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7.7 / 10

John Hancock Life Insurance Review

John Hancock Life Insurance is a decent spot for first-time shoppers to start looking for life insurance coverage.

Tim Torres

Tim Torres

Published March 20, 2020

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At Policygenius, we're committed to providing objective and transparent advice through strict editorial standards to help you get insurance right. Read more about our methodology.

John Hancock

OVERALL

7.7

THE GOOD

    Easy online application

    Below-average monthly premiums

    Discounts based on healthy lifestyles

    Specific coverage for people with diabetes

    Decent selection of riders

THE BAD

    Every policy change involves a different form

    Customer service could be better

    Mixed customer reaction

    No temporary coverage

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance Company, which has been around for over a century and a half, offers competitive term life rates, special coverage for people with diabetes, and incentive for healthy exercisers to save on their premiums. They’re also easy to deal with, unless you want to change anything about your policy.

John Hancock is number 5 on Policygenius' list of the best life insurance companies, based on cost, financial confidence, third-party customer ratings, life insurance policy options, and ease of application.

Cost

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9.0

Confidence

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8.5

Customer Ratings

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6.0

Policy Options

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6.0

Customer Experience

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8.5

JOHN HANCOCK COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

2 out of 5

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J.D. Power Rating

A trusted customer satisfaction and product quality research agency

B

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BBB Rating

A nonprofit organization focusing on marketplace trust and product quality

A+

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A.M. Best

100-year-old U.S. credit rating agency focused on the insurance industry

The Details


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The Good

Easy online application. Applying for a John Hancock life insurance product is nice and straightforward, at least when using the online quoting tool. Calling the company will take a little longer.

Below-average monthly premiums. Monthly rates are slightly below the industry average, making John Hancock a decent choice for those looking for affordable term life insurance.

Discounts based on healthy lifestyles. Policyholders can save on their premiums, gain retailer discounts, and get a free Fitbit fitness tracker (or money towards an Apple Watch) by logging their exercise, doctor visits, and other healthy habits into a digital app.

Specific coverage for people with diabetes. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can get extra help and care in addition to their life insurance coverage.

Decent selection of riders. John Hancock provides extra coverage, should you need it, in the case of accidental death, spousal death, and a few more.

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The Bad

Every policy change involves a different form. If you want to change your address, your bank information, your beneficiary, or anything you need to fill out and mail or email a separate PDF form.

Customer service could be better. Your mileage will vary, of course, but customer representatives were either unhelpful or unknowledgeable in our experience. At least you get to pick what kind of waiting music you want to listen to (jazz, pop, or blessed silence).
Mixed customer reaction. Though John Hancock has solid ratings from industry experts, many of the customers themselves are not that happy, especially when it comes to filing death benefit claims and resolving retirement funds.

No temporary coverage. John Hancock doesn’t offer temporary life insurance coverage between the time when you start the application process and when the actual policy goes into effect.

The Breakdown

Cost

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9.0

John Hancock Life Insurance Company, founded in 1862 and wholly owned by the Canadian insurance company Manulife Financial, has fairly competitive underwriting for a variety of health profiles.

That means monthly premiums for John Hancock’s term life insurance are relatively lower than the industry average. You can apply for a minimum of $25,000 or a maximum of three million dollars on their website. You can apply for up to five million by calling their phone line.

John Hancock is also the one of the first life insurance companies to introduce life insurance policy discounts linked to wellness and lifestyle. By signing up for the Vitality Go or Vitality Plus programs, you’ll become eligible for a free Fitbit, an Apple Watch, or the chance to shave a bit off your monthly premium so long as you do healthy things like visiting your doctor or working out with a fitness tracker. Vitality Plus members can save up to 15 percent on their annual premium, according to the company.

Here’s a breakdown of term life sample quotes from John Hancock’s site, based on a non-smoking male from California in “good” health (you can select fair, average, good, or excellent from a drop-down menu) applying for $500,000, 20-year term package:

AGEJOHN HANCOCK AVERAGEINDUSTRY AVERAGE
20s$27.66$28.02
30s$28.61$32.06
40s$53.61$60.97
50s$127.81$152.00
60s$459.16$152.00

Methodology: Sample monthly premium quotes based on policies offered by Policygenius in March 2020.

Keep in mind not all rates will be the same since they depend on individual factors such as age, gender, health, and location.

