West Coast Life Insurance Review

A Subsidiary of Protective

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Protective Life


Investopedia’s Rating

Our Take

West Coast Life Insurance Company was acquired by Protective in 1997. It sells life insurance products and annuities nationwide. The company has a superior financial strength rating and received fewer complaints than expected over the last three years. But it’s very difficult to find information about the company’s specific policy offerings.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
  • Fewer than expected customer complaints

  • Financially strong company

  • A subsidiary of a “best” life insurance company

  • Very little information available online

  • Policies might be provided by a different company

Company Overview

West Coast Life Insurance Company was founded in 1906 in San Francisco, California. The company’s long history is full of mergers. It was bought by Nationwide Corporation in 1964 and remained a part of that company for decades until it was bought by Protective Life Insurance Company in 1997. 

The company has been incorporated in the state of Nebraska. Even though Protective is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and West Coast shares their Birmingham mailing address, the state of domicile for West Coast Life Insurance Company is still Nebraska. West Coast is a nationwide provider of life insurance, annuities, and other products.

AM Best Rating
NAIC Score (avg.)
Years In Business
116 Years
Policy Types
Term, Universal (UL), Whole
Accepts Credit Cards
Why Trust Us
Companies reviewed
Features considered
Data points analyzed
We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then evaluated each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews.
Protective Life


overall rating

West Coast 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

  • Fewer customer complaints than expected: Compared to other insurance companies of similar size, West Coast received fewer than expected customer complaints.
  • Financially strong company: AM Best's A+ financial strength rating indicates that West Coast Life Insurance Company is in a superior position to pay claims.
  • A subsidiary of a “best” life insurance company: In 1997, West Coast was acquired by Protective Life Insurance Company. This is one of our best life insurance companies. It also made the list of our best life insurance companies for people over 50.

Cons Explained

  • Very little information available: When you look online for information about West Coast Life Insurance Company, you’ll get redirected to the Protective site. It’s tough to find information outside of the limited details offered there.
  • Policies might be provided by a different company: Since the West Coast website redirects to Protective, you'll be shopping from Protective's products and will have to ask your agent which company is underwriting your policy.

Complaint Index

West Coast customers filed a lower-than-expected number of complaints over three years compared to other insurers of similar size.

Every year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) examines the complaints filed for each company and computes a complaint index to help consumers compare companies. Insurers that received an expected number of complaints based on their size have an index of 1.00. If a company’s index is higher than 1.00, the company received more complaints than expected. If a company’s score is below 1.00, it received fewer complaints than expected. 

We analyzed complaint index data over three years. West Coast received a complaint index of 0.52 in 2021. They also had an index of 0.84 in 2020 and 0.44 in 2019. This shows a strong track record of consistently receiving fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size.

Third-Party Rating

West Coast is in a strong financial position. AM Best, a leading insurance rating organization, looks at the financial stability of an insurer and how well it can pay claims. AM Best has given West Coast a rating of A+ (Superior). This is the second-highest rating that can be assigned.

An A+ means that West Coast is financially secure and has a superior ability to meet its policyholder obligations.

Policies Available 

West Coast Life Insurance policies are offered through Protective. These are some of the policy types it may make available.

Term Life Insurance

Sometimes, you don't need life insurance for your entire life. Instead, you might only want it while earning an income and raising your family. Once your kids have grown and you've retired, you might not need coverage.

That's where term life insurance comes in. It covers you for a specific number of years, usually up to 30 years, though Protective offers a 40-year term. If you die during that time frame, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. If you don't, the policy expires and your beneficiaries get nothing unless you renew your term coverage at a higher rate.

You also have the option to convert your term policy into a permanent one, but this must be done before it expires and may be restricted to a certain time period.

Universal Life Insurance 

​​Universal life insurance offers lifelong protection with the ability to adjust your premium payments and the death benefit. It also has a cash value component, which is a savings-like portion that grows over time. You can borrow against the cash value if you need to, though doing so will reduce the death benefit your beneficiaries receive. Protective has three different types of universal life on their website, including indexed and variable options.

As your cash value grows, you can use it to pay for future premiums. This can help lower your out-of-pocket costs and makes your premium flexible. 

