Best Life Insurance Companies for 2020

Let’s set the record straight today: finding the best life insurance from a top-rated, reliable life insurance provider is an essential piece of your overall financial plan. Without it, any unexpected tragedy could undo all of the hard work you’ve put in toward financial independence.

Shopping for life insurance can be challenging, and comparing policies from the best life insurance companies takes time.

After analyzing the financial strength, customer ratings, coverage options, and affordability of the nation’s top insurance providers we’ve compiled a list of the best life insurance companies for any situation.Best Life Insurance Companies for Millennials

Best Life Insurance Companies

Here are the top life insurance providers for 2020:

1. Haven Life: Best Overall

Haven Life has created a unique niche in the life insurance world.

They are one of the newer life insurance companies entering the insurance ring (but they are in a partnership with MassMutual, which is over 150 years old).

How is Haven Life different? Well, they think life insurance should be simple. Life insurance can be complicated, but buying it doesn’t have to be. To make things simple, Haven Life only offers term life policies; up to $3 million in coverage as long as you’re under 60.

Haven Life also takes pride in how quickly you can apply for coverage. Since you won’t have to jump through a million hoops to apply, it’s definitely one of the quicker applications out there. But because of how quick the application is, Haven Life isn’t ideal for people with health problems.

Pros

  • Quick & easy application
  • Above-average coverage limits

Cons

  • Limited policy options
  • Only for the healthy

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2. AIG

AIG is an excellent option for millennials because of how quickly they process applications. The company offers whole life, universal, and term policies with the option for non-standard term lengths.

AIG is a well-recognized and award-winning provider in the life insurance industry. In 2015, AIG scooped up four awards at Global Finance’s World Best Global Insurers awards!

While most other companies offer standard term lengths (10, 15, 20 years, etc.), AIG allows you to choose non-standard terms, such as 18 or 22 years, for example. It’s good to have that option.

With AIG, you can go from application to signed policy super quickly. You can also perform a variety of tasks online – from updating your beneficiaries to changing payment info. You’ll only need to phone to cancel.

Pros

  • Wide range of policies
  • Award-winning company
  • Faster-than-average approval
  • Non-standard term lengths

Cons

  • No online policy cancellation

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3. Banner Life

Banner Life is an insurance option provided by Legal & General America. It’s a highly-rated life insurance company with a history of strong financials and superb customer service, but what really makes them stand out is their treatment of most health conditions.

With most companies, any health issue will automatically mean higher rates. But Banner Life classifies many of these same conditions under the rate profile of “good”, or even sometimes “excellent”.

That means that if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, Banner Life will likely offer you the most competitive rates.

They also offer a reconsideration feature to reduce premiums for former smokers who quit or plan to quit – which can really add up when you consider that most insurance policies last 20-30 years.

That said, if you have a medical profile clear of any of these, then Haven Life premiums will typically beat Banner Life, in our experience.

Like many of the modern companies, Banner Life offers the convenience of an electronic application and emailed policy – get insured without lifting yourself off the couch. The only thing you can’t do online is cancel a policy – you’ll need a notarized paper form.

Pros

  • Great for health conditions
  • Electronic application
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • No online policy cancellation

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4. Protective

Protective was founded in 1907 and is now one of the highest-rated insurance companies in the U.S.

They offer a unique universal life insurance policy which is somewhat similar to a term life policy. It acts as a term policy at first, then converts to a permanent policy after the agreed term.

Protective’s coverage options for individuals with medical conditions may not be as great as what’s offered by Banner Life, but it’s still pretty good. What’s really unique about Protective, however, is their option for rate reconsideration after the first year of the policy.

That means that if your health improves, your policy can be reviewed and reconsidered. Any premium savings will definitely add up over the full term of the policy. That makes Protective a really good option for those who want to establish life insurance now while still working to improve medical conditions, such as high cholesterol or extra weight.

That said, their application approval is notoriously slow, so if you need life insurance now, Protective may not be your best choice.

Pros

  • Premium reconsideration feature for health markers that have improved
  • Short application form
  • Policy delivered by email

Cons

  • Slow approval

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5. Bestow

Bestow has set out to simplify insurance. Some consumers may end up frustrated with Bestow’s limited product offering, but if you’re like most – finding all of the different types and riders and terms confusing – you’ll have a pleasant experience shopping with Bestow.

They offer 2-year and 10 or 20-year term coverage only.

