Life insurance statistics in 2020

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

Logan SachonAnna Swartz 1600

Logan Sachon & Anna Swartz

Published January 2, 2020

Getting a life insurance policy is an important decision that you likely 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 done the research for you. From how much life insurance costs to the biggest reasons to get it — we've got you covered.

IN THIS ARTICLE

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

6x-10x • How much more permanent life insurance (like whole life insurance) costs vs. term life insurance

8% * 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)

50% • 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

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 2019 Life Insurance Study, here are the top ten life insurance companies for customer satisfaction, with their corresponding scores on a 1,000 point scale.

COMPANY NAMECUSTOMER SATISFACTION SCORE
Northwestern Mutual810
State Farm808
Mutual of Omaha795
Principal Financial789
Liberty Mutual788
Guardian Life770
New York Life770
Pacific Life765
Protective Life754
Prudential754

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 in 2020, based on Preferred health ratings.

Average life insurance rates by age for men

AGE$250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000
20$17.82$28.26$39.76$47.25$89.25
25$17.48$27.66$38.87$46.15$87.04
30$17.85$28.73$40.48$48.20$91.15
35$19.05$30.67$43.30$52.16$99.07
40$24.32$41.02$58.48$72.69$140.13
45$35.54$60.88$88.70$113.03$220.80
50$53.70$94.57$138.68$176.97$348.68
55$85.75$153.96$225.24$289.64$574.03
60$150.65$266.74$390.84$504.46$1,003.66

Average life insurance rates by age for women

AGE$250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000
20$14.49$21.65$29.77$35.03$64.81
25$14.52$21.76$29.95$35.55$65.92
30$15.17$23.02$31.88$37.43$69.61
35$16.71$25.68$35.90$42.63$80.05
40$21.21$33.80$48.07$52.72$112.91
45$28.51$47.53$68.60$86.33$167.41
50$41.78$71.68$104.60$132.64$232.74
55$61.29$108.88$159.50$209.21$413.16
60$110.80$192.52$283.21$361.92$718.58

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 2017, in billions of U.S. dollars.

StateAmount of coverage purchased (in billions of U.S.dollars)
California452.38
Texas257.78
New York229.67
Florida156.7
Illinois121.44
New Jersey116.98
Pennsylvania104.08
Georgia96.87
Washington95.01
Ohio90.1
North Carolina89.74
Michigan78.52
Virginia73.84
Massachusetts69.14
Tennessee63.75
Missouri62.93
Minnesota60.8
Colorado57.62
Maryland56.01
Wisconsin49.64
Indiana48.65
Louisiana47.32
Arizona46.96
Connecticut42.12
South Carolina38.26
Alabama36.27
Oklahoma31.83
Utah31.28
Iowa30.08
Kentucky29.93
Oregon27.78
Kansas23.58
Nevada23.56
Mississippi21.99
Nebraska19.08
Arkansas18.33
Delaware13.8
Idaho12.21
New Hampshire10.9
Hawaii10.1
District of Columbia9.95
South Dakota9.92
New Mexico9.66
Vermont9.27
West Virginia8.79
Rhode Island8.25
North Dakota7.65
Montana7.31
Maine6.97
Alaska6.6
Wyoming5.1

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.

Company NameMarket Share
Metropolitan6.53%
Northwestern Mutual6.33%
New York Life5.63%
Prudential5.50%
Lincoln National5.30%
Mass Mutual4.13%
Aegon2.92%
John Hancock2.80%
State Farm2.78%
Minnesota Mutual2.66%

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 57%.

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 2017

According to the NAIC, here’s the number of life insurance policies purchased in the U.S. each year from 1998 to 2017.

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

About the authors

Insurance Expert

Logan Sachon

Insurance Expert

Logan Sachon is the co-founder of The Billfold, a groundbreaking personal finance site for millennials that was named one of Time's 25 Best Blogs of 2012. Her work has been published in New York Magazine, Glamour, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and more.

Insurance Expert

Anna Swartz

Insurance Expert

Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius in New York City, and an expert in auto insurance. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic, writing about news and culture. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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