3.6 / 5

Symetra Life Insurance Review

High coverage amounts, the option to reconsider rates after a year, and a term life policy for people with a history of cancer make Symetra particularly beneficial to certain customers. Just be ready to pay premiums higher than the industry average.

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|6 min read

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Symetra

OVERALL

3.6

3.6

THE GOOD

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    High coverage amounts

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    Excellent financial ratings

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    Can reconsider rates

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    Preferred rates for people with a history of cancer

THE BAD

    X mark

    Pricier than average

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    Few third-party ratings

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    No online quote tool or policy info

THE BOTTOM LINE

Symetra’s eponymously named term life policy comes with a selection of riders (including accelerated death, accidental death, and additional term benefit), high coverage amounts, temporary coverage, and the option to reconsider rates later on. People with a history of cancer can also apply for preferred rates. However, depending on your personal situation, premiums are higher than average.

Disclaimer: Symetra 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.

7.8

Price

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

3.8

Financial Confidence

Consumer confidence based on scores from major financial rating institutions.

8.2

Third-Party Ratings

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

6.5

Customer Experience

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

5.0

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The Details

The Good

High coverage amounts. Symetra Term customers can receive up to $10 million in death benefit protection. If coverage amount is high on your priority list, Symetra literally has you, ah, covered.

Excellent financial ratings. Backed by Japan-based Sumitomo, Symetra enjoys top marks from credit rating agencies A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s. That’s what over $350 billion in assets will get you.

Can reconsider rates. If you become healthier after the start of your policy, Symetra will give you the option to lower your premiums. Symetra will also cover expenses if you need to undergo another medical exam. This option isn’t always available with other life insurance companies. 

Preferred rates for people with a history of cancer. If you have a history of breast, cervical, colon, prostate, skin, testicular, or thyroid cancer, you could be eligible for lower rates with Symetra. Of course, how much you pay for premiums will also depend on your overall health history, so mileage will vary. 

The Bad

Pricier than average. Symetra’s rates are higher than the industry average. To decide if they’re worth paying, it’s important to weigh features like available riders, coverage amounts, term lengths, and whether or not you can reconsider rates. 

Few third-party ratings. Despite an excellent financial reputation, there are few actual reviews from everyday customers available. Although word-of-mouth is scarce, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has counted fewer complaints than the average.

No online quote tool or policy info. If you go on Symetra’s website, you won’t find an online quote tool or much in the way of specific policy details. However, you can get an instant, individualized quote on Policygenius.

The Breakdown

Policy Details

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

7.8

Symetra has both term and permanent life insurance policies available. 

Its main term life product, Symetra Term, offers level premiums, the option to convert to a permanent whole life policy later on, and coverage amounts as high as $10 million. 

Symetra’s permanent life policies include whole life, universal life, and an indexed universal life product.

Learn more about the difference between term and whole life insurance.

Symetra Term

This is a robust, fully underwritten term life policy that requires a medical exam. You’ll get the usual term life features, such as guaranteed level premiums, a selection of optional riders, and the choice to convert to a whole life policy if you choose. 

Policy FeatureSymetra Term
Eligible ages18 to 80
Term lengths10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms
Coverage minimum$250,000
Coverage maximum$10 million

Of special note: marijuana smokers and people with a history of non-invasive or low-grade cancer can benefit from lower rates by being on a Symetra Term policy.

If your cancer has not recurred for five years or more, and you are otherwise healthy, you are eligible for Symetra Term and can be considered for standard or even lower rates in some cases. 

Symetra Term policies can also be renewed without a medical exam. Policies are guaranteed renewable up to age 95.

Available riders 

Symetra has a handful of optional riders that applicants can add to their Symetra Term policy. 

One of them, the accelerated death benefit, is included free of extra charge. 

The full list of available riders include:

  • Accelerated death benefit. This rider comes with the policy. You can receive up to 75 percent of the death benefit (up to a maximum of $500,000) if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness with less than a year to live. The benefit is paid in a lump sum.

  • Accidental death benefit. If the policyholder dies accidentally, the beneficiary will receive an extra death benefit up to three times the policy’s face amount or maximum of $250,000, whichever is less.

  • Additional term insurance rider. This adds term life insurance coverage to a family member (or business partner) with a minimum death benefit amount of $100,000. The coverage will last as long as the primary policyholder’s term length.

  • Children’s term rider. This provides $1,000 to $10,000 of coverage to dependent children ages 15 days to 17 years. The benefit is paid if death occurs before age 25.

  • Waiver of premium rider. For policies with a death benefit of $5 million or less, this rider will waive premiums and continue coverage if the policyholder becomes totally disabled for a consecutive period of at least six months. This rider is not available in California. 

Temporary coverage

There is temporary coverage of up to $1 million available for Symetra Term policyholders.

Policy conversion

You can convert to a whole life policy if you want more permanent life insurance. Conversion requests can happen within the ten years of the policy’s start date or after your 70th birthday, whichever comes first. 

