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7.5 / 10

Prudential Life Insurance Review

Prudential is one of the top life insurers when it comes to underwriting applicants with complicated medical histories, including former smokers.

Jennifer Pan

Jennifer Pan

Published November 26, 2019

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Methodology
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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.

Prudential

OVERALL

7.5

THE GOOD

  • High confidence ratings
  • Competitive underwriting for a range of medical conditions
  • Policyholders can update information online
  • Beneficiaries can file claims online

THE BAD

  • Premiums tend to be higher than average for people in good health
  • Slower-than-average turnaround time for applications
  • Mixed customer ratings

THE BOTTOM LINE

Prudential offers competitive underwriting for a range of medical conditions, including former tobacco use, diabetes, and high cholesterol. However, healthy applicants may find cheaper rates elsewhere.

Cost

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5.8

Confidence

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8.7

Customer Ratings

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8.5

Policy Options

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7.6

Customer Experience

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7.0

PRUDENTIAL COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

3 of 5

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J.D. Power Rating

A trusted customer satisfaction and product quality research agency

A

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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

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The Bottom Line

Prudential is a reputable, long-standing company that’s received top scores from credit rating agencies. They offer some of the most competitive underwriting on the market for a range of medical conditions, including former tobacco use, diabetes, and high cholesterol. They also allow customers to manage their life insurance policies online, including letting beneficiaries file claims online. However, their premiums tend to be higher than average for people in good health and they have a mixed record when it comes to customer ratings.

The Details


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The Good

High confidence ratings. Prudential, founded in 1875, serves over 3.7 million customers and has earned top scores from three 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 complicated medical histories, including former tobacco users and people with diabetes, high cholesterol, or sleep apnea.

Policyholders can update information online. Many insurers require a phone call or paperwork to make changes to your policy once it’s in force. With Prudential, you can update your address, payment information, and beneficiaries online.

Beneficiaries can file claims online. You’ll naturally want your beneficiaries to be able to access the death benefit without needless hassle if the worst happens. Prudential is unique in allowing beneficiaries to file claims online.

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The Bad

Higher than average premiums for people in good health. For healthy applicants, Prudential’s rates tend to be higher than average at all age brackets, and for both men and women.

Slower than average turnaround time for applications. Prudential takes a few days longer than average to return a decision about your application and will send your policy by postal mail, rather than email.

If you’re new to buying life insurance, an agent or an independent broker like Policygenius can keep you updated as you move through the application process.

Mixed customer ratings. In 2018, Prudential received more customer complaints than some of their competitors. However, they also earned a good score from Consumers Advocate, which evaluates a company’s stability, reputation, and policy offerings.

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Compare Prudential to other top-rated companies

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The Breakdown

Cost

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5.8

The cost of a life insurance policy depends on several factors, including an applicant’s age, health, lifestyle, and how much coverage they need. Because Prudential’s rates are higher than average at every age bracket, people in good health — particularly those in their 20s and 30s — may be able to find cheaper options elsewhere.

Below are Prudential’s rates for a healthy, non-smoking man applying for a $500,000, 20-year term policy at different age brackets:

AgePrudential averageIndustry average
20s$38.06$28.02
30s$42.00$32.06
40s$65.19$60.97
50s$171.50$152.00
60s$576.63$504.29

At the same time, compared to many other carriers, Prudential offers favorable underwriting for a range of common health conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and former nicotine use. Note, however, that there may be better options elsewhere for survivors of cancer or people with a family history of cancer.

Pre-existing medical conditions won’t necessarily prevent you from obtaining life insurance, but you’ll want to shop around for the best rates for your specific medical history. Here’s how Prudential scores on some common health conditions:

Health conditionPricing
Survivor/Family HistoryFair
Recent Weight LossExcellent
Heart AttackGood
DiabetesExcellent
Sleep ApneaExcellent
Former Tobacco UseExcellent
High Blood PressureGood
High CholesterolExcellent
  • Excellent - Above average; company provides excellent coverage for clients with this condition.
  • Good - Spot on; company doesn’t look at this condition unfavorably in underwriting.
  • Fair - Could use some work; clients with this condition may be issued a lower health rating, and subsequently higher rates than other insurers.

Confidence

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8.7

A life insurance policy is something that you’re likely to have for decades, so you’ll want to be sure that your insurance carrier is in good financial standing and will be able to pay out any death benefit your beneficiaries are owed in the future.

Prudential has been in business for over 140 years and currently provides coverage to over 3.7 million customers. They’ve earned high ratings from three major credit rating firms:

  • Number of policyholders: 3,766,724
  • Year founded: 1875
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA-
  • Moody's: A1
  • A.M. Best: A+

Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and A.M. Best are financial ratings companies. These firms look at the financial strength of companies as a measure of how well they can handle future financial strength and meet the obligations of policyholders.