But there are several benefits that are enabled by their laser-focused offering:

  1. Coverage available for as little as $3/mo.
  2. Instead of a traditional underwriting process, Bestow uses information from your application and available data about you (with your permission) to decide whether you qualify and to set the price of your premiums. No medical exam required!
  3. Nearly instant coverage for those who qualify.
  4. Ability to change your policy (coverage amount or policy type) at anytime. They even offer a flexible cancellation policy.

Backed by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, a financially strong & stable company, Bestow has quickly become one of the top options for affordable life insurance coverage.

Pros

  • Low rates
  • No medical exam needed
  • Fast application

Cons

  • No permanent or universal options
  • Only for ages 21 – 54

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6. Transamerica

Transamerica stands out from other providers with its unique policy options that would be very beneficial in the case of a chronic or terminal illness. The company offers living benefits through term life products which you can access early in case of terminal or chronic illness.

You can select from a variety of income stream and lump sum pay-outs for beneficiaries.

While medical exams are not required for policies below $250,000, if you have certain health conditions (such as diabetes or high cholesterol), you may be issued a lower rating and pay higher rates.

Pros

  • Living benefits
  • Income protection options
  • No need for a medical exam

Cons

  • Higher rates for health conditions
  • Policy delivered by mail

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7. SBLI

SBLI offers speedy application turnaround time – but has limited online functionality.

If you don’t have any medical issues, your application will be processed super quickly. SBLI offers competitive underwriting for people with hypertension, family history of gender-specific cancers, and anxiety.

You can update address and payment info online – but everything else requires a paper form, which seems a little outdated.

Pros

  • Fast-track process
  • Good for specific health conditions

Cons

  • Limited digital functionality
  • Policy delivered by mail

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8. Principal

Principal offers insurance products in all 50 states and is great if you don’t have any health conditions – and want to take out a larger policy amount.

Receive coverage quickly and get your application approved in just 15 days!

Although they offer the best rates for healthy individuals, interestingly, Principal also offers good and excellent class coverage for people with medical conditions.

Principal does not deliver the same online experience as some of the other providers. For example, you’ll receive your policy by mail and you won’t be able to do things like update your beneficiaries online – you’ll need paper forms.

Pros

  • Competitive policies for healthy applicants
  • Great for longer term policies
  • Fast approval

Cons

  • Policy delivered by mail
  • Can’t update beneficiaries online

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9. Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is great for applicants with a range of health conditions. Policies include high benefits for accelerated death. This means that people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness can access a portion of their policy’s death benefit while alive.

Mutual of Omaha is not the best option for smokers. If you smoke or use other forms of tobacco, you could get a lower rating and have to pay higher rates.

The application process could be a little speedier. In this area, Mutual of Omaha is outperformed by other insurers like Principal.

Pros

Cons

  • Not great for tobacco users
  • Slower application process

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10. Lincoln Financial Group

Lincoln Financial Group is more expensive than most of the other providers I’ve listed – but it is a worthwhile option if you have a medical condition. The company offers competitive underwriting for several substantial health conditions. And with an average approval time of 20 days, you can get coverage quickly with Lincoln Financial.

You can also personalize your policy with a varied range of riders.

You won’t be able to change any of your information online, so get ready for paper forms and calls with customer service agents. If you hate forms and think simplicity is key, you may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Competitive rates for people with medical conditions
  • Selection of riders available
  • Quick approval

Cons

  • Mostly offline
  • Longer-than-average application

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11. Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial is one of the best life insurance providers for people with complicated medical histories (like cancer or diabetes). In 2016, Fortune magazine named Prudential #1 Life or Health Insurance company. It was also named the World’s Most Ethical Company in 2015.

Prudential has a policy that makes part of the death benefit accessible if you have been diagnosed with an illness with a maximum life expectancy of 6 months or confined to a nursing home.

It’s important to note that compared to the other providers I’ve mentioned, Prudential life insurance rates are much higher. The application process also includes a phone interview with an underwriter – which many other providers don’t require.

Pros

  • Living needs benefit
  • Award-winning insurer
  • Quick turnaround

Cons

  • More expensive than other providers
  • Phone interview during application

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12. Brighthouse Financial

Brighthouse Life is the century old brand MetLife, reimagined. So while the name may be new to you, the company certainly isn’t.

MetLife still exists, offering other kinds of insurance such as policies built into employee benefit packages. But the parent company focuses on individual, consumer life insurance policies under the Brighthouse brand.

Brighthouse offers short and long-term policies, from 1 to 30-year term life insurance coverage. But they do not offer products with coverage less than $1 million, so if you’re looking for a smaller policy, you’ll have to shop elsewhere.

