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The best life insurance companies of December 2022

Banner Life, Lincoln Financial, MassMutual, Prudential, and Brighthouse Financial topped our list of the best life insurance companies this year.

Katherine Murbach Policygenius

By

Katherine Murbach

Katherine Murbach

Associate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Katherine Murbach is an associate editor and a licensed life insurance expert at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Edited byAntonio Ruiz-Camacho

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

Associate Content Director

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Expert reviewed

Expert reviewed

This article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.

Learn more about oureditorial review process.

By

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner™ & Advanced Planning Team Lead

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Advanced Planning Team Lead at Policygenius. His expertise has been featured at Lifehacker, Consumer Affairs, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, and Fatherly.

Updated|24 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Choosing a life insurance company might feel daunting, but you're not alone — our comprehensive guide is here to help you in the process. We used industry data, pricing from Policygenius carrier partners, and third-party ratings like A.M. Best and J.D. Power to pick the best insurers on the market. Our independent, unbiased recommendations will help you get life insurance coverage with confidence.

Best life insurance companies of December 2022

Methodology: How we chose the best life insurance companies of 2022

We don't get paid for our company reviews and use an extensive rubric of criteria covering policy details, price, financial confidence, third-party ratings, and customer experience to assign unbiased ratings out of five stars. Any recommendations we make are based on internal and external expert opinions and data from our Policygenius Price Index, which uses real-time rate data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends.

Our ratings and reviews can help point you to an insurer you can rely on for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you is dependent on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can work with you through the application process so you’re getting coverage from the best insurer for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

→ Read more about our reviews methodology here

Best overall life insurance

Banner Life

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.7

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

30+ year terms

All 50 states

Why we chose it

Banner Life has some of the longest term lengths — up to 40 years — and most competitive life insurance rates available, even for people with a history of medical conditions.

Read our full Banner Life review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Very competitive rates

  • Covers many health conditions

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

Cons

  • Strict temporary coverage eligibility

  • Reconsideration is paid for by the applicant

Banner Life scored a mention in four of the top 20 categories we include on our list of best life insurance companies. Banner Life offers a competitive option for people who qualify for best rates, as well as people who may have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or tobacco use.

It offers a competitive no-medical-exam option to people who qualify, as well as a fully underwritten option with a medical exam. Banner Life also has high levels of financial security. The company is rated A+ according to A.M. Best, a rating agency that analyzes insurers based on their financial strength.

Runner-up

Lincoln Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.7

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial offers a diverse array of life insurance policies, including competitive no-med and high-net-worth options.

Read our full Lincoln Financial review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable for older applicants

  • No-med option available

  • Very fast turnaround

Cons

  • Expensive permanent policies

  • Few online tools

Lincoln Financial also earned a place in four of our top categories on the list of best life insurance companies. They are a favorable option for a number of health circumstances, including depressionsleep apnea, and marijuana use. They offer a competitive no-medical-exam option as well. They also have high levels of financial security, and are rated A+ according to A.M. Best.

Cheapest life insurance

Life insurance is not a one-size-fits-all financial product, but in some cases, some insurance companies stand out for offering competitive rates across multiple types of policies and for a wide array of people. Our top pick for cheapest life insurance is Banner Life, followed by Protective.

Why we chose it

Banner Life has some of the most competitive rates on the market, for people both with and without pre-existing health conditions.

Runner-up

Protective

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.9

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

Why we chose it

Protective has some of the most affordable and comprehensive life insurance options available.

Read our full Protective review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • One of the best values on the market

  • Variety of coverage amounts and term lengths

  • Solid suite of online tools

Cons

  • Slow application approval

  • Zero no-medical-exam options

Like Banner, Protective offers some of the most competitive rates across a variety of ages and health classes. Even if you receive a higher rate, you will likely pay less at that rate than you would with another insurer.

→ Read more about the cheapest life insurance companies

Best term life insurance

Term life insurance is the most popular coverage option for most people — it’s affordable, straightforward, and only lasts for as long as you need it. Our top pick for term life insurance is Banner Life, followed by Lincoln Financial.

Why we chose it

Coming in at the top overall, Banner Life makes our pick for best term life insurance due to competitive rates and a variety of term lengths.

Runner-up: Lincoln Financial

Why we chose it

Like Banner, Lincoln Financial is one of the best options for term insurance. They have competitive rates for a number of health conditions, as well as a no-medical exam option.

