8.1 / 10

Transamerica Life Insurance Review

Transamerica makes up for mixed customer ratings with affordable term life insurance options and up to $10 million in coverage. Former smokers may be eligible for preferred rates, too.

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Transamerica

OVERALL

8.1

THE GOOD

    Competitive rates for term life insurance

    No medical exam for people under a certain age or coverage amount

    Former smokers may be eligible for lower rates

THE BAD

    Mixed customer ratings

    Most policy changes require a paper form

THE BOTTOM LINE

Transamerica is one of the oldest and biggest life insurance carriers in the world, with over 12 million active accounts today. It’s a trusted life insurance partner that offers affordable rates for every age group, former smokers, and people with some common health conditions. You can even skip the medical exam if you fall under a certain age or coverage amount.

Transamerica 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 rate carriers based on the recommended term life product. In Transamerica’s case, that’s the Trendsetter Super policy.

Cost

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8.4

Confidence

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8.3

Third-Party Ratings

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8.9

Policy Options

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7.4

Ease of Application

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7.8

TRANSAMERICA COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

2 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

The Details

The Good

Competitive rates for term life insurance. Across the board, the Trendsetter Super policy has lower life insurance rates than the industry average. Premiums will increase with age, but they remain lower than other term life insurance policies.

No medical exam for people under a certain age or coverage amount. Trendsetter Super applicants under age 70 who buy a policy less than $100,000 in coverage won’t need to undergo a medical exam. They will only need to answer medical questions during a phone interview. Trendsetter LB applicants won’t require a medical exam for coverage under $250,000, though the age cut-off varies.

Former smokers may be eligible for lower rates. Current smokers and people with certain health issues won’t receive the best rates, but applicants who used to smoke may fall under a preferred classification that can make life insurance a little bit cheaper than it would be with other carriers.

The Bad

Mixed customer ratings. Though they have great ratings from financial institutions and credit rating agencies, Transamerica doesn’t have the best reputation among its customers. Third-party review sites and surveys report poor customer service, difficulties handling claims and cancellations, and overall dissatisfaction. However, Transamerica currently has over 12 million active policies and negative reactions account for a fraction of that customer base.

Most policy changes require a paper form. To make any adjustments to your life insurance policy, you’ll need to print and mail or upload the proper forms to Transamerica. Transamerica’s minimal online functionality adds additional wait times and can create a poor customer experience.

The Breakdown

Cost

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8.4

The cost of life insurance varies. The type of coverage you’re looking for, if you want to add any riders to your policy, and your age, gender, health, and prescription history all determine how much you’ll pay for a policy.

A policy with Transamerica is one of the more affordable choices for shoppers, at least when it comes to their main term life product, Trendsetter Super. Premiums are lower than the industry average across all age groups, meaning most people can expect a reasonable rate with Transamerica.

The sample quotes below are based on a $500,000, 20-year-term Trendsetter Super policy for a healthy, non-smoking male, in California.

AGETRANSAMERICA AVERAGEINDUSTRY AVERAGE
20s$25.11$28.02
30s$28.60$32.06
40s$57.49$60.97
50s$145.30$152.00
60s$497.42$504.29

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.

Health plays a big role in life insurance costs, too. When choosing life insurance carriers, you should compare carriers to see which policies suit your health circumstances. You may get a better rate.

Transamerica’s term life insurance is best for the following groups:

  • People with anxiety or depression

  • People with hepatitis

  • People with kidney stones

  • People with seizures (if the last one was over five years ago)

  • People who use CBD or marijuana (up to three times per week)

  • People who used to smoke

In cases of chronic, critical, and terminal illness, Transamerica also offers an additional policy, Trendsetter LB, that provides accelerated benefits, known as living benefits. This policy is significantly more expensive than a standard term life policy.

Want more information about life insurance and marijuana use? Then you should read this.

Confidence

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8.3

The average life insurance policy is meant to provide some protection and security to your family for a good portion of your life — usually 20 to 30 years. You want to make sure you’re working with a provider you can rely on.

The following ratings indicate Transamerica, founded in 1904, will be around for quite a while.

Here’s what the top credit ratings agencies say:

  • A.M. Best: A

  • Moody’s: A1

  • Standard & Poor’s: A+

A.M. Best focuses specifically on the insurance industry. They give Transamerica an “excellent” A rating, one of the best grades possible. Carriers with a B grade or lower are more vulnerable to risk.

Transamerica gets a score of A1 from bond credit rating agency Moody’s. That means it’s a low credit risk and a great investment. Companies with an A rating and above are low credit risks.

Credit analysis firm Standard & Poor’s gives Transamerica an A+, which means their ability to meet financial obligations is really strong. Companies are rated on a scale from AAA to D. The higher the rating, the more likely a company is to pay its debts.

Third-Party Ratings

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8.9

How do Transamerica’s customers feel? To find out, we look at third-party customer sentiment sites and user review portals such as the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs.

