Buying a life insurance policy can help provide financial protection for your loved ones, but choosing the right policy can be confusing. There are several types of life insurance policies available. Some, like term life insurance, last for a set number of years. Others, like permanent life insurance policies, can provide coverage that lasts a lifetime while offering additional savings or investment components.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top life insurance companies of 2022. We’ve also gathered information about different types of policies, how the life insurance quote process works, and how to purchase a policy once you find the right one.
#1 Haven Life
#3 New York Life
#3 Northwestern Mutual
#5 Lincoln Financial
#9 Banner Life
#11 Mutual of Omaha
#15 Guardian Life
Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.
* Monthly costs are for a 35-year-old female for a $1,000,000 coverage policy of a 20-year term.
Can be purchased online
No medical exam required for some applicants
Only offers term life insurance
Limited to age 64 and under
Haven Life is a digital insurance agency that offers two term life insurance options: Haven Term and Haven Simple. Haven Term offers policies with durations of 10 to 30 years and coverage up to $3 million. Haven Simple offers policies with durations of 5 to 20 years and coverage up to $500,000. While many life insurance policies require a medical exam prior to coverage, Haven Life’s Simple plan doesn’t.
One restriction to note, however, Haven Term is limited to those 64 and under and Haven Simple eligibility cuts off at 55.
Read more in our Haven Life review.
None of its policies require a medical exam
Terms policies between 10 and 30 years in duration
Only term life policies available
Doesn’t offer any riders
Bestow is an online insurance agency that sells term life insurance policies. It doesn’t offer any other types of life insurance or riders. But, none of the policies it sells require a medical exam.
The term life policies that Bestow sells are for between 10 and 30 years in length with coverage amounts between $50,000 and $1.5 million. There is an enrollment age limit of 60 years old.
As mentioned, there are no medical exams required during the application process, but Bestow will look at your credit and medical history, prior attempts at buying insurance, and driving records.
Bestow doesn’t issue the life insurance policies it sells. Instead, the policies are issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.
Read more in our Bestow review.
Offers term, whole, and universal life policies
Term policies can be converted to permanent
Policies are more expensive than many companies in our rating
Policies aren’t fully explained on the company website
New York Life
New York Life is the highest-rated company in our rating to offer both term and permanent policies. Its permanent life insurance options include both whole and universal policies. The term policies it offers can also be converted to a permanent policy.
You also have the option of adding riders such as Disability Waiver of Premium, Accidental Death Benefit, and Living Benefits.
The New York Life website doesn’t necessarily provide a lot of information on its policies, so you may have to contact a New York Life agent for more detail. Also, its term policies are more expensive than most of the companies in our rating.
Read more in our New York Life review.
Offers term, whole, and universal policies
Term policies can be converted to a whole life policy
Can only be purchased through an agent
Limited online pricing information
Northwestern Mutual offers both term and permanent life insurance options. Its term policies range in length from 10 to 20 years. Among its permanent life insurance policies, Northwestern Mutual offers universal and whole life insurance. You can start out with a term life policy from Northwestern Mutual and then later, without additional fees or medical exam, convert it to a whole life policy.
There is limited pricing information available on its website, and policies must be purchased through a life insurance agent. The type of riders available to customize your policy will depend upon the type of policy you choose, so make sure to ask your life insurance agent.
Read more in our Northwestern Mutual review.
Offers term and permanent policies
Some policies may not require a medical exam
Doesn’t offer whole life insurance policies
Applying for policies requires working with a Lincoln financial professional
Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group offers both term and universal life insurance. Its two term policies, TermAccel and LifeElements, have durations of 10 to 30 years. TermAccel coverage levels range from $100,000 to $2,500,000, and in some cases no medical exam is required to purchase a policy. LifeElements offers policies with death benefits starting at $250,000 and maxing out at $1,000,000, subject to individual considerations and underwriting limits.
Lincoln Financial also offers two types of permanent life insurance variable universal life, and indexed universal life. In the past, it also sold universal life insurance, but the company is not selling new universal life policies, according to the company website.
To purchase any life insurance policy with Lincoln Financial, you’ll need to speak with a financial professional.
Read more in our Lincoln Financial Group review.
Offers term and universal life insurance policies available
Offers higher coverage levels than many of the companies in our rating
Doesn’t offer whole life insurance
Some policies have high minimum coverage amounts
John Hancock sells term policies and three different types of universal life insurance. It offers term policies that range in duration from 10 to 30 years and provide coverage of between $750,000 to $65 million. Both the minimum and maximum coverage amounts are higher than you might find with other companies. For example, Haven Life’s Haven Term policy starts at $100,000 and tops out at $3 million.
