United Life Insurance Review

A smaller provider with tons of riders to perfect your coverage

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United Life Insurance

United Life Insurance

Our Take

In addition to its annuity products, United Life Insurance Company offers whole, term, and universal life insurance. Although plans are limited, several riders are available to allow for the right customized coverage for your entire family.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Strong financial support

  • No medical exam for some plans

  • Plenty of riders to choose from

Cons
  • Newer company

  • Must work with an agent

  • Very little transparency online

Key Takeaways
  • United Life Insurance was founded in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1962 but was acquired by Kuvare Holdings in 2018.
  • There is whole, term, and universal life insurance available, in addition to annuity products.
  • United does not offer many details online, instead referring you to an agent in its 37 states of service. 
  • Pricing is based on five main underwriting classes that account for age and medical condition.
Company Overview

Established in 1962, United Life is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where it offers whole, universal, and term life insurance as well as annuities. Its products are sold through a select group of independent insurance agents and financial advisors located across the country.

In 2018, United Life Insurance Company was sold to Chicago-based Kuvare Holdings, joining their portfolio of existing insurance companies. Since the merger, premiums have grown by $42.5 million year-to-date. 

Geographical Restrictions

United Life is licensed in 37 states across the U.S. Its products are sold through a network of approximately 1,350 independent agencies that include financial institutions and advisors through broker-dealer groups. 

United Life is most popular in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, with nearly 72% of 2018 premiums written in just those five states.

  • Year Founded 1962
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal
  • Number of Plans 4
  • Payment Plan Options Annually, semi-annually, quarterly, monthly
  • Customer Service lifeins@unitedlife.com; 800-637-6318; 888-726-9736 fax
  • Official Website www.unitedlife.com

United 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 

  • Strong financial support: Since Kuvare Holdings acquired the company in 2018, United Life has become a company with strong financial backing for greater peace of mind when it comes to claims filing. 
  • No medical exam for some plans: United Life does not require a medical exam for most policies under $100,000 in coverage.
  • Plenty of riders to choose from: United Life offers 13 riders that you can choose to fully customize your insurance policy.

Cons Explained 

  • Newer company: Established in 1962, United Life is one of the newer kids on the block, while some of its competitors have been in business for more than 150 years.
  • Must work with an agent: United Life requires its customers to purchase insurance policies directly through partner agents and financial institutions. 
  • Very little transparency online: Unlike other companies, United Life has very little information about its products online, instead requiring you to talk to an agent for details.

Available Plans

With United Life’s insurance plans, you can receive up to $100,000 in coverage. There is no medical exam required for some policies, but higher value policies will likely require an exam. If you want to take a loan against your life insurance policy, loans carry interest of 8% (6% for Montana residents). United Life also offers incentives for non-smokers with additional wellness benefits that can save you extra money each year.

United Life does not publish details about its policies online, so you will need to work with an agent for more details about life insurance options.

Whole

United Life offers whole insurance policies that are available in either a single-premium or limited-pay format. Its minimum policy size is $5,000, and policies carry no policy fees. Policies are available for customers between the ages of 0 and 90, although those between the ages of 86 and 90 have $100,000 in maximum coverage. There is also term coverage available for older individuals up to the age of 121.

Plans can include the Living Benefit Rider and Return of Premium Rider, which provides certain guaranteed benefits when you cash out your policy after the second year. 

United Life also offers the return of premium benefit based on the year of your natural death: 

  • Year 1: Return of premium plus 4.50% interest
  • Year 2: 50% of the ultimate death benefit 
  • Year 3: 100% of the ultimate death benefit

Term

Term life insurance is a type of limited insurance that includes a guaranteed death benefit if the policyholder dies while the policy is active. However, term insurance has a specific end date. When the policy’s term expires, you may have the option to renew, terminate, or convert to a permanent policy. Policies are typically available with available coverage ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, but coverage varies between different life insurance providers.

For more information about United Life’s term insurance, you will need to contact an agent for details. 

Universal

Unlike term insurance, universal life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance that builds cash value. The premiums you pay can have partial investment value, building worth over time, in addition to the death benefit that your beneficiaries can claim after your death. Coverage is generally much larger than term insurance, too, with policies ranging from $50,000 to $3 million or more, depending on your provider.

For more information about United Life’s universal life insurance, you will need to contact an agent for details. 

Available Riders

United Life offers several riders that you can purchase for your life insurance plan to create more customized coverage for your needs.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

If there is an accidental death, United Life pays 100% of the ultimate death benefit from the policy's effective date. 

Children’s Insurance Rider

This rider offers a death benefit if your child passes away while the policy is active.

Cost of Living Rider

This rider can help ensure that any premiums paid are adjusted to reflect inflation at time of payout. 

Disability Income Rider

Should you experience a disability, this rider can provide financial support to help with the cost of your medical care. 

Disability Premium Payment Rider/DWC

If you experience a total disability, this rider can ensure that your premiums are waived during the period of disability. This is an option available for ages between 18 and 60 years and expires at age 65.

Guaranteed Insurance Option

With this rider, you can choose up to five Guaranteed Insurance Options (GIOs) with the last GIO expiring at age 85.

Juvenile Guaranteed Insurability

This protection is automatically issued to those policyholders between the ages of 0 and 15 years, providing coverage in some cases through age 25. Then, the policyholder has the option to apply for permanent insurance coverage when the additional insured turns age 25 and ages out of the policy’s included protections. Additional permanent insurance coverage may amount to up to 10 times your current death benefit or $100,000 total.

