Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life that doesn’t expire, so your family will receive a guaranteed lump sum of money called a death benefit regardless of when you die. It often comes with a cash value account, which can be used as a tax-deferred savings vehicle.
If you’re looking for an insurer with the best whole life insurance options, our evidence-based ratings and recommendations will get you started, but a Policygenius agent can help you find the right life insurance coverage for you.
Best overall whole life insurance: MassMutual
MassMutual is one of the top whole life insurance companies in the country — it has an A++ rating according to AM Best. The company gives policyholders the chance to earn dividends, and pays out higher dividends on average when compared to some of its competitors. MassMutual also has high customer experience ratings compared to other insurers.
Best for accelerated death benefits: MassMutual
MassMutual also includes an accelerated death benefit rider at no extra cost. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and given less than two years to live by your doctor, you’ll have the option to access some of your policy’s death benefit while you’re still living. This is a great option for anyone who may want to have additional funds available in this circumstance.
Best for seniors: Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha offers two whole life options for seniors who are seeking a small amount of permanent coverage to cover their remaining financial obligations. It offers whole life policies up to $40,000 with no medical exam and fewer health requirements. You can apply for Mutual of Omaha’s simplified issue whole life or guaranteed issue whole life policies if you’re between the ages of 45 and 85.
Best for living benefits: Corebridge Financial
Corebridge’s whole life insurance policies include a chronic illness benefit that goes into effect immediately at no additional cost. This living benefit is a great feature, especially for older clients who are worried about how health issues could affect their financial situation before they pass away.
Best for final expenses: Transamerica
If you’re looking for an affordable permanent policy with a small death benefit to cover end-of-life expenses, like a funeral or medical bills, without having to take a medical exam, Transamerica can be a great fit. It offers a simplified issue policy to people age 18 to 85. If you’re 55 years old or younger, you can apply for up to $50,000 of coverage. Older adults can apply for payouts between $25,000 and $40,000.
Comparing the best whole life insurance companies of 2023
Types of policies
Whole life, dividend options
Whole life, universal
Guaranteed issue whole life
Guaranteed issue whole life, universal
Simplified issue, final expenses
Whole life, simplified issue, final expense
Seniors, guaranteed issue whole life, simplified issue
Simplified issue, guaranteed issue whole life, universal
What is whole life insurance?
Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that doesn’t expire — meaning that no matter when you die, your loved ones will receive a guaranteed lump sum of money called a death benefit.
Unlike, term life insurance, whole life also includes a cash value component that earns interest, usually at a rate set by your insurer. You can access the cash value while you’re still alive.
Whole life can be a good fit for:
High-net-worth individuals looking for additional investment vehicles, especially if you’re already maximizing contributions to traditional investment accounts like a 401(k) or IRA. Whole life can also help cover estate taxes.
People with long-term financial obligations — for example if you have lifelong dependent children, or if you expect to care for aging parents.
Whole life vs. term life insurance
The main differences between both types of policies are:
The length of your coverage: Whole life coverage is permanent, which means it never expires, while term life lasts for a set number of years and then expires.
The cost: Whole life is significantly more expensive than term life.
The cash value: Whole life policies come with a separate cash value account, while term life policies don’t — term policies only offer a lump-sum payout called the death benefit.
A financial advisor can help you decide which policy option might be the best fit for you.
Comparing whole life vs. term life
Term life insurance
Whole life insurance
No — maximum of 30 to 40 years
Cost* ($500,000 coverage amount)
$26/month for a 20-year term
Guaranteed death benefit payout
Guaranteed cash value
Premium cost stays fixed
Yes, in most cases
Yes, in most cases
Pays annual dividends
Yes, in some cases
How much does whole life insurance cost?
A 30-year-old non-smoking female in good health can expect to pay $414.50 for a whole life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit payout. A 30-year-old non-smoking male with a similar health profile can expect to pay $487 for a policy with the same coverage.
Average monthly whole life insurance rates
$250,000 coverage amount
$500,000 coverage amount
$1,000,000 coverage amount
Factors that impact the cost of whole life insurance
Whole life insurance rates are determined by your age, gender, health, and coverage amount.
Each insurer has their own guidelines to assess risk and assign your rates.
Generally speaking, the younger you are and fewer health conditions you have, the cheaper your rates will be.
The higher your coverage amount, the more expensive your rates will be.
How much whole life insurance do you need?
How much life insurance you need depends on your financial obligations (like everyday family expenses, children’s education, or mortgage) as well as your income.
A common rule of thumb is to have 10 to 15 times your annual income in coverage, so your loved ones could maintain their lifestyle for a meaningful length of time without your financial support.
For many people, a permanent policy can be unaffordable — or simply unnecessary. If that’s your case, a term life policy can be a cheaper alternative.
On the other hand, you might only need a small amount of permanent life coverage to help your family with end-of-life expenses, such as funeral or medical bills. In this case, a final expense life insurance policy with a coverage amount of $10,000 or $20,000, may be enough.
As a licensed agent, it was very rare for me to recommend whole life insurance as a preferred option for a client if term life insurance was an available choice.
How to choose the best whole life insurance company for you
Choose a company with a strong financial background that meets your coverage needs and offers the best coverage for you at the best price. At Policygenius, our advisors are committed to providing unbiased advice based on your personal circumstances. If you’re not sure how much or what kind of life insurance is right for you, we can help.