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Fact Checked: Jenny Potter

🗓️

Updated: January 02, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

Best life insurance companies of 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

Fact Checked: Jenny Potter

🗓️

Updated: January 02, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

The toughest part of buying life insurance is making the decision in the first place.

It requires you to face uncomfortable possibilities in order to ensure your family isn’t burdened by funeral costs, debt, mortgage payments, tuition and more if you’re no longer around to contribute.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only decision you’ll have to make. For example, what’s the right kind of policy to buy?

Term life insurance is cheap because it’s only designed to cover you for the 5, 10, 20 or 30 years when your financial obligations are at their highest. A permanent policy is more expensive but usually includes a cash value component you can take advantage of while you’re still alive.

Weary already? Fortunately, you can get plenty of help making that decision and a host of others if you choose the right life insurance company.

The best insurers are reputable, financially stable, provide superior customer support and offer a wide variety of products and features with enough flexibility to secure a policy tailored to your needs.

Below, we review the five largest insurance companies, plus a few newer online insurers, so you know where to start.

5

Best for smaller term life insurance policies: Bestow

Quick Facts

- Founded in 2016
- Headquartered in Dallas, TX
- AM Best rating of A+ ("superior")

Bestow is an online life insurance marketplace. It specializes in connecting customers with term life insurance policies that don’t require a medical exam and works with major companies such as Munich Re and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.

The entire application and approval process takes place online, allowing for a simple and speedy experience. When you visit Bestow, you can enter a few basic personal details to get multiple quotes. If you find a policy with terms you like, you can formally apply for it. According to Bestow, going from quote to coverage takes just minutes, if approved.

People ages 18 to 60 are eligible for coverage starting at $50,000 and going up to $1.5 million. That flexibility is great for people who may not want to buy a large amount of coverage.

Most other major insurance companies don’t offer policies for less than $100,000, as experts typically recommend coverage that equals six to 10 times your annual salary. However, not everyone’s needs or budgets are the same.

Policies are available in 10- to 30-year terms at five-year increments, starting at just $10 per month. If you change your mind about your policy, Bestow also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bestow

Pros

Pros

  • Fast online application and approval process

  • No medical exam required

  • Lower coverage minimum amount

Cons

Cons

  • No permanent life insurance options

  • No riders available

  • Not available in New York

  • Unable to meet with an agent in person

4.5

Best for term life insurance for young families: Fabric by Gerber Life

Quick Facts

- Founded in 2016
- Headquartered in Brooklyn, NY

Fabric by Gerber Life is an online marketplace that offers term life insurance and accidental death insurance. It focuses on providing coverage to families with children, with a motto of “plan like a parent.”

The policies you get through Fabric by Gerber Life are issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, which has an A+ rating from AM Best and is a subsidiary of Western & Southern company — with a heritage dating back to 1888.

Term life insurance policies range between 10 and 30 years, depending on your age and state. Coverage amounts range between $100,000 and $5,000,000, with prices starting at just $7.86 per month.

You also have the option of converting your term policy into a permanent one down the line, with no additional underwriting requirements. Riders for accidental death coverage are conditionally renewable up until your 60th birthday, at which point they expire.

Obtaining a quote only requires a few key pieces of information and a few minutes. Then the formal application process itself only takes about 10 minutes. If you need help, Fabric by Gerber Life has a licensed team of professionals readily available.

In addition to term life insurance and accidental death coverage, customers also have access to 529 college-savings plans, high-yield savings accounts, a free last will and testament and several financial planning tools through the app. Fabric by Gerber Life also offers a free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Fabric by Gerber Life

Pros

Pros

  • Fast online application and approval process

  • Higher coverage levels up to $5,000,000

  • Free financial tools

  • No medical exam required

Cons

Cons

  • No permanent life insurance options, other than by converting an existing term policy

  • Unable to meet with an agent in person

  • Not designed to meet the needs of seniors

4

Best for hyper-personalized term policies: Wyshbox

Quick Facts

- Founded in 2021
- Headquartered in Milwaukee, WI
- AM Best rating of A+ ("superior")

Wyshbox is a web-based life insurance provider that specializes in highly customizable term life insurance. Customers build their policies around their “wyshes,” or areas of their lives they want protected if they were to die unexpectedly. The company’s Wysh Builder tool allows customers to calculate the exact amount of coverage needed.