Living Benefit Rider

The Living Benefit Rider is an option included on non-rated cases between $25,000 and $500,000, offering access to the accelerated death benefit if the policyholder becomes terminally or chronically ill. There is no cost for this coverage, and it is automatically included with a minimum $50,000 death benefit.

Qualified Care Accelerated Death Benefit Rider 

Available for qualifying policyholders between the ages of 18 and 85, this rider holds a minimum $50,000 face amount with a $300,000 maximum rider benefit. If you are deemed disabled, you may receive a partial payment from the policy’s death benefit when you are receiving long-term care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at home.

Return of Premium (ROP) 

This premium is included on policies of $25,000 or more for policyholders that are ages 41 and older. On or after the second policy anniversary, you can access your policy’s cash surrender value minus any applicable fees or charges. 

Scheduled Increase Option Rider

With this rider, you can increase the amount of coverage that you have over time as your income increases. 

Spouse Insurance Rider/Other Insured

This rider can provide life insurance coverage for your spouse or dependent under your policy’s coverage.  

Term Rider

This term insurance rider can add additional term coverage for your policy when you need extra short-term coverage. 

Customer Service

United Life offers customer service support via phone, fax, and email. There is also an online portal for existing customers to make payments and file a claim. You can begin the claims process with United Life’s online claim form, but United still recommends calling its claims department toll-free at 800-637-6318. 

United Life’s Customer Service Center is available to help Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST, excluding holidays.

Type of Customer Support Contact
Customer support phone 800-637-6318
Fax 888-726-9736 
Claims line  866-281-1921 
Email  lifeins@unitedlife.com 
Mailing address  United Life Insurance Company
PO Box 729
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-0729 

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) uses its complaint index to track the number of customer complaints that an insurance company receives each year. The baseline average score is 1.0, but United Life scores some of the industry’s best ratings. Its 2020 average is already a low 0.12, but in 2019 and 2018, United Life did not receive a single complaint. That’s an extremely rare feat amongst insurance companies, demonstrating that United‘s policyholders are very happy with the customer service that they receive. 

Third-Party Ratings

To better determine a company’s worth, we look to industry experts for the latest 2020 rankings. AM Best is one type of rating that shows a company’s financial reliability. United Life holds an A- (Excellent) financial strength rating with AM Best, indicating that it is a company that offers reliable financial backing. Also important is the J.D. Power customer satisfaction study, which rates companies on their level of customer service each year. However, the annual survey typically includes much larger companies and United Life did not make the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study.

Cancellation Policy 

There is a free-look period for all United Life insurance policies. It typically lasts for 10 days but will ultimately depend on the state in which you live. If you decide to cancel your plan before or after the free look period, you can call 800-637-6318. You can also contact your agent directly to discuss what penalties and fees may apply if you choose to cancel your policy after the free look period.

Price

With most United Life Single Premium Whole Life (SPWL) policies under $100,000, United has a simplified application process that skips a required medical exam and instead requires just three medical questions. However, policies of $100,001 or more may require full underwriting guidelines, such as blood tests and paramedic exams.

Life insurance policies are generally based on a variety of factors, including your current health, medical history, age, and gender. United Life does not disclose its policies on gender, but most insurance companies today base pricing on your sex at birth and not current gender identity. 

Competition 

United Life is a significantly smaller life insurance company than others like New York Life. While New York Life holds nearly 6% of insurance premiums, United Life holds less than 0.025%. United Life also offers significantly fewer plans, although it does reward policyholders with wellness and non-smoking incentives. 

You will need to work with an agent, regardless of which company you choose. Both companies also hold impressive customer satisfaction ratings. However, United Life is significantly more limited than New York Life, making New York Life a better choice when you want greater security and more choices for your life insurance.

  United Life New York Life
Market Share 0.024% Third-largest in U.S., 5.7%
Number of Plans  4 10
Dividends for 2020  $410.5 million $1.9 billion
Wellness Program Discounts/ Quit Smoking Incentives  Yes Not applicable
Service Method  Agents Agents 
AM Best Rating  A- (Excellent) A++ (Superior)
Price Rank  Depends on policyholder Better than most
Complaints Trend  0.12 (Excellent) 0.15 (Excellent)
Final Verdict

United Life is much smaller and more limited than many of its competitors. However, its 2018 sale to Kuvare Holdings brought an infusion of financial capital that has improved financial reliability and customer service overall for customers looking for better peace of mind with their insurer.

Methodology

Investopedia’s exclusive life insurance review methodology evaluates companies based on a series of specific factors to best determine a company’s overall value. We consider the types of insurance products available, as well as the different plan options and riders available for customized coverage. Pricing is another consideration, including how a company uses its underwriting policy to evaluate potential policyholders. Also important are industry ratings, which judge a company based on factors like customer satisfaction and financial reliability. Based on these factors and more, our team is able to offer the latest in-depth insurance reviews so you can make the best decision for your family in 2021 and beyond.

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. Insurance News Net. "United Life Launches New Product with Guarantees and Living Benefits." Accessed May 31, 2021.

  2. Iowa Insurance Division. "United Life Insurance Company Examination Report." Accessed May 31, 2021.

  3. NAIC. "United Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report." Accessed May 21, 2021.