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Cheapest life insurance companies (2024)

Protective, Legal & General America, Corebridge Financial, Transamerica, and Pacific Life offer some of the cheapest life insurance policies on the market, but there are also steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most affordable rates.

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By

Katherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentKatherine Murbach is an editor and a former licensed life insurance agent 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.&Tory CrowleyAssociate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentTory Crowley is an associate editor and a former licensed insurance agent at Policygenius. Previously, she worked directly with clients at Policygenius, advising nearly 3,000 of them on life insurance options. She has also worked at the Daily News and various nonprofit organizations.

Edited by

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio 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.
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Reviewed by

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®Kristi Sullivan, CFP®Certified Financial PlannerKristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

Updated|7 min read

Expert reviewedExpert reviewedThis article has been reviewed by a member of ourFinancial Review Council to ensure all sources, statistics, and claims meet the highest standard for accurate and unbiased advice.Learn more about oureditorial review process.

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

When you’re shopping for life insurance, it’s important to pick a policy that can provide enough protection for your loved ones and fits within your budget. In most cases, term life insurance will be your cheapest option, but you’ll also need to find a life insurance company that offers you the most affordable rates for your specific profile.

We analyzed premium costs, policy options, customer satisfaction, and financial strength of the best insurers on the market to find the cheapest life insurance company for you. However, each insurer assesses risk differently, so the cheapest insurer for you will depend on your health and lifestyle profile. A Policygenius agent can help you find the most affordable life insurance coverage for your specific situation.

Key takeaways

  • The cost of your life insurance is based on how risky the insurer considers your application. If the insurer thinks there’s a high chance you’ll die while the policy is active, it’ll be more expensive. 

  • The insurers determine how risky your case is based on your health profile and lifestyle.

  • Every insurer uses their own guidelines to evaluate your mortality risk, so one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the cheapest rates available is to shop around to multiple insurers to see who’ll offer you the most affordable rate.

The cheapest life insurance companies of 2024

Company

Policygenius rating

Cheapest for

AM Best rating

Legal & General America

4.9/5 ★

People with pre-existing conditions

A+

Protective

4.8/5 ★

Overall, people on a budget, seniors

A+

Pacific Life

4.8/5 ★

People considered overweight

A

Corebridge Financial

4.6/5 ★

Families

A

Transamerica

4.3/5 ★

Smokers

A

Methodology

Why you can trust our picks

Our recommendations are based on internal and external expert analysis, as well as our Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. When reviewing a life insurance company, our editorial team uses a proprietary scoring rubric with five factors — price, policy details, financial strength, transparency, and customer experience — to assign an unbiased rating between one and five stars. These ratings are also taken into consideration as part of our company recommendations. We don’t get paid for our reviews.

Our reviews and recommendations can help you find a reliable insurer for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you depends on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can support you during the application process to ensure you get the right coverage for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

Read more about our reviews methodology

Read our full life insurance carrier reviews

Overall cheapest life insurance: Protective

Protective

Protective logo

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

4.8

AM Best rating 

AM 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 itchevron icon

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

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Competitive rates for all ages and health classifications

  • Good for people with mental health conditions, kidney conditions, and some cancers, including prostate cancer

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

Cons

  • Not available in New York

  • Not great for people who have had bankruptcy, marijuana users, or visa holders

  • No no-medical-exam policy options

Our top overall pick for cheapest life insurance is Protective. The company will likely be able to offer you rates cheaper than other insurers regardless of your health profile. 

Cheapest life insurance for people on a budget: Protective

According to our analysis, Protective has some of the cheapest rates for common mental health conditions like depression, as well as kidney disease and some types of cancer, including prostate cancer. It offers long terms — up to 40 years — and coverage amounts as low as $100,000. Protective is one of the best choices for individuals who are cost-conscious.

Cheapest life insurance for seniors: Protective

We also found that Protective’s pricing makes it a top contender for seniors looking for relatively cheap term life insurance. It can offer cheaper rates than some of its competitors.

The company also has flexible financial guidelines regarding unearned income such as pensions, Social Security, and investment income. However, Protective does require a minimum household income of $25,000.

We think that Legal & General America (which also does business as Banner Life and William Penn) offers some of the cheapest rates, even for people with certain health conditions, including diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. Legal & General America also offers an affordable no-medical exam life insurance option for people eligible to skip the medical exam required by most insurers. 