Best whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that lasts for your entire life, has a cash value component in addition to the traditional death benefit that can be used for savings and investment, and is usually five to 15 times more expensive than term. Whole is best suited for high-net-worth individuals or people with long-term financial obligations. Our top pick for whole life insurance coverage is MassMutual, followed by Pacific Life.

MassMutual

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange starEmpty gray star

3.8

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A++

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

NR

All 50 states

Why we chose it

MassMutual’s whole life insurance plan provides a lifetime coverage option that builds cash value with the potential to earn dividends.

Read our full MassMutual review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Strong financial stability ratings

  • Potential for dividends

  • Offers a variety of permanent life insurance products

Cons

  • No option to skip the medical exam

  • High premiums

MassMutual pays higher dividends to its cash value policyholders than many competitors. They offer several different permanent life insurance products as well, including universal and variable universal life insurance policies. The company has high customer experience ratings compared to other carriers and consistently receives high third-party financial stability ratings, which is especially important when purchasing a lifelong policy.

Runner-up

Pacific Life

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

All 50 states

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Pacific Life has high third-party financial ratings and a competitive application process (also known as underwriting).

Read our full Pacific Life review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • More affordable permanent insurance pricing

  • Strong financial stability ratings

  • Better for people with minor health conditions

Cons

  • No cash value whole life policy

  • Doesn’t pay dividends

Pacific Life has limited whole life options, but its guaranteed universal life insurance — a type of permanent life insurance that removes some of the market risk because your premiums will remain the same regardless of how market indexes perform  — offers the benefit of lifetime coverage at a lower price. If you only need permanent coverage and don’t need to build cash value, you’ll pay less with Pacific Life than with other insurers.

Best no-medical-exam life insurance

No-medical-exam life insurance uses past health records instead of a physical exam to assess your health so you can get affordable life insurance faster. Our pick for no-med coverage is Brighthouse Financial, followed by Lincoln Financial.

Brighthouse Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange star

5.0

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Brighthouse Financial offers competitive rates, comprehensive coverage, and application decisions in as little as 24 hours, making it our overall best choice for people who want to get life insurance coverage without having to take the medical exam.

Read our full Brighthouse Financial review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Extremely affordable

  • Instant-decision applications

  • Best-in-class no-med option

Cons

  • Traditional term life not available in CA, IL, LA, ME, or NY

  • Term life applicants limited to ages 25-50

Brighthouse Financial’s prices are comparable to other companies (and sometimes cheaper), and death benefits are available up to $2 million.

Runner-up: Lincoln Financial

Why we chose it 

When it comes to low costs and the option to avoid medical tests, Lincoln Financial's TermAccel has the competition beat. Younger shoppers (mainly applicants below age 60) can receive a decision within days, not weeks, and pay industry-low prices for their coverage of choice.

→ Read more about our top picks for no-medical-exam life insurance

Ready to shop for the best life insurance?

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Best life insurance for seniors

The older you are, the more you’ll likely pay for life insurance coverage, but some insurers offer more competitive rates to people age 60 and above than others. Our top pick for life insurance for seniors is Prudential, followed by Mutual of Omaha.

Prudential

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange starEmpty gray star

3.4

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With nearly four million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive coverage options for seniors, as well as people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia.

Read our full Prudential review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • High financial ratings

  • Competitive underwriting for a range of medical conditions

  • Comprehensive online resources

Cons

  • High premiums

  • Mixed customer ratings

Prudential offers the most flexibility for people with health conditions associated with older age. Individuals with osteoporosis or other aging-related health issues, for example, can qualify for lower premiums with Prudential than with other insurers. The company also offers more flexible income requirements than other insurers, making it easier for retirees to get the amount of coverage they need.

Runner-up

Mutual of Omaha

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange starEmpty gray star

3.4

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Mutual of Omaha is a reputable company that offers a variety of life insurance products — including a no-medical-exam option — so that seniors can select the type of life insurance that best suits their needs.

Read our full Mutual of Omaha review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • No-medical-exam options for older applicants

  • Strong financial and customer ratings

Cons

  • Policies are more expensive than average

  • Slow turnaround time

Mutual of Omaha offers competitive pricing for people with common and some complex health conditions. It also offers a simplified issue term life insurance policy  — a type of final expense coverage that doesn’t require a medical exam for approval — available for older shoppers, as well as multiple types of final expense policies, so seniors are able to select the type of product that best fits their life insurance needs.

Best life insurance for families

From covering children to applying while pregnant, families have specific life insurance needs. Our top pick for life insurance for families is AIG.

