3.6 / 5

John Hancock Life Insurance Review

John Hancock Life Insurance is a decent spot for older life insurance shoppers looking for coverage.

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 December 3, 2021 | 6 min read

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John Hancock

OVERALL

3.6

THE GOOD

    Decent rates for seniors

    Discounts based on healthy lifestyles

    Specific coverage for people with diabetes

THE BAD

    Expensive for younger people

    No temporary coverage

    Customer service could be better

    Lackluster website and digital tools

THE BOTTOM LINE

Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance Company, which has been around for over a century and a half, offers competitive term life rates for people in their 50s and 60s, special coverage for people with diabetes, and incentives for healthy exercisers to save on premiums. They could be a decent choice for older life insurance shoppers.

Policy Details

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

6.9

Price

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

3.8

Financial Confide...

Consumer confidence based on scores from major financial rating institutions.

8.7

Third-Party Ratings

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

7.4

Customer Experience

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

5.0

All set to shop?

The Details

The Good

Decent rates for seniors. Monthly rates are slightly below the industry average for people in their 50s and 60s, making John Hancock a decent choice for those looking for affordable term life insurance. 

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.  

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.

The Bad

Expensive for younger people. While those in their 50s and 60s will pay less, people in the 20s, 30s, and 40s age ranges will pay a lot more for life insurance with John Hancock. If you’re not reading AARP yet, consider another carrier. 

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.  

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).  

Lackluster website and digital tools. Doing life insurance research on John Hancock’s website is an exercise in tedium. The quote tool available isn’t really a quote tool, there’s no live chat option, and it’s difficult to find contact information. Use the Policygenius quote tool instead.

The Breakdown

Policy Details

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

6.9

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

This is John Hancock’s standard term life policy, with coverage for 10-, 15-, or 20-year, or 30-year terms. You have to be at least 18 years of age to apply. 

Some applicants can qualify for an instant decision, but most people will undergo a medical exam.

Policy FeatureJohn Hancock Term Life
Eligible ages18 to 80
Term lengths10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms
Coverage minimum$750,000
Coverage maximum$3 million

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 insurance, since term life policies are significantly less expensive for the same amount of death benefit coverage than permanent life policies.

Available riders

These optional additions 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).

  • 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. 

  • Vitality GO or PLUS Program riders. You can add John Hancock’s unique Vitality programs to your policy for an additional fee per month. You can earn credits towards your monthly premiums for doing health-related activities such as eating well, exercising, or visiting your doctor. 

These riders may not be available in every state and the exact details may change based on your chosen policy. 

Read more about insurance riders and coverage options. 

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.

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. 

To apply for these you have to call John Hancock directly and undergo a medical exam 

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

There is also a specific policy for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes called the Aspire plan.

Aspire (Coverage for People with Diabetes) Details

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John Hancock 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.

Price

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

3.8

If you’re in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, monthly premiums for John Hancock’s term life insurance are higher than the industry average. 

Here’s a breakdown of term life sample quotes, based on a non-smoking male in “good” health applying for $500,000, 20-year term package:

AGEJOHN HANCOCK AVERAGEINDUSTRY AVERAGE
20s$39.70$27.00
30s$41.20$30.37
40s$81.55$60.76
50s$150.95$151.54
60s$320.20$493.98

Rates current as of December 2021.

As you can see, John Hancock’s prices are lower or about the industry average for people in their 50s and 60s. If you fall in that age range, you may want to consider John Hancock for a term life insurance policy. 

For comparison’s sake, AIG offers an average rate of $23.91 for a healthy male in his 20s for a $500,000, 20-year policy. 

Vitality Rewards Program 

To help lower prices, you can take advantage of John Hancock’s 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.

Financial Confidence

Consumer confidence based on scores from major financial rating institutions.

8.7

Founded in Massachusetts in 1862, John Hancock Life Insurance has been around for over 150 years. According to insurance industry experts it will be around for even longer. Which is great! That means they’ll be here when it’s time to pay out a claim.

  • A.M. Best: A+

  • Moody’s: A1

  • Standard & Poor’s: AA-

A.M. Best, a credit rating agency that focuses on the insurance industry, gives John Hancock an A+ (effective December 3, 2021), 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 A1-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.

Third-Party Ratings

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

7.4

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:

  • Consumer Affairs: 3.8 / 5

  • Consumers Advocate: 4 / 5

  • NAIC complaint index: 0.40

Consumer Affairs reports a score of 3.8 out of 5. This site lets users directly rate companies. This is a big leap from last score’s score of 1.8 out of 5. Back then, common complaints mentioned waiting a long time while claiming death benefits and difficulty with customer service.

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 2019. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks complaints submitted to state insurance departments. On their complaint index, they give John Hancock a 0.40. 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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Customer Experience

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

5.0

John Hancock’s customer experience is a mixed bag. On one hand, their website provides a somewhat decent overview of their life insurance products, with a bunch of annotations and definitions of life insurance terms all over the place. 

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, and their quote tool isn’t a quote tool, but a submission form for an agent to contact you. That’s a bummer.

Application Process

You have to contact an agent over the phone, answer questions based on your medical and prescription histories, and if you qualify, you can skip the medical exam. If not, you’ll have to schedule and go through with a visit to the doctor. 

Turnaround time

Expect to wait up to two to four weeks, which is the usual waiting time for life insurance companies.

Policy delivery

Policies are sent through the mail or electronically.

More information

Expand

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.

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.

Digital tools

There’s no real online quote 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take a medical exam with John Hancock?

If you’re incredibly healthy, no, probably not. But if not, you will most likely have to schedule and undergo a medical exam while applying for a policy with John Hancock.

Can I get a free online quote with John Hancock?

No, not really. You’ll see a “quote tool” on John Hancock’s site, but it’s really a submission form for an agent to call you back. Kind of a misnomer, huh? You’re better off getting a free, personalized quote with Policygenius.

Can I convert my term life policy to permanent coverage with John Hancock?

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

Is temporary coverage available with John Hancock?

No. If you need coverage between the time you apply and the moment your policy is activated, you’ll need to look elsewhere.