Cheapest life insurance for families: Corebridge Financial

award icon

2024 Policygenius award winner

Corebridge Financial

Corebridge Financial logo

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 

AM 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 itchevron icon

With competitive pricing and a range of flexible term periods for its Select-a-Term product, Corebridge is a solid option for many life insurance shoppers. Note: We are currently using AIG’s financial strength ratings until Corebridge has its own rating..

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for all ages

  • Favorable underwriting for people with heart conditions and diabetes

  • Good for current and recently pregnant people, including people with gestational diabetes

Cons

  • Not the best for people with mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression

  • No no-medical-exam term option

Our analysis found that Corebridge Financial (formerly AIG Life & Retirement) offers cheaper rates and a quicker turnaround time than some of its competitors. If you have some common health conditions, such as anxiety and sleep apnea, you’ll likely get the cheapest rates with Corebridge. It also offers an affordable child rider, which is a policy supplement that can help families get coverage for their children.

Cheapest life insurance for smokers: Corebridge Financial

Corebridge Financial is our top pick for affordable life insurance for smokers. Not only did we find that Corebridge is a highly-rated company that offers affordable term life insurance with customizable term lengths and riders, but it also offers some of the cheapest rates on the market for both male and female smokers.

Cheapest life insurance for young people: Transamerica

Transamerica

Transamerica logo

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 

AM 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-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

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.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Competitive rates for term life insurance

  • No-medical-exam available for qualifying applicants, including smokers and people between 60 and 70, which is rare

  • One of the fastest turnaround times in the industry for traditionally underwritten term policies

Cons

  • Term life not available in New York

  • Not a good option for people with a history of cancer, alcohol abuse, or asthma

According to our analysis, Transamerica offers affordable rates for young adults, students, and non-U.S. citizens, including visa holders and even applicants who don’t have a Social Security number (SSN). It also offers an affordable no-exam option that allows you to skip the medical test and simply fill out an online health questionnaire during your life insurance application.

Cheapest life insurance for people considered overweight: Pacific Life

award icon

2024 Policygenius award winner

Pacific Life

Pacific Life logo

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

4.8

AM Best rating 

AM 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-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

Pacific Life offers some of the lowest rates for term life insurance across age brackets. It also has the most competitive rates for many health conditions and builds.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Extremely affordable across age brackets

  • Affordable guaranteed universal life insurance option for people who need lifetime coverage

  • Favorable underwriting for many health conditions

Cons

  • Traditional term life not available in NY

  • There are better carriers for active duty military, people who have a history of alcohol abuse, and people who have been through bankruptcy

We found that Pacific Life offers some of the cheapest rates to people who might be considered overweight based on their BMI, and people who have been treated for sleep apnea. The company has term life policies available with coverage amounts as low as $50,000 and terms as short as 10 years.

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What is the cheapest type of life insurance?

Term life insurance is usually the cheapest way to provide financial protection for your family in the event of your death. It’s easy to manage, doesn’t have any complex tax implications or restrictions, and lasts for a set term — usually between 10 and 30 years — during the period of your life when you have the biggest expenses, such as mortgage payments, or the cost of raising a family.

Term life is typically significantly cheaper than permanent life insurance options like whole life insurance policy. Whole life is more expensive because it comes with added features like lifelong coverage and a cash value account.

Learn more about the main differences between term and whole life insurance

What about group life insurance? 

Most people who are employed full-time are eligible for a life insurance policy of one to two times their annual salary as part of their standard benefits package at no cost or a subsidized rate.

Group life insurance allows you to get covered for free or at a really low cost, but it usually provides less coverage than most people need — and if you leave your job, you lose the coverage.

Employer-provided life insurance can be a great supplement to an individual policy, but it’s generally not a good replacement. Getting an individual term life policy is almost always the cheapest way to get the life insurance coverage your family needs.

However, if buying an individual policy is currently out of your budget and you have the chance to get group life insurance through your employer — or an organization like an union — take it. Any amount of life insurance coverage you can get will help your loved ones.

How much is life insurance?

Life insurance costs on average $30 per month for a $500,000 20-year, term life insurance policy for a 30-year–old male with few health conditions, and $23 per month for a 30-year-old female with a similar profile.

The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper the cost of life insurance will be for you, but every insurer evaluates the different factors that ultimately determine your premiums differently. That’s why it’s important to shop around with multiple life insurance companies, until you find the one that offers you the best rate for your unique profile.