AIG

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With competitive pricing and a range of flexible term periods for its Select-a-Term product, AIG is a solid option for many life insurance shoppers, including families.

Read our full AIG review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for all ages

  • Customizable term policies

  • Benefits common health conditions

Cons

  • Below average customer ratings

  • Cumbersome quote tool

AIG is highly competitive when it comes to price. It also offers a customizable child rider, which is an optional add-on that pays a small death benefit if any of your children dies while your policy is active. You can add anywhere between $500 and $25,000 of coverage in addition to your policy to cover any children, making sure your whole family is covered.

AIG is also favorable for people who are applying while pregnant. They will consider your application at any stage of pregnancy as long as there are no complications, while other companies might postpone applications during the second or third trimester until after delivery.

→ Read more about family life insurance

Best life insurance for child rider

Banner Life

Why we picked it

Banner Life doesn't require any medical prerequisites as part of its underwriting process to add a child rider to its policies. The child rider's coverage is capped at $10,000

Best life insurance for young adults

The younger you are when purchasing life insurance, the better your rates will be — each year you delay buying a life insurance policy, the cost of premiums increases by 4.5% to 9% on average. Young adults can find the most affordable rates — especially if they are in good health — but some insurers are more competitive than others. Our top pick for life insurance for young adults is Brighthouse Financial, followed by Transamerica.  

Brighthouse Financial

Why we chose it

For people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, Brighthouse Financial offers some of the most affordable and convenient coverage options on the market. The company features one of the best overall life insurance products for young adults ages 25 and up — they offer quick approvals, no-medical-exam options and affordable premiums.

Runner-up

Transamerica

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.4

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Transamerica is one of the oldest and largest life insurance companies, with over 12 million active accounts today. It offers affordable rates for almost every age, and you can even skip the medical exam if you fall under a certain age or coverage amount.

Read our full Transamerica review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive rates for term life insurance

  • No-medical-exam available for people under a certain age or coverage amount

  • Former smokers may be eligible for lower rates

Cons

  • Uneven customer experience

  • Most policy changes require a paper form

Transamerica offers competitive pricing and the option to get approved without a medical exam, especially for young adults in average or above-average health. Transamerica also has flexible financial guidelines for college students, as well as medical, law, or graduate level students, who are applying to protect their future income.

Best life insurance for visa and green card holders

Visa and green card holders in the United States are eligible for life insurance, but some insurers might be a better fit for them depending on their status and personal situation. Our top pick for life insurance for non-US citizens is Transamerica, followed by Prudential.

Transamerica

Why we chose it

Transamerica offers coverage for people with a variety of different types of visas, as well as green card and conditional green card holders. Transamerica is one of the only companies that does not necessarily require a Social Security number to apply for coverage, either — although they do require a visa and any visa-related forms specific to your specific status. They offer competitively priced policies and the potential to bypass the medical exam based on the contents of your online health questionnaire. 

Runner-up: Prudential

Why we chose it

Prudential is another option that offers coverage for most types of visas, green card, and DACA recipients. They’re not quite as competitive in price as Transamerica, but they have strong financial ratings and they’re favorable for a number of health conditions as well.

Best life insurance for estate planning

Depending on your needs and personal situation, a life insurance policy can be part of your estate planning strategy. If that’s your case, our insurer picks include MassMutual and Pacific Life. 

MassMutual

Why we chose it

MassMutual is an A.M. Best A++ rated insurer that pays higher dividends to its cash value policyholders than many competitors, making it a good pick for tax-deferred wealth strategies like planning for retirement. 

Runner-up: Pacific Life

Why we chose it

Pacific Life has high third-party financial ratings and competitive underwriting, along with a competitive guaranteed universal life insurance option. This is a solid option for estate planning since it provides a permanent death benefit at a relatively low cost compared to other types of permanent policies.

Ready to shop for life insurance for your family?

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Best life insurance for people with pre-existing conditions

While several factors, including your age, gender, lifestyle, and health will determine your rates and options, having a pre-existing medical condition won’t disqualify you from getting life insurance. Further, some companies might offer you better coverage than others depending on your specific condition. Our top pick for life insurance for people with pre-existing conditions is Lincoln Financial, followed by Prudential. 

Lincoln Financial

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial offers better rates than other insurers to people with pre-existing conditions. In particular, Lincoln Financial is known for competitive pricing for applicants with histories of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, mental health diagnoses, and stroke, among other conditions. Across the board, Lincoln Financial's rates are consistently lower than industry standard for people in their 40s and 50s — ages where pre-existing conditions are more commonplace.

