Runner Up Best Overall: Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual was founded in 1857 and is the number one life insurance company in the U.S. by premiums written. The company has an AM Best Rating of A++ with a very low level of complaints with the NAIC, although they did slip from a first-place finish in 2019 to fourth in the 2020 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study. Northwestern Mutual pays dividends on eligible policies and in 2020, the company had a record-breaking year for dividend payouts with $6.2 billion paid to policyholders.
Underwriting process or length of time isnt clear
Doesnt offer online quotes
Northwestern Mutual is the runner-up for best overall life insurance company because of all the benefits, payable dividends, and variety of plans they offer, including the innovative blended policy. A consistently high-ranking insurer, they have an excellent reputation for providing the options and financial planning services to help you meet your goals, regardless of budget or age.
Northwestern Mutual offers several life insurance plans, including convertible term, level and renewable term, whole life, and many universal life options. The company also has survivorship life policies, and they are the only life insurance company we found that offers a combined term and whole life policy. Additionally, they are the only insurer that offers the possibility to collect dividends on eligible term life policies, which is highly unusual.
Can I Get Life Insurance If Im A Smoker
Yes, you can. Most life insurance companies offer life insurance to smokers, but rates are typically much higher. Some companies offer better rates for smokers than others, while some even offer an incentive to quit smoking, offering lower rates for a period of time while the insured works on kicking the habit.
Life insurance policies also may have contingencies for those that are considered high risk, including individuals with a family history of heart disease or cancer, or with an existing medical condition. Many policies require a medical exam as well to determine your insurability. If you qualify for coverage, rates could be significantly higher.
Overall, smokers and those with high-risk health factors will pay higher premiums, but coverage is available at most major life insurance companies.
How Do I Get Life Insurance
There are a few ways to approach getting life insurance once you’ve decided how much coverage and what type of policy you need.
You can find policies through insurance companies directly or through online agencies, which are backed by major insurance companies. Online agencies let you bypass the need for an in-person insurance agent, and often offer the ability to get a quote and buy your own policy entirely online.
If you want to go the more traditional route, you can work with an agent. With some of the companies above, like Northwestern Mutual, you’ll need to work with an agent to get a policy. Companies will generally either help to connect you with an agent or provide a list of agents in your area.
If you’re working with a company that doesn’t require an agent, you can go ahead with the application process yourself. After completing some questions about your health history, hobbies, and travel plans, you may be asked to complete a medical exam. However, some companies are changing their medical exam policies due to COVID-19. Talk with your prospective insurer to arrange an exam you’re comfortable with.
After completing these steps and being approved by the insurer, you’ll get your final monthly payment. From there, you’ll start paying for your policy and have your coverage in place. It’s important to talk to a financial advisor about your financial situation and goals to determine what life insurance is best for you.
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What Does Whole Life Insurance Cost
Whole life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance because, in addition to paying premiums for the death benefit, policyholders also contribute to their policy’s cash value. According to Policy Genius, for whole life insurance payable to age 65, a 35-year-old pays on average $122.20 per month.
People who purchase coverage later or buy larger policies can expect to pay higher premiums. Finally, your health status and the type of plan your life insurance company is offering you, as well as the cash value options and riders will impact the cost.
Best Whole Life: Northwestern Mutual
- Types of Life Insurance: 3
- Issue Ages: 18-80
While Northwestern Mutual is known for quality overall, its whole life insurance policies are especially popular. The company paid out a record $6.2 billion in dividends to its policyholders for the year 2020. Not only do its policies tend to pay generous dividends, but you get the benefit of working with a financial advisor who can help guide you to the best whole or other type of life insurance policy for your situation.
Excellent ratings for quality and financial strength
Term life, whole life, and universal life insurance offered
Must work with a financial advisor to get a quote
Northwestern Mutual has been in business since 1857, and it has solid ratings that show its commitment to offering quality products and services. Not only does Northwestern Mutual boast an A++ rating from AM Best and an AA+ rating from S& P Global, but it also earned high marks for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study.
Northwestern Mutual offers term life insurance coverage, whole life insurance coverage, and universal life insurance coverage. However, due to the fact it employs financial advisors who oversee your full financial picture, you will need to go through a complete financial review to get a quote.
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Types Of Whole Life Policy
Broadly, there are two different types of Whole Life Insurance Policies, each having different features. One can select as per ones requirement. Let’s read further about different types of whole life insurance.
- Indeterminate Premium: This is a kind of whole life policy that has two premium rates. First, a maximum guaranteed rate and second, a lower rate. The carrier charges the lower premium rate while the policy is invested in for the first time. After maintaining that rate for a given time period, the insurer utilises its actual mortality, interest, and expense experience to establish a new premium rate that may vary from the previously premium rate.
Best For Local Agents: State Farm
State Farm has over 18,000 agents in the U.S., making them readily available for those wanting in-person assistance.
Not available in all states
Options may be overwhelming
State Farm was founded in 1922 by a retired farmer and insurance salesman. The company has a solid reputation with an A++ rating with AM Best and 19 complaints in 2020 with the NAIC, well below average for a company of its size.