Cheapest term life insurance rates

If you have limited health issues, you might be considered in excellent or very good health. The following rates are for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit payout for those who qualify for the best rates.

Age

Gender

Preferred Plus health class

Preferred health class

20

Female

$18.54

$22.65

Male

$23.66

$30.20

30

Female

$18.90

$22.99

Male

$22.59

$29.32

40

Female

$28.73

$35.27

Male

$34.27

$42.95

50

Female

$63.71

$78.30

Male

$81.71

$102.50

60

Female

$169.25

$194.16

Male

$234.37

$268.09

Collapse table

Methodology: Rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in a Preferred Plus and a Preferred health classification, obtaining a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Corebridge Financial, Legal & General America, Pacific Life, Protective, and Transamerica, and the Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. 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 04/01/2024.

Cheapest life insurance rates for women

A 30-year-old non-smoking female with limited health issues can expect to pay $23 for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $500,00 death benefit payout. Women pay on average 14% less for life insurance than men because their life expectancy is statistically longer. 

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

20

$15.01

$22.65

$33.63

30

$15.17

$22.99

$36.90

40

$21.66

$35.27

$60.65

50

$43.92

$78.30

$139.50

60

$107.84

$194.16

$354.64

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for female non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000 20-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Corebridge Financial, Legal & General America, Pacific Life, Protective, and Transamerica, and the Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Rates may vary by insurer, term coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 04/01/2024.

Cheapest life insurance rates for men

A 30-year-old non-smoking male with limited health issues can expect to pay $29 for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $500,00 death benefit payout.

Age

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

20

$19.18

$30.20

$47.51

30

$18.19

$29.32

$48.89

40

$25.38

$42.95

$75.25

50

$56.69

$102.50

$188.29

60

$149.38

$268.09

$500.17

Methodology: Rates are calculated for male non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000 20-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Corebridge Financial, Legal & General America, Pacific Life, Protective, and Transamerica, and the Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Rates may vary by insurer, term coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 04/01/2024. 

Cheapest life insurance rates for seniors

Term life insurance will be the cheapest for seniors who have zero to one mild health condition (like mild osteoarthritis or elevated blood pressure), managed with medication or otherwise. Quotes are for term life insurance policies with a duration of 10 years

Age

Gender

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

55

Female

$42.77

$73.16

$132.27

Male

$55.11

$96.54

$170.59

60

Female

$62.60

$107.24

$190.74

Male

$82.70

$144.34

$259.24

65

Female

$101.88

$179.23

$323.50

Male

$137.90

$256.92

$474.69

Collapse table

Methodology: Rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000 10-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Corebridge Financial, Legal & General America, Pacific Life, Protective, and Transamerica, and the Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Rates may vary by insurer, term coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 04/01/2024.

Cheapest life insurance rates for smokers

Smokers pay at least twice as much for life insurance as non-smokers because the use of tobacco has known negative health effects, which affects insurance risk. However, the best life insurance companies for smokers offer affordable options depending on your overall health and other factors. The estimates below are for smokers with limited health issues.

Age

Gender

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

20

Female

$35.71

$60.59

$101.32

Male

$44.50

$76.43

$132.34

30

Female

$38.52

$65.75

$117.20

Male

$46.90

$80.95

$143.89

40

Female

$62.74

$113.40

$207.38

Male

$78.26

$145.39

$266.49

50

Female

$137.94

$257.05

$465.89

Male

$188.09

$351.50

$660.83

60

Female

$320.17

$617.51

$1,123.64

Male

$461.29

$887.93

$1,642.70

Collapse table

Methodology: Rates are calculated for male and female smokers in a Preferred Tobacco health classification, obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000 20-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Corebridge Financial, Legal & General America, Pacific Life, and Transamerica, and the Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Rates may vary by insurer, term coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 04/01/2024.

Which factors affect the cost of life insurance?

Your overall health will be one of the most important factors that will determine whether you can get a cheap life insurance rate, so one of the best things you can do to lower the cost of your policy is to maintain your health as much as is in your control. 

When you apply for life insurance, insurers assign you a health classification based on how risky you are to insure — the healthier they think you are, the less risky to insure they’ll consider you and thus the lower your premiums will be.

In addition to your health, the cost of life insurance is influenced by other factors that determine your overall risk of dying while the policy is active. These factors include your age, gender, and lifestyle choices.

  • Age: The younger you are, the lower your premium payments will be. Life insurance rates typically go up 4.5% to 9% every year you age, since we all become riskier to insure as we grow older.