Runner-up: Prudential 

Why we chose it

Prudential is a highly rated company that can be favorable for a number of health conditions. They also tend to give favorable rates for conditions that are associated with aging, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, so they’re a good option for seniors with pre-existing conditions.

→ Read more about the best life insurance for people with pre-existing conditions

Best life insurance for smokers

If you smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, or use e-cigarettes, life insurance costs two to three times more than it would otherwise. That’s because life insurance companies set your premiums based on medical history and lifestyle risks, and nicotine has known negative health effects. But not every insurance company weighs the risk of smoking the same way. Our top pick for life insurance for smokers is Banner Life, followed by Transamerica.

Why we chose it

Smokers will always pay more for life insurance than non-smokers for comparable policies, but Banner Life offers the most competitive rates to smokers among Policygenius’ partners. You’ll also be able to apply for lower premiums after a year if you quit smoking, whereas some other insurers do not offer non-smoker rates for two years or more.

Runner-up: Transamerica

Why we chose it

In most cases, tobacco users will be required to take a medical exam for life insurance. Transamerica allows smokers in otherwise good health to skip the exam and complete a health questionnaire along with their application instead. However, the company may request a medical exam upon further review of your health history.

→ Read more about the best life insurance for smokers

Best life insurance for marijuana users

Recreational and medical marijuana users can get life insurance, but frequent users may pay more for coverage. Your specific needs and circumstances will determine the kind of policy and rate you can get, but some companies consider marijuana use more favorably when setting premiums than others. Our top pick for life insurance for marijuana users is Lincoln Financial, followed by Brighthouse Financial.

Lincoln Financial

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial can offer some of the best rates to people who occasionally use marijuana. They can even offer non-smoker rates for daily users, provided they have a clean motor vehicle report and no history of drug use concerns. 

Runner-up: Brighthouse Financial

Why we chose it

Brighthouse Financial offers affordable rates and a seamless application process with their no-medical-exam option. Although they do not allow tobacco users, they accept marijuana users as long as they otherwise qualify for the no-medical-exam product.

Best life insurance for depression

If you have a mental health condition, you might be worried you’ll be denied coverage. However, while your mental health condition might determine the kind of policy you can qualify for, it won’t automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance. Some companies even offer more competitive options than others for specific mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Our top pick for life insurance for people with depression is Prudential, followed by Lincoln Financial.

Prudential

Why we chose it 

For mental health conditions that are moderate to severe, Prudential is more likely to offer a more favorable health rating than other insurers, including depression. It also tends to offer more affordable rates even if you have more than one mental health condition. And if your condition is mild and well-controlled, Prudential may offer you even the best rates — as long as you otherwise qualify for coverage.

Runner-up: Lincoln Financial

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial offers favorable rates if you are on no medication, one medication, or two medications for depression. If your condition is mild, you can apply with Lincoln's no-medical-exam option as well.

Best life insurance for anxiety

Our top pick for life insurance for people with anxiety is AIG, followed by Brighthouse Financial. 

AIG

Why we chose it

AIG is one of the most accommodating insurers for people with anxiety. The company can offer you some of the best rates even if you are on up to two different medications to treat your condition, assuming you otherwise qualify for coverage.

Runner-up: Brighthouse Financial

Why we chose it

Brighthouse Financial is an affordable option if you have a well-controlled mental health condition such as anxiety. They offer an instant decision option that leads to a quicker turnaround time, too.

→ Read more about the best life insurance for people with mental health conditions

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Best life insurance for people with a history of cancer

While a cancer diagnosis might make it more challenging to get approved for life insurance, you have coverage options. The type of coverage and policy you’ll be eligible for will depend on several factors, including the type of cancer and how it has reacted to treatment. Our top pick for life insurance for people with a history of cancer is Symetra, followed by Protective.

Symetra

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange starEmpty gray star

3.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

Why we chose it

Symetra offers high coverage amounts, the option to reconsider rates after a year, and a term life policy for people with a history of cancer that is particularly competitive.

Read our full Symetra review
Pros and cons

Pros

  • High coverage amounts

  • Excellent financial ratings

  • Can reconsider rates

Cons

  • Pricier than average

  • Few third-party ratings

  • No online quote tool or policy info

Symetra offers comparatively low rates to people who have had early-stage breast, cervical, colon, prostate, skin, testicular, or thyroid cancer. To be eligible for rates usually reserved for people in very good health or minor health conditions (which means getting some of the best possible premiums), you cannot have had any recurrences.