While John Hancock doesn’t have any whole life policies it does offer three different types of universal policies; universal life, indexed universal life (IUL), and variable universal life (VUL).
It also offers a way to save money with its Vitality Plus program. By making healthy decisions, such as watching a webinar on nutrition or going to the gym and recording your results in its mobile app, you can earn discounts with various retailers.
Read more in our John Hancock review.
If you’re concerned about the cost of life insurance, you’re not alone. According to a study by LIMRA, a life insurance trade association, the top reason most people don’t purchase life insurance is they believe it to be too expensive. However, life insurance may be more affordable than you think. The same study revealed that over half of Americans overestimate the cost of a life insurance policy.
Our list of Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2022 can help you find a policy that gives you peace of mind and fits your budget.
Sample Monthly Cost - Women
Sample Monthly Cost - Men
A.M Best Rating
|Banner Life »||$46.63||$61.85||A+||Compare Quotes »|
|AIG »||$46.91||$62.21||A||Compare Quotes »|
|Guardian Life »||$57.00||$65.00||A++||Compare Quotes »|
|State Farm »||$54.79||$69.59||A++||Compare Quotes »|
|Transamerica »||$57.62||$74.82||A||Compare Quotes »|
* Monthly costs are for a 35-year-old female and 35-year-old male, respectively, in the Standard Plus risk category, or equivalent, for a $1,000,000 coverage policy of a 20-year term.
Not everyone needs a life insurance policy to last their whole lives. For example, you may only need a life insurance policy to last as long as it takes to pay off a mortgage. This is where term life insurance can come in handy, you can choose how long you want your policy to last, usually for periods ranging from five to 30 years and it is frequently one of the less expensive life insurance options. Here is our rating of the Best Term Life Insurance Companies of 2022.
Whole life insurance policies are a type of permanent life insurance meant to last for as long as you live, as long as you continue to pay your premiums. This type of policy includes not only a death benefit but also a savings component, called the cash value, that can be borrowed or withdrawn from as needed. Here is our rating of the Best Whole Life Insurance Companies of 2022.
Universal life insurance is another type of permanent life insurance that includes a cash value component. The difference between universal and whole life insurance is that with many universal policies you can alter your premiums or death benefits while the policy is active. Here is our rating of the Best Universal Life Insurance policies of 2022.
A no-exam, or no medical exam life insurance policy, is exactly what it sounds like, it is a policy that doesn’t require you to take a medical exam to be approved. One of the ways an insurance company determines your premiums is by having you take a medical exam, this helps them to determine how much of a risk you are to insure. Many companies are now offering you the option of a life insurance policy without this requirement. Here is our rating of the Best No-Exam Life Insurance Companies of 2022.
When trying to choose the right life insurance company, there are several things you should consider, including what policies are available and which companies offer the services you need. This can also include riders that will best meet your needs.
It is also important to look at customer reviews and compare prices between different insurers.
Policies: Not all companies offer all types of insurance. For example, Haven Life and Bestow offer term life insurance policies but don’t offer permanent policies such as whole or universal life. Conversely, companies like Nationwide, MassMutual, and Prudential offer all three of those product types as well as policies that don’t require a medical exam.
Coverage: Think about how much life insurance coverage you need. This can help narrow your search. Companies with high minimum coverage amounts could have you paying for more coverage than you need. For example, if you are young with limited or no debt and no dependents, then a policy from a company with a minimum coverage amount of $750,000 might not make much sense. But, if you have a mortgage, a partner who doesn’t work, and/or several dependents who want to go to college, a policy that maxes out at $50,000 might not provide ample financial security.
Riders: Life insurance riders are typically add-ons that help customize a standard policy to better meet your needs. Here is a short list of some typical riders and what they do:
- Accelerated death benefit — a rider that allows you to access the money in your death benefit before you die, typically in the case of a terminal illness.
- Term conversion rider — This lets you convert your term type policy to a permanent type of life insurance.
- Accidental death and dismemberment — Pays a set amount of money for accidental death in addition to the regular death benefit.
- Waiver of premium rider — If you become disabled this rider lets you waive the premiums for your policy.
Price: There are a lot of insurance companies to choose from, so one thing you can do to narrow your choices is compare prices. You might find that some insurance companies offer similar policies for different prices. For instance, State Farm and Nationwide could offer policies with the same coverage amount and riders for a different cost. If you want to get a quote for different life insurance companies, check out our Life Insurance Quotes guide.
Customer Satisfaction: It is also important to look at how satisfied customers are with an insurer. If you are looking for a company that is easy to work with, then looking at customer reviews can help. You can visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website to see the number of complaints filed within a state.