Coverage is also flexible, with the ability to increase or decrease it as your needs change. For example, if you connect your “pay off the house” wysh to your bank account, you can automatically reduce your coverage as your mortgage debt decreases. That lets you reduce the amount you pay each month — or you can just reassign the extra coverage to another wysh.

Wyshbox policies are available in 34 states. The minimum coverage amount is $50,000 and the maximum is $2,500,000. There is no medical exam required, and coverage can be extended up to age 65. The application takes less than 10 minutes and is done 100% online. Membership costs as little as $9 per month.

Wyshbox

Pros

Pros

  • Highly customizable coverage

  • No medical exam required

  • Fast application process

Cons

Cons

  • No permanent life insurance options

  • Unable to meet with an agent in person

  • Not available in every state

4

Best for term life insurance with adjustable coverage: Ladder

Quick Facts

- Founded in 2015
- Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA
- Demotech Inc. Financial Stability Rating of A (“exceptional”)

Ladder is a 100% digital life insurance company that provides term policies only.

It allows policyholders to “ladder” their insurance, meaning you can adjust your amount of coverage up or down according to your changing needs.

There is no limit on how often you can ladder your policy. It’s free to do, though laddering up will result in a higher premium.

Ladder is a broker and has partnered with several life insurance companies to issue policies: Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York (New York, NY), Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company (Kansas City, MO) and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Minneapolis, MN).

The application process takes about five minutes, from start to finish. Policies are available for $100,000 to $3,000,000 in coverage for people ages 20 to 60 with no medical exam required. However, those who are interested in more than $3 million in coverage (up to $8 million) may need to complete a free home health check.

You can choose a term length between 10 and 30 years, with five-year increments. Keep in mind that your age and policy term length combined may not exceed 70.

You have the ability to cancel within the first 30 days and get a full refund.

Ladder

Pros

Pros

  • Fast online application and approval process

  • No medical exam required (up to $3,000,000)

  • Adjustable coverage without fees

Cons

Cons

  • No permanent life insurance options

  • Unable to meet with an agent in person

  • Coverage over $3,000,000 may require a medical exam

  • Policy term length limited based on age

4.5

Best for flexible, convertible term options: MassMutual

Quick Facts

- Founded in 1851
- Headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts
- AM Best rating of A++ (“superior”)

MassMutual is a mutual company — meaning that instead of shareholders, members and participating policyholders share in ownership. That allows them to vote for its board of directors and earn dividends on certain policies.

The company offers a few different types of life insurance:

  • Term
  • Whole life
  • Universal life
  • Variable universal life

Most of MassMutual’s term life policies are convertible, meaning you can switch part or all of an existing term policy to any of their permanent life insurance products (with the exception of CareChoice One and CareChoice Select) later on. How long you have to convert depends on your age and the type of policy you own.

Term policies also allow you to choose to start off with smaller premiums that increase over time or a single, fixed premium throughout the entire term.

HavenLife, a MassMutual company, also provides term life insurance that you can apply for online. It’s available to those aged 18 to 64, with coverage ranging from $250,000 to $3,000,000.

However, these policies cannot be converted to a permanent policy. A 30-minute medical exam may also be required.

In addition to life insurance, MassMutual also provides a number of retirement, investment and financial wellness products and tools.

MassMutual

Pros

Pros

  • Longstanding, reputable company with superior financial outlook

  • Member-owned

  • Certain policies earn dividends

  • Can convert most term policies to permanent

Cons

Cons

  • Many policies require a medical exam

  • Few online tools and services

4

Best for group life insurance: Metropolitan Group (MetLife)

Quick Facts

Founded in 1868
Headquartered in New York, NY
AM Best rating of A+ (“superior”)

MetLife offers a wide variety of insurance products including life, disability, auto, home, health and even pet insurance.

When it comes to its life insurance offerings, it’s no longer possible to buy an individual policy. MetLife policies are now only offered through employers as part of their benefits packages.

