Life insurance is an important financial product that can cover your final expenses, protect your loved ones, and provide a safety net for their future. But what are the best life insurance companies and how do you decide which policy is right for you?
We’ve pulled together this list of top life insurance companies to help you quickly and easily find the best coverage options to suit your needs.
Best life insurance companies of 2022
- Haven life insurance
- Ladder life insurance
- Bestow life insurance
- Fabric life insurance
- Ethos life insurance
Haven helps consumers apply for up to $3 million in term life insurance coverage quickly and easily. They offer a simple online application process, and applicants who meet certain criteria may be able to get life insurance coverage without a medical exam.
Haven's term life policies are issued by MassMutual or its subsidiary C.M. Life. MassMutual has been in business for over 160 years and has an A++ AM Best rating.
Haven offers an accelerated death benefit with its policies, which sets it apart from competitors. This benefit allows you to use your life insurance coverage to cover medical expenses if you're diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of two years or less.
... Read our Haven review.
If you're looking for flexible life insurance coverage, Ladder may fit your needs nicely. Consumers can apply for up to $8 million in term life coverage through Ladder, and the company issues its policies through Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and in New York through Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, both of which have an A+ AM Best rating. What makes Ladder unique is that they offer policyholders the opportunity to decrease or apply to increase coverage over time based on their financial situation and needs.
... Read our Ladder review.
Bestow allows consumers to apply for a coverage amount of up to $1.5 million in term life insurance coverage without a medical exam. The application process takes minutes, and premiums can be as low as $8. Bestow partners with the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance® to issue its policies. North American has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and has been a reliable insurance provider for over 130 years. The fact that Bestow offers a simple application process and the option to get coverage without a medical exam sets this insurer apart from its competitors.
... Read our Bestow review.
Fabric offers term life insurance and accidental death policies from an A+ AM Best-rated insurance provider. Fabric's policies are backed by Vantis Life, which has been offering life insurance coverage to consumers since its founding in 1942. Unlike other insurers, in addition to its insurance policies, Fabric also offers an app to help you manage your finances and a free service for creating a last will and testament.
... Read our Fabric review.
Ethos life insurance
Ethos allows consumers to enter some basic information online and receive quick quotes for up to $1.5 million in term life insurance coverage. Ethos term life policies are issued by Legal General America, and they're reinsured by Munich Re and Assurity Life Insurance. Both companies have A+ AM Best ratings and have been in business since the 19th century. Ethos policies come with an accelerated death benefit and a 30-day money-back guarantee. During that period, you can opt to cancel your policy and get a refund.
... Read our Ethos review.
How to choose the best life insurance coverage
No two circumstances are identical, so the type of life insurance coverage that’s right for you — and the best life insurance companies to buy that coverage from — might not be the same for your brother, best friend, or neighbor. Before deciding on a new policy, there are a few important things to consider first.
What type of life insurance do I need?
Take a good look at your own unique situation when determining the type of policy that best serves your needs. This includes:
- Your loved ones’ needs: What is required to care for your dependents, including your spouse, children, aging parents, siblings with long-term needs, etc.? Also, think about how long you expect your life insurance beneficiaries to need financial support.
- Any existing assets: Do you already have significant retirement savings built up? If so, you may decide that you only need life insurance for a few years, to cover the remainder of your earning years.
- Life insurance cost: What does the life insurance coverage cost? Keep in mind that permanent life insurance policies will likely come with higher premiums than term life insurance policies.
Your current health also plays a role in what type of life insurance you have access to. Insurance companies look at your health when they calculate how much risk they’re taking when they issue you a policy. If you have or have had certain health conditions, you may need to apply for a simplified or guaranteed issue policy, which doesn’t have the same health eligibility requirements.
Simplified issue policies typically require you to answer a few health questions, and if you qualify, you may be issued a policy without a medical exam. Guaranteed-issue policies offer you coverage regardless of any health issues, but the policies typically have a reduced benefit for the first two years of the policy. Both of these types of policies are sometimes referred to as no-medical-exam life insurance. These policies also usually have a lower amount of coverage, and the insurance premiums can be relatively high.
The type of life insurance you choose also depends on your income and your lifestyle and hobbies. If you engage in risky hobbies such as sky-diving, insurance companies may not issue you a policy, or they may charge you more for the coverage.
Types of life insurance
- Term life insurance
- Whole life insurance
- Universal life insurance
You might find yourself debating term vs whole life insurance. Whole and universal life are types of permanent life insurance, meaning they don't expire as long as you pay your premiums.