Financial Strength: Another thing to consider is whether the company will be able to pay the death benefit to your beneficiary when you die. One way to assess that is by looking at the company’s financial rating. A number of rating agencies, such as AM Best, provide a credit rating score. A credit rating is an indication from the rating agency of whether a company is likely to default on its debts. The less likely a company is to default on its debts the better its credit rating. All the companies in our rating have a credit rating of A or better from AM Best. A high credit rating can indicate that a company is financially strong and will likely be around to pay the death benefit to your beneficiary when you die.
For more information on selecting a life insurance company read our guide on How to Buy Life Insurance.
Life insurance is a type of insurance that provides money to your chosen beneficiary when you die. You choose a life insurance company that offers a type of policy and death benefits that you want, apply, and if you are accepted the insurance company promises to provide the specified amount of money to your beneficiary (this can be a relative, loved one, or even an organization) when you die, as long as you paid the required premiums.
This money is often used to cover burial expenses and replace lost income. For example, if the primary wage earner in a family dies the money would help the remaining family members pay their bills.
If you want more information read our guide on how life insurance works.
There are generally two types of life insurance: permanent and term life. Examples of permanent life insurance policies are universal and whole life. Read on for information on the various types.
What Is Term Life Insurance?
Term life insurance is a kind of temporary life insurance. A term life insurance policy is defined by how long it remains active, or its term. A term can generally be as short as a year or may last 30 years. Term policies may also provide the option of being converted to a permanent life insurance policy or renewed for another term.
For more information, read our term life insurance guide.
What Is Permanent Life Insurance?
A permanent life insurance policy is designed to be a life insurance policy for the long haul. These policies generally contain two parts: the death benefit and the cash value. The cash value can work as a kind of savings component or type of investment, depending on the exact policy. Examples of permanent life insurance include whole and universal life policies.
What Is Whole Life Insurance?
A whole life policy is a type of permanent life insurance that contains both a death benefit and cash value. The cash value can grow if the company you buy insurance from pays dividends into it. Mutual life insurance policies and some policies sold by stock insurers frequently contain dividend options. Dividends can be based on things like the financial performance of the company.
For more information, read our whole life insurance guide.
What Is Universal Life Insurance?
Universal life insurance is another example of permanent life insurance. One of the key differences between whole and universal life insurance is in the policy’s flexibility. With many universal policies, you can adjust your premiums and the death benefit while the policy is active. There are also several different types of universal life policies, including indexed universal life (IUL), variable universal life (VUL), and guaranteed universal life insurance.
For more information, read our universal life insurance guide.
What Is No-Exam Life Insurance?
A no-exam life insurance policy is a type of policy that doesn’t require you to take a medical exam when applying. These policies can be either term or permanent policies. The approval process for these types of policies is often brief because you don’t have to schedule and undergo a medical exam as part of the application process.
While companies may waive the medical exam for some applicants, a no-exam policy won’t require anyone to take a medical exam.
For more information read our guide on What Is No-Exam Life Insurance?
Available Policy Types
The cost of a life insurance policy can vary widely, even among policies for people in the same demographic. Some of the factors that go into determining the cost of premiums for a life insurance policy include the life insurer, age, sex, health, and policy add-ons (also called riders).
If you just look at a person’s sex, the difference in cost for a 35-year old female and male in the Standard Risk class with a $1,000,000 20-year term life policy from Banner Life is just over $15 per month. If you take those same two people and type of policy and apply it to New York Life the difference is almost $50 per month.
Age is another important factor. The difference between a 35-year-old female in the Standard Risk Class and the same female and risk class at 65 years old with a $1,000,000 20-year term policy from Haven Life is almost $975 per month.
Individuals in high-risk groups, such as those who use tobacco products, will often have higher premiums. For information on inexpensive life insurance companies visit our rating for the Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2022. And for more information on life insurance premiums visit our Life Insurance Quotes guide.
Female Life Insurance Policy Cost
Male Life Insurance Policy Cost
For more information on how much life insurance policy costs read our guide to Life Insurance Quotes.
Whether or not you need life insurance is a highly personal decision. Here are a few circumstances that may make a life insurance policy worth considering.
Your partner or children depend on your income. Many people open a policy to make sure their loved ones maintain financial stability. Death benefits can be used to cover everyday expenses that may become challenging if they lose your income. This includes mortgage or rent, utility bills, food and groceries, tuition, etc.
You have outstanding debts. Car loans, mortgages, credit card bills, and other types of debt can leave your dependents with an additional financial burden. A life insurance policy can pay down those debts and offer relief to your beneficiary.