As you can see, John Hancock’s prices are lower than the industry average, at least for $500,000, 20-year policies. For comparison’s sake, AIG offers an average rate of $25.34 for a healthy male in his 20s for a $500,000, 20-year policy.

Term life customers won’t have to deal with increasing premiums because John Hancock’s term life premiums are guaranteed to be level, or fixed. You won’t have to worry about rising premiums.

John Hancock offers term life insurance in 10, 15, or 20-year terms, and they are convertible to permanent policies.

Confidence

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8.5

John Hancock Life Insurance has been around for over 150 years. It will likely be around for longer according to insurance industry experts and credit ratings agencies.

  • Number of policyholders: N/A
  • Year founded: 1862
  • A.M. Best: A+
  • Moody’s: A2
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA-

A.M. Best, a credit rating agency that focuses on the insurance industry, gives John Hancock an A+, which means the insurer has a “superior” ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations to customers.

Bond credit rating agency Moody’s says John Hancock is an A2-rated company, meaning it’s able to fulfill the benefits of its customers. Similarly, Standard & Poor’s, or S&P, gives John Hancock an AA-, which makes John Hancock a very low credit risk.

Barring any extreme circumstances, John Hancock Life Insurance will remain with us for quite a while.

Customer Ratings

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6.0

Customer reactions to John Hancock’s customer service range from “about average” to “way below average” depending on where you look.

Here’s the ratings breakdown:

  • Better Business Bureau: B
  • Consumer Affairs: 1.75 / 5
  • Consumers Advocate: 4 / 5
  • J.D. Power: 2 / 5
  • NAIC complaint index: 0.3

The Better Business Bureau, which grades companies based on their advertising and customer complaints, gives John Hancock a B rating. As of March 2020, there are 28 mostly resolved customer complaints and an overall 1-star rating based on three customer reviews. Common issues involve claiming death benefits and problems with billing.

Consumers Advocate, which focuses on a company’s reputation, policies, and stability, gives John Hancock a “very good” four out of five, based on a review of the company from 2017.

Consumer Affairs is where things get dire, with a score of 1.75 out of 5. This site lets users directly rate companies. Again, common complaints mention waiting a long time while claiming death benefits and difficulty cashing out 401ks, with several commenters suggesting just going to your lawyer instead of filing a claim.

J.D. Power, which ranks insurance companies based on policies, price, and the clarity of billing and policy information, rates John Hancock a 2 out of 5, according to its 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Satisfaction Study. In that study, John Hancock earned a score of 739 on a 1000-point scale, which places the company in “the rest” category, below “about average.”

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks complaints submitted to state insurance departments. On their complaint index, they give John Hancock a 0.3. A score of 1 represents the baseline average, while a zero means there weren’t enough customer complaints to count. So, John Hancock barely has any complaints registered with state departments.

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Compare John Hancock to other top-rated companies

John Hancock Life Insurance Company is a decent choice for first-time shoppers or for those who want special diabetes coverage. Otherwise, you can compare top carriers with Policyegnius to find your best rate.

Policy Options

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6.0

John Hancock sells two main types of life insurance products, term and permanent. Their permanent offerings include universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life.

They also provide specific coverage for people with diabetes.

Additionally, those with term life packages can take advantage of a Vitality program, which rewards healthy habits and lifestyles.

Term life insurance

Term life packages only cover a specific period of time, or, the term. With John Hancock, you can get coverage for 10-, 15-, or 20-year terms. You have to be at least 18 years of age to apply, while the maximum age is 80. As mentioned above, the minimum death benefit is $25,000 and maximum is $3 million, if you apply on their website. If you require more than that you must apply by phone.

The cost of the term life policy is fixed for the entire term of the policy, so premiums won’t increase during the term of the policy. This helps make term life policies a better value than permanent, since term life policies are significantly less expensive for the same amount of death benefit coverage than permanent life policies.

Policy conversion

Policyholders can convert from term to permanent policies at any point during their term period, or before the client turns 70. There’s no extra fee or medical exam required, but customers will have to fill out a form.

Permanent life insurance

John Hancock’s permanent life insurance options include universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life plans.

Unlike term life plans, these build cash value over time as you pay your premiums, besides gaining lifetime death benefit protection.

