-renewable, so you will need to requalify if you choose to buy coverage again after the first year. If you already know that you need multiple years of term protection, it may be better to buy a 10-year term life policy (that you can then cancel early, if needed) or plan to convert this policy to permanent coverage at its expiration.

SBLI Whole Life

With a whole life insurance policy, you can protect your loved ones with permanent coverage that lasts for life. This coverage includes a level premium and also builds cash value that you can borrow against while you’re still alive. Coverage can be issued to applicants up to age 80, with a maturity age of 121. Minimum coverage starts at $25,000, depending on rate class. Coverage maxes out at $30 million (or $20 million, depending on what your state allows), for those who qualify.

Cherish Life (Final Expense Whole Life)

You can purchase between $2,000 and $35,000 in final expense coverage from SBLI with the Cherish Life policy. This policy is offered to applicants ages 50 through 80 and can provide your loved ones with enough financial protection to cover your funeral, medical bills, and the like. 

This policy is not available in New York or Connecticut and includes a three-year graded benefit. This means that if you pass away within the first three years of issue, your loved ones will only receive the full policy benefit if your death is deemed accidental. 

Available Riders

Life insurance policy riders enable you to add extra coverage and features to your existing policy. These riders may be included with your policy or come at an additional charge; not all riders will be available on all policies or in all areas.

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

This rider is included on all SBLI life insurance policies at no additional premium charge. The accelerated death benefit rider pays up to $250,000 if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have 12 months or less to live. This accelerated payout is deducted from your policy’s total death benefit. 

Children’s Level Term Rider

This rider, available on SBLI term and whole life policies, provides coverage for all of your minor children at one low cost. It applies to all children who are greater than 15 days old but less than 23 years old at the date of issue, and who are unmarried and financially dependent on you. This child term coverage can be converted into an SBLI permanent policy before its expiration, with a coverage limit of up to five times the rider’s face value.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

If you were to pass away as the result of (and within 180 days of) an accident, this accidental death benefit rider would offer an additional benefit to your loved ones on top of your policy’s face value. This rider is available on both term and whole life policies.

Waiver of Premium Rider

With the waiver of premium rider, you are able to keep your life insurance coverage intact if you are totally and permanently disabled. This rider would waive your monthly premiums and is available on term and whole life policies.

Guaranteed Purchase Option Rider

Available on whole life policies, the guaranteed purchase option rider gives you the ability to purchase more life insurance coverage at specific times, without the need for additional medical underwriting. Additional coverage may be added at certain ages or following specific life events.

Term Rider

Offered on whole life policies, the term rider allows you to add extra, temporary life insurance coverage to your permanent policy. This rider is offered in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year options and can help cover expenses that only last a certain amount of time, such as a 30-year mortgage or the number of years until your kids are grown.

Single-Pay Paid-Up Additions Rider

This rider allows you to make an additional cash deposit when you buy your whole life insurance policy, which increases your policy’s cash value and overall death benefit.

Cash-Out Term Rider

The 30-year, cash-out term rider can be added to whole life policies and offers additional term life insurance coverage on top of your permanent coverage. If you surrender this rider, you can receive a partial or full refund of the rider premiums.

Child Level Term Rider

Only available on final expense policies, this rider offers term coverage for minor children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the insured. This level premium coverage applies to children and grandchildren who are between 30 days and 17 years of age at the date of issue, though newly eligible minors can also be added to the policy later on.

Customer Service

You can speak with an SBLI life insurance agent via online chat or over the phone. For new policy inquiries, the phone number is (888) 630-5000. Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST.

Complaint Index

Each year, insurance companies are awarded a complaint index by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This complaint index demonstrates the number of consumer complaints each company received throughout the year, according to the average expected number. 

The complaint index is adjusted for each company’s size, with the average always being 1.00. If a company’s complaint index is above 1.00, it received more complaints than expected that year; an index below 1.00 indicates fewer than expected complaints.

In 2020, SBLI earned a complaint index of 0.00, since they did not receive a single individual life insurance consumer complaint. In 2019, the company’s complaint index was 0.17 (three total complaints) and in 2018, it was 0.81 (11 total complaints). This demonstrates a downward, positive trend in terms of consumer satisfaction.

