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THE BOTTOM LINE
Gerber Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the baby food manufacturer, offers a range of term, whole, and guaranteed issue policies for children, adults, and seniors. But with only one rider available for one specific plan, there’s little in the way of flexibility, and the plans are remarkably more expensive than the competition. We also have to warn shoppers against life insurance for children as it’s generally not the wisest investment. Take out a child rider on your own policy or open a savings account at a bank instead.
This review, and its ratings, are based on Gerber Life’s main adult term life policy.
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No medical exams for seniors. In most cases, you don't need to go through a physical medical exam with Gerber Life — if you’re under 51 years of age and applying for less than $100,000 of coverage. That’s fairly unrealistic for most people shopping for health insurance. However, there is a guaranteed issue, no-med policy for seniors aged 50 to 80.
Discount for setting up automatic payments. Applicants can receive up to 10 percent off their premium bills if they set up an automatic payment with Gerber Life’s customer portal.
Extremely expensive for small coverage. Benefits with Gerber Life cap at $300,000. If you need more than that in coverage, and you likely do, then you need to look for another life insurance carrier. Additionally, you’re going to pay significantly more than the competition for that little benefit. Term life insurance with Gerber Life is just not a good option.
Only one rider available. There’s one rider (a guaranteed insurability rider) available for one policy (the Grow-Up Plan meant for children). Besides that, there’s not much shoppers can do here to customize their plans.
Life insurance depends on numerous factors, including age, gender, the state you live in, and your health status. Depending on any of those details, you could pay more or less than the industry average for term life insurance.
With Gerber Life, you’re going to pay way more than the industry average.
The company, a subsidiary of the baby-food-making Gerber Products Company, offers term and whole life insurance for adults, children, and seniors. We used their online quote tool to apply for $250,000 of term life insurance on a 20-year plan for a non-smoking male in California.
Here’s what we found:
Sample rates current as of May 2021.
Note that the rate for the 60s age group is for a 10-year term plan.
Across the board for all ages, Gerber Life term life insurance is considerably higher than the industry average. For comparison, Banner Life offers an average rate of $24.40 for a healthy male in their 20s for a $500,000, 20-year policy.
When it comes to term life insurance for adults, Gerber Life is an extremely expensive proposition. You’re better off researching other carriers for term life plans.
Gerber Life has been around since 1967. Founded by the Gerber Products Company, they have over $50 billion of life insurance in force. With over 50 years of history, and billions in the bank, their outlook looks pretty solid.
That’s solely according to A.M. Best, the only financial rating firm with a rating for Gerber Life:
A.M. Best: A
Standard & Poor’s: N/A
Credit rating agency A.M. Best focuses specifically on the insurance industry. They award Gerber Life an A, or “excellent”, which means the company’s outlook is very stable, and it has the superior ability to fulfill financial obligations to customers.
Financial analysis services Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have not rated Gerber Life.
Despite the high rates and low payouts, Gerber Life policyholders seem satisfied with their carrier of choice.
Here’s what customers and customer rating agencies think:
BBB : A+
Consumers Advocate : 4.5 / 5
Consumer Affairs : 3.2 / 5
NAIC complaint index : 0.89
The Better Business Bureau , which grades companies based on their advertising and customer complaints, awards Gerber Life an A+. Based on user-submitted reviews, customers have had issues canceling policies, filing claims, and confusing products for one another.
Consumers Advocate , which focuses on a company’s reputation, policies, and stability, gives Gerber Life a 4.5 out of 5.
Consumer Affairs lets customers directly review and rate companies. Based on over 90 customer reviews, Gerber Life gets a 3.2 out of 5 stars. Common complaints include billing issues, problems filing claims, and long customer service wait times.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks complaints submitted to state insurance departments. Based on their complaint index, Gerber Life has a 0.89 rating. A score of 1 represents the baseline average, and a zero means there weren’t enough customer complaints to count. Gerber Life has a couple more complaints than the average.