This can help you access discounted group rates, as well as a certain amount of coverage without having to answer medical questions or undergo a medical exam.

The following life insurance types are available through MetLife:

  • Term
  • Universal life
  • Variable universal life
  • Accidental death

You can sign up for a policy through your employer. In some cases, enrollment is automatic. Keep in mind that the exact products and features available to you will vary depending on your employer and location.

Metropolitan Group (MetLife)

Pros

Pros

  • No medical exam required

  • Group rates are often lower than individual policy

Cons

Cons

  • Only offers group policies

  • Limited coverage options in some cases

4.5

Best for award-winning insurance services: Northwestern Mutual

Quick Facts

- Founded in 1859
- Headquartered in Milwaukee, WI
- AM Best rating of A++ (“superior”)
- Ranked No. 1 best life insurance company by NerdWallet in 2020
- Rated No. 1 among most trusted companies for life insurance by Investor's Business Daily in 2021

Another mutual company, Northwestern Mutual also doesn’t have shareholders and instead puts the needs of its member-owners first. It’s one of the largest life insurance companies in the country with nearly 7% of the U.S. market share.

Northwest Mutual has been in operation for more than 160 years and has won numerous awards for its reliable and trustworthy service, making it a top choice among policyholders who are concerned about working with a longstanding, reputable insurance company.

Northwestern Mutual offers several types of life insurance:

  • Term
  • Whole life
  • Universal life
  • Variable universal life

The insurer allows certain life insurance applicants to go through an exclusive underwriting process that uses data to speed up approvals and eliminate the need for detailed medical details. With this option, you could be approved for coverage same-day.

Northwestern Mutual

Pros

Pros

  • Longstanding, highly rated company

  • High customer satisfaction

  • Certain policies earned dividends

  • Same-day approval for some applicants

Cons

Cons

  • Policies over $1 million require a medical exam

  • Must buy through an agent

  • No online quotes

4

Best for full-service wealth planning: New York Life

Quick Facts

- Founded in 1845
- Headquartered in New York, NY
- AM Best rating of A++ ("superior")

New York Life is one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States. It operates as a mutual company and has paid dividends to policyholders for 168 consecutive years.

New York Life offers the following types of life insurance policies:

  • Term
  • Whole life
  • Universal life
  • Variable universal life

New York Life also offers a number of riders, some of which are free, so that you can customize your coverage. For example, it’s possible to opt for a flexible death benefit or return of premium.

This insurer may be particularly attractive to seniors, since it accepts applicants up to age 90.

The company offers supplemental insurance coverage, including individual disability insurance and long-term care insurance. Plus, it offers other retirement planning and investment services, including annuities, mutual funds, ETFs, 529 plans, estate planning, wealth management services and more.

New York Life

Pros

Pros

  • Policyholders earn dividends

  • Several riders available

  • One-stop shop for wealth-planning needs

Cons

Cons

  • No online quotes for term policies

  • No mobile app

4

Best for variety of life insurance riders: Prudential

Quick Facts

- Founded in 1875
- Headquartered in Newark, NJ
- AM Best rating of A+ (“superior”)
- Voted overall best life insurance company by Investopedia.com in 2020

Prudential is one of the oldest and largest life insurance companies in the United States. It offers the following types of life insurance:

  • Term
  • Universal life
  • Indexed universal life
  • Variable universal life

Prudential offers a number of riders that allow you to customize your policy, including:

  • Serious illness riders (accelerated death benefits, survivorship)
  • Disability riders (waiver of premium, waiver of monthly deductions, enhanced disability benefit)
  • Additional death benefit riders (children’s protection, children level term, accidental death benefit)
  • Cash value riders (overloan protection, enhanced cash value)
  • Estate planning riders (guaranteed policy split, estate protection)

Living benefit riders, which allow you in some circumstances to access your death benefit while you’re still alive, are included with coverage.

Life insurance applicants age 60 or younger who apply for coverage between $100,000 and $3 million aren’t required to undergo a medical exam.

Prudential allows you to get an online quote within minutes by providing a few personal details, or you can call and speak with a representative.