Third-Party Ratings

A company’s third-party ratings can help you gauge its reputation as well as its financial stability. One of the most valuable third-party ratings is the one provided by AM Best, which evaluates a company’s financial strength. A high financial strength rating gives you the confidence that a carrier will be around (and solvent) if and when your loved ones ever need to file a claim.

According to AM Best, SBLI has a financial strength rating of A (Excellent). This is the third-highest rating provided by AM Best.

Cancellation Policy

SBLI offers a 30-day, money-back cancellation policy. This means that if you decide your SBLI policy isn’t right for you, you can cancel anytime within the first 30 days and get a refund of all premiums paid to that point. 

Beyond the 30-day mark, you can cancel your term life policy without penalty. Simply contact SBLI to end coverage; if you stop paying premiums, your coverage also will end.

If you have a permanent life insurance policy that builds a cash value, canceling is a bit trickier. Depending on when you purchased coverage, you may be able to get a portion of your policy’s cash value refunded back to you, minus a surrender fee.

Price

The cost of life insurance coverage depends on a number of personal factors. These include the applicant’s age, gender, location, health and medical history, tobacco use, and of course, the level and type of coverage they want to buy.

If you are non-binary or transgender, you will not be denied life insurance coverage due to gender alone. However, you may find that carriers will base their underwriting on your birth gender, rather than your stated gender.

Through SBLI, you can get a quote for either term or final expense coverage online in just seconds. We found that a healthy, 35-year-old woman in Virginia could purchase $500,000 in 30-year term coverage for under $31 a month, with no medical exam required. A 50-year-old Virginia woman could purchase $35,000 in final expense coverage for about $88 a month.

In order to get a quote for whole life coverage, you will need to contact an SBLI representative.

Competition

To help you decide whether SBLI is the right choice for you, we have compared this carrier to Mutual of Omaha, one of our top picks for the best life insurance companies.

Both SBLI and Mutual of Omaha offer term, whole life, and final expense coverage, though Mutual of Omaha also offers a variety of indexed universal life (IUL) plans. Mutual of Omaha also boasts an A+ AM Best rating to SBLI’s A, though SBLI offers an exceptional 0.00 complaint ratio for 2020 to Mutual of Omaha’s 1.22.

Both carriers provide online quotes and have comparable pricing for term coverage. In fact, we found that a 35-year-old Virginia woman could buy a 30-year term policy with $500,000 in coverage for $35 a month through Mutual of Omaha or $31 a month through SBLI.

SBLI does have a slight edge in terms of pricing for some customers and also provides online chat options if you have questions. However, Mutual of Omaha wins out for offering more plan options; if you are an older applicant, Mutual of Omaha allows term policies to be renewed through age 94 and whole life policies can be purchased as late as age 85.

  SBLI Mutual of Omaha
Market Share Unranked, 0.241% 17th-largest in the U.S., 1.4%
Number of Plans  11 
Service Method  Representatives  Direct, through agents, or employer-based (group) 
AM Best Rating  A+ 
Price Rank  About Average  About Average 
Complaint Index 0.00 Exceptional 1.22 Below Average
Final Verdict

If you are looking for term life, whole life, or final expense coverage, SBLI offers life insurance in every state except New York. They provide quick online quotes and don’t require medical exams if you’re under 60 and buying $750,000 or less in coverage, making the company worth a look if you want a simple insurance-buying experience. Though the number of plans isn’t robust, they do offer high coverage limits and accelerated underwriting for those who qualify.

Methodology

We implement a comprehensive methodology when reviewing life insurance carriers in order to give readers the most accurate view of the company possible. This includes looking at factors such as consumer satisfaction, third-party ratings, product availability, and customer service access. We also look at the coverage options available, average pricing, and how easy it is to make changes to your coverage.

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. "The Savings Bank Mut Life Ins Co of National Complaint Index Report." Accessed May 14, 2021.

  2. NAIC. "Mutual Of Omaha Ins Co National Complaint Index Report." Accessed May 22, 2021.