Turns out the Transamerica consumer experience is mostly okay. There’s room for improvement. Here’s how customers rate Transamerica:

  • BBB: A-

  • Consumers Advocate: 4.3/5

  • Consumer Affairs: 1.9 / 5

  • NAIC complaint index: 1.59

The Better Business Bureau bases its rankings on a swath of different metrics that account for the customer experience. They rate Transamerica an A-.

Consumers Advocate is a review site that rates companies based on policy coverage, reputation, and stability. They give Transmaerica a respectable 4.3 out of 5 in their review.

Consumer Affairs is a platform for consumers to directly rate products and services. With a 1.9 out of 5, customers give Transamerica poor reviews for lackluster customer service, difficulty canceling policies, and overlong claims processing. While that sounds alarming, keep in mind that Transamerica provides policies to over 12 million people, and these are only a few user reviews.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks 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 receive a rating. Transamerica’s score of 1.59 means that they receive a slightly above-average amount of customer complaints — their customer experience isn’t exceptional, but it isn’t terrible either.

It is also worth pointing out Transamerica falls in the bottom half of the carrier rankings in J.D. Power's 2020 life insurance satisfaction survey.

Policy Options

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7.4

Transamerica offers two term life policies, whole life and final expense policies, and a universal indexed policy.

This review focuses on the main term life policy, Trendsetter Super. All scores in this review reflect that particular product from Transamerica.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance plans expire after a predetermined number of years and have fixed premium rates for the duration of the term. The relatively low cost and simplicity of term life insurance make it a better option than permanent life insurance for most people.

Transamerica offers two comprehensive term life offerings, Trendsetter Super and Trendsetter LB.

Of the two, we recommend Trendsetter Super for its comparatively low rates, wide coverage range, and selection of riders you can use to customize your policy.

Trendsetter Super

Transamerica Trendsetter Super is the simpler of its term life insurance options but offers a higher coverage amount — up to $10 million.

With this policy, it is possible to skip the medical exam, but only if you’re under age 70 and buying a policy with less than $100,000 in coverage. Instead, you only need to answer medical questions during a phone interview.

Policy FeatureTrendsetter Super
Eligible ages18 to 75
Term lengths10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-year terms
Coverage minimum$25,000
Coverage maximum$10 million

Premiums are fixed for the initial level term. After the end of the level premium period, this policy is renewable on an annual basis, but premiums will increase until age 105. Policies expire at age 95.

Available riders

Adding riders to your policy provides more coverage, especially for unexpected circumstances. Some riders may not be available in all states.

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. Also known as a terminal illness benefit, you can access up to $250,000 or 75 percent of the policy’s face value (whichever is less) if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live.

  • Accidental death benefit rider. This rider pays an additional death benefit if the policyholder dies from an accidental injury. Transamerica will double the amount paid out if the accident is caused by a “common carrier” such as a bus or a train. The rider can also provide financial support if the insured loses sight or limbs due to an accident.

  • Child protection rider. Provides death benefit protection for your children. This rider can be added in lieu of purchasing an additional policy for children ages 15 days old through 18 years old.

  • Disability waiver of premium rider. If you become totally disabled, your premiums are waived. A six-month waiting period applies.

Transamerica Trendsetter LB

This is Transamerica’s costlier term life insurance option. Trendsetter LB offers up to $2 million in death benefit protection but can be complemented with additional riders to create more comprehensive coverage.

Those riders include:

  • Living benefits rider. Similar to the accelerated death benefit rider, this provides additional protection if you have a chronic, critical and terminal illness, but only if you're diagnosed after buying coverage. The amount you receive depends on the severity of your condition.

  • Monthly disability income rider. If you become disabled for 90 days or more, you can still receive up to $2,000 of your monthly income for up to two years.

Temporary coverage

Transamerica offers temporary coverage, but the amount you receive depends on age and the results of underwriting. With a standard or better underwriting rating, applicants between ages 16 to 65 can get up to $1,000,000.

People between ages 66 and 75 can receive up to $400,000 in coverage. Someone who doesn’t have a minimum standard rating or is 76 or older can receive up to $100,000 in temporary coverage.

Policy conversion

Policies are convertible to a whole life policy until the end of the term or until the policy holder’s 70th birthday, whichever is sooner. People who have a Preferred Plus underwriting classification have until the end of the term or their 75th birthday.

Rate reconsideration

Transamerica will let you reconsider your rates after your policy’s activation. If you become healthier you may qualify for lower rates. However, if you use tobacco you will have to wait two years until you’re eligible for reconsideration. Transamerica will pay for medical exam charges.

Permanent life insurance

Transamerica has whole life insurance, index universal life insurance, and final expense life insurance available.

Whole Life Insurance Details

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Whole life insurance lasts your entire life, but premium payments are five to 15 times costlier than term life insurance. Coverage amounts range between $25,000 and $2 million. Monthly premiums are guaranteed to be fixed.

Since whole life policies are usually only for people with specific circumstances or needs, we recommend shoppers go