State Farm offers these whole life insurance options:
- Whole life: Guaranteed lifetime coverage and level premiums
- Single premium life insurance: Pay for the policy upfront with one premium
- Limited pay life insurance: Pay off your policy in 10, 15, or 20 years
- Final expense: Typically lower face value policies for older customers to cover end of life expenses
These policies offer the opportunity to receive dividends.
State Farm offers several rider options:
- Waiver of premium for disability: Waives premiums if insured becomes disabled
- Guaranteed insurability option: Buy more coverage without a medical exam
- Children’s term insurance: Allows purchase of term insurance on spouse or children
- Payor insurance benefit rider
Read the full review:State Farm Life Insurance
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Is There A Waiting Period For A Kids Life Insurance
Theres never a waiting period for life insurance on children. No matter what insurance company youre looking at, the coverage begins right away. The only payout exclusion on a child policy is suicide during the first two years. All other causes of death will result in a total payout of the death benefit.
Is Buying A Whole Life Insurance Policy Worth It
We believe that every life insurance product serves a purpose to ones unique individual needs and we all have different insurance needs. If whole life insurance wasnt a good option for so many that there wouldnt be as many companies offering it as there currently are.
With that said, we recommend researching and learning about all the available types of coverage options out there. Top Quote Life Insurance is a great place to get started.
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Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
MassMutual is a Massachusetts-based provider that offers an extensive range of life insurance policies that includes term, whole, universal, and variable. Founded in 1851, MassMutual is one of the oldest and most trusted financial organizations in the world.
As a mutual company, there are no shareholders and policyholders share in ownership, meaning they can vote for the Board of Directors and in many cases earn dividends on their policies.
MassMutal also has one of the strongest financial reputations in the business, which is critical especially in the case of a product that will need to go the distance like whole life insurance. The company earned an A++ from A.M. Best, an Aa2 from Moodys, and an AA+ from Standard and Poors.
Whole life policies issued through MassMutual provide a guaranteed death benefit, a guaranteed level annual premium and premium payment period, and guaranteed increases in cash value.
The cash value component, unique to permanent life policies, can be an excellent way to accumulate funds for other purposes like increasing the death benefit, covering premium payments, or building a retirement fund.
Additionally, MassMutuals mutual status means the company pays dividends on its whole life policies on an annual basis. Dividends can be used to pay off premiums, increase the death benefit, or increase the policy’s cash value.
MassMutual currently has five main whole life policies to choose from:
|Pays 90% of the premium in the first year|
Penn Mutual Historical Dividend Rates
A.M. BESTS RATING: Superior Rating
POLICY NAME: Custom Whole Life Insurance
TYPE OF POLICY: Participating Whole Life Insurance
MAXIMUM COVERAGE LENGTH: Age 121
HEALTH CLASSIFICATIONS: Preferred & Standard Classes
MINIMUM COVERAGE AMOUNT: $25,000
GUARANTEED CASH VALUES: Yes
LIMITED PAY OPTIONS: 10 Pay, 15 Pay, 20 Pay, Pay to age 65, Continuous Pay and Single Pay
ABILITY TO PAY DIVIDENDS: Yes
2017 DIVIDEND RATE: 4.60
DIVIDEND OPTIONS: Purchased Paid-Up Additional Insurance, Reduced Scheduled Premium Payment, Cash & Accumulate at Interest
Included Policy Riders
Accelerated Death Benefit This rider will pay up to 50% of the death benefit up to $250,000, due to a qualifying terminal illness.
Optional Policy Riders
Accidental Death Benefit Rider Pays out and extra death benefit in addition to the base death benefit, if death is due to an accident.
Childrens Level Term Insurance Rider Provides temporary low-cost life insurance coverage on all-natural children, stepchildren or legally adopted children of the insured.
Guaranteed Level Premium Term Provides additional life insurance coverage in the form of either a 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30-year term life insurance policy. The term can also be converted to whole life insurance.
Guaranteed Purchase Option Allows for additional permanent life insurance to be purchased at specific ages or life events with no medical exam or health questions.
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Best For Policy Options: Massmutual
- No. of Plans Offered: 2
- Issue Ages: 18 to 65
MassMutual is our choice for the best whole life policy options because they offer the most plan options and riders. They also have a long history and a strong rating by AM Best.
Must purchase through an agent
MassMutual was founded in 1851 and was included on the Worlds Most Ethical Companies list for eight years in a row. It offers six different types of Whole Life insurance policies:
- Whole Life 100: pay premiums until age 100
- Whole Life 65: pay premiums until age 65
- Whole Life 20: pay premiums for 20 years
- Whole Life 15: pay premiums for 15 years
- Whole Life 10: pay premiums for 10 years
- Single premium life insurance: pay for policy with a one-time payment
Riders for these policies include:
- Waiver of Premium for Disability rider: no premium payments if become disabled
- Long-term care rider: ability to add on coverage for long-term care
- Transfer of Insured rider: ability to exchange policy for policy on another individual
- Guaranteed Insurability ride: ability to add more coverage later on without medical exam
- Accelerated Death benefit rider: access to premium for treatment for terminal illness
- Renewable Term rider: access to term insurance that can be renewed
Although not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends every year since 1869 and is licensed to conduct business in all 50 states.