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Gerber Life has term, whole, and guaranteed life insurance options for adults, children, and seniors.
Their most unique product is the Grow-Up Plan, which provides whole life insurance for children. We can’t recommend this policy since one of the main reasons to get life insurance is to replace lost income, and most kids have no earnings that need replacing. Adults with kids are better off adding a child rider to their own policy, or opening a regular savings account.
But that’s also a problem here. The only rider available with Gerber Life you can add is a guaranteed insurability rider to Grow-Up Plans, for no extra charge. That rider gives your child the option to increase their coverage at age 21, with no medical exam, but at adult premium rates.
There are also term and whole life policies for adults, though the death benefits are quite small, with a maximum of $300,000.
There is also a whole life product with no medical exam for seniors aged 50 to 80, as well as a standalone accident coverage plan, a plan specifically for teens, and a college savings plan that blends adult life insurance with a savings fund.
This review, and its ratings, are based primarily on the adult term life product.
Term life insurance
Gerber Life’s main term product is quite basic. Coverage ranges are quite small, only $100,000 to $300,000 in death benefits, which is not much compared to other carriers. Term lengths are also limited, at 10, 20, or 30 years. Premiums stay level throughout the term.
There is no medical exam required unless the applicant is 51 years old and applies for more than $100,000. You only need to answer some health-related questions while applying.
Eligible ages: 18 to 70
Term lengths: 10-, 20-, or 30-year terms
Minimum benefit: $100,000
Maximum benefit: $300,000
Terms can be renewed without a physical exam, but premiums will increase each time.
Term life policies can be converted to permanent plans, but only towards the end of the term. At which point, the policy will go through another underwriting process with some screening questions.
Permanent life insurance
Gerber Life’s permanent life insurance offerings include a whole life policy, a guaranteed issue final expense policy, life insurance combined with a savings fund, and children’s life insurance. Most of these do not require a medical exam.
Unless you have very specific needs, we recommend most people choose a term life policy over a permanent plan. We also don’t recommend children’s life insurance.
A basic whole life policy, this offers $50,000 to $300,000 of coverage, which is fairly low. There’s a cash value component, which you can use to cover other expenses.
Like most other products from Gerber Life, there is no medical exam necessary unless the applicant is 51 years old or older and applies for more than $100,000 in coverage.
No matter your health, seniors aged 50 to 80 are guaranteed to be accepted for this type of whole life policy. There are no medical exams required and no health questionnaires to fill out, either. You just have to submit an online application.
Meant to help with final expenses, including burial costs, debt, or medical bills, guaranteed issue whole life insurance allows applicants to choose between $5,000 to $25,000 of coverage. This policy also builds cash value.
This policy comes with a 30-day trial, so if you don’t like what it provides for any reason you can cancel it for a full refund and retrieve all paid premiums.
Gerber Life calls this accident protection insurance. This is basically a standalone accidental death and disability benefit that provides $20,000 to $100,000 of coverage to help pay for lost income, medical costs, burial expenses, or other debts. There is no physical exam necessary, and no health questions to answer. Gerber Life says acceptance is guaranteed.
Your spouse or partner can also apply for up to a combined total of $200,000. Issue ages are 19 to 69 years old.
Premiums stay level and never increase, regardless of age or health.
This plan is not available in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, or Washington.
Life insurance for children
Gerber Life is one of the few insurers known for providing life insurance for children. There’s a whole life policy for young children, a term life policy with a college savings fund component, and a whole life plan for teenagers.
We generally recommend you choose other options to save money for your kids.
There are a few reasons why. The payouts are low. The cash value takes decades to build. And when it does build, it won’t be enough to cover anything substantial like a wedding or college tuition.
Additionally, one of the major reasons to get life insurance in the first place is to replace lost income. Unless your child’s a Nickelodeon star, kids usually have no earnings that need replacing. Adults with kids are better off adding a child rider to their own policy, or opening a regular savings account.