Pros

  • No surrender fees
  • Fast-track option for those without complex health histories
  • $1 million+ term policies

Cons

  • Only $1 million+ term policies
  • Apply online, but decision by mail
  • No variable or indexed universal whole life policies
  • No direct to consumer option: you need to work with a financial planner or agent

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13. Pacific Life

Pacific Life was founded in 1868 and has brilliant A+ ratings from recognized insurer rating boards, such as A.M. Best and BBB.

They offer a variety of products, including term life, whole life, universal life (indexed and variable), and even life insurance with long-term care benefits.

Pacific Life falls short in its underwriting tables for several key health conditions. So, for those with substandard medical profiles, other companies will provide more competitive rates and products.

The company also offers several unique riders, allowing you to personalize your coverage. For example, they offer a Child Protection Rider, Disability income Rider, and Accelerated Death Benefit Rider.

Pros

  • Easy, short electronic application
  • Policy delivered by email
  • Many tasks can be performed online: update address, beneficiaries, etc

Cons

  • No online policy cancellation
  • Need excellent credit

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Sample Rates

The most common life insurance policy is for a 20-year term, but how much coverage you need depends on your unique situation. A quick rule of thumb is to take out a policy that’s 10 to 20 times your income.

You’ll notice that your risk level and age impacts the cost of your policy a lot! Depending on your medical history, you may or may not have control over your risk level, but you do have control over when you buy. Putting it off will cost you!

Compare the Top Life Insurance Companies by Cost

Of course, the sample rates shown above will vary based on your specific details. But policies also vary quite a bit between companies.

Here are some sample policy costs for our top life insurance companies, so that you can gauge which will fit within your budget.

These quotes are for a healthy millennial male applying for a $750,000, 20-year term life insurance policy at ages 25 and 35:

Company25 Years Old35 Years Old
Haven Life$30.72$33.94
AIG$26.70$31.13
Banner Life$34.39$39.71
Protective$34.65$39.97
Bestow$36.46$42.08
Transamerica$36.12$39.34
SBLI$35.28$40.55
Principal$28.35$31.69
Mutual of Omaha$39.56$42.14
Lincoln Financial Group$35.37$46.13
Prudential$43.53$48.78
Pacific Life$26.58$31.12

Note: Many of the above quotes provided by Policygenius. Actual rates will vary.

5 Reasons You Should Buy Life Insurance Right Now

I understand why life insurance is the last thing on young people’s minds. And that’s not only because death and terminal illness are generally something people don’t want to think about until they’re forced to.

Getting life insurance just doesn’t seem like a pressing matter for most millennials. Quite the opposite actually – according to BusinessWire, only 10 percent of millennials have the life insurance coverage they need. That makes them the generation that is least prepared for unexpected life events.

Several other financial priorities occupy your time and energy, like the challenge of saving enough for retirement and doing everything you can to retire early.

I get it – there are many other things on your mind, and life insurance just isn’t a priority right now.

Plus, you’re thinking, “I’m young and healthy, aren’t I? It’s not really necessary.”

And you’re not alone. Many people think like you, which is why the incidence of millennials who have life insurance is so low.

But not being insured could have serious repercussions should anything unexpected happen.

Here are 5 reasons you should buy life insurance right now:

#1. Your family will be protected

The last thing you would want is to leave your parents with a heavy debt burden on their shoulders because of your record-breaking student loan. For example, if your parents took out a PLUS loan – the balance would fall on them if you suddenly passed away. Or maybe you’re married and have accumulated other types of debt. That debt would then land on your spouse’s plate, and they would need to handle it alone. Finally, did you know that, on average, funerals cost between $7,000 and $9,000? That’s quite an expense to spring on someone. Buying a sufficient life insurance cover could take care of all these things.

#2. Your business will be protected

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll know that running a business requires a lot of Business life insurance may help protect the equipment and the premises should something unexpected happen to you. There are many different business life insurance covers available – but the main premise is that, after the death of the business owner, a lump sum would help cover business loans and other business debts.

#3. You would be saving money in the long term

Life insurance premiums increase with age – which is why getting life insurance when you’re young would be the smartest thing. You would be saving money in the long run.

#4. Some policies may offer built-in savings

Some policies, like a whole life insurance policy, act as a permanent life insurance coverage until your death, which grows tax-free and accumulates cash over time. In other words, it’s like a savings vehicle.

