The truth about life insurance is that unlike home or auto insurance, where you live doesn’t actually matter very much when you buy a policy, and your rates aren’t more or less expensive based on your state.
What actually matters is the amount of coverage you get and your personal details — that’s why our recommendations for the best life insurance companies in New York for cheap rates or seniors or smokers are mostly the same as our overall best companies for the same categories.
Best for …
AM Best score
Number of complaints
Overall, term life, young adults, smokers
Lower than average
Cheapest, universal life, marijuana users
Higher than average
Lower than average
Lower than average
What does vary by state is company availability, as well as the availability of certain life insurance products. Term life insurance policies always require a medical exam in New York, for example, which isn’t the case in every state.
Best overall life insurance company in New York: Legal & General America
Legal & General America, which also does business as Banner Life and William Penn in New York state, is our pick for the best overall life insurance company in New York. We chose Legal & General America as the best life insurance company in New York because of its affordable rates and flexible coverage.
Legal & General America offers competitive life insurance rates not only to young and healthy applicants, but also to smokers, and people with high blood pressure or other pre-existing health conditions that usually make life insurance more expensive.
Cheapest life insurance company in New York: Corebridge Financial
According to our analysis, Corebridge Financial (formally known as AIG Life & Retirement) has the cheapest life insurance rates on average — that includes in New York, though remember that location doesn’t factor into your rates. Corebridge can also be a cheaper option for people with heart conditions, diabetes, and other pre-existing conditions.
The younger you are when you buy life insurance, the cheaper your rates will be, so getting a policy early is one of the best ways to save money on life insurance, along with comparing quotes.
Best term life insurance in New York: Legal & General America
We think Legal & General America has the best term life insurance in New York thanks to its term length options, which range from 10 to 40 years. This is one of the biggest ranges on the market.
A term life insurance policy means it lasts for a specific amount of time (usually between 10 and 30 years). Your loved ones will be paid out a sum, called a “death benefit,” if you die while you’re covered by the policy. Term life insurance is one of the best and most straightforward life insurance options for most people.
Best whole life insurance in New York: MassMutual
MassMutual is our pick for the best whole life insurance in New York. Whole life insurance is a kind of permanent life insurance, meaning it lasts until your death. We like that MassMutual has a long history of financial stability and an A++ rating (Superior) from third-party agency AM Best.
A whole life policy can work like an investment. Part of your policy — its cash value — earns interest over time. Some companies, like MassMutual, also pay dividends on whole life policies (MassMutual has actually paid whole life dividends every year since 1869). Eventually, you can borrow against this money, take some of it out, or even use it to pay for your policy. It’s best for high-net worth earners who want to diversify their financial profiles.
Best universal life insurance in New York: Corebridge Financial
According to our analysis, Corebridge Financial is the best universal life insurance company in New York. Corebridge offers different types of indexed and guaranteed universal life insurance options open to applicants ages 18 to 80.
With universal life insurance, your benefit is guaranteed to pay out when you die. A universal life policy can build some cash value, but not as much as other, more expensive types of permanent life insurance.
Best life insurance for seniors in New York: Prudential
The best life insurance company for seniors in New York is Prudential. Prudential takes the top spot because we have found that it has the best rates for people over 60 who may have a harder time finding affordable life insurance coverage.
Prudential also has affordable rates for people with age-related health problems, like osteoporosis or arthritis.
Best life insurance for young adults in New York: Legal & General America
We found that Legal & General America has the best life insurance in New York for young people looking for lots of coverage options and cheaper-than-average rates. In fact, if you’re in your 20s and don’t smoke, we’ve found that you can pay as little as $23 a month for term life insurance from William Penn.
Best life insurance for marijuana users in New York: Corebridge Financial
If you’re a New Yorker who uses marijuana (which is legal in New York), Corebridge Financial has the best life insurance for you. That’s because Corebridge Financial is one of only a few insurance companies that treats even regular cannabis users as non-smokers, and won’t raise rates for occasional marijuana use.
Best life insurance for smokers in New York: Legal & General America
Even though life insurance is almost always more expensive for smokers than non-smokers, we found that Legal & General America offers some of the best life insurance for smokers in New York. You can even apply for lower premiums a year after you quit smoking.
How is life insurance different in New York?
Although life insurance rates don’t vary by state and your location doesn’t affect your coverage needs, there are some important things to know about life insurance laws and regulations in New York that may affect your buying process or the products that are available.
Contestable period: New York has a contestable or contestability period of two years. That means that your life insurance company can take back your coverage or deny a claim if it discovers you misrepresented yourself when you applied for coverage.
Free look period: The “free look period” in New York — the amount of time you have to cancel your life insurance without any penalties and still get your payment back — is between 10 and 30 days, including for policies you get through the mail.
Grace period for missed payments: New York has a grace period of 31 days from the payment due date. The grace period is the amount of time you have to pay a late premium before your life insurance company cancels your policy.
No-medical-exam life insurance: New York limits no-medical-exam policies, and term life insurance policies all require a medical exam in New York.
Guaranty Fund protection: New York was the first state to set up a guaranty fund, which provides some help if a life insurance company becomes financially unstable. New York’s guaranty fund covers you for up to $500,000.
Time to get a payout: Life insurance companies in New York usually have to pay out a claim promptly after settling it, or add interest onto the settlement.
Largest life insurance companies in New York
Many of the largest life insurance companies in the country operate in New York, though some might offer coverage through a subsidiary. Here are some of the largest life insurance companies by market share in New York. 
What happens if a life insurance company goes bankrupt in New York?
Even though it’s very rare for a life insurance company to go bankrupt, every state has protections for consumers just in case that happens after you’ve bought a policy, including New York.
If your life insurance company goes bankrupt in New York state, you can receive up to $500,000 for unpaid claims from New York’s Life insurance Guaranty Corporation.  The group can also help you transfer your policy to a financially-stable insurance company.
How to find a lost life insurance policy in New York
You can locate a lost life insurance policy in New York using a few different resources. You can file a search request with the state if you’re the policyholder’s immediate family or an administrator or their estate.
You can also use a locator service provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to help you find a missing policy.
Average life insurance rates in New York
Based on Policygenius data from 2023, the average premium for a relatively healthy 35-year-old in New York buying a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy is $27 per month ($307 per year) for women and $32 per month ($373 per year) for men.
Your location doesn’t matter for life insurance, but your rates do depend on many other factors, including your age, health, and the length, and your policy's benefit amount.
Here’s what people pay, on average, for life insurance based on age, gender, and coverage type and amount:
$250,000 coverage amount
$500,000 coverage amount
$1 million coverage amount