The highest ratings from each firm are:

  • Standard & Poor’s: AAA
  • Moody’s: Aaa
  • A.M. Best: A++

Customer Ratings

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8.5

Prudential has a mixed record when it comes to customer ratings: In 2018, they received more customer complaints than the industry average, and they have an average rating with both Consumer Affairs and J.D. Power. On the other hand, Prudential scores fairly high with Consumers Advocate:

  • J.D. Power: 3 / 5
  • BBB: A
  • Consumer Affairs: 3.5 / 5
  • Consumers Advocate: 4.3 / 5
  • NAIC complaint index: 1.59

J.D. Power scores are based on customer ratings for overall satisfaction, clarity and usefulness of annual statements and billing, price, policy offerings, and interaction experience.

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 into account customer experience are.

Consumer Affairs is a platform that lets consumers directly rate companies, while Consumers Advocate rates companies based on stability, reputation, and policy coverage.

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 NAIC score in 2018 was 1.59. While that’s higher than the industry average, keep in mind that their customer base is fairly large. This score represents fewer than 120 complaints for a company with over 3.7 million policyholders.

Policy Options

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7.6

Term life insurance lasts a set number of years (usually between 10 to 30) before expiring. Because it’s affordable and flexible, it’s a good choice for most life insurance shoppers. With Prudential’s Term Essential option, you’ll get a straightforward term life policy and the option to add several different riders.

Prudential also offers an accelerated death benefit rider — which allows you to access part of your death benefit in the event that you become terminally ill — at no extra cost.

Term Essential

Key details
Annual payment discount5%
Available payment methodsCheck, auto bank draft
Temporary coverageUp to $1,000,000

Policy conversion

The policy is convertible to the lesser of level premium period (LPP) or to the first policy anniversary on or after your 65th birthday, but at least 5 years. Partial conversions are permitted.

Available riders

Riders are additions to your overall life insurance policy that turn a basic life insurance policy into something that covers more circumstances.

  • Child Protection Rider - Provides life insurance coverage for all eligible children (ages 15 days - 18 years old) in one rider. Available coverage of $10,000 - $100,000.

  • Disability Waiver of Premium Rider - If you become totally disabled as a result of a qualifying event, premiums are waived (after a 6 month waiting period). Rider ends on the policy anniversary nearest your 65th birthday.

  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider - Advances part of the death benefit if you've been confined to a nursing home for 6 months and are expected to be in the nursing home permanently or you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a max life expectancy of 6 months.

  • Accidental Death Benefit Rider - Pays an additional death benefit on top of the base policy’s death benefit if the death resulted from qualifying accidental injuries.

Refund of Premium Term

Prudential’s Refund of Premium Term policy will refund any premiums paid if the insured person outlives the policy’s term, like a "money-back" form of life insurance. However, the premiums are much higher than what you’d pay for a regular term policy, and there’s no discount for paying annual premiums:

Key details
Annual payment discountNone
Available payment methodsCheck, auto bank draft
Temporary coverageUp to $1,000,000

Policy conversion

The policy is convertible to the lesser of level premium period (LPP) or to the first policy anniversary on or after your 65th birthday, but at least 5 years. Partial conversions are permitted.

Available riders

Riders are additions to your overall life insurance policy that turn a basic life insurance policy into something that covers more circumstances.

  • Disability Waiver of Premium Rider - If you become totally disabled as a result of a qualifying event, premiums are waived (after a 6 month waiting period). Rider ends on the policy anniversary nearest your 65th birthday.

  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider - Advances part of the death benefit if you've been confined to a nursing home for 6 months and are expected to be in the nursing home permanently or you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a max life expectancy of 6 months.

  • Accidental Death Benefit Rider - Pays an additional death benefit on top of the base policy’s death benefit if the death resulted from qualifying accidental injuries.

Customer Experience

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7.0

Prudential’s turnaround time from application to active policy is a few days longer than average, and they deliver policies by mail, as opposed to electronically. However, current Prudential policyholders are able to update most of their information online, including changing their address, payment information, or beneficiaries.

Also, while some insurers require beneficiaries to complete and mail in complicated paperwork to access a policy’s death benefit, Prudential allows beneficiaries to file claims online. In the event of your death, you’ll naturally want your loved ones to encounter minimal hassle and receive the death benefit as quickly as possible, and filing a claim online can expedite that process.

Application process

State availability

Prudential’s Term Essential and Refund of Premium policies are available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Application length

The application length for Prudential is shorter than average.

*Based on standard application. Additional forms may be required.

Turnaround time

Prudential has slightly slower-than-average turnaround time from application to active policy.

Change method

  • Online: Changing address, changing payment information, changing beneficiary
  • Phone: Canceling policy
  • Mail: Policy delivery, canceling policy

Payment methods

Prudential accepts payment by check and auto bank draft.

Policy delivery

Final policy delivery is sent by mail.

Claims documentation

Prudential allows the beneficiary of a policy to file a claim online. They also require the following information in order to claim a death benefit:

  • Policy and Social Security numbers
  • Name of insured
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Funeral home name and phone

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.

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.