Transamerica Life Insurance Review

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Transamerica Life Insurance

Transamerica Life Insurance

overall rating
3.8

Transamerica is one of the 10 biggest life insurance companies in the country, offering term, whole, and universal life policies. While many insurers exclude smokers completely, Transamerica will issue policies to smokers; they may just have to pay a higher premium. And, you can get a quote for term life insurance online.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Up to $50,000 available without an exam

  • Online quotes available for some policies

  • Interactive tool to help choose a life insurance plan

Cons
  • Online quotes not available on all insurance options

  • AM Best rating recently downgraded

  • No access to financial professionals

Key Takeaways
  • Transamerica was originally founded as a bank in 1904 and is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • As of 2019, it is the eighth-largest life insurance company in terms of direct premiums written
  • Transamerica offers whole, term, universal, and index universal life insurance policies, as well as no-exam final expense options
  • Transamerica was ranked 20th out of 24 life insurance companies in the J.D. Power 2019 Life Insurance Study, and its AM Best Financial Strength Rating was recently downgraded
Company Overview

Initially founded as a bank in 1904, Transamerica has grown to be a large financial services company. In 1999, Transamerica became part of Aegon N.V., an international financial organization. Together, Transamerica and Aegon serve 13 million customers within the United States and employ over 26,000 people around the world. 

Transamerica offers retirement solutions, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), mutual funds, employee benefits, and group and individual life insurance policies. 

Transamerica is now headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is licensed to provide life insurance to residents in all 50 states.

  • Year Founded 1904
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 8
  • Payment Plan Options One-time, monthly, quarterly
  • Customer Service Agent, phone
  • Phone (800) 797-2643
  • Official Website www.transamerica.com/individual/what-we-offer/products/insurance

Pros Explained

  • Up to $50,000 in coverage available without an exam: With Transamerica’s final expense life insurance policy, you can get up to $50,000 in coverage without undergoing a medical exam. The underwriting process is automated, and coverage can begin right away. 
  • Online quotes available for some policies: While many life insurance companies require you to speak to an agent to get any information on pricing, Transamerica does allow you to get online quotes on select policies.
  • Interactive tool to help choose a life insurance plan: Transamerica’s Plan Explorer tool can help you identify the right life insurance plan for your family, health, and budget. If you’re not sure whether you want term, whole, universal, or a final expense plan, the tool can be useful during your decision-making process. 

Cons Explained

  • Online quotes not available on all insurance options: While you can get an online quote with term life insurance, online quotes are not available for Transamerica’s other policies. If you'd like to get pricing for whole, universal, final expense, or index universal life insurance, you’ll have to speak with a Transamerica agent. 
  • AM Best rating recently downgraded: In 2019, AM Best, the credit rating agency focused on the insurance industry, downgraded the Financial Strength Rating of Transamerica from A+ to A.
    While an A rating is still strong, being downgraded is a significant change in the insurance industry, and reflects increased risk. 
  • No access to financial professionals: While other insurance companies allow you to consult with financial professionals to help you make decisions about your insurance needs, Transamerica doesn’t have that option. If you need help, your only choices are to talk with Transamerica’s general customer support team or an insurance agent. 

Available Plans

Whether you’re looking for a policy that will cover your final expenses or you want to leave your grandchildren a legacy, Transamerica has multiple coverage options to choose from. The insurer has eight different life insurance plans. If you’re not sure which is right for you, you can use Transamerica’s Plan Explorer tool to review your options. 

Term Life

If you opt for term life insurance, you select a policy term between 10 and 30 years. You pay premiums for the length of the term and, if you pass away while your policy is in effect, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. Transamerica offers two term life options: 

  • Trendsetter Super: You can get up to $10 million in coverage with Trendsetter Super. At the end of the term, you can opt to convert the policy to permanent coverage without having to undergo another medical exam. 
  • Trendsetter LB: Trendsetter LB provides up to $2 million in death benefits, but you can also get living benefits if you have a qualifying chronic, terminal, or critical illness. 