This is whole life insurance for children who are 14 days to 14 years old.
Parents, grandparents, or legal guardians are the policyholders until the child turns 21. At that point, the child becomes the policy owner and can maintain coverage if premiums are paid. You can also switch to Gerber Life’s Young Adult whole life insurance for teens when the child turns 15.
Coverage ranges from $5,000 to $50,000, then it automatically doubles when the child turns 18. So, a $10,000 policy will become a $20,000 one, without a health check-up or hike in monthly premiums.
Combining term life insurance with a college savings fund, Gerber Life’s College Plan grows in cash value and offers a guaranteed benefit of $10,000 to $150,000 when the policy matures. The full benefit is paid to a beneficiary if the insured dies before that.
We can’t recommend this type of policy either. You can’t choose how your cash value is invested, and considering the amount you’ll pay in premiums, you’re not going to be saving much money in the first place. Plus, if you want to cancel, you’re only guaranteed money back at the policy's midpoint. So, if you cancel a 10-year plan in the fourth year, you’re out of luck.
If you want to combine a college savings fund with life insurance, we recommend choosing a regular term life plan and opening a savings account or 529 plan.
A whole life policy for children aged 15 to 17. Like the Grow-Up Plan, the child’s parent or guardian is the policyowner until age 21. Coverage ranges from $5,000 to $50,000 and builds cash value.
Also like the Grow-Up plan, coverage automatically doubles upon the child’s 18th birthday with no increase to the monthly premium.
Applying for Gerber Life will be different for everybody, but most applicants won’t have to undergo a medical exam as long as they’re under age 51. Some policies only take minutes to apply. Policies are delivered electronically.
You can reach customer service by phone or email, regular mail, and even fax. In our experience, the phone line service was courteous, quick, and helpful.
There is no online chat service.
The application process with Gerber Life varies depending on the policy you apply for. Most will require answering questions about your health and medical histories. Some applications take only minutes according to Gerber Life.
This depends on the age and health of the applicant. Some policies, like the adult term life policy, can activate immediately. Gerber Life says decisions are usually made within minutes. but for the most part expect to wait up to two weeks on average.
Gerber Life will mail and send your policy electronically.
Gerber Life is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. Some Gerber Life policies may vary by area.
Policyholders can update their address, contact info, view and manage policies using Gerber Life’s customer portal.
However, to change beneficiaries and cancel policies, the insured must print out and submit a form by mail.
Gerber Life offers the usual ways to pay your bills.
- Autopay. Set up automatic payments from a checking account or credit card either online or by phone.
- Phone. Use a credit card or checking account to pay over the phone.
- Mail. Pay your bill the old-fashioned way.
Premium payments that are automatically withdrawn will receive a discount.
There’s not much besides the online quote tool and website portal that lets policyholders manage their account.
To file a benefits claim, the beneficiary must call Gerber Life and submit the following information though a form:
- Name, phone, and address of beneficiary
- Name, date of birth, and date and cause of death of the insured
- A copy of the death certificate
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Gerber Life offer online quotes?
Yes, for term life, whole life, and accident protection policies. It’s easy and quick. Enter your birthdate, desired coverage amount, and whether or not you smoke. You can also use the Policygenius online quote tool for a fast and individualized quote.
Do I need to take a medical exam?
No. Most applicants will only need to answer some health-related questions about their medical history. Applicants 51 years old or older and applying for more than $100,000, however, will need to schedule and undergo a medical exam.
Why is life insurance for children not recommended?
Because it doesn’t really make any sense. Life insurance is usually a way to replace somebody’s income when they die. Children have no income to replace. It also makes no sense to pay a company like Gerber Life large amounts of money monthly or annually to save money for your child’s future, especially when the payouts are pretty low compared to other carriers. We suggest you open a traditional savings account or 529 plan instead.