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Life insurance, simplified

We’ll help you find the life insurance policy that’s right for you and your family.

Buying life insurance is important, and we’re here for you every step of the way. Policygenius is an insurance marketplace. That means we don’t just offer you one option — we can help you compare life insurance quotes from top insurers side by side, so you can find the best option for you, at the best cost.

We’ve helped over 30 million shoppers and placed over $90 billion in life insurance coverage. And we have hundreds of agents — no robots here! — available to walk you through the process, find you the best rates, and answer your questions. 

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What is life insurance?

Life insurance is an agreement between you and the insurance provider: You make monthly payments toward your life insurance policy, and your beneficiaries receive a tax-free lump sum of money — the death benefit — if you die while the policy is active.

It’s an affordable way to provide financial support for those who depend on you in case you can’t be there for them. Your beneficiaries can use the money for funeral costs, childcare, college, debts, or everyday expenses.

Life insurance may seem complicated at first, but we can help you figure it out. ​​Our library of expert-written and -reviewed articles covers everything you need to know, whether you’re just beginning to explore life insurance, ready to start getting quotes and crunching numbers, or researching the best companies and policies. 

→Read more about how life insurance works

Figuring out the basics

As you get started, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions so you can buy the right type of insurance, with the right amount of coverage for your needs.

Life

Do I need life insurance?

Does anyone depend on your income or share debt with you? If the answer is yes, then you’ll probably need coverage to support them financially.

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How much do I need?

Experts recommend getting coverage equal to 10 to 15 times your income. You’ll want to account for all of your financial obligations, including debts.

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What kind do I need?

There are several types of life insurance, but term life insurance is the most common option because it’s affordable and straightforward. Keep reading below for more info.

Life

Do I need life insurance?

Does anyone depend on your income or share debt with you? If the answer is yes, then you’ll probably need coverage to support them financially.

Save

How much do I need?

Experts recommend getting coverage equal to 10 to 15 times your income. You’ll want to account for all of your financial obligations, including debts.

Compare

What kind do I need?

There are several types of life insurance, but term life insurance is the most common option because it’s affordable and straightforward. Keep reading below for more info.

What are the types of life insurance?

When shopping for life insurance, most people decide between two types of policies: term life and whole life.

Term life insurance is the most common type; it expires after a set period of time (the term), providing protection when you need it. For example, you might choose to have a term life policy while your children are young, but not have it anymore after you’re done paying college tuition and you’ve paid off your mortgage. 

Term life is popular because it’s straightforward and much cheaper than other types.

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. That means your policy doesn’t expire. It also has a cash value that grows over time; this acts similarly to an investment or savings account, and you can borrow from it if you need to.

However, a whole life policy is also much more expensive than term life. Whole life insurance can be helpful for some complex financial situations, but for most people the advantages aren’t worth the extra cost.

Other types of permanent life insurance include:

→ Learn more about the different types of life insurance

What affects my life insurance rates?

A big part of choosing your coverage is, of course, the cost. So how much can you expect to pay? Your premiums — the payments you make each month — are based on several factors, including your age, gender, health, and lifestyle. The specifics of your life insurance policy (the term length, coverage amount, type of coverage) will also affect the cost. We can help you compare quotes from top-rated insurance companies to find the most affordable policy.

→Read more about life insurance rates

Average term life insurance rates by age

Age / Sex

$250K

Coverage amount

$500K

Coverage amount

$1M

Coverage amount

25 years old

Female

$14.25

$21.14

$34.31

25 years old

Male

$17.17

$27.00

$44.90

35 years old

Female

$16.54

$25.47

$42.75

35 years old

Male

$18.78

$30.37

$51.87

45 years old

Female

$28.49

$47.53

$86.15

45 years old

Male

$35.39

$60.76

$113.52

55 years old

Female

$60.42

$108.17

$206.22

55 years old

Male

$84.20

$151.54

$287.11

Age / Sex

$250K

Coverage amount

$500K

Coverage amount

$1M

Coverage amount

25 years old

Female

$14.25

$21.14

$34.31

25 years old

Male

$17.17

$27.00

$44.90

35 years old

Female

$16.54

$25.47

$42.75

35 years old

Male

$18.78

$30.37

$51.87

45 years old

Female

$28.49

$47.53

$86.15

45 years old

Male

$35.39

$60.76

$113.52

55 years old

Female

$60.42

$108.17

$206.22

55 years old

Male

$84.20

$151.54

$287.11

Based on internal actuarial rate tables for male and female non-smokers in a Preferred health classification for 20-year term lengths from eleven life insurance carriers that offer policies through the Policygenius marketplace (AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI and TransAmerica). Current as of September 1, 2021.

