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THE BOTTOM LINE
With nearly 4 million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive underwriting for seniors and people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia. However, younger and healthier applicants may find cheaper rates elsewhere.
Prudential is 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.
For our reviews, we focus on the company’s main term life insurance product. In the case of Prudential, that’s the Term Essential policy.
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Low rates for seniors. People aged 60 to 65 will benefit from lower rates than the industry average with Prudential. If you’re getting older and in need of robust a term life insurance policy, Prudential could be for you.
High confidence ratings. Prudential, founded in 1875, serves over 3.7 million customers and has earned top scores from major credit rating agencies. They’re a financially sound company with a strong record of meeting the obligations of their policyholders.
Competitive underwriting for a range of medical conditions. Prudential offers excellent coverage options for people with common medical histories, including anxiety, asthma, depression, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis. Marijuana and CBD users may also benefit, depending on frequency of use.
High premiums for most age groups. For healthy applicants, Prudential’s rates tend to be higher than average, except for people in the 60s age range. Younger shoppers will want to look for more affordable options with other carriers.
Mixed customer ratings. Prudential received more customer complaints than some of their competitors. However, they also earned good scores from Consumers Advocate, which evaluates a company’s stability, reputation, and policy offerings.
Life insurance costs depend on health, lifestyle, age, and other factors. Where you live and the amount of coverage you choose will also affect your rates.
Prudential’s rates are way higher than average at almost every age bracket — particularly those in their 20s and 30s. Those people will find cheaper options elsewhere. Seniors, specifically people ages 60 to 65, will find excellent rates with Prudential.
To get an idea of how much you’ll pay, here are Prudential’s rates for a healthy, non-smoking male applying for a $500,000, 20-year Term Essentials policy:
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.
At the same time, compared to many other carriers, Prudential offers favorable underwriting for a range of common health conditions, including asthma, depression, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis. Keep in mind you’ll want to shop around for the best rates for your specific medical history.
Prudential’s term life insurance is best for the following groups:
People with ADD/ADHD
People with anemia
People with anxiety or depression
People with asthma
People with fibromyalgia
People with hyperthyroidism
People with hypothyroidism
People with kidney stones
Individuals who use CBD or marijuana (a few times per week) may also benefit from a term life policy with Prudential.
→ Find out how to buy life insurance when living with a chronic health condition .
Since a life insurance policy can last decades you want to ensure your carrier of choice will be able to pay out any death benefit your beneficiaries are owed in the future.
To find out, we look at the top financial credit ratings firms in the industry to see what they say about life insurance companies. These firms look at the financial strength of companies as a measure of how well they can handle future claims and meet the obligations of policyholders
As you’d expect from a 140-year-old business, Prudential is in excellent standing, with over a trillion dollars in assets under management. And they’ve earned high ratings from the three major credit rating firms:
A.M. Best: A+
Standard & Poor’s: AA-
A.M. Best has a specific focus on the insurance industry. They give Prudential a solid A+ rating, which means the second-biggest insurer in the United States has a superior ability to meet the financial needs of policyholders.
Moody’s is a financial analysis firm that provides research on bonds issued by companies. Their Aa3 rating, the fourth-highest rating possible, means Prudential is a high-quality carrier subject to very low credit risk.
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s analyzes the stocks, bonds, and commodities of companies. They grade Prudential an AA-. That means the company is high-quality, financially sound, and has plenty of cash reserves to pay its debts. The likelihood of a loss is very low.
Prudential has a mixed record when it comes to customer ratings. They received more customer complaints than the industry average, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The Better Business Bureau also logged many complaints from customers, as you’ll see below.
On the other hand, Prudential scores fairly high with Consumers Advocate and Consumer Affairs:
Here are the ratings:
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ranks companies across a large swath of criteria. While consumers can submit ratings to the BBB, these scores are not taken into account in their rating, although tangential metrics that take customer experience are factored in. That said, Prudential is not currently rated with the BBB.
Consumer Affairs is a platform that lets consumers directly rate companies, while Consumers Advocate rates companies based on stability, reputation, and policy coverage. They both give Prudential solid marks.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks the number of complaints submitted to state insurance departments with their national complaint index. A score of 1 is the baseline average, and a score of 0 means there weren't enough complaints to count. Prudential’s score of 2.66 is much higher than the industry average. But keep in mind that their customer base is fairly large.
Compare other top-rated companies here.
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Prudential offers a wide range of term and universal life insurance. There are no whole life policy options available and medical exams are required to apply for every policy.
There is a chance to skip medical exams through Prudential’s PruLife accelerated underwriting program. Basically, you need to be a fit and healthy non-smoker with no personal or family history of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
But the people who will benefit most from Prudential will likely not fall under these required criteria. And the people who are eligible will end up paying more than the industry average.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance lasts a set number of years (usually between ten to 30) before expiring. Because it’s affordable and flexible, it’s the best choice for most life insurance shoppers.
Prudential has three term life options: Term Essential, Term Elite, and PruTerm One.
Term Essential is their main term life insurance product, and the focus of this review. Term Elite is basically the same type of policy, but with an extra perk. PruTerm One is mainly for business owners, and will not be detailed in this review.
With Prudential’s Term Essential option, you’ll get a straightforward term life policy and the option to add several different riders. You can also get up to $1 million in temporary coverage. Terms are renewable to age 95, but keep in mind premiums will increase with each renewal.
|Eligible ages||18 to 75|
|Term lengths||10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year term|
This policy is available everywhere in the United States, including New York.