However, it’s not possible to convert if you activate an accelerated death benefit on the policy.

Rate reconsideration

Some life insurance carriers let you lower your rates after your policy has been active for a while. This can save you money if you’ve become healthier after time. 

Symetra lets you reconsider rates a year into your policy, and they’ll reimburse any required medical exams. You can reconsider your rates more than once, but policyholders have to wait a minimum of one year between requests.

Price

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

3.8

Symetra’s main term life insurance product, Symetra Term, costs higher than the industry average.

This sample rate is based on a Preferred-class male in his 20s applying for a $500,000 policy with a 20-year term:

AgeSymetra AverageIndustry Average
20s$28.35$27.00
30s$30.98$30.37
40s$62.91$60.76
50s$154.35$151.54
60s$520.54$493.98

Methodology: Sample monthly rates are based on a 20-year term life insurance policy for a male non-smoker in a Preferred health classification; quotes based on data from Policygenius partner insurance companies including AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, Symetra, and Transamerica, and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

For people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, Symetra Term will not be the most affordable option for term life insurance. Younger applicants will want to look at Brighthouse Financial for a more affordable term life policy. 

View our list of the best life insurance carriers.

However, people with a history of cancer will benefit from being on a Symetra Term policy thanks to its Preferred Cancer Program. 

If you have lived with any of the following types of non-invasive or low-grade cancer, you will be able to receive more affordable life insurance coverage with Symetra: breast, cervical, colon, prostate, skin, testicular, and thyroid. 

Marijuana users can also see lower rates with Symetra. 

Read more about life insurance and cancer.

Financial Confidence

Consumer confidence based on scores from major financial rating institutions.

8.2

Established in 1957, the Washington-based Symetra provides annuities, employee benefits, retirement plans, and life insurance to customers nationwide. Its parent company, Sumitomo, is one of the largest insurers in Japan. Symetra has over $58.9 billion in assets. Together, Sumitomo and Symetra have over $350 billion in assets. 

As such, Symetra enjoys strong financial strength ratings from every major credit rating agency, which means it can easily meet its obligations to policyholders when it’s time to pay out a claim.

The following ratings are: 

  • A.M. Best: A

  • Moody’s: A1

  • Standard & Poor’s: A

A.M. Best is a credit rating firm that focuses specifically on the insurance industry. They give Symetra an A rating (effective December 6, 2021), so they have an excellent ability to fulfill customer obligations. 

Moody’s, a bond credit rating firm, scores Symetra an A1. That means they’re a low credit risk. 

Credit analysis firm Standard & Poor’s rates Symetra an A+, which means they have strong, long-term stability and the ability to meet the financial needs of policyholders.

Third-Party Ratings

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

6.5

Unfortunately, despite over 60 years of operating, there are barely any customer reviews available. Currently, the only source with information available is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which collects complaints from state insurance departments.

  • Consumers Advocate: N/A

  • Consumer Affairs: N/A

  • NAIC complaint index: 0.39

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a group of insurance regulators that tracks the amount of complaints sent to state insurance departments. Its complaint index tells us how many customers have filed grievances. A score of 0 means there weren’t enough complaints to track, while a score of 1 represents the average. Symetra has a low score of 0.39, which means the NAIC has barely received any complaints about its services.

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Customer Experience

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

5.0

Your application experience with Symetra will vary, but for the most part customers will speak with an agent to apply, undergo a medical exam, and receive their policy after a few weeks.

Application process

Since there is an exam requirement, you will need to schedule and undergo some basic health tests. You’ll also need to answer some questions based on their medical, prescription, and insurance histories. Then you can discuss coverage options with a licensed Policygenius expert over the phone. Currently, there is no online quote tool or application available. 

Turnaround time

Symetra goes through the full underwriting process, so it can take four to six weeks after applying to get an approval decision.

Policy delivery

Symetra Term policies are delivered electronically. 

More Info

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State availability

Symetra is available in all states.

Change method

To change your beneficiary you’ll need to download, complete, and return an e-form. To change your address, you can use Symetra’s online customer portal.

Payment methods

Symetra customers can connect a bank account and pay bills online. Credit cards are also accepted.

Digital tools

There are no apps to use with Symetra. No online quote tool either.

Claims documentation

To file a claim, beneficiaries must call Symetra to receive forms for completion. They do not currently have any claims functionality online, but that is in the works.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Symetra offer online quotes?

No, to receive a quote you will have to call Symetra directly or talk to an insurance broker or financial advisor. However, you can get free quotes for Symetra Term online exclusively through Policygenius.

Do I need to take a medical exam?

Yes. Symetra Term is a fully underwritten policy, so applicants will need to schedule and undergo a medical exam with their physician.

What are the main health conditions covered by Symetra?

Symetra Term’s coverage benefits marijuana users and people with a history of the following types of cancer: breast, cervical, colon, prostate, skin, testicular, and thyroid.