Runner-Up: Protective

Why we chose it

Protective offers competitive pricing across the board for the majority of their health classifications. They can be favorable for multiple types of cancer history, too. For instance, with a history of stage I prostate cancer, Protective may consider you for approval if you’ve been cancer-free for one to three years — although you’ll pay high additional premiums. Protective can also offer competitive rates for people with a history of low-stage breast cancer who have had recent treatment.

→ Read more about the best life insurance for people with a history of cancer

Best life insurance for people with diabetes

Because most insurers see a diabetes diagnosis as a health risk, life insurance is often pricier for people with diabetes than it would be for someone of the same background who doesn’t have this condition. Not only does having diabetes not disqualify you from getting life insurance, but people with diabetes have many coverage options. Our top pick for life insurance for people with diabetes is Banner Life, followed by Pacific Life.

Why we chose it

Banner Life is a good option if you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They have competitive pricing across all health classifications when compared to other companies. For type 2 diabetes, they can offer rates usually reserved for people in otherwise good health if your condition was diagnosed at or after age 50, and your blood sugar levels are well-controlled. 

Runner-up: Pacific Life

Why we chose it

Pacific Life’s rates are competitive in nearly every age group, including people over 60, who typically have trouble finding affordable coverage. Pacific Life also has more flexible guidelines when it comes to type 2 diabetes than other companies. They might offer you rates usually reserved for people in otherwise good health, save a few medical issues on their records.

→ Read more about the best life insurance for people with diabetes

Best life insurance for people with sleep apnea

You may pay more for life insurance if you have a sleep apnea diagnosis because it’s associated with health risks like heart disease. However, if you have a long history of steady treatment and a mild diagnosis, you can still find the coverage you need at an affordable price — if you work with the right insurance company. Our top pick for life insurance for people with sleep apnea is AIG, followed by Lincoln Financial.

AIG

Why we chose it

AIG offers competitive life insurance coverage to people with sleep apnea. People with mild sleep apnea can even qualify for best rates. AIG also has a quicker average turnaround compared to other insurers, which can result in a more seamless application process.

Runner-up: Lincoln Financial

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial offers competitive rates to people with sleep apnea. If your sleep apnea is well-treated, you could also qualify for Lincoln’s no-medical option.

→ Read more about the best life insurance for people with sleep apnea

Best life insurance for customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction plays a key role in choosing an insurer — buying life insurance can be a long-term commitment, so you’ll want to pick a life insurance company with the best possible customer service. To select the best life insurance companies for customer satisfaction, we used a combination of J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index. Our top pick for customer satisfaction is Pacific Life, followed by Mutual of Omaha.

Pacific Life

Why we chose it

Pacific Life has an industry-low level of customer complaints in the NAIC complaint index, and it also scored a high 793 on a 1,000-point scale in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, which analyzed insurers by their communication, interaction with customers, price of their policies, product offerings, and statements. 

Runner-up: Mutual of Omaha

Why we chose it

Mutual of Omaha also has a very low level of complaints in the NAIC index, in addition to an 801 out of 1,000 score on J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, placing them in the third position on a list of 21 different insurers ranked by a number of factors, including communication and interaction with customers, policy types and costs, and statements. 

Best life insurance for AM Best ratings

A.M. Best is a credit rating agency that rates insurance companies’ ability to meet their financial commitments to customers. Any insurance company rated A or higher by AM Best is a good option when it comes to financial strength. Policygenius only offers policies from insurers that have an A.M. Best rating of A- (Excellent) or better. Our top pick for AM Best ratings is MassMutual. 

MassMutual 

Why we chose it 

MassMutual is rated A++ (Superior) according to A.M. Best. The company offers a variety of whole life and term life options.

Summary of the best life insurance companies of 2022

Company

Policygenius rating

Best for

Brighthouse Financial

5/5

No-medical-exam, young adults

Protective

4.9/5

Cheapest

Banner Life

4.7/5

Overall, term, pre-existing conditions, cheapest

Lincoln Financial

4.7/5

Marijuana users, depression

Pacific Life

4.6/5

Customer satisfaction

AIG

4.6/5

Families, anxiety, sleep apnea

Transamerica

4.4/5

Visa & green card holders

MassMutual

3.8/5

Whole, AM Best ratings

Symetra

3.6/5

Cancer

Prudential

3.4/5

Seniors

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What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a type of insurance that provides financial protection to your beneficiary (in many cases, your family or loved ones) in the event of your death.