These are additional coverages you can use to customize your policy. The exact details can vary by state.
Accelerated death benefit rider. Advances part of the death benefit if you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a max life expectancy of six months, or if you’ve been confined to a nursing home for six months and are expected to be in the nursing home permanently. There is no extra charge for this rider.
Accidental death benefit rider. Pays an additional death benefit on top of the base policy’s benefit if the death resulted from qualifying accidental injuries.
Child protection rider. Provides coverage for all eligible children (ages 15 days to 18 years old) in one rider. Available coverage ranges from $10,000 to $100,000.
Disability waiver of premium rider. If you become totally disabled as a result of a qualifying event, premiums are waived (after a six-month waiting period). Rider ends on the policy anniversary nearest your 65th birthday.
Prudential 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. Temporary coverage is not available for applications over $5 million.
The policy is convertible to a permanent policy before the end of the term or before the first policy anniversary on or after your 65th birthday. For issue ages 60 to 75, the conversion period ends after five years. You can convert two term policies to one survivorship policy. You won’t need to go through another medical exam to convert.
Policyholders can get the chance to lower their premiums through rate reconsideration. Most people, including smokers, must wait a year before their rates can be reconsidered. Reductions related to height and weight may be available after two years.
Prudential’s more “elite” version of Term Essentials provides similar coverages and has all the same riders, issue ages, and benefit amounts. The main difference is it’s possible to receive a credit on your first-year premium when you convert to a permanent policy within the first five years. Otherwise, this is basically the same policy as Term Essentials.
Permanent life insurance
Prudential offers various universal life insurance policies, including indexed universal, variable universal life, and survivorship policies.
In general, we don’t recommend these types of policies for their complexity and high expense. Most people will be better off with a term life insurance policy and a more traditional investment tool like a savings account. You can read more about why we don’t suggest applying for universal life insurance here.
Prudential does not offer whole life insurance policies.
Universal life insurance combines permanent life insurance with investment savings. You can build cash value and use the money to pay towards your premium or retirement funds.
Prudential offers a basic universal life policy in PruLife Essential UL, which lets you access the cash value and your beneficiaries can receive the death benefit free from income tax.
This type of insurance is tied to the performance of a stock index, such as the S&P 500. That means both your death benefit and your premiums can fluctuate depending on the stock.
PruLife Founders Plus UL. This policy builds cash value, either through a fixed interest rate or by connecting it to the performance of the S&P 500.
PruLife Index Advantage UL. This policy builds cash value through four different options. One of them is through a fixed interest rate while the other three are through the performance of the S&P 500.
Survivorship insurance covers two people and pays out the death benefit after the second person dies. Prudential provides three versions
PruLife SUL Protector. A basic survivorship policy that covers two people.
PruLife Survivorship Index UL. An indexed universal life policy that builds cash value.
PruLife SVUL Protector. A variable universal life policy that builds cash value while tied to an investment option.
Variable universal life policies have flexible premiums and payment schedules. The investment options can yield higher results, too. You can access the money through loans or withdrawals.
PruLife Custom Premier II. This policy has a higher level of risk, but the potential for higher returns. The policy offers two no-lapse guarantee periods as protection from a lapse in the early years of your policy.
VUL Protector. This provides moderate returns with moderate levels of risk. It offers a no-lapse guarantee that can last your whole life.
Potential Prudential policyholders will have different experiences depending on what they apply for.
Customers applying for the Term Essential term life policy will have to go through full underwriting, which means they must answer questions about their medical and prescription histories and they can’t skip the medical exam. There are no quick no-med options unless you qualify for Prudential’s PruFast program.
Prudential has a slightly slower-than-average turnaround time from application to active policy.
Prudential delivers its policies electronically.
Prudential’s policies are available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Policyholders can change a few things via Prudential’s online portal, including:
- Beneficiary info
- Payment information
- Contact info such as address, email address, or phone number
To cancel a policy you have to call Prudential’s customer service.
Prudential accepts payment by check and auto bank draft.
Prudential lets beneficiaries file claims online. They also require the following information to claim a death benefit:
- Policy and Social Security numbers
- Name of insured
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Funeral home name and phone
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Prudential offer online quotes?
Yes, but only for the Term Essential term life policy. You can enter your information to receive a quote. You can also use the Policygenius online quote tool for an instant, individualized quote.
Do I need to take a medical exam?
Yes, most likely. Prudential doesn’t offer guaranteed issue, no-med term life products. Most people applying for Term Essential will have to undergo a medical exam and answer questions based on their medical and prescription histories. To skip the medical exam with Prudential you’ll have to qualify for their PruLife program.
What is Prudential’s PruLife program?
PruLife is Prudential’s accelerated underwriting process for eligible shoppers. Basically, it’s a way for some applicants to skip the medical exam, but only if they fall under certain criteria, including height and weight restrictions; no family members who have died before age 60 from cancer, heart disease, or diabetes; no cigarette use (including vaping or e-cigarettes) in the past year; and no DUIs. Some minor health conditions such as benign heart murmurs, mild asthma, or mild anxiety may be accepted.
What are the main health conditions that Prudential covers?
Prudential covers a wide range of common health conditions, including ADD/ADHD, asthma, anemia, scoliosis, fibromyalgia, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, kidney stones, narcolepsy, osteoporosis, and more. People who use marijuana or CBD may also see better rates compared to other insurers.
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.