3.4 / 5

Prudential Life Insurance Review

Prudential is one of the top life insurance carriers for people with common medical conditions. But most other shoppers, including people who are younger and healthier, will face higher premiums than the industry average.

Tim Torres

By

Tim Torres

Tim Torres

Reviews Editor

Tim Torres is a former reviews editor at Policygenius, where he specialized 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|7 min read

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Prudential

OVERALL

3.4

3.4

THE GOOD

    check mark

    High financial ratings

    check mark

    Competitive underwriting for a range of medical conditions

    check mark

    Comprehensive online resources

THE BAD

    X mark

    Very high premiums

    X mark

    Mixed customer ratings

    X mark

    Cumbersome quote tool

THE BOTTOM LINE

With nearly 4 million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive underwriting for people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia. If you’re someone with one or more of those circumstances, you may find Prudential a solid option. However, younger and healthier applicants may find cheaper rates elsewhere.

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.

Disclaimer: Prudential is a current partner of Policygenius. We are an online marketplace that offers insurance policies from many of the nation's top insurers. However, all editorial choices, including this one, are made independently. Learn more about our methodology.

Policy Details

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

7.5

Price

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

1.0

Financial Confidence

Consumer confidence based on scores from major financial rating institutions.

8.8

Third-Party Ratings

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

5.9

Customer Experience

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

6.8

All set to shop?

The Details

The Good

High financial 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. 

Comprehensive online resources. Prudential’s website offers plenty of FAQs, blog posts, and other informational resources for prospective shoppers. There are also robust product brochures that detail what you can expect in most available policies. Pretty handy.

The Bad

Very high premiums. For every age range, Prudential’s rates are much higher than average. Younger shoppers especially 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.

Cumbersome quote tool. Prudential’s online quote tool isn’t exactly what one would call “instant.” In addition to your name, height, weight, and other personal information you need to input your phone number, email address, and medical history. Just use Policygenius for a quick quote instead.

The Breakdown

Policy Details

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

7.5

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 SimplyTerm.

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. SimplyTerm is their most basic term life policy.

Term Essential

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.

Policy Feature

Term Essential

Eligible ages

18 to 75

Term lengths

10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year term

Coverage minimum

$100,000

Coverage maximum

Flexible

This policy is available everywhere in the United States, including New York.

Available riders

These are special add-ons you can use to customize your policy. The exact details can vary by state.

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. This pays out part of the death benefit if you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness with six months left to live, 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.

Temporary coverage

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.

Policy conversion

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 people aged 60 to 75, the conversion period ends after five years. It’s possible to convert two term policies to one survivorship policy. You won’t need to go through another medical exam to convert.

Rate reconsideration

You can lower your 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.

Term Elite

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.

SimplyTerm

As you might guess, this is Prudential’s simplest term life policy. You can get between $100,000 and $1,000,000 in coverage for 10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms. You cannot convert to a permanent policy, though similar riders are available as Term Essential.

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 Details

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.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance Details

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 Universal Life Insurance Details

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 Insurance Details

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.

Price

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

1.0

Prudential’s rates are way higher than average at almost every age bracket — particularly in the 20s and 30s age groups, who will end up paying double than usual. Those people will find cheaper options elsewhere. Seniors will also want to research other carriers to find the best rates.

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:

AGE

PRUDENTIAL AVERAGE

INDUSTRY AVERAGE

20s

$40.69

$27.00

30s

$45.06

$30.37

40s

$70.44

$60.76

50s

$186.38

$151.54

60s

$628.69

$493.98

Rates current as of December 2021.

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.

Financial Confidence

Consumer confidence based on scores from major financial rating institutions.

8.8

As you’d expect from a 140-year-old business, Prudential is in excellent financial 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+

  • Moody's: Aa3

  • Standard & Poor’s: AA-

A.M. Best has a specific focus on the insurance industry. They give Prudential a solid A+ rating (effective December 14, 2021), 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.

Third-Party Ratings

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

5.9

Prudential has a mixed record when it comes to third-party ratings. They received more than four times as many customer complaints than the industry average, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 

On the other hand, Prudential scores fairly high with Consumers Advocate and Consumer Affairs.

  • Consumers Advocate: 4.3 / 5

  • Consumer Affairs: 3.9 / 5

  • NAIC complaint index: 4.10

Consumers Advocate rates companies based on stability, reputation, and policy coverage. They both give Prudential a solid 4.3 out of 5. 

Consumer Affairs is a platform that lets consumers directly rate companies. The users of this site collectively rate Prudential at 3.9 out of 5. 

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 4.10 is much, much higher than industry average. 

This is up from the 2.66 score from last year. Common complaints include delays during the claims process and overall difficulties filing claims. But keep in mind that their customer base is huge, so complaints are sure to file in from such a large group of people.

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Customer Experience

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

6.8

Potential Prudential policyholders will have different experiences depending on what they apply for.

Overall, shoppers can easily find information on Prudential’s website. There are FAQs, product brochures, and other resources available for interested readers. There’s no online live chat, nor is there 24/7 customer assistance, but there are financial advisors ready to talk over the phone if you have questions. 

Meanwhile, the online quote tool is more cumbersome than others out there. On top of age, sex, and other personal information, it requires a phone number, email, and your medical history before you get a quote. That’s a little much for an online quote, and it’s not exactly instant. 

We recommend you use Policygenius for a quick, individualized quote instead.

Application process

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.

Turnaround time

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

Policy delivery

Prudential delivers its policies electronically.

More Info

State availability

Prudential’s policies are available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Change method

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

Cancel method

To cancel a policy you have to call Prudential’s customer service.

Payment methods

Prudential accepts payment by check and auto bank draft.

Claims documentation

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.

Author

Reviews Editor

Tim Torres

Reviews Editor

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Tim Torres is a former reviews editor at Policygenius, where he specialized in life insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and more. His work has also appeared in PC Mag, Tom's Guide, Tech Times, and elsewhere.

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