How does life insurance work?

Life insurance is an agreement between you — the policyholder — and the insurance company, providing that as long as you make regular payments for your policy, the insurance company will pay out the death benefit to your beneficiary if you die while your policy is active.

→ Read more about how life insurance works

Do I need life insurance?

If you have people who depend on you financially or outstanding debts that would fall on your loved ones if you died, then you likely need life insurance.

→ Read more about who needs life insurance

What does life insurance cover?

Life insurance covers nearly every kind of death, including death by illness or accidents.

→ Read more about what is covered by life insurance 

What does life insurance not cover?

Life insurance generally does not cover suicide during the first two years a policy is active. In cases of insurance fraud — if you lie or misrepresent yourself on your application with the goal of getting a cheaper rate, for example — the life insurance company may not pay out the death benefit.

→ Read more about what kind of deaths are not covered by life insurance

Is life insurance worth it?

If you have people who are dependent on your income, life insurance is worth it in most cases. 

The best way to find out if a life insurance policy meets your coverage and financial needs is to work with an independent broker. At Policygenius, our brokers are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice tailored to your personal situation.

→ Read more about why life insurance is worth it

Types of life insurance policies

Term and permanent are the two main types of life insurance. Below are the different types of life insurance policies and their features.

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is one of the most popular types of life insurance because it’s straightforward and affordable. It provides protection during the years where you have the most financial responsibility and earning potential — most people choose terms that last between 10 and 40 years.

What is permanent life insurance?

Permanent life insurance is a type of life insurance that does not expire. Most permanent policies have a savings-like cash value that earns interest over time.

What is whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. It lasts as long as the premiums are paid and has a cash value component that grows at a low interest rate set by your insurer.

What is no-medical-exam life insurance?

No-medical-exam life insurance usually refers to term policies that do not require you to take a medical exam for approval. Typically, they require a health interview instead and take a look at past health records in order to determine your rates.

What is the difference between term, whole, and universal life insurance?

Term life insurance is set for a designated amount of time (usually between 10 and 30 years), while whole and universal life insurance are types of permanent policies. They do not expire and last your whole life as long as you pay the premiums. Universal life insurance allows you to adjust how much you pay toward premiums after you accumulate a cash value, whereas whole life insurance has a fixed premium.

→ Read more about the difference between term and whole life insurance

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Other types of life insurance

Below are some additional types of permanent life insurance and their features. A financial advisor or an insurance professional can help you determine if you’d be a good fit for any of these products.

Universal life insurance

Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that allows you to increase or decrease how much you pay toward premiums once you’ve accumulated a cash value. If you elect to decrease how much you spend on premiums, the difference is instead withdrawn from the cash value

Indexed universal life insurance

Indexed universal life insurance is a type of universal life insurance that has a cash value minimum and a guaranteed interest rate. The minimum guaranteed interest rate is based on an index chosen by your insurance company.

Variable universal life insurance

Variable universal life insurance is another type of universal life insurance where cash value earns interest based on the performance of a set of funds of your choosing. Variable universal life insurance comes with a higher investment risk because it typically doesn’t come with a guaranteed rate of return or a minimum death benefit.

→ Read more about the difference between variable and universal life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of whole life insurance aimed at covering final expenses that offers near-certain approval and doesn’t require a medical exam to apply.

Burial insurance

Burial insurance is a type of permanent life insurance with a smaller death benefit designed to cover your funeral and burial costs. It’s also sometimes called final expense life insurance.

How much does life insurance cost?

Your life insurance policy’s premiums are determined by your policy details, including the type of policy and coverage amount, and your own circumstances, like your health, age, family background, and lifestyle choices.

Below you’ll find average monthly estimated rates for some of the most common life insurance policies. Working with an independent broker is the best way to get the most competitive premiums for your unique needs and personal circumstances.

Term life insurance rates by age

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$15.64

$23.98

$39.04

35

$17.49

$27.79

$47.00

45

$31.71

$54.15

$235.82

55

$71.30

$129.42

$245.08

Methodology: Average estimated monthly cost range is based on internal actuarial rate tables for nine life insurance carriers that offer policies through the Policygenius marketplace (AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Foresters, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, and Transamerica). Prices represent the average monthly life insurance premium for male and female non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, buying a 20-year, $250,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000 term life policy. Individual rates may vary, depending on age, gender, state, health profile, and other eligibility criteria. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

