The way that we research and purchase life insurance is changing. In the past, a neighborhood insurance salesman or broker would be the primary point of contact for a family or individual who wanted to purchase life insurance. People would undertake a physical exam to prove that they were healthy enough to be considered insurable. Then the underwriter would issue the policy. Now, a lot of research can be conducted online, so policies are changing to keep up with demand — which is helping make life insurance a reality for more people.
This switch to an online model has helped the life insurance industry attract more customers, as more information is available to them. The Insurance Information Institute found that many consumers tend to overestimate the cost of life insurance, especially if they’re younger than 35 years old. 44 percent of millennial-aged respondents estimated the price of monthly premiums at five times their actual cost. To help reassure you that life insurance companies are on your side, here’s a look at some of the top life insurance options for 2019.
1. State Farm
State Farm is considered one of the best options for various types of life insurance.
One of the most important factors to consider when picking a life insurance company is their financial strength. Even if they’re offering cheap premiums, there’s no point trusting them with your money if they may not be able to pay out your claim. State Farm has top financial strength ratings from multiple independent credit rating agencies. They also offer insurance in most states, with the exception of New York, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. They offer both term, whole life and universal life insurance options, which gives you options depending on whether you’re looking for fixed-term or universal coverage. They also offer flexible premiums on their universal life insurance.
Their website makes it easy to get started as they offer the answers to basic questions so you can start without an agent. They also give examples of what basic premiums might cost for a family of three for an entire year and offer a calculator so you can start to get a rough estimate of what your life insurance may cost. Having these basic questions answered without talking to an agent first makes working with State Farm a breeze.
2. Northwestern Mutual
Like State Farm, Northwestern Mutual also offers term, whole life, and universal life insurance. One unique benefit that they offer to customers who purchase term or whole life insurance is a guarantee that their premiums will never increase. They also offer the option for customers who purchase term life insurance to convert it to either whole life or universal life insurance once the initial term expires. This term conversion doesn’t require any new medical exams and allows the policyholder to locked in premiums, which are guaranteed not to increase. Doing a permanent conversion on your term life insurance policy allows you to access benefits that you wouldn’t have if you just stuck to your original policy, like the ability to take out a loan against your policy’s value or use it as collateral.
Northwestern Mutual offers policyholders the ability to adjust their premiums by either locking in a rate that stays constant or giving them the option to pay a lower premium in their younger years, which will gradually increase as they age. Northwestern Mutual has been in business for 160 years and the fact that they’re able to offer these variable rates shows that they’ve adapted to suit the needs of their policyholders.
3. New York Life
The New York Life insurance company has one of the best-reviewed guaranteed universal life insurance policies in the United States. This policy, which offers flexible death benefits ranging into the millions, is great for seniors who want to be able to choose a policy that works for them. They also offer their guaranteed universal life insurance policy to people up to the age of 85 without a medical exam. New York Life is one of the only companies who have such a generous age limit without the qualifier of a physical examination. This makes it ideal for people who only have the means to purchase insurance later in life.
New York Life offers a unique option for their guaranteed universal life insurance called survivorship. This means that the plan covers two people, but only pays out after the second spouse has passed away. This makes it easier to cover a couple without having to pay for two separate life insurance policies. New York Life simplifies their insurance offerings on their website and makes it extremely easy to figure out your needs based on your stage of life. However, they don’t yet offer a price calculator. So, you’d need to speak to one of their agents in person if you want to get a sense of your premiums.
Another company that offers low premiums compared to other insurance companies is TIAA. TIAA (the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America) offers both term and universal life insurance. Unlike some of the other large insurance companies operating today, they don’t offer whole life insurance. There are several factors that differentiate TIAA from its competitors. Their premiums were some of the lowest surveyed across the board. They also allow policyholders to switch from term to universal life insurance at any point in during their original policy. There’s no limit on term conversion and no medical exam required.
Their website makes it extremely easy to figure out the kind of insurance you need and find a quote. You can even start the application process online and have your application finished in a matter of minutes. The only thing that TIAA lacks is a few different riders that many other insurance companies offer like accidental death and long-term care riders. This means that if there are any mitigating circumstances in your life, you may not be protected.
5. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Guardian offers a wide variety of payment options, so you can decide how you want your life insurance policy to work for you. Unlike some of the other large insurance companies, which offer less than five payment structures, Guardian offers eight separate cash-accumulation models. This includes one option which allows you to pay an entire lifetime of premiums in 10 years, so you can build up cash value fast. They’ve been well reviewed by independent credit agencies and offers a respected roster of riders to cover a variety of mitigating circumstances. They offer term, whole life, and universal life insurance.
The only issue that some people have with Guardian is that their premiums tend to be on the higher end, making them ideal for an individual or family who wants to invest a large amount of capital early on. However, they do have a quote calculator on their website, so you can get a sense of premium prices without having to wait for an agent. They offer lots of information on their website, but some of it may go over the heads of beginners. Talking to an agent is the best first step with Guardian.