  • Gender: Women pay an average of 24% less for life insurance than men. Since women often live longer than men, covering women presents less risk to an insurance company.

  • Lifestyle: Insurance companies consider some hobbies — like skydiving or scuba diving past a certain depth — or unhealthy habits — like smoking — risky enough to increase the cost of your life insurance.

Make sure that when you’re applying for life insurance, you’re honest with your agent so that they can find the insurer that will give you the most favorable evaluation based on your unique health and lifestyle profile. 

How much life insurance do you need?

You need enough coverage to help your loved ones cover your current and future financial obligations in the event of your death. Many financial experts suggest buying an amount of coverage that is 10 to 15 times your annual income.

Even if you’re at a point in your life where you can’t afford to get the recommended amount of coverage, a licensed agent can work with you to find a smaller amount of coverage that works with your budget. This can ensure some level of protection for your family for whatever financial situation you’re in.

Use our coverage calculator to determine how much life insurance you need

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7 ways to get cheap life insurance

While you can’t control some factors that influence premiums, like gender or a health diagnosis, there are specific steps you can take to lower the cost of your life insurance policy.

  1. Get the right amount of coverage It’s important that you’re not underinsured, but it’s smart to make sure you don’t have too much life insurance, either. Having a coverage amount that’s too high or not proportional to your financial obligations can raise your premiums unnecessarily.

  2. Opt for term life insurance Term life insurance is the most affordable type of insurance. A term life policy can help you get the financial protection you need at a cheaper rate than if you were to apply for permanent life coverage.

  3. Lower your death benefit Some coverage is always better than no coverage at all — if you’re on a budget, you can consider choosing a smaller death benefit to make sure you can afford your premiums.

  4. Consider a cost-effective payment schedule Some life insurance companies offer up to a 5% discount if you pay your premiums annually as opposed to monthly, but the option varies by company. The agent or brokerage you’re working with will be able to discuss your options for how to pay for life insurance and save money.

  5. Compare quotes Because every insurer will evaluate your application differently, comparing life insurance quotes from multiple insurers can help make sure you’re getting the best policy for you at the cheapest rates. Working with an independent broker can help you easily compare quotes across insurers.

  6. Avoid unnecessary riders Life insurance riders are add-ons you can use to customize your policy, but they’re not always cost-efficient. If you have a specific need for a rider, like a child rider to cover any children, it may be worth it, but speaking with a non-commissioned agent can help you determine which riders you might benefit from and which don’t make sense for you financially.

  7. Get the right amount of coverage It’s important that you’re not underinsured, but it’s smart to make sure you don’t have too much life insurance, either. Having a coverage amount that’s too high or not proportional to your financial obligations can raise your premiums unnecessarily.

Call us at 1-800-608-2192 to connect with a Policygenius agent and get started on your application, or follow the link below.

When you go through a major life change, like getting married or divorced, having a child, or changing jobs, you should reevaluate your insurance needs and consider adding or dropping coverage as needed. That way, you can ensure that you have the right coverage for your loved ones in place at the right price.

Frequently asked questions

How do you get the cheapest rates for life insurance?

You can get cheaper rates by applying while you’re young, monitoring and treating any health conditions if needed, and avoiding risky lifestyle habits like smoking. It’s also important to compare rates between multiple insurers before applying for a policy.

How much does life insurance usually cost per month?

It depends on your age, health, and gender, as well as what type of policy you’re looking for. For example, a 30-year-old non-smoker with limited health issues and no dangerous hobbies can expect to pay around $26 per month for a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $500,000 payout.

Can you switch life insurance companies to get a cheaper rate?

In some cases, switching your insurer can get you a cheaper rate. This usually happens when you make a major lifestyle change like quitting smoking or dramatically improving your health. 

You can also save on your policy by switching life insurance companies if you didn’t adequately shop around when you first got coverage. This happens a lot when you work with a captive agent, who can only sell you a policy from one company. Comparing rates is the best way to ensure you’re getting the cheapest rates possible. Independent brokers like Poicygenius can often get you a better rate by comparing quotes from many insurers.

Authors

Katherine Murbach is an editor and a former licensed life insurance agent 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.

Tory Crowley is an associate editor and a former licensed insurance agent at Policygenius. Previously, she worked directly with clients at Policygenius, advising nearly 3,000 of them on life insurance options. She has also worked at the Daily News and various nonprofit organizations.

Editor

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

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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