Whole Life Insurance 

Whole life insurance is another type of permanent life insurance. It offers lifelong protection and builds cash value over time that you can use while alive. Once you pass away, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit.

Available Riders 

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you can add riders to customize your coverage. Here is a sampling of some of the riders that may be available from Protective and West Coast.

These riders may be issued through Protective and not West Coast. You’ll want to verify which company is writing your policy so you can be aware of any fine print details that are company-specific. Additionally, Protective Life states that not all of these are guaranteed to be offered.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider 

This rider allows you to purchase additional coverage in the future without having to undergo another medical exam or health questions. If you're buying life insurance when you're young, the guaranteed insurability rider allows you to add more coverage in the future, even if your health has changed.

Child Rider

A child rider enables you to add your dependent children to your policy. Once added, they’re typically covered until they become an adult. If they die during that time, the death benefit gets paid to you. They may have the option to convert the coverage to a permanent policy once they become an adult.

Waiver of Premium 

If you become disabled and can't work, this rider will waive your premium payments, usually after an elimination period. That way, you won't have to worry about losing your life insurance if you can’t afford premiums due to a covered event.

Accidental Death Benefit 

The accidental death benefit rider pays out an additional death benefit if you die in an accident. Your beneficiary gets this amount plus your original death benefit. 

Accelerated Death Benefit: Terminal Illness Rider

Accelerated death benefits (ADBs) allow you to access a portion of your life insurance policy’s death benefit before you pass away if you meet certain conditions. You can use these funds for anything you’d like. To use the terminal illness rider, your doctor must certify that you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a limited life expectancy.

Accelerated Death Benefit: Chronic Illness Rider

Another type of accelerated death benefit, the chronic illness rider lets you access part of your death benefit early if you're diagnosed with a chronic illness. In order to qualify, you must have a severe cognitive impairment or be unable to perform two out of six daily living activities. These include dressing yourself, bathing, eating, using the restroom, mobility, and transferring.

Customer Service

It’s hard to find contact information for West Coast Life Insurance Company. You can reach Protective at 1-844-733-5433.

Final Verdict

Though Protective is a top-ranked insurance company, it is hard to know what policies are specific to West Coast Life Insurance. If you want to buy insurance from West Coast Life, you may have to ask whether it is being underwritten by West Coast Life Insurance, Protective, or another subsidiary before you purchase a policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is West Coast Life Now Protective?

West Coast Life Insurance is a subsidiary of Protective. It was acquired in 1997. Information about West Coast Life Insurance online directs to the Protective website.

What Is West Coast's Customer Service Availability?

The Protective website lists West Coast Life Insurance as a subsidiary but does not include any way to specifically contact customer service for West Coast Life. The Protective website also does not list any ways to directly contact customer service, though it does offer online account management and policy quotes. An online search lists the phone number for West Coast Life Insurance as 844-733-5433, which is also the customer service number for Protective.

How Long Does It Take West Coast Life Insurance to Pay Out?

Protective claims to pay most death benefits within 30 days if all the paperwork is in order and the policy is not being contested. The amount of time it takes for a life insurance claim to be paid out can also vary by state; some states have requirements that can increase processing time, while others require claims to be paid out before a certain number of days have passed.

What Types of Life Insurance Does West Coast Offer?

Protective, and presumably its subsidiaries including West Coast Life Insurance, offers term, whole, and universal life insurance. Term life insurance covers you for a set period of time and does not have a cash value. Whole life insurance is permanent and has a cash value that can be withdrawn or borrowed. Universal life insurance is a type of whole life insurance in which both the death benefit and the premiums can be adjusted. It also allows you to use part of your death benefit to pay your premiums, though this reduces the value of the benefit.

In What Cases Does Life Insurance Not Pay Out?

If your policy has lapsed due to unpaid premiums, or if it is a term policy that has expired, it will not pay a death benefit. A policy also may not pay out if the death was due to an excluded cause, which will be included in the insurance contract. For example, a death due to participating in a high-risk sport may be an excluded cause.


We designed a comprehensive ranking 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. NAIC. "West Coast Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."

  2. AM Best. "West Coast Life Insurance Company."

  3. Protective. "How Long Does It Take Life Insurance to Pay Out?"