3.5 / 5

Guardian Life Insurance Review

Guardian enjoys high marks from financial agencies and customer reviews, but premium pricing is extremely high. Customers concerned about cost should consider less expensive options.

Tim Torres

By

Tim Torres

Tim Torres

Reviews Editor

Tim Torres is a reviews editor at Policygenius, where he specializes in life insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and more. His work has also appeared in PC Mag, Tom's Guide, Tech Times, and elsewhere.

Updated|5 min read

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Guardian Life

OVERALL

3.5

3.5

THE GOOD

    check mark

    Strong financial ratings

    check mark

    Online quote tool available

    check mark

    Convertible options available

    check mark

    Dividends for whole life customers

THE BAD

    X mark

    Very high rates

    X mark

    Can only apply through agents

    X mark

    Lack of information on website

THE BOTTOM LINE

Guardian Life Insurance Company, which has been around for nearly two centuries, enjoys respect from financial institutions and customers alike despite a cumbersome shopping experience. They provide little information about their policies, and potential policyholders need to call an agent to apply. Premium costs are also extremely high for most people.

Policy Details

Availability of such options as term length and no-med exam options.

7.0

Price

Average monthly premium cost for a predetermined applicant profile and common health conditions.

1.0

Financial Confidence

Satisfaction from consumer sentiment institutions and complaints to state insurance boards.

9.5

Third-Party Ratings

Satisfaction from consumer sentiment institutions and complaints to state insurance boards.

8.0

Customer Experience

Ease of use, convenience, online tools, and availability.

6.0

All set to shop?

The Details

The Good

Strong financial ratings. Guardian has been around for over 160 years, so it’s got a sterling reputation from credit rating agencies and analysts. Shoppers can expect solid financial stability, which is important for paying out death benefits. 

Online quote tool available. There’s not much to do on Guardian’s life insurance page, but you can receive a sample quote quite easily. 

Convertible options available. Term life customers satisfied with their policy can convert to a more permanent plan if they need to continue supporting dependents after the term expires. Converting is a handy option since it usually means no more medical exams are required. 

Dividends for whole life customers. Being the customer of a mutually owned company has its perks, namely the possibility for cash dividends at the end of the year. However, receiving dividends is not a guarantee since it depends upon company performance. All the same, dividends are a potential plus for prospective Guardian customers. 

The Bad

Very high rates. Guardian charges way higher premiums for its insurance products than the industry average. If saving money on life insurance is your primary concern, you can find much cheaper alternatives with other carriers. 

Can only apply through agents. Guardian doesn’t let shoppers apply online. Instead, you’ve got to contact a local agent or call customer service who will then refer you to a local agent. Either way, you’re using the phone. 

Lack of information on website. Guardian is not very forthcoming when it comes to insurance product details. There’s some basic information available on the website, but more specifics will have to come from a local agent.

The Breakdown

Policy Details

Availability of such options as term length and no-med exam options.

7.0

Guardian offers term, whole, and universal life insurance products. 

Unfortunately, all policies require speaking to an agent directly to apply. 

Plus, there’s a serious lack of information available on the Guardian Life Insurance Company website. You’ll have to call an agent for that information as well.

Term Life Insurance

For applicants aged 18 to 45, term lengths are 10, 15, 20, or 30 years long. For ages 55 and above, term lengths are 10, 15, 20 years. Coverage lasts for that fixed period time. Coverage amounts range from $250,000 to $5 million.

That’s all the information available on Guardian’s website. To find out more you need to contact an agent, and to apply, you need to contact a Guardian representative or local agent.

Policy conversion

Policyholders can convert to a permanent plan if they add the appropriate rider to their coverage.

Available riders


  • Waiver of premium for disability. For an extra cost, this rider waives your monthly costs if you become totally disabled through illness or injury for six continuous months.

  • Extra conversion rider. Also for an additional fee, this will convert your term policy to permanent coverage, without going through the application process again.

Whole life insurance

Guardian’s whole life plan provides fully underwritten lifetime coverage and builds cash value, which you can use to pay towards your premiums. However, doing so can affect the amount of your death benefit and any potential dividends you may receive.

Since Guardian Life Insurance Company is a mutually owned company, whole life policyholders are eligible to receive dividends, although like all mutually owned companies that’s not a guarantee.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance provides permanent coverage but with flexible monthly premiums, meaning you can adjust how much you pay depending on your finances.

This policy may also build cash value which you can use as a savings vehicle or borrow from at any time to use for retirement costs or other expenses.

Price

Average monthly premium cost for a predetermined applicant profile and common health conditions.