#5. Not having it isn’t financially smart – it’s a gamble

Yes, there’s a chance your life insurance won’t pay out – but that’s not a good enough reason to risk leaving your loved ones on the hook if you suddenly die. It may feel like you’re throwing money away, but not having life insurance is a questionable gamble that nothing will happen to you.

Things to Consider When Comparing Top-Rated Life Insurance

So, now that you know the reasons to have coverage, let’s talk about life insurance companies and how to choose the best one.

As a millennial, you’ll want to find a company that offers sufficient coverage, has a track record of financial strength and reliable payouts, and has competitive rates that won’t strain your wallet.

A few other things to consider when deciding on which life insurance company to use:

Your health

Is the insurer a good match for your health? Some companies offer better premiums for people with complex health histories. Make sure you know what your options are so that you don’t end up spending more than you should.

Digital features

Millennials have a reputation for doing everything on their smartphones – and there is some truth to that. You’re likely to spend years dealing with the same insurance provider, so make sure you’re clear about what you want in terms of their online features. If you hate speaking to customer service providers on the phone, you may want to limit your choices to companies that allow you to perform actions like changing addresses, payment info, and other things online.

Types of policies and riders

Make sure you’re aware of the types of policies and riders each company offers so that you make an informed decision. Some companies will return your premiums at the end of your policy term – while others may allow you to access your death benefit early. Before you make a decision and commit to one company, make sure you know exactly what they offer.

How quickly you need a policy

Knowing how quickly you need your life insurance can give you a pretty good idea of which provider to go for. Some have longer application processing times – while others could have your policy ready within a few weeks.

Get The Right Type of Life Insurance For Your Needs

There are more types of life insurance policies than you can imagine – but to save time, we’ll look at the main ones. There are three main types of life insurance you need to know about – whole, universal, and term.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance policies sits under the umbrella of permanent life insurance and covers you for the rest of your life. There is a guaranteed cash value accumulation, and there will be a payment to your dependents regardless of when you die.

Whole life insurance generally costs more than other types of insurance policies, because it is guaranteed to pay you at some point in the future. It won’t be the most cost-effective option – but it is reassuring to know your family would get a lump sum when you pass away, provided you have paid your premiums.

Universal Life Insurance

The universal policy falls under the same blanket of insurance as a whole insurance policy, but it gives you the flexibility when it comes to the premium you pay, the savings element of the policy, and the death benefits. You can adjust your premiums and death benefits.

Universal life insurance policy can also accumulate cash value – which policyholders may access without affecting the guaranteed death benefit.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is essentially a coverage for a certain period of time (for example, the next 10, 20, 30 years). If the insured dies during the time period specified in the term policy (and the policy is active) – then a death benefit will be paid.

It is much less expensive than a whole life insurance policy, making it a great choice if you’d like a life insurance cover without having to invest a pretty penny.

I think term life insurance policies are an ideal option for millennials. Not only because they’re more affordable, but also because of the flexibility they provide. You can choose how long you want the cover for, which gives you more control.

Finding The Best Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance may not be something many millennials think about – but hopefully, you now understand why I think it’s smart to do so.

When looking for the right life insurance policy for you, you need to find one that offers sufficient coverage without adding a substantial amount to your monthly spend. I hope that this list of best life insurance companies for millennials will give you a better idea of what types of coverage you could get from each, and which company would be the most suitable choice for you.

To sum up, I know that, when it comes to life insurance, we often think, “I’ll do it when I get to it. I understand why we put it on the back-burner, and I’ve been there myself. But taking out life insurance can provide peace of mind to you and others around you. And the sooner you get it – the better.

And now – onto lighter topics! Need help finding the best deals on auto insurance? Check out my post Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020 to discover the best car insurance providers.

Grant Sabatier

Grant Sabatier

Creator of Millennial Money and Author of Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House). Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, Money Magazine and many others. He uses Personal Capital to manage his money in 10 minutes a month.
Grant Sabatier

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Posted in: Insurance, Life Insurance

2 Comments
    Chris Acker, CLU, ChFC
    Posted Aug 19 2019
    Hi Grant. Nice overview of some of the top life insurance carriers in the business. I find it interesting that you single out some of the carriers for offering "living benefits" for terminal illnesses- virtually ALL carriers offer this FREE rider on their life insurance policies. In fact, if you own and old policy, most carriers will add a living benefit rider to the existing coverage AT NO COST.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Aug 29 2019
      Thanks Chris. This is really helpful to know. I didn't realize that most carries would add it to an old policy. I appreciate you sharing.

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