Whole life insurance rates by age

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$194.50

$384.50

$753.50

35

$280.00

$555.00

$1095.50

45

$433.50

$862.50

$1695.00

55

$705.00

$1405.50

$2777.50

Methodology: Average estimated monthly rates are calculated for non-smokers in a Standard health classification, obtaining a whole life insurance policy from MassMutual. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

No-medical-exam life insurance rates by age

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$14.62

$23.98

$39.04

35

$17.49

$27.79

$45.10

45

$31.71

$54.15

$99.49

55

$71.30

$129.42

$245.08

Methodology: Average estimated monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers at a Preferred health classification, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, 500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse, Foresters, Banner Life, Transamerica, and Lincoln Financial. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more about no-medical-exam life insurance rates

Life insurance rates by age for people with pre-existing conditions

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$22.72

$35.51

$59.39

35

$26.81

$42.04

$73.07

45

$53.42

$86.55

$158.37

55

$121.26

$204.39

$389.91

Methodology: Average estimated monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers at a Standard health classification, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, 500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Foresters, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, and Transamerica, and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more about life insurance rates for people with pre-existing conditions

Life insurance rates by age for people with depression

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$19.18

$29.74

$49.21

35

$22.14

$34.91

$60.09

45

$42.56

$70.35

$128.93

55

$96.28

$166.90

$317.49

Methodology: Average monthly estimated rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in Preferred and Standard health classifications, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse, Foresters, AIG, Banner, Pacific Life, Protective, Transamerica, SBLI, Symetra, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, and Prudential, and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more about life insurance rates for people with a mental health condition

Life insurance rates by age for people with diabetes

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$42.91

$74.46

$125.42

35

$44.82

$80.55

$139.45

45

$81.52

$145.39

$268.29

55

$164.23

$302.24

$581.25

Methodology: Approximate estimated monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000 20-year term policy. Typically, the younger you are at the time of diagnosis, the higher your premiums will be, so different health classifications were used to calculate rates accordingly. Rates at age 25 were calculated using an average of Substandard T5 health classifications; age 35 was calculated using an average of Substandard T4 health classifications; age 45 was calculated using an average of Substandard T3 health classifications; and age 55 was calculated using an average of Substandard T2 health classifications.. Quotes are based on a composite of policies from AIG, Banner, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more life insurance rates for people with diabetes

Life insurance rates by age for people with sleep apnea

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$22.72

$35.51

$59.39

35

$26.81

$42.04

$73.18

45

$53.42

$86.55

$158.37

55

$121.26

$204.39

$389.91

Methodology: Average estimated monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers at a Standard health classification, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, 500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Foresters, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, and Transamerica, and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more life insurance rates for people with sleep apnea

Life insurance rates by age for smokers

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$38.40

$65.77

$121.32

35

$48.48

$85.59

$159.13

45

$104.69

$193.96

$372.15

55

$239.52

$445.52

$863.63

Methodology: Average monthly estimated rates are calculated for male and female smokers at a Preferred Tobacco health classification, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, and Transamerica, and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more life insurance rates for smokers

Life insurance rates by age for marijuana users

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$18.97

$31.02

$52.19

35

$21.79

$36.28

$64.05

45

$41.37

$74.56

$136.81

55

$90.01

$170.21

$319.92

Methodology: Average monthly estimated rates for occasional marijuana users are calculated for male and female non-smokers in a Standard Plus health classification, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, $500,000, or $1 million term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse Financial, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, and Prudential, and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more life insurance rates for marijuana users

Life insurance rates by age for seniors

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

55

$71.30

$129.41

$245.08

65

$227.08

$430.51

$822.85

Methodology: Average monthly estimated rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers at a Preferred health classifications, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse, Foresters, AIG, Banner, Pacific Life, Protective, Transamerica, Symetra, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Prudential and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more life insurance rates for seniors

Life insurance rates by age for young adults

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

25

$15.64

$23.93

$39.03

35

$17.48

$27.78

$47.00

Methodology: Average monthly estimated rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers at a Preferred health classifications, obtaining a 20-year, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse, Foresters, AIG, Banner, Pacific Life, Protective, Transamerica, Symetra, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Prudential and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

→ Read more life insurance rates for young adults

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How to choose the best life insurance company

The best life insurance company for you might not be the best life insurance company for someone else. Your age, health, and ultimate needs for coverage are some factors to consider when shopping for life insurance to make sure your policy is the best fit for you.

Consider any health conditions

Not all life insurance companies treat all health conditions the same way when it comes to setting rates. It’s important to consider your unique health profile when shopping for a policy because you could end up paying much cheaper premiums with one insurance company than another.