The only policies you can get a quote for online with Transamerica are term life policies. For all other types of life insurance, you need to call an agent.

Whole Life

Whole life insurance provides permanent protection and can accumulate cash value you can tap into in an emergency. Transamerica's whole life policies range from $25,000 to $2 million. With whole life, you can borrow from your policy’s cash value as a loan, but doing so decreases the policy’s death benefit. 

Universal Life

Universal life insurance is made up of two parts: a guaranteed death benefit and a cash value component. The cash value earnings grow cash-deferred until cash is withdrawn. And, policy owners can modify their premium amounts, giving them more flexibility. 

With Transamerica’s Index Universal Life Policy, you have a guaranteed death benefit, but you also have the opportunity for growth. When you make your premium payments, you can allocate the payments to a basic interest account or an index account. Over time, you can grow your policy value through excess index interest based on changes to the major stock indexes. 

Transamerica Financial Foundation Index Universal Life Policy 

What sets the Financial Foundation Index Universal Life Policy apart from Transamerica’s other policies is that it has a guaranteed minimum interest rate. It also has tax benefits like the ability to take out tax-free loans and withdrawals, tax deferral on any earnings, and tax-free transfers between account options. 

Final Expense Insurance

A final expense policy is intended to cover your burial expenses when you pass away. Transamerica offers up to $50,000 in coverage without a medical exam, with no waiting period for coverage to begin and no increase in premium due to age. There are three final expense options: 

  • Immediate Solution: Immediate Solution is available to people between the ages of 0 and 85, and coverage is paid in full through age 121. 
  • Easy Solution: Coverage is issued between ages 18 and 80 (50 to 75 in New York), and there is a graded death benefit. 
  • 10-Pay: The premium is payable for 10 years, and issued between ages 0 and 85. 

Available Riders

Insurance endorsements, more commonly referred to as riders, are modifications or additions to your insurance policy. You can use riders to adjust your coverage, add covered persons, or increase your coverage amount. Transamerica offers the following riders to customize your policy: 

Accelerated Death Benefit With Nursing Home Benefit

Available for final expense policies, subject to state availability, the accelerated death benefit with nursing home benefit rider would pay the face amount upon diagnosis of a qualifying event or confinement in a qualified nursing facility. 

Accidental Death Benefit

If you pass away due to an accidental bodily injury, the accidental death benefit rider would provide a death benefit for the face amount of your final expense policy. 

Children’s Benefit Rider

Add a rider to your index universal policy to get fixed-rate term insurance for children up to 18 years of age. 

Chronic Illness Accelerated Death Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a qualifying chronic illness and have this rider on your policy, you can access a portion of your death benefits early to pay for your care. 

Disability Waiver of Premium

If you become disabled, this rider waives the monthly premiums for the duration of your disability by applying the rider benefit as the policy’s premium payment.

Terminal Illness Accelerated Benefit

If you receive a terminal illness diagnosis, you can receive a portion of your death benefit while you’re alive. 

Customer Service

To get a quote, you can call Transamerica’s customer service department at (855) 288-4181. It is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT. Or, you can use Transamerica’s search tool to find an agent near you. 

Transamerica doesn’t have an online chat feature, but you can manage your account and make payments online. 

Unfortunately, Transamerica doesn’t have an option for customers to speak with financial professionals about their insurance needs and investing goals, which is a significant drawback.

While Transamerica does have an app, it’s geared toward its retirement plans. You can’t manage your life insurance policy, make payments, or file a claim through the app

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) runs a database of consumer complaints about insurance companies. Each year, the NAIC publishes companies’ complaint ratios, showing how many complaints they received relative to their market share. 

Scores above 1.0 are considered worse-than-average, while scores below 1.0 are better-than-average. In 2019, Transamerica’s complaint ratio was 1.31, slightly worse-than-average. 

