Life insurance statistics in 2021

Stats to help you understand life insurance — who has it and how much it costs.

Getting a life insurance policy is an important decision that you want to put a lot of thought into — it protects your family's financial security if you die unexpectedly. Because you're relying on your policy to protect your loved ones, you want to make sure you understand the nitty-gritty of your coverage.

To make it easier, we've researched this for you. From how much life insurance costs to the biggest reasons to get it — we've got you covered.

Life insurance by the numbers

54% • Percent of American adults who have life insurance

27% • Of American adults with life insurance, the percent who only have group coverage — which usually isn’t enough (and is rarely portable)‡

10x to 15x • The multiples of your annual income that most financial advisors recommend you need when buying life insurance for income replacement‡

29% • Percent of American adults who intend to buy their life insurance online‡

40% • Percent of insured who wish they had purchased their policies at a younger age‡

Stats about the cost of life insurance

5x-15x • How much more permanent life insurance (like whole life insurance) costs vs. term life insurance†

4.5-9% * Average percent increase in your insurance costs as you age, assuming your health stays the same†

30% • The average cost difference between sequential health ratings (preferred vs standard, for example)†

2x to 3x • How much rates for smokers cost vs. rates for nonsmokers (but a year after you quit smoking, most companies will offer you nonsmoker rates†

35% • The average difference between the least expensive and most expensive rate for the same person across insurance companies†

30% • Percent difference between premiums for men and women (with women paying nearly ⅓ less than men, on average)†

Sources

† Policygenius data quoting data from January, 2021. Data is based on quotes for 20-year terms from 11 life insurance carriers that offer policies through the Policygenius marketplace (AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI and Transamerica)

2020 Insurance Barometer Study, Life Happens and LIMRA

Best life insurance companies ranked by customer satisfaction

When you’re working with an insurance company to secure a life insurance policy, customer experience matters. After all, you’re trusting them to care for your loved ones if something happens to you. According to the J.D. Power 2020 Life Insurance Study, here are the top ten life insurance companies for customer satisfaction, with their corresponding scores on a 1,000 point scale.

COMPANYJ.D. POWER RATING
State Farm838
Globe Life810
Nationwide803
Northwestern Mutual790
Mutual of Omaha789
New York Life784
Pacific Life776
MetLife773
Principal772
MassMutual769

Average cost of life insurance by age and gender

The monthly cost of a life insurance policy depends on factors like your age, health, term length, gender and the death benefit amount on the policy. The following are sample monthly premium rates for a 20-year term life insurance policy for a non-smoker as of January 2021, based on Preferred health ratings.

AGEGENDER$250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000
20Male$17.02$27.40$37.93$45.67$85.83
Female$13.91$20.95$28.42$33.86$62.34
25Male$16.68$26.74$36.98$44.69$83.67
Female$13.83$20.86$28.22$34.06$62.40
30Male$16.94$27.56$38.21$46.60$87.50
Female$14.30$21.96$29.86$36.00$66.29
35Male$17.82$29.09$40.42$50.13$94.56
Female$15.68$24.48$33.58$41.27$76.83
40Male$22.95$39.16$55.53$69.30$132.89
Female$19.78$32.53$45.61$56.57$107.44
45Male$33.41$59.37$85.84$110.11$214.52
Female$26.92$46.37$66.35$83.40$161.10
50Male$50.62$93.40$136.21$173.22$340.75
Female$39.62$71.13$103.22$128.43$251.15
55Male$80.87$151.19$222.06$281.12$556.73
Female$57.40$105.77$154.80$199.74$393.98
60Male$141.36$262.22$386.17$489.60$973.70
Female$101.34$188.79$277.54$349.08$692.65

Methodology: Sample premiums are for male and female non-smokers with a Preferred health rating based in Ohio; Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 1/12/2021.

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Top reasons for buying life insurance in the U.S.

According to a 2020 report from trade research organization LIMRA and the non-profit organization Life Happens, these are the most common reasons Americans said they bought life insurance:

  • 84% Burial/final expenses

  • 66% Wealth transfer

  • 62% Income replacement

  • 57% Supplement retirement income

  • 50% Pay off mortgage

How much life insurance coverage is purchased in every state?

According to data from the NAIC, published by the American Council of Life Insurers, here is the cumulative value of the death benefits for the life insurance policies purchased in every U.S. state in 2018, in billions of U.S. dollars.

StateAmount of coverage purchased (in billions of U.S.dollars)
Alabama39.35
Alaska7.36
Arizona49.8
Arkansas20.57
California356.98
Colorado58.26
Connecticut42.35
Delaware21.5
District of Columbia10.59
Florida188.85
Georgia110.82
Hawaii11.13
Idaho12.88
Illinois135.54
Indiana48.87
Iowa30.28
Kansas26.55
Kentucky34.21
Louisiana47.66
Maine8.31
Maryland63.33
Massachusetts91.68
Michigan77.88
Minnesota54.92
Mississippi22.95
Missouri55.01
Montana7.4
Nebraska18.6
Nevada23.84
New Hampshire12.63
New Jersey121.35
New Mexico11.52
New York218.55
North Carolina101.19
North Dakota7.7
Ohio107.83
Oklahoma27.73
Oregon31.36
Pennsylvania121.21
Rhode Island8.37
South Carolina51.11
South Dakota13.31
Tennessee66.4
Texas275.72
Utah34.38
Vermont7.91
Virginia85.61
Washington63.55
West Virginia8.88
Wisconsin75.73
Wyoming4.59

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Biggest life insurance companies by market share

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, these are the ten largest life insurance companies in the U.S. and Canada, by their share of the total market.

COMPANYMARKET SHARE
Northwestern Mutual6.48
New York Life6.35
MetLife (Metropolitan group)6.19
Lincoln Financial5.54
Prudential5.54
MassMutual4.59
Transamerica (AEGON)2.8
John Hancock2.77
State Farm2.76
Minnesota Life (Securian)2.71

Percent of U.S. adults with life insurance (2011 to 2020)

According to the 2020 LIMRA and Life Happens report on life insurance in the U.S., the percent of U.S. adults who own life insurance has ranged between 63% and 54%.

YearPercent of U.S. adults who owned life insurance
201163%
201259%
201362%
201457%
201557%
201660%
201759%
201859%
201957%
202054%

Number of life insurance policies purchased in the US from 1998 to 2018

According to the NAIC, here’s the number of life insurance policies purchased in the U.S. each year from 1998 to 2018.

YearNumber of life insurance policies purchased
199831.89 million
199938.58 million
200033.36 million
200140.1 million
200238.71 million
200335.77 million
200438.45 million
200534.52 million
200629.29 million
200730.79 million
200828.6 million
200929.19 million
201028.62 million
201127.18 million
201227.06 million
201325.26 million
201427.15 million
201528.32 million
201627.52 million
201728.04 million
201827.80 million