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The best life insurance companies in 2021

We’ve reviewed the top life insurance companies and created a guide to help you find the best one for your circumstances.

When you’re shopping for life insurance, you might be concerned about the policy more than the insurer. But finding the best life insurance company for your needs is just as important as choosing the right policy.

Our guide makes that easy for you by laying out the best companies overall, the best term and best whole insurance companies, and the best companies for specific circumstances.

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The best life insurance companies

Choosing a life insurance plan to protect your loved ones after you’re gone is a big decision. Part of selecting the right plan is finding the right life insurance company. The choice depends on your individual circumstances and coverage needs. Each of these companies is reviewed based on their cost, consumer satisfaction, financial strength ratings, policy options, and ease of application.

Policygenius ranks each insurer using our own internal data, but every life insurance application is one of a kind — talking to a life insurance agent is the best way to find the best life insurance company and most competitive policy for you.

The best life insurance companies are competitively priced, offer robust coverage, and suit your coverage needs. We’ve done the heavy lifting to figure out the best life insurance companies out there:

LIFE INSURANCE COMPANYPOLICYGENIUS RATING (OUT OF 10)J.D. POWER RATINGBBB RATINGA.M. BEST RATING
Brighthouse8.9717A+A
Lincoln Financial8.7749A-A+
Principal Financial8.5772A+A+
Pacific Life8.5776A-A+
Banner Life (Legal & General America)8.4n/aA+A+
AIG8742A-A
Protective7.7754A+A+
Prudential7.5759AA+
SBLI7.3n/aA+A
Transamerica7.1734A+A
Mutual of Omaha7789A+A+
MassMutual6.7751B-A++
Guardian Life6770A+A++

How we got these ratings: Policygenius composite ratings are established through our rating and review methodology and third party rating agencies including J.D. Power, A.M. Best, and BBB. Ratings are valid as of 6/21/2021.

Though these rankings are important when choosing a life insurance company to trust with your family's protection, the coverage you'll actually get will vary depending on your individual circumstances.

Best life insurance companies for individual circumstances

To simplify the buying process, we researched the best life insurance companies out there for each situation. Every life insurance company approaches every situation differently, so the best life insurance company for one person may not be the right insurer for another — but there is one starting point to begin your shopping journey: Brighthouse Financial.

Brighthouse Financial

4.4

Policygenius rating

PG rating

Brighthouse Financial logo

Brighthouse Financial offers a low-cost no-medical exam term life policy available exclusively through the Policygenius marketplace.

Pros

  • Fast-tracked coverage with SimplySelect

  • Very affordable

  • Convertible options available

Cons

  • Only few term lengths available

  • No rate reconsideration

Read our full Brighthouse Financial review

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Runners-up: Lincoln Financial and Transamerica

Lincoln Financial’s TermAccel policy offers competitive and expedient coverage for those in good health and those with minor health conditions. Applicants who would otherwise pay high premiums may find that life insurance from Lincoln Financial offers the best bang for their buck, while also providing coverage alternatives for people who aren’t eligible for their no-medical exam policy.

For individuals in good health, Transamerica takes the cake. Most healthy people qualify for Transamerica’s cost-effective no-medical exam option, and the application process comes with minimal hiccups. Applicants eligible for a Preferred Plus or Preferred health classification will pay some of the lowest premiums if they get coverage from Transamerica.

Best for great value

Protective

4.3

Policygenius rating

PG rating

Protective  logo

Competitive rates, ease of use, and up to $50 million in coverage make Protective a top-tier choice for a straightforward life insurance policy.

Pros

  • One of the best values around

  • Many coverage amounts and term lengths

  • Decent amount of online tools

Cons

  • Slow application approval

Read our full Protective review

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Runner up: Brighthouse

Brighthouse’s SimplySelect term life insurance offering comes in a close second. With the most competitive pricing for its instant decision policy, SimplySelect, eligible applicants can end up paying some of the lowest premiums available. The low prices don’t take away from the policy’s offerings: robust coverage of up to $2 million, supplemental riders, and the option to convert your policy into permanent coverage at the end of its term.

Brighthouse Financial

4.4

Policygenius rating

PG rating

Brighthouse Financial logo

Brighthouse Financial offers a low-cost no-medical exam term life policy available exclusively through the Policygenius marketplace.

Pros

  • Fast-tracked coverage with SimplySelect

  • Very affordable

  • Convertible options available

Cons

  • Only few term lengths available

  • No rate reconsideration

Read our full Brighthouse Financial review

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Runner up: SBLI

With generally low rates, SBLI offers comprehensive coverage for people aged 18-60. Unlike many other no-medical life insurance offerings, smokers aren’t totally disqualified from getting insured and individuals with minor health conditions may be able to qualify for coverage.

Best for diabetics

AIG

4

Policygenius rating

PG rating

AIG logo

With competitive pricing and a range of flexible term periods, AIG is a solid option for many life insurance shoppers, especially people with diabetes.