Assurity Lifescape Simplified Whole Life Highlights
Assurity simplified whole life insurance is a great choice for anyone looking for affordable life insurance and does not require a large amount of coverage.
Since the maximum death benefit is only $50,000 this coverage is ideal for covering final expenses or even burial expenses.
Not only is Assurity whole life great for smaller death benefits, but its also perfect whole life insurance for seniors that may not be in the greatest of health.
Since underwriting is simplified you will not be required to take a medical exam when applying. Simply answer a few health questions on the application and you can be approved in as little as 4 days.
Another important feature of Assurity simplified whole life insurance is that is coming in three different death benefit options known as level, modified and graded.
Depending on the responses to the health questions, you may qualify for one of the three death benefit options.
- Pays out 100% of the death benefit at death
- 40% of death benefit year 1
- 75% of death benefit year 2
- 100% of death benefit year 3 onward
- 110% return of premium year 1
- 220% of death benefit year 2
- 100% of death benefit year 3 onward
A.M. BESTS RATING: Excellent Rating
POLICY NAME: Interest Sensitive Whole Life
TYPE OF POLICY: Non-Participating Whole Life Insurance
MAXIMUM COVERAGE LENGTH: Lifetime
HEALTH CLASSIFICATIONS: Preferred & Standard Classes
MINIMUM COVERAGE AMOUNT: $50,000
GUARANTEED CASH VALUES: Yes
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Best For Veterans: Aafmaa
- No. of Plans Offered: 4
- Issue Ages: 15 days to 84
The Army & Air Force Mutual Aid Association is our top choice for whole life insurance for veterans due to its high ratings with customers, long history, and plans customized to veterans needs.
Long history of serving veterans
No exam policy available
Not available in every state
May be cheaper options
Before 1879, if a soldier was killed in battle, a collection was taken up to send to the soldiers family. However, after the Battle of Little Bighorn , in which every soldier was killed and no funds could be collected, the War Council established AAFMAA to help take care of its soldiers’ families.
AAFMAA offers four whole life policies available to veterans and their families:
- Veteran Survivor Plan: available for those ages 45-84 and requires no medical exam, with coverage up to $25,000
- Value-Added Whole Life: available to members and spouses up to age 80, up to $1 million in coverage, Long Term Care Settlement Option for no additional cost
- Wealth Builder Life Insurance: for ages 60 and above, up to $1 million in coverage, Long Term Care Settlement Option for no additional cost
- Generations Plus: up to $50,000 in coverage for children, when the child turns 18, death benefit doubles with no increase in premium
Best For Military Members
Why we chose it
- 4.7 Reviews Score Score is based on companys customer experience, financial stability, and coverage options.
- A++ AM Best Rate AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the providers ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
- NR J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.
Why we chose it
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Why Should I Get Whole Life Insurance
As stated briefly above, you should get whole life insurance for distinct lifelong or permanent needs.
Covering small debts, funeral costs, and other end-of-life expenses
A common reason some will purchase whole life insurance coverage is to provide a form of funeral insurance so their loved ones can quickly access the funds to cover those arrangements. A lump sum of tax-free cash is paid out to your beneficiaries on your death and this can cover the aforementioned funeral expense. As well, any outstanding debts or estate taxes which need payment can also be covered by the whole life insurance payout.
Tax-efficient transfers of assets to your estate and beneficiaries
Whole life insurance policies can also be used to pass on your planned inheritance to your loved ones in a tax-efficient manner. Like all life insurance policies, the proceeds from whole life insurance policies are tax-free to your beneficiaries and therefore allow your dependents to retain a large chunk of the savings and assets you intended for them to have.
Accessing cash value during retirement years
Some may also purchase whole life insurance for the potential growth in its value. Some of this value may be accessible during retirement years and can be used to supplement income or take care of unforeseen expenses.
Take the time to speak with a licensed life insurance advisor to ensure you are getting the right permanent life insurance for your financial security needs.
Death Benefits Vs Living Benefits
Death benefits and living benefits are two different elements of a life insurance policy. Death benefits can be defined as the amount of money a life insurance company agrees to pay your beneficiary in the event of your death. Living benefits, also called accelerated death benefits, are funds that the insurance company agrees to advance you while you are still living. Living benefits may be sold as additional features that you may add to a life insurance policy through a rider.
In some cases, a life insurance company may provide living benefits as part of a life insurance policy package. Examples of living benefits include critical illness riders, long-term care riders, and other cash advance arrangements that take money from your death benefit amount and pay you while you are still alive to access care or due to pre-defined hardships like disability or loss of employment.
Whole life policies also provide access to cash values through loans, and each insurer handles these differently. Loans may be tax-free or not and may reduce the value of your death benefit or not, depending on the contract terms. Some life insurance policies require you to pay back a loan before getting the death benefit, although most would likely reduce the death benefit payout as a result.
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