MassMutual could be a decent option if you want immediate term life insurance with up to $1 million of temporary coverage, but monthly premiums will be costly and you will have to undergo a medical exam.
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Immediate term policy available
Potential to earn dividends
Free policy for COVID-19 workers nationwide
Pricier than average
Most policies require medical exam
Most policies require agents to apply
THE BOTTOM LINE
Massachusetts Mutual (MassMutual) Life Insurance is a darling with financial ratings experts, but premiums are higher than average and most policy info is hidden from customers unless they contact advisory agents. Most policies require medical exams, too. But if you need an immediate decision on term life insurance, or you’re a frontline healthcare worker, then consider applying for MassMutual’s Direct Term or HealthBridge products.
For our reviews, we rate carriers based on the recommended term life product. In the case of MassMutual, that’s the Direct Term policy.
Ease of Application
MASSMUTUAL COMPANY SPOTLIGHT
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Immediate term policy available. MassMutual’s Direct Term life insurance policy provides an immediate decision, along with up to $1 million of temporary coverage. If you need coverage fast, this could be your solution. However, you will need to undergo a medical exam.
Financially stable. MassMutual has top marks from credit rating firms and financial institutions, including an A++ from A.M. Best. They’re a solid investment according to the pros, so no need to worry about losing out on benefits.
Potential to earn dividends. MassMutual is a mutually owned company, meaning policyholders have the chance to earn dividends. Like all mutually owned companies, however, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive anything.
Free policy for COVID-19 workers nationwide. Healthcare workers in hospitals, urgent care centers, and other hotspots in all 50 U.S. states can apply for 3-year term life protection, and all premiums will be paid by MassMutual.
Pricier than average. MassMutual isn’t the best choice for seniors, smokers, or people with more serious health concerns. Unless you’re young and in tip-top shape, expect to pay high monthly rates.
Most policies require medical exam. All of MassMutual’s policies require applicants to undergo a medical exam. There are no policies with no-med options, except for the HealthBridge policy for frontline healthcare workers.
Most policies require agents to apply. Only the Direct Term policy has an online application. All the rest require calling up and speaking to advisory agents.
Life insurance costs vary between shoppers due to individual details like age, gender, location, health, and habits such as smoking. Depending on all those, you could pay more or less than the industry average for term life insurance.
Unfortunately, MassMutual’s rates are not very competitive. Below you’ll see a sample of how much each age group will pay for a $500,000, 20-year-long Direct Term policy, which is MassMutual’s immediate decision term life product.
Sample rates are for a healthy, non-smoking male in California applying for $500,000 in Preferred-rate class coverage. Rates current as of January 2021, according to Policygenius data.
Unless you’re young, a non-smoker, and in decent shape, you’re going to pay a lot more than the industry average for MassMutual’s Direct Term policy.
For comparison, AIG offers an average rate of $24.74 for a healthy male in their 20s for a $500,000, 20-year policy.
So, unless you’re extremely healthy and okay paying more for coverage, you can find better rates with other carriers, especially if you have more complicated health conditions.
Founded in 1851, Massachusetts Mutual (MassMutual) Life Insurance is a Fortune 500 company with billions in capital. Since it’s a mutually owned company, policyholders can potentially earn dividend payments. Of course, that depends on how well the company is doing.
According to financial ratings services and industry experts, MassMutual’s doing pretty well. With strong scores across the board, MassMutual is in an excellent position to pay out claims for policyholders’ beneficiaries and families.
Here are the ratings:
A.M. Best: A++
Standard & Poor’s: AA+
Credit rating firm A.M. Best focuses specifically on the insurance industry. They rate MassMutual an A++, the highest rating a carrier can get. That means MassMutual has a superior ability to meet the financial needs of policyholders.
Financial analysis firm Moody’s gives MassMutual an Aa3, the fourth-highest rating possible, meaning MassMutual is high-quality and subject to very low credit risk.
Standard & Poor’s grades MassMutual with an AA+, the second-best rating possible. That means the company is high-quality, financially sound, and has plenty of cash reserves to pay its debts.
While financial firms are confident in MassMutual, customers are a little more mixed in their response.