What are the best life insurance companies?

Just as the right policy for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances, so will the best life insurance company depend on a good fit. That’s one of our strengths here at Policygenius: We’re an independent insurance broker, which means that we’re not owned by (and don’t own) an insurance company, so you can trust that our reviews and recommendations aren’t biased toward any particular insurer.

Our guide to the best life insurance companies is a good place to start, while our thoroughly researched reviews provide in-depth rankings of the top companies. Some of our best-rated companies include:  

  • Best overall: Brighthouse Financial

  • Best value: Protective

  • Best no-exam: Brighthouse Financial

  • Best for seniors: Prudential

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How do I buy life insurance?

The life insurance application process usually takes four to eight weeks from start to finish. Here’s what it looks like:

  1. Get a free life insurance quote. Policygenius helps you compare multiple quotes at once for free so you can get the best price.

  2. Choose a policy. Consider the cost and the amount of coverage you need, along with the insurer’s reputation and application time. 

  3. Fill out an application. You can do this online or call one of our licensed experts to get help. Either way, you’ll need to answer some basic income and health questions.

  4. Take a medical exam. Life insurance medical exams are similar to a basic physical. The exam is free, and a provider will come to you, on your schedule. (If you’re looking to speed things up, see if you qualify for a no-exam policy.)

  5. Complete a phone interview. An insurance agent will ask you a few simple questions about your health and hobbies.

  6. Receive your rate. An underwriter will decide on a final premium rate, which should be similar to the quotes you received. This can take up to six to eight weeks. (Some companies offer instant decision policies and you can be covered in hours.)

  7. Sign your policy. After you sign your policy and send your first premium payment, your coverage will be active and your family will be protected!

Why trust Policygenius?

  • The market, right here. We compare all of the top-rated insurance companies — side by side, in one place — to help you save money.

  • The right advice. We have dozens of unbiased reviews and ratings, along with expert advice from licensed agents who don’t work on commission.

  • Help from real-life people. Need a human touch? Our in-house experts can guide you through the process and get you the best deal.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the most affordable life insurance?

Term life insurance is the cheapest option for most people, so that’s a good starting point when looking for the most affordable policy.

Regardless of the type you buy, compare companies to make sure you’re choosing the one that’s best for your particular health details and financial situation.

What are the advantages of life insurance?

Life insurance provides peace of mind for you and your family. Term life is an affordable form of financial protection. For some people, it costs as little as $20-$25 a month for reasonable coverage.

The death benefit is usually tax-free, so your family gets the entire amount. Life insurance can be purchased online, and the entire benefit is available as soon as the policy is active — there’s no waiting period.

What happens if my policy costs more than I was quoted?

Policygenius is proud to provide industry-best life insurance quotes. But sometimes information uncovered during the application process means your policy will cost more than expected.

When this happens, we’ll shop your application around to our partner insurers and negotiate to get you the best possible price — guaranteed.

Will the insurance company ever not pay out the death benefit?

If your policy isn’t active when you die — you outlived the term, let it lapse, or canceled it — you’re no longer insured and the company won't pay the death benefit.

Additionally, during the first two years of the policy the company can refuse to pay in cases of suicide, and can also investigate any death for evidence of fraud; if found, they may pay out only a portion of the benefit, or none at all.

I have group life insurance through my employer. Do I still need a private insurance policy?

Group coverage is a popular workplace perk but often falls short in two ways: It limits your coverage amount, and it isn’t transferable if you switch jobs. A private insurance policy allows you to customize your coverage and stay protected for as long as you need it.

Already have group life insurance? Let our experts help you find the right supplemental policy to complete your coverage.