Consider your age

Age is one of the biggest factors that influence your life insurance rates. Age can also impact what types of life insurance options are available to you because we all become riskier to insure as we get older. For example, no-medical-exam options for seniors can be limited because insurance companies want to minimize risk.

→ Learn more about finding the right life insurance for your age or life situation

Explore policy options & riders

It’s crucial that your life insurance coverage fits comfortably into your budget. This way, you’ll be able to continue paying premiums to make sure your coverage remains active and your policy does not lapse.

Not all riders are cost-efficient, so working with a non-commissioned agent or independent broker can be helpful if you’re considering which riders might be useful for you, if any. For example, some people look for add-ons like a child rider to cover their children. In this case, the best life insurance company for you will offer you options to add this feature.

It's also important to know that not every type of policy (and not every life insurance company) is available in every state. So while where you live won’t affect the rates you pay, it can affect your life insurance options.

Consider the company’s financial strength

Arguably the most important piece of choosing your life insurance company is knowing that they’ll be around and able to pay the death benefit to your beneficiary if you should pass away. Applying with a company that has strong financial ratings will help ensure this. That doesn't necessarily mean choosing the biggest life insurance company, though larger insurers tend to have bigger cash reserves.

Consider customer satisfaction

Over the lifetime of your policy, you might need to change payment frequency, a beneficiary, or a number of other details on your paperwork. It’s important to have resources for customer service to make sure you’re up-to-date with your policy.

A company with strong customer satisfaction ratings can benefit you in this way. This is another reason why working with a platform like Policygenius can help you get access to support for the entire duration of your policy — not just when you apply.

Work with an independent broker

Working with an independent broker is a great way to compare your options and see which insurance company is the best for your personal situation. At Policygenius, our experts can take into account your goals for coverage as well as your health and your budget to provide a personalized recommendation.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the beneficiary?

The beneficiary is the person who receives the death benefit of your policy if you pass away. You can choose your beneficiary — a family member, a friend, or even a charitable organization — during the application process and, if you need to, update it during the life of your policy.

Who is the policyholder?

The policyholder is the person who buys and owns the life insurance policy. Most commonly, the policyholder and the insured are the same person.

What is a death benefit?

The death benefit is the tax-free payout your beneficiaries will get if you pass away.

What is the cash value?

The cash value is part of a permanent life insurance policy that gains interest over time. It can be withdrawn or used for loans if needed.

Does life insurance pay dividends?

Some permanent life insurance policies pay dividends to policyholders depending on the type of policy, interest rates, and the company’s financial performance.

What kinds of death are not covered by life insurance?

All kinds of death are generally covered by life insurance, excluding instances of insurance fraud or misrepresentation. Suicide is not covered within the first two years a policy is active, which is called the contestability period, but after that point, it will be covered.

Can I get life insurance on someone else?

You cannot take out life insurance on someone else without their consent. The insured will have to sign their own application and often take their own medical exam, if necessary. However, you can pay for someone else’s policy if you have financial justification to do so.

Which is better: term or whole life insurance?

Neither type of policy is necessarily better than the other one — it all depends on your specific needs. Term life insurance is the most affordable way to get coverage during your prime working years. Whole life insurance is better for more complex estate planning needs. Speaking with a financial advisor or a licensed insurance professional can help you determine if term or whole life is better for you.

Can I get a discount on life insurance?

Life insurance is federally regulated, so you won’t get a discount — but some insurance companies might offer you more competitive rates than others based on your profile and needs. The best way to get a competitive rate is to apply through a broker like Policygenius who can help you compare prices across insurance companies at the same time.

Is life insurance expensive?

No, life insurance is not always expensive. The majority of people overestimate the cost of life insurance by up to three times, according to a 2021 LIMRA and Life Happens study. In fact, term life insurance is very affordable, especially for younger and healthier people, and offers the simplest coverage, which is all most people need. In many cases, you can get a cheap life insurance rate, but pricing will depend on your age, health, and coverage amount, among other factors.

Author

Associate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Katherine Murbach

Associate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

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Katherine Murbach is an associate editor and a licensed life insurance expert at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Editor

Associate Content Director

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

Associate Content Director

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Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Expert reviewer

Certified Financial Planner™ & Advanced Planning Team Lead

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner™ & Advanced Planning Team Lead

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Patrick Hanzel, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Advanced Planning Team Lead at Policygenius. His expertise has been featured at Lifehacker, Consumer Affairs, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, and Fatherly.

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