Here’s what customers and customer rating agencies think:
Consumers Advocate: 4.6 / 5
Consumer Affairs: n/a
NAIC complaint index: 0.08
The Better Business Bureau grades companies based on advertising and customer complaints. They awarded MassMutual a B- because 12 complaints filed against the company were not resolved. There’s also a 1-star customer rating based on 12 reviews. Complaints mention difficulty accessing accounts and processing claims.
Consumers Advocate focuses on a company’s reputation, policies, and stability. They give MassMutual an “excellent” 4.6 out of 5.
Consumer Affairs has ratings for other MassMutual services, but not for life insurance.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks complaints submitted to state insurance departments. Based on their complaint index, MassMutual has a 0.08 rating. A score of 1 represents the baseline average, and a zero means there weren’t enough customer complaints to count. MassMutual has fewer complaints than the average.
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MassMutual offers term, whole, universal, and variable universal life insurance products. Most policies require speaking to an agent directly to apply.
However, shoppers can apply online for two policies: Direct Term, which is a term life policy that provides an immediate decision, and HealthBridge, a free term life insurance policy for healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 situation.
This review focuses on the Direct Term life insurance product.
Term Life Insurance
MassMutual has three term life offerings: Direct Term, HealthBridge, and a standard term life option.
MassMutual Direct Term
MassMutual’s fast-track term life insurance product has a simple online application, $1 million in temporary coverage, and an immediate decision. There’s also a low starting minimum and a decent selection of term lengths. This policy is especially useful if you need term life insurance as soon as possible.
But there is a catch. To keep coverage you need to schedule and undergo a medical exam within 90 days of applying, which, depending on your health, could affect your monthly premium amount.
18 to 64
10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-year terms
This policy is available everywhere in the United States, except New York.
Accelerated death benefit rider. This lets you access some of your benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and are expected to die within a year.
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. Eligible ages are 18 to 59.
MassMutual provides up to $1 million coverage between the time of application and your medical exam, and it lasts until full coverage kicks in, you cancel your application, or your application is declined. Policyholders receive this coverage only if qualified. Typically, that means you must be in good health.
MassMutual lets term life policyholders convert to permanent life plans without medical exams or questions, but only for a period of two to 10 years, depending on age. Policyholders can extend that time frame for an extra cost. They will also need to consult a financial advisor to complete the conversion.
HealthBridge Free Term Life Insurance
MassMutual offers a guaranteed issue and free 3-year term life insurance policy to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, cafeteria workers, and other healthcare workers and hospital employees on the frontlines of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The death benefit for applicants ages 18 to 50 is $25,000, and $10,000 for ages 51 to 60, with annual incomes of less than $250,000. There’s no medical exam or testing required, and the premiums are paid in full by MassMutual. The policy expires after the three years are up.
As of January 2021, HealthBridge is available to healthcare workers nationwide. It was originally available only to applicants in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Standard term life
MassMutual’s regular term life product is similar to Direct Term, except there’s no immediate decision and you have to apply through an advisory agent. Term lengths are 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, or 30-years, and coverage amounts start at $100,000. Eligible ages are 18 to 79 (for 10-year terms). Term policies can be converted to permanent ones without a fee or medical exam.
You can add accelerated death benefit or waiver of premium for disability riders to this policy.
Permanent life insurance
MassMutual has several permanent policies on offer, including a whole life product with the potential for dividends, universal and variable universal life policies, and a hybrid long-term care and whole life insurance plan.
Participating Whole Life Insurance Details
MassMutual’s whole life plan provides medically underwritten lifetime coverage and builds cash value, which you can use to pay for college tuition, retirement funds, or other expenses.
Although not guaranteed, MassMutual whole life policyholders are eligible to receive dividends.
To apply and find out more information, you need to contact an agent.
Universal Life Insurance Details
Universal life insurance is permanent life insurance but with flexible premiums. This means you can potentially change how much you pay from month to month, depending on your financial situation.
This policy has the potential to build cash value, which you can borrow from at any time to use for retirement costs or other expenses.
To apply and find out more information, you have to contact an agent.
Variable Universal Life Insurance Details
This is a permanent life insurance policy with a cash-value component that lets you invest in stocks and bonds. Premium payments are flexible, so you can choose how much and when you pay. You also have the choice of a level, or fixed, death benefit or one that builds interest. You can also borrow from the account.