Since 2017, Transamerica’s complaint ratio has been consistently over 1.0 which is worse-than-average.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best is a credit rating agency that issues Financial Strength Ratings (FSRs) on insurance companies. The AM Best FSRs are an opinion of an insurer’s ability to meet its policy and contract obligations. A stellar rating from AM Best indicates that a company is likely to remain in business and be able to pay out its claims. 

Transamerica is a subsidiary of Aegon. Previously, Aegon had an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best. But in 2019, the agency downgraded Aegon and its subsidiaries to an A (Excellent) rating, a substantial adjustment. 

In the J.D. Power 2019 Life Insurance Study, Transamerica was ranked 20th out of 24 individual life insurance companies. The study took into account factors like communications, coverage options, and pricing. As of 2019, Transamerica is the eighth-largest life insurance company in terms of direct premiums written according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Cancellation Policy

To cancel your policy, contact your Transamerica agent or call Transamerica’s customer support team. 

Transamerica has a 10-day “free-look” period, meaning you have 10 days after the policy has been issued to cancel it for a full refund of all premiums paid. If you cancel it within the free-look period, Transamerica will treat the policy as if it was never issued, and will issue you a refund within seven days. 

Price

Transamerica’s pricing is considered to be generally fair to average, but your pricing is dependent on a range of factors. Your premiums are affected by your age, coverage options, health, health habits, driving record, and your location. 

We got quotes for Transamerica’s Trendsetter Super term life insurance policy for a 30-year-old male and female, both in excellent health.

Term 30-Year-Old Female 30-Year-Old Male
10 Years $8.60 per month $9.68 per month
15 Years $9.68 per month $10.32 per month
20 Years $11.40 per month $12.90 per month

Different factors could cause your premiums to increase, such as a past history of driving accidents or smoking. 

Like most insurance companies, Transamerica requires you to select either male or female as your gender when you apply for insurance. If you are nonbinary, you are not disqualified from getting life insurance. However, life insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes yet, so you may find the application process frustrating or restrictive. 

Competition

While Transamerica has multiple life insurance options, including no-exam coverage, it’s a good idea to compare multiple life insurance companies and get quotes from different insurers to ensure you don’t overpay for coverage. 

Another insurance company to consider is Prudential Life Insurance, the fifth-largest life insurance company in the United States. Unlike Transamerica, which requires you to purchase your policies through an agent, Prudential allows qualified customers to get term life insurance quotes and buy life insurance completely online. For those looking for a quick and convenient option, Prudential has an edge over Transamerica. 

However, Transamerica may be a better choice than Prudential if you’re looking for more coverage options. While Prudential has term life insurance and universal policies, it does not offer whole life coverage or final expense policies.

  Transamerica Life Insurance Prudential Life Insurance
Market Share Eighth-largest in the U.S., 3.4% Fifth-largest in the U.S., 4.6%
Number of Plans 8 12
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Not applicable
Service Method Agents Online, agents
AM Best Rating A (Excellent) A+ (Superior)
J.D. Power's Price Rank Fair Average
Complaints Trend 1.31 0.33
Verdict

If you’re looking for versatility and flexibility, a life insurance policy from Transamerica may be the solution. With coverage options ranging from a basic final expense policy to a $10 million term life policy, there are multiple plans available to meet your needs. And Transamerica’s Plan Explorer tool can help you review your options and pick the best policy for your budget. 

However, Transamerica’s customer service is limited, and it doesn’t provide customers with access to financial professionals. If you need more guidance, you may be better off with another insurer who can give you more personalized advice.

Methodology

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 that 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

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. AM Best. "AM Best Downgrades Credit Ratings of Aegon N.V.'s U.S. Subsidiaries." Accessed August 13, 2020. 

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Index." Accessed August 13, 2020. 

  3. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance and Annuity Providers Are More Customer-Centric But Gaps Remain, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed August 13, 2020.

  4. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts and Statistics: Life Insurance." Accessed August 14, 2020. 

  5. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Form N-6 Registration Statement: Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company." Accessed August 17, 2020.