Additionally, term life insurance offered by Prudential can be converted to any of their permanent policies, including survivorship. This can be done with no medical exam before the policy expires or before you reach age 65.

Prudential

Pros

Pros

  • Convertible term policies

  • Extensive riders

  • No medical exam required for cheaper policies

  • Online quotes

Cons

Cons

  • No dividends

  • Medical exam required for policies over $3 million

4.5

Best for whole life insurance: Mutual of Omaha

Quick Facts

- Founded in 1909
- Headquartered in Omaha, NE
- AM Best rating of A+ (“superior”)

Founded in 1909 as the Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association, Mutual of Omaha has a long history as a reputable insurance provider. The Nebraska-based Fortune 500 company  

offers a diversified line of health and accident insurance products nationwide. And as a mutual company, it’s owned by its policyholders.

While they offer a variety of life, disability and illness insurance options, their guaranteed whole life product is a standout in the industry. This policy can provide protection for your family by covering end-of-life costs, including traditional funeral or cremation expenses. 

It’s available to those ages 45-85 (50-75 in New York) and there’s no medical exam or questionnaire required in order to purchase. From that point on, your coverage is guaranteed the rest of your life, as long as your premium is paid.

If you are on a fixed budget and concerned about rising cost of living, this product is ideal. That’s because you lock in the price on the day your policy starts, and premiums are guaranteed not to increase. 

The policy also has potential to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis and a set benefit is paid to your designated beneficiaries upon your death. Benefit amounts range between $2,000 and $25,000 (or $5,000 to $25,000 in Washington). The policy’s face amounts are sold in $1,000 increments, which makes it easy to fit into any budget.

In line with the industry standard, the death benefit is graded. This means that if you die of natural causes during the first two years of your policy, your beneficiary will receive a reduced death benefit.

For accidental deaths, rest assured that your full benefits are paid, plus 10%, starting from the first day your policy is issued. 

The speed and ease of applying is pretty impressive. The process involves a simple 4-step online application that asks you to share some personal information and designate your beneficiaries, then pay and sign. In fact, it takes a minimum of five minutes and you can receive instant coverage once approved.

You also have the option of calling and speaking with a representative about more coverage options and receiving guidance.

In addition to robust product offerings, Mutual of Omaha also stands out for its excellent customer satisfaction. The company ranked third in J.D. Power's 2022 Individual Life Insurance Study, with an impressive score of 801 out of 1,000 points for overall customer satisfaction.

Mutual of Omaha is available in all U.S. states, though it should be noted that product availability may vary based on your state.

Mutual of Omaha

Pros

Pros

  • No medical exam required

  • Premiums do not change once rate is locked in

  • Majority of claims are paid within 24 hours

Cons

Cons

  • Only covers ages 45-85 (50-75 in New York)

  • Lower coverage amounts of up to $25,000

  • There is a graded death benefit

  • Methodology

    +

    Product rankings are determined by the Moneywise editorial team and are based on factors and features that everyday users care about most. We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. The products featured in this article were independently selected, but please be aware that some products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

    Moneywise rates products and services on a sale of 1 to 5 stars, where 5 stars is the best rating possible. Ratings are rounded up to the nearest 0.5 of a star.

    Our rating system is based on the factors that mean the most to the everyday user. These factors include:

    - Products offered

    - Policy terms

    - Cost and fees

    - Coverage

    - Terms and conditions

    - Customer support and user experience

    - Ease of application and claims

    - Medical requirements

    - Industry awards

    We collect data from providers' websites, by using the services and watching demonstrations as required. The data is analyzed and the result is a star rating. Each factor is weighted depending on the category in which the product is being evaluated, in order to ensure it meets the needs of different users like beginners or advanced users.

    Our goal is to provide an independent review, and give you the information you need to make a decision on which service is best for you.

About our author

Casey Bond
Casey Bond, Freelance Contributor

Casey is an award-winning personal finance writer who has held roles as Money reporter at HuffPost, executive editor at Student Loan Hero, and editor-in-chief at GOBankingRates. Casey’s work has also appeared on Yahoo! Finance, Money.com, Fortune, MSN, Business Insider, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes Advisor, and more.

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