However, keep in mind that universal life insurance protection is much more expensive than term life insurance and you should only apply if you meet certain circumstances.

Vitaly Rewards program

John Hancock policyholders can take advantage of their Vitality Rewards program. Depending on which plan you sign up for, Vitality Go or Vitality Plus, you can gain discounts towards Amazon and other retailers, receive a free Fitbit fitness tracker, or possibly get an Apple Watch if you exercise, eat healthy food, go to the doctor often, or do other healthy activities.

The Apple Watch offer is not available for New York or Puerto Rico.

Coverage for people with diabetes

John Hancock also provides Aspire, life insurance coverage and savings plans for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. To apply, customers need to talk to an agent about signing up for John Hancock life insurance products, and then register for the Vitality program.

Besides the usual life insurance coverage, those with type 2 diabetes get a welcome kit with a blood glucose monitor and test strips, as well as access to an app called Onduo, which contains educational material, clinical support, and a virtual care team dedicated to diabetes management.

The Aspire plan is not available in New York, Idaho, or Washington.

Temporary coverage

There is no temporary coverage available from John Hancock, meaning there is no coverage between the time you submit your application and when your policy goes in-force.

Available riders

John Hancock has a decent selection of riders available for customers. These additions, sometimes at an additional cost, can turn a basic life insurance policy into something that covers more circumstances.

  • Accelerated death benefit. If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness with less than 12 months to live, you can access up to half of the policy’s death benefit (up to a maximum of $1 million).
  • Accidental death benefit. Pay outs the benefit when you die in a car accident, fall down the stairs, or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Child benefit. Provides life insurance coverage for eligible children from 22 days through 25 years of age.
  • Disability benefit. If you become totally disabled for at least six consecutive months before you turn 65, this provides a waiver of required premiums.
  • Long-term care rider. If you have trouble managing day-to-day activities, this will help cover long-term care expenses.
  • Spousal rider. You can put your spouse on your insurance policy instead of getting them a separate policy.

Keep in mind these policies may not be available in every state and the exact details may change based on your chosen policy.

Customer Experience

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8.5

John Hancock’s customer experience is a bit varied. On one hand, their website provides a decent overview of their life insurance products, with plenty of annotations and fine text so there are no big surprises. However, customer representatives on their 1-800 phone line had trouble answering some basic questions about rider options and policy delivery, and they frequently transferred us to other departments which resulted in some long wait times.

There is no live chat available online, either.

Application Process

State availability

John Hancock life insurance is available in all 50 states, but the exact coverage, plans, and various offers (in regards to Aspire and Vitality) may vary.

Application length

You can get a quote online after answering if you use tobacco and entering some contact information. It takes a few minutes. You can also or over the phone, though that will take longer.

Turnaround time

Seven to 10 business days, though the actual speed depends on the length of the underwriting process and how fast servicing agents work. Expect to wait up to two weeks, which is the usual waiting time for life insurance companies.

Change method

Policy owners can update an address, change the beneficiary or ownership, change payment info, and cancel policies by either mailing paper forms or emailing forms in PDF format.

If a policyholder needs to change ownership due to the death of the current owner, they need to send a written request with a copy of the owner's death certificate through the mail.

Expect to wait up to two weeks for these changes to process.

Payment methods

John Hancock lets you pay by check, or through automatic bank draft. There’s an automatic payment system on their website too, which allows policyholders to link their checking or savings account. No credit cards accepted.

Policy delivery

Policies are sent through the mail or electronically.

Digital tools

Besides the online quoting tool, there’s a “coverage calculator” that asks about income and other personal information, and a “life expectancy” tool-slash-crystal-ball that asks your age, height, weight, alcohol drinking frequency, and other health-related questions (this reviewer will apparently live to be 82).

There’s also the Vitality activity-tracking app which users must use to register their health actions to be considered for discounts.

Policyholders with Aspire coverage will have access to the Onduo diabetes management app.

Claims documentation

To file a benefits claim, the beneficiary must fill out an online notification form and provide the death certificate, or call directly.

Policygenius offers insurance policies from many of the nation's top insurers, who pay us a commission for our services. However, all editorial choices are made independently.

Reviews Expert

Tim Torres

Reviews Expert

Tim Torres is the reviews editor at Policygenius. His work has appeared in Computer Shopper, Tom's Guide, and numerous other outlets over the last ten years.

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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