Whole life insurance has the same premium for the life of the policy, and it builds up cash value on a tax-deferred basis. Universal life insurance policies can also build up cash value, and it has flexible premiums. Variable universal life policies invest a portion of the premiums you pay. This means you could lose money depending on how the investments perform.
With term insurance, your policy expires at the end of a term (ex. 30-year term), but you'll typically see lower premium payments. For most people, term life insurance policies provide exactly what you need: affordable monthly payments in return for a death benefit payout.
If you decide to go the term life insurance route, you’ll need to review your policy options, and decide how long you want coverage for and which life insurance riders — if any — are important to you. For example, you may want a rider that provides you with a living benefit, such as being able to receive a portion of funds if you need long-term care.
Many of the best life insurance companies offer a range of term lengths, coverage limits, and optional riders for added protection.
How much life insurance do I need?
Next, you’ll want to determine exactly how much life insurance coverage you need. Calculating this amount involves looking at the following factors:
- Your income: One quick way is to simply multiply your current earnings by the number of years you’d want to replace that income for your family (10 or 15 is common). Be sure to also consider sources of hidden income, such as health insurance benefits provided by your workplace.
- Your debt burden: Whether you have a mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, or owe on personal loans, be sure to account for this in your life insurance calculations.
- Future expenses: You may want to consider any significant future financial obligations when calculating your life insurance coverage. These could include college tuition for your children, charitable donations, money for your kids’ weddings, or a down payment on their first home.
It’s important to note that different life insurance companies will offer different levels of coverage. For instance, some insurers offer policies up to $300,000; others can provide you with millions in coverage.
WarningIf you’re going to pay premiums on your coverage each month for years, it’s important that your life insurance is worth the cost and is something you can afford.
To find the perfect coverage at the perfect price, you should spend some time shopping around. Many of the life insurance providers listed above offer a simple process for obtaining quotes, which makes it easy to compare life insurance plans and quickly. And in many cases, it may only take a few minutes to get a quote and apply for coverage. The process is likely simpler than you think.
If you're uncertain, an insurance agent or broker or a financial planner could also help you determine how much and which types of insurance would be best for you.
The companies we chose for our best life insurance companies list are among the top online insurers in the country, based on our competitive analysis and an analysis of current partners. We did not evaluate all companies in the category. For the purposes of this piece, we did not review traditional life insurers.
FinanceBuzz ranking criteria include:
- NAIC complaint index score: This score is correlated with customer satisfaction. It measures total complaints to state regulators relative to total policies issued.
- AM Best rating: AM Best is an independent credit rating company that measures the financial stability of insurance companies. AM Best calculates financial strength ratings for companies based on creditworthiness and ability to pay customer claims and other debts in a timely fashion. Four of five companies on our list received an A+ rating or higher from AM Best.
- Pricing: The cost of life insurance with a specific provider.
- Ease of use: How simple the process is and how long it takes to apply.
- Total coverage: How much coverage a particular provider offers.
Life insurance FAQs
What is the best life insurance policy?
The best life insurance policy for you may not be the same one that’s best for someone else. You first need to look at your own needs and personal factors before you can choose the type of policy, term length, and coverage limit that suits your needs. Only then can you decide on your best life insurance company and policy.
Which is better, whole or term life insurance?
When it comes to term vs. whole life insurance policies, each coverage option serves its own purpose. If you need more affordable coverage for a specific period of time, term life insurance is best. If you are looking for a policy that grows a cash value and stays with you for your entire life, whole coverage is the best choice. However, whole life policies are typically much more expensive and may be cost-prohibitive for many. If you have questions about which life insurance products are right for you, consider reaching out to a financial advisor for assistance.
How do I find the best life insurance?
Once you’ve decided what you need, finding the best life insurance rates involves shopping around a bit. Compare life insurance quotes from various companies — you can do this online easily and quickly — so you can decide on the best policy. You could start by getting online quotes for term coverage from the life insurance companies that have made our list.
If you feel as though whole life or universal life insurance coverage would suit your needs better, you can choose to compare life insurance options from traditional insurers like Northwestern Mutual, State Farm, New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, or Prudential. Just keep in mind that permanent coverage tends to come with higher monthly premiums, and many policies require a medical exam as part of the underwriting process.
At what age should you buy life insurance?
There is no specific age when you should buy life insurance. Instead, you should purchase coverage when you need it for the financial security of your loved ones, whether that’s age 25 or 45. As soon as you get married, become a homeowner, or have children, life insurance should be on your radar. And just keep in mind that the longer you wait to buy, the more expensive your premiums are likely to be.