Best Life Insurance Companies of 2017

Get Quotes

Buying life insurance is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. The right life insurance policy protects your family’s future and gives you peace of mind that they’ll always be taken care of, no matter what.

But how do you choose the best life insurance company for you? You’ll have your policy for a long time and you need to trust the company will have your back if the need ever arises.

There are a few ways to judge the best life insurance companies: Groups like J.D. Power and Better Business Bureau collect customer satisfaction data. A.M. Best rates companies’ financial health. And you can look at each company’s market share to see how many customers they’re serving.

Our life insurance company ratings include all these criteria. But for reasons we’ll explain in detail below, there is no one “best” company—the best life insurance company for you is the one that will give you the best deal based on your individual circumstances and health history. Below we offer a guide to some of the most common personal scenarios we see and how to find the most accommodating companies for them. Always make sure to compare quotes before choosing a life insurance policy so you can make an informed decision.

The Best Life Insurance Companies


-- Table scrolls left to right --

CompanyJ.D. Power RatingBBB RatingA.M. Best RatingMarket Share
MetLife (via Brighthouse)799B- A+7.88%Read review
Northwestern Mutual799A+A++6.30%
New York Life774B-A++5.48%
Prudential770A A+ 5.34%Read review
Lincoln Financial744A+A+ 4.30%Read review
Mass Mutual780A+A++4.15%
Transamerica719A+A+ 2.90%Read review
John Hancock739A+A+ 2.85%Read review
State Farm828B A++2.74%
Minnesota Life (Securian)N/AA+A+ 2.44%
Guardian Life760A+A++2.39%
AIG718A+A 2.13%Read review
AXA Equitable752A+A+ 1.92%
Pacific LifeN/AA+A+ 1.89%Read review
VoyaN/AA+A+ 1.67%
Protective742A+A+ 1.54%Read review
Nationwide806A+A+ 1.51%
Primerica717A+A+ 1.38%
Mutual of Omaha766A+A+ 1.23%Read review
Principal Financial774A+A+ 1.07%Read review
Banner LifeN/AA+A+ 0.69%Read review
SBLIN/AA+A+ 0.26%Read review
Brightouse (formerly MetLife)N/AA+A+ N/A (see Metlife)Read review

Methodology

We compared twenty-two of the best-known and largest life insurance companies, and ranked them according to:

  • J.D. Power score: J.D. Power ranks some (but not all) of the top life insurance companies on customer satisfaction on a scale from 1 - 1,000.
  • BBB rating: Customer satisfaction score ranging from A+ to F based on BBB’s own formula of 17 factors.
  • A.M. Best score: Financial health rating, with A++ and A+ being “superior” and A being “excellent”.
  • Market share: The percent of total U.S. life insurance customers each company serves. Data sourced from NAIC.

How to Choose the Best Life Insurance Company For You

Luckily, life insurance companies stick to industry regulations that ensure they always have enough money to pay when the time comes. You can trust any of the big life insurance companies to pay in your family’s time of need. There is essentially no chance of your life insurance company going bankrupt, and even in that worst case scenario industry regulations would protect you to cover your policy. In this way the top life insurance companies are pretty similar.

However, each company is different in how they evaluate applicants. This means that the best life insurance company for you will likely be the one that gives you the best deal based on your individual health history and personal circumstances.

For instance a person who recently lost weight may find a great rate with one company, while someone who recently quit smoking would find a more accommodating quote with a different company. And a person with a family history of cancer or diabetes might get the cheapest rate from yet a third company.

That’s why it’s so important to compare quotes and find the right policy for you. You’re unique, and your individual rate will be determined during the application process. But generally speaking, some companies are known to be more or less accommodating to different scenarios. Learn more about scenarios that may apply to you:

Types of Life Insurance

Regardless of your specific personal situation, the first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you want a term life insurance policy or a permanent life insurance policy. Term life insurance is the most common and is usually the best choice for most people, but there are are several types of term and permanent life insurance.

Types of term life Insurance:

Types of permanent life insurance:

Term life insurance is generally much cheaper and simpler than permanent life policies, but even within term life the differences between variations can mean a lot of money over time. For instance, level term keeps your annual rate level over the course of the policy, whereas annual renewable term starts at a cheaper rate but increases in cost every year the policy renews. For a healthy 30-year old male, an annual renewable policy will cost more than 5 times as much in total over the course of 20 years as a level term policy, even though it’s cheaper initially. Here’s a visualization:

Level Term vs Annual Renewable

level renewable desktop
level renewable mobile
-- Table scrolls left to right --

Level TermAnnual Renewable
Premium in Year 1$695$345
Premium in Year 20$695$14,685
Total Premium over 20 Years$13,900$81,870


That’s why it’s important to understand the differences before you buy, and to compare quotes from different insurers to make sure you’re getting the best deal tailored to your specific needs. Not sure how much coverage you need? Visit our handy life insurance calculator and calculate your needs in 5 minutes or less.

Compare and save today