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for all ages

  • Customizable term policies

  • Benefits many different health conditions

  • Strong financial confidence

Cons

  • Below average customer ratings

Read our full AIG review

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Runners-up: Prudential & Principal

Prudential offers competitive coverage for a range of medical conditions — diabetes included. Individuals with moderate diabetes who may not be able to get coverage elsewhere will likely still be able to get a favorable health classification from a Prudential life insurance policy.

People with mild diabetes and a working treatment plan can also get competitively priced coverage from Principal. Depending on the diagnosis and applicant’s age, it’s even possible to get a Preferred health classification and some of the best possible life insurance premiums, which are usually reserved for individuals with only minor health conditions.

Best for seniors

Prudential

3

Policygenius rating

PG rating

Prudential logo

One of the top life insurance carriers for seniors aged 60 to 65 and people with many different medical conditions.

Pros

  • Low rates for seniors

  • High confidence ratings

  • Benefits  a range of medical conditions

Cons

  • High premiums for most age groups

  • Mixed customer ratings

Read our full Prudential review

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Runners-up: Mutual of Omaha & Protective

Other options include policies from Protective and Mutual of Omaha. Mutual of Omaha is advantageous for seniors with health conditions such as arthritis, and offers competitive pricing for a range of illnesses associated with age. For seniors in generally good health, Protective offers the lowest rates.

Best for smokers

Banner

4.2

Policygenius rating

PG rating

Banner logo

Long term lengths and competitive rates make Banner a top contender for smokers and people with complicated health issues.

Pros

  • Very competitive rates

  • Covers many different health conditions

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

Cons

  • Strict temporary coverage qualifications 

  • Reconsideration is paid for by the applicant

Read our full Banner review

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Runners-up: AIG, Lincoln, & Prudential

Celebratory smokers aren’t doomed to typical smoker rates either. Casual cigar smokers can get some of the best life insurance prices from AIG and Prudential. AIG allows the most cigar usage to get a Preferred Plus non-smoker rating, meaning life insurance prices that are reserved for individuals in excellent health.

If you’re smoking more than two cigars a month, you’ll get the most affordable premiums from Prudential — they give a Standard Plus non-smoker health classification for any amount of cigar usage, whereas most other life insurance companies will classify you as a smoker.  Prudential also offers non-smoker rates for chewing tobacco, pipe usage, and nicotine gum and patches.

Lincoln Financial is a solid runner-up, offering non-smoker rates for cigar smokers and the most comprehensive coverage for people who smoke marijuana. As one of the only life insurance companies to offer non-smoker rates to regular marijuana users, marijuana smokers can get competitive rates comparable to their non-smoker counterparts and up to $1 million in coverage.

Best term life insurance companies

Term life insurance lasts for a set number of years, known as the term. If you die during the term, your beneficiaries will receive the policy’s death benefit. Term life insurance is usually the best option for most people.

The best term life insurance company is the one that provides the most affordable coverage. At Policygenius, we use your age and health profile to get your best possible life insurance quotes in real time. When you’re applying for life insurance, there shouldn’t be any surprises — our life insurance agents will show you quotes from the top insurance companies so that you can compare pricing and never pay more than you have to.

What makes a good term life insurance company?

A term life insurance company you can rely on is financially stable, positively reviewed by its customers, and offers competitive coverage across the board. When you're shopping around for life insurance, you'll want to choose a term life insurance company with varied policy options — like temporary coverage and life insurance riders.

The best term life insurance companies offer a high enough coverage amount for your needs, which is the size of the death benefit, and a long enough term length, which is how long the policy lasts before it expires. Some insurance companies even offer an expedient underwriting process so you can get life insurance coverage before the typical five-to-six-week timeline.

Ultimately, a good term life insurance company is one you can rely on to protect your loved ones if you're no longer around to do so. Looking at the solvency, reliability, and breadth of offerings of each company before choosing one is the best way to ensure your family's financial protection.

→ Learn more about term life insurance and how it works

Best whole life insurance companies

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. It doesn’t expire and it has an investment-style cash value, which is a tax-deferred savings component that grows over time at a rate specified by your policy and insurer. Whole life can be a good option for people with complex financial situations, but because it’s catered toward people with particular circumstances, it also requires a policy that is designed to meet your needs.

Each life insurance company will offer you a different premium based on your age, health, and life insurance needs.

What makes a good whole life insurance company?

A whole life policy is five to 15 times as expensive as a comparable term life policy, so most people choose whole life insurance for a specific reason — and you want to ensure those reasons are attended to. Like term life insurance, the best whole life companies are in good financial health, have positive customer ratings and have life insurance riders that offer supplemental protection. But the best whole life insurance companies also offer dividends, build cash value over time, and have highly customizable policies.

To get the right whole life insurance policy for your situation, opt for a company that offers coverage that fits into your budget, a strong cash value component, and safeguards against policy lapses.