You want to cover end-of-life expenses. According to LIMRA, 83% of consumers point to burial costs as a reason for purchasing life insurance. That’s no surprise given current and predicted funeral expenses. A 2021 National Funeral Direct Association (NFDA) study indicates that the average cost of a funeral, including a viewing and burial, is $7,848. Adding a burial vault can raise that to nearly $9,500. Those costs are likely to rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics data shows a 227.1% increase in funeral costs between 1987 and 2017.
A financial professional can be a good resource to help you determine whether you need a life insurance policy and what it should account for. They’ll also be able to help you review a variety of policy options and determine which will best meet your needs.
Who is the beneficiary?
The beneficiary is who or what you select to receive the money from your life insurance policy after you pass. This could be a person such as a family member or friend or it could be an organization like a charity.
Who is the policyholder?
The policyholder is the person who purchases the life insurance policy. This may be the same person who is being insured, the beneficiary, or someone else like a spouse.
What is a death benefit?
The death benefit is the money paid to the beneficiary after the person insured has passed away. The death benefit is usually paid only when the policy is paid up.
What is the cash value?
The cash value is the portion of your premium that is set aside in a separate account in your permanent life insurance policy. The cash value can do a number of different things. Depending on the type of policy you have, it can earn interest or be invested. You can also borrow money from it or in some cases use it to pay your life insurance premiums.
Do life insurance policies pay dividends?
Some whole life policies pay dividends. This will depend on your policy and you should check with your insurance company or agent to see if your current policy or the policy you are considering pays dividends.
How long do you have to claim life insurance?
Generally, life insurance companies need to adhere to state laws on how long a beneficiary has to claim insurance benefits. Talk to your agent or the company that the policy was purchased from if you have questions.
Does life insurance pay for death by suicide?
Some companies will pay the death benefit for death by suicide. There are sometimes suicide clauses or waiting periods within a life insurance policy, which generally expire two to three years after the policy was purchased.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Call any time of day for free, confidential support from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The organization also operates more than 150 crisis centers that offer encouragement and local resources. Please reach out to them if you are in crisis.
Can you get life insurance if you have cancer?
This will likely depend on both the insurance company and your particular policy. Many life insurance policies require a medical exam as part of the application process. This may preclude you from getting a life insurance policy, but not always. This will depend on the stage and type of cancer, treatment, and whether or not you’re in recovery.
There are also policies that don’t require a medical exam that may be available.
Life Insurance Companies
Other Ratings From 360 Reviews
Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Life Insurance Companies Researched
At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 25 life insurance companies and agencies and analyzed 14 third-party review sources. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.
The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing life insurance companies to provide guidance to prospective consumers.
1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.
U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data to determine which life insurance companies and agencies readers are most interested in.
Using volume of searches and consumer research, we found 25 providers that stood out for further evaluation. After conducting a comprehensive analysis, we were able to condense the initial list to the 15 best life insurance companies and agencies.
We compared available coverages and packages from top life insurance companies and agencies across several criteria, including cost, coverage limits, policy features, and availability. Research shows that these criteria are among the most important considerations to people shopping for life insurance. We compared costs across companies and agencies using two types of estimated cost information per company or agency, as applicable: a summary cost relative to the company in our main review page, as well as more detailed costs by age. At the company or agency level, we offer what we call a “base cost”: a cost representing a 35-year-old woman in average health getting a 20-year term policy with $1,000,000 in coverage. By keeping certain criteria consistent, such as health status, we make it easier for readers to compare costs by company or agency. In our company and agency profiles, we show cost estimates regarding policies for which online quote information was available at the time of publication. Where available, quote information was provided from a data analytics partner or from each company or agency. We provided the same information to each company or agency, and obtained quotes either using publicly available online quoting tools, direct conversations with the companies, or both. In addition, we show the costs for a range of typical individuals, including 35-, 45-, 55-, and 65-year-old males and females and in average health. Prices shown are for $1,000,000 policies, with a 20-year-term for term life insurance and no term for permanent life and whole life insurance policies. Prices for seniors are for $500,000 policies, with a 10-year-term for term life insurance. This range of choices allows readers to understand insurance costs, although the best way to get an accurate estimate is to use a company’s or agency’s online tools as well as speaking with company agents.
2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.
U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from independent life insurance experts and third-party reviews.
Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:
(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:
- Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent life insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of life insurance companies and products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
- Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of life insurance providers. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.
Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.
(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.
The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.
The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company that a source rated was scored in comparison to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:
- Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point's relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it's above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it's equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the company’s rating from the mean and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
- Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
- Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.
(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.
We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than two was excluded from the consensus scoring model.
Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.