1.0

Using Guardian’s online quote tool to apply for $500,000 of term life insurance on a 20-year plan for a non-smoking male, we gathered the following sample rates:

AGEGUARDIAN AVERAGEINDUSTRY AVERAGE
20s$33.00$27.00
30s$36.00$30.37
40s$80.00$60.76
50s$190.00$151.54
60s$675.00$493.98

Rates current as of December 2021.

Guardian’s premiums are much, much higher than the industry average, at least for $500,000, 20-year policies. 

For comparison, AIG offers an average rate of $23.91 for a healthy male in their 20s for a $500,000, 20-year policy. For most customers, insurance from Guardian will be a very expensive proposition. 

Learn more about what goes into determining life insurance rates. 

Financial Confidence

Satisfaction from consumer sentiment institutions and complaints to state insurance boards.

9.5

According to financial ratings services and industry experts, Guardian is doing just fine, with high ratings across the board. That’s to be expected, as Guardian has been providing various insurance products to customers for over 160 years.

  • A.M. Best: A++

  • Moody’s: Aa2

  • Standard & Poor’s: AA+

Credit rating firm A.M. Best, which focuses specifically on the insurance industry, rates Guardian an A++ (effective December 13, 2021), the highest rating possible. That means Guardian has a superior ability to meet the financial obligations of policyholders.

Financial analysis firm Moody’s gives Guardian an Aa2, the third-highest rating, meaning Guardian is of high quality and subject to very low credit risk.

Standard & Poor’s, another financial research company, grades Guardian an AA+, the second-highest rating the firm can give. Overall, shoppers can expect the financially sound Guardian to have the cash reserves to pay its debts.

Third-Party Ratings

Satisfaction from consumer sentiment institutions and complaints to state insurance boards.

8.0

Financial firms are confident in Guardian. Customers seem mostly satisfied with the carrier’s services, too, according to the review sites and consumer assessment firms we use to gauge overall shopper satisfaction.

  • Consumers Advocate: 4.5 / 5

  • Consumer Affairs: n/a

  • NAIC complaint index: 0.06

Consumers Advocate, which focuses on a company’s reputation, policies, and stability, gives Guardian an “excellent” 4.5 out of 5.  

Consumer Affairs lets customers directly review and rate companies. They do not yet have a page dedicated to Guardian.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks complaints submitted to state insurance departments. A score of 1 represents the baseline average, and a zero means there weren’t enough customer complaints to count. Based on their complaint index, Guardian Life Insurance Company has a 0.06 rating, which means there are barely any complaints to count. 

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Customer Experience

Ease of use, convenience, online tools, and availability.

6.0

There is barely any policy information on Guardian's website, which is surprising given the high scores from customer ratings services. 

There is no live online chat available on the website, but you can call or email customer service through an online submission form.

When we called customer service we were greeted immediately with swift help, no wait times or confusing automated menus got in the way. However, they wouldn’t share specific policy details and we were instead referred to a local agent.

Application process

You’ll have to speak with a Guardian Life Insurance Company agent to learn more about and apply for policies. Calls with insurance agents usually take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

Turnaround time

Customers will likely wait up to two weeks for most policies.

Policy delivery

Policies are delivered electronically or in the mail.

More information

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State availability

Guardian is available nationwide.

Change method

Major changes, such as policy cancellation, name change, and beneficiary change, must be done by printing and sending back forms. Simpler adjustments, like change of address, can be made online.

Payment methods

Guardian Life Insurance Company has a customer access portal where policyholders can set up automatic payments. You can pay annually, semiannually, quarterly, or monthly.

  • Autopay. Set up online automatic payments with a bank account
  • Phone. Use a checking account to pay over the phone
  • Mail. Pay your bill with a check

Digital tools

Besides the online quote tool and an access portal where policyholders can pay their bills, there’s not much here to use.

Claims documentation

To claim a death benefit, Guardian requires filling out and sending back a claim form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Guardian offer online quotes?

Yes, although the numbers you get are extremely high compared to the industry average. You can enter your age, sex, and other information, then adjust your desired coverage amount. To get a more exact quote you’ll have to talk to an agent. You can also use the Policygenius online quote tool for an instant, individualized quote.

Do I need to take a medical exam?

Yes. Currently, Guardian does not offer any policies with accelerated underwriting, or any guaranteed issue policies.

What type of company is Guardian?

Founded in 1860, Guardian Life Insurance Company is a mutually owned insurance company with over 29 million customers, who each have a share in the company. That means Guardian’s policyholders can receive dividends at the end of every year. According to their website, Guardian has paid dividends to customers every year since 1868.