The strongest whole life policies are usually from mutual companies (like MassMutual, Guardian or Northwestern Mutual) that pay dividends which increase the cash value, pay for the policy, or pay for retirement.

→ Learn more about whole life insurance and how it works

Choosing the best life insurance policy type for you

What is the right policy for you? Most people will decide between the traditional term and whole life insurance but there are other considerations, like no-medical exam life insurance. Choosing the right type of policy involves the following:

  • Considering policy costs - Term life insurance is typically more affordable than whole life insurance. Shopping around with an independent broker like Policygenius can get you the most competitive premiums for your age, health, and hobbies.

  • Checking out the company’s financial strength - Your life insurance company's financial strength is an indicator of solvency — or if your insurer will be around to pay out the death benefit to your beneficiaries years down the line.

  • Finding a company that matches your communication style - Some insurers operate completely online, while others require policy updates via paper mail or on the phone. Be sure to find a life insurance company that works the way you do. Also consider the insurer’s average application time and accepted payment methods.

  • Getting riders - Riders aren’t always necessary and may increase the cost of your policy. If you’re just looking to care for your family or cover funeral expenses, a basic policy will work.

When selecting a life insurance company, take into account:

  • Your individual circumstances

  • Types of policies offered

  • Policy cost

  • The company’s financial strength

  • Policy features

Depending on the insurer, your age, health, and lifestyle can all have a significant impact on the best insurance company for you. While some insurers may give someone with a history of depression competitive premiums, another may charge you an exceptionally high amount for the same coverage. This is why it's important to shop around and find an insurer that will work with your individual circumstances.

Life insurers will take into account factors such as pre-existing conditions and hobbies. These factors can lead to higher premiums, so finding the best life insurance company for you is key.

While our rankings are for the best life insurance companies overall, every individual and family circumstance is unique. Because life insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all, the best life insurance company for your personal history may be different. But don’t worry — Policygenius has you covered. Our independent agents will work with you to find the best coverage at the best possible price for your profile.

Your age group

As you get older, grow a family, and experience major life events, the cost of life insurance tends to increase. But each insurer treats each major milestone differently, and some are better than others for certain situations.

Your health profile

Life insurance companies see health conditions as an inherent risk — which can mean higher premiums. Every medical diagnosis is treated differently, however, and you can still get coverage at a competitive price by shopping around among different insurers.

Your lifestyle

Your lifestyle choices are a part of your risk profile. Hobbies that are deemed too risky by some insurers — such as scuba diving or marijuana use — can get some of the best life insurance rates with others.

For unique situations

Military personnel, visa & green card holders, and high net worth individuals have very specific life insurance needs. Some insurers can cater to this better than others.

Policygenius ranking methodology

The best life insurance company for one person might not offer competitive coverage or pricing for another. At Policygenius, we want affordable and robust coverage to be easy to find, for everyone.

Policygenius takes a comprehensive approach to determining the best life insurance companies out there. We don't get paid for reviews and evaluate an extensive rubric of criteria to come up with robust — and unbiased — reviews to match you with the right life insurance company. Our independent reviews compile life insurance recommendations by experts in the field and quote data from the 11 life insurance companies we offer in our marketplace. Our life insurance company reviews have helped over 30 million people shop for the most affordable life insurance policy for their needs.

Third-party ratings

Policygenius also weights ratings from third-party agencies in our reviews. The most common third-party life insurance ratings come from:

The biggest life insurance companies are generally financially secure. And while you should look at BBB ratings, keep in mind some reviews may be from customers who had particularly positive or negative experiences that aren’t necessarily representative of the company in general. The best-rated companies have high marks all around to provide peace of mind.

Shoppers can also see how big a company is by looking at its market share and the number of policyholders. Size is typically a good indicator of how well a company is doing, but shoppers shouldn’t be afraid to go with a smaller insurer, like a regional carrier or a membership carrier (like USAA), if it fits their needs.

An insurance company’s ratings and reviews can 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. 

FAQ

How do I choose the best life insurance company?

For most people, the best life insurance company is the one that offers the coverage they need at the cheapest cost. After you know how long your policy should last and how big the benefit should be, use price as the starting point. You can also look at different factors like third-party financial ratings, customer reviews, and what tasks you're able to do online if you're having trouble deciding between companies.

How do I find the cheapest life insurance company?

Find the cheapest company by comparing policies from multiple companies.

Life insurance cost is based on your age, your health, and the policy's term length and death benefit amount. Some companies are more lenient than others for certain health conditions, and you can save up to 40% by making sure you're going with the right company for your individual circumstances.

What life insurance company ratings should I look at?

Third-party ratings from firms like A.M. Best and Moody's can give you peace of mind that a company is financially stable and will be around for a long time.

You can also look at customer reviews from the Better Business Bureau and J.D. Power. These should be taken with a grain of salt, but you can be on the lookout for recurring complaints.