We can’t recommend variable universal life policies for most people. A fluctuating market means your premiums and death benefits will change, plus there are fees, charges, and commissions that can bleed your investment dry.
Unless you’re Scrooge McDuck, there’s no reason to go with a variable universal life policy instead of a cheaper traditional term life policy.
CareChoice One Long Term Care and Life Insurance Details
The CareChoice One product is a single-premium whole life insurance policy that comes with a long term care insurance rider, which is money taken from the death benefit to help pay for medical care, nursing home or hospital costs, and other expenses.
CareChoice One also comes with a surrender value that increases over time. Basically, if you cancel the policy during a certain period you can receive the cash value back minus any charges, debts, or fees.
There’s the chance to skip the medical exam for this policy but that’s ultimately up to the underwriter.
This policy can also provide dividends, though they’re never a guarantee.
Ease of Application
You won’t find a lot of detailed policy information on MassMutual’s website. Coverage ranges for most products are absent and there’s no rider information for anything except the term life packages. To find out more you have to call an advisory agent, which the website can help you with.
There is no live online chat help, either. You can call customer service or email but those services are mainly for existing MassMutual customers since they ask for the last four digits of your Social Security Number and policy number.
On the bright side, you’ll find a convenient online quote tool for the Direct Term policy — which you can apply for online. There’s also a blog, but it’s more general life insurance information, nothing specific to MassMutual products. There’s a calculator that can help you figure out your coverage needs as well.
Direct Term applicants can easily apply online and gain an immediate decision, but they will have to schedule and undergo a medical exam. There are no no-med options from MassMutual, unless you’re applying for CareChoice, which may still require a medical exam depending on the results of underwriting.
You’ll have to speak with an agent for other MassMutual policies.
Expect to wait up to two weeks for most policies.
Policies are delivered electronically or in the mail.
MassMutual agents can be found in 49 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. MassMutual products are not available in Alaska.
You can change your address and beneficiary online. There are also multiple forms available in PDF format. To cancel your policy you need to call customer service.
MassMutual currently does not accept online payments by credit card. Policyholders can pay annually or monthly. You can pay the following ways:
Recurring online payment via bank account
By phone via bank account
By mail via check
Besides the online quote tool, MassMutual has a mobile app that lets you manage your account and policy, update your address and contact info, view billing details, make payments, and set up automatic payments.
To claim a death benefit you need to call a MassMutual rep, who will require the following:
Name, phone number, and address of beneficiary
Name, date of birth, and date of death of the insured
The insured’s policy number and Social Security number
The insured’s will
A copy of the death certificate
Frequently Asked Questions
Does MassMutual offer online quotes?
Yes, but only for the Direct Term term life policy. You enter your information, including your birth date, health status, desired coverage amount and term length, and get a quote instantly.
Do I need to take a medical exam?
Yes, unless you’re a frontline healthcare worker applying for the HealthBridge policy. Otherwise, MassMutual doesn’t offer no-med term life products. To have the slightest chance of skipping the medical exam with MassMutual you’ll have to apply for the CareChoice hybrid long term care product.
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Tim Torres is a Reviews Editor at Policygenius, where he navigates quote tools, uncovers important carrier information, and translates the complex nuances of auto, home, and life insurance policies into easy and understandable reading.
He has penned, published, and edited tons of reviews, comparisons, and op-eds, and hosted numerous podcast and video discussions regarding tech products, culture, and the industry at large. Tim’s work has appeared in Computer Shopper, Geek, Hardest Level, PC Mag, Second Dimension, Radio One, Random House, Tom's Guide, and many other outlets over the years.
Way back when, Tim reviewed box office films for his New Jersey high school newspaper (and wrote, directed, and produced a few student film productions himself). After attending New York University, where Tim wrote and published essays on film and helped publish comic art anthologies, he jumpstarted the video section at NJ.com. There, he planned, shot, and edited a variety of video content covering a range of subjects including film festivals, political events, and local celebs (like Cake Boss, before reality stardom). Eventually, Tim moved into tech journalism.
Afterward, he directed multiple creative projects, such as blogs, ebooks, white papers, and videos, at S&G Content Marketing, where his efforts doubled the awareness, conversions, and overall engagement for that brand. In his spare time, Tim catches up on all types of movies, eats a lot of sushi, and spends time with his partner, son, and two cats.