Life insurance in New York state

Everything you need to know about life insurance companies in New York state, including average rates and protections for consumers.

Amanda Shih author photo


Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius, where she covered life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

Updated|3 min read

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People need life insurance no matter where they live. It’s potentially even more important to have for residents of New York state — the high cost of living in some parts of the state means families may have even more trouble making ends meet if the primary breadwinner is no longer around.

We’ve broken down the biggest life insurance companies operating in New York state, the cost of life insurance for New Yorkers, and protections the state provides for shoppers and policyholders.

Key Takeaways

  • MetLife is the largest life insurance company operating in New York State.

  • A $500,000 term life insurance policy costs between $27 and $34 for healthy 35-year-olds in New York.

  • The Department of Financial Services oversees insurance regulations in the state and helps consumers resolve complaints against insurers.

The largest life insurance companies in New York

Most major life insurance companies operate in New York state, although some may do so through a subsidiary. Below are the 10 largest life insurance companies in New York state by market share. [1]

CompanyMarket share
2Equitable Holdings30.5%
3New York Life4.3%
10John Hancock1.5%

Many of the largest companies operating in New York are also among the largest companies nationwide. However, because of state regulations certain types of life insurance aren’t available in New York, including several no-medical-exam policies that allow you to get coverage without taking a medical exam. 

→ See the largest life insurance companies in the United States

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Average life insurance rates in New York

Life insurance rates depend on many individual factors, including your age, health, and the length and benefit amount of your policy.

Based on Policygenius data from 2022, the average monthly premium for a relatively healthy 35-year-old in New York buying a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy is $27.65 for women and $33.27 for men.

→ Learn more about how insurance companies set your rates

New York life insurance laws

Life insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Every state has similar protections in place, but the specifics vary. For example, many states require insurers to pay out claims within 60 days, but others set a 30-day limit. In Kansas, the window is just 10 days. [2]

Three key protections for consumers in every state are: 

  • Free look period: You can cancel your life insurance without penalty and be refunded your initial premium payment during this time. States set a minimum and maximum period, but insurance companies can set their own limits within those guidelines.

  • Grace period: This period gives you a cushion to pay your premiums late without losing your coverage.

  • Timely payment of claims: These regulations specify how long an insurer has to pay out a life insurance claim. After the deadline, providers may owe you interest on the benefit.

Below are the regulations for New York State life insurance policies. [3]

Below are the regulations for New York State life insurance policies.

RegulationTime frame
Free look period10 to 30 days; 60 days for replacement policies
Grace period31 days from due date; 61 days for policies with variable premiums
Timely payment of claims30 days from receipt of complete claim

How to find a lost life insurance policy in New York

Named beneficiaries can change throughout the term of a life insurance policy and beneficiaries may not always know they’re named on a policy or how to find the policy details. In addition to national resources like NAIC’s Life Insurance Policy Locator Service, the Department of Financial Services can help you locate a policy in New York State.

Someone’s immediate family members or an administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate can file a search request, which is forwarded to insurance companies operating in New York State. If your request matches a policy, the provider will contact you within 60 days.

→ Learn more about finding a lost life insurance policy

What happens if a life insurance company goes bankrupt in New York?

It’s extremely rare for a life insurance company to go bankrupt, but every state has some protections for consumers in a worst-case scenario. If a life insurance company in New York is in financial difficulty, the superintendent — the person who oversees the industry in the state — can take over operations of the insurer, with approval from the New York State Supreme Court.

The superintendent will try to resolve the company’s financial issues or ultimately decide to liquidate the company’s assets to fulfill its debts to creditors and customers, including beneficiaries of a policy. 

The Life Insurance Guaranty Corporation of New York is a non-profit organization that steps in once an insurer goes bankrupt. The fund will pay out up to $500,000 to customers with unpaid claims from a provider that’s gone out of business or can help you transfer your policy to a financially stable insurer. [4]

New York state insurance department information

The New York Department of Financial Services can help you understand your life insurance options or process any insurance complaints, such as late claim payments.

The department was formed in 2011 after the New York State Insurance Department and the New York State Banking Department were combined. You can file a complaint or find other information specific to life insurance regulations in New York online.

→ See contact information for insurance departments in every state

Frequently asked questions

What is the number one life insurance company in New York?

The biggest life insurance company operating in New York is MetLife, followed by Equitable Holdings and New York Life.

What is the life insurance free look period and grace period in New York?

In New York you have a 10- to 30-day free look period to cancel your policy and receive a refund of premiums paid. The late payment grace period is 31 days for most policies.

What types of life insurance are available in New York?

The most common types of life insurance, term and permanent, are available in New York state. No-medical-exam policies like accelerated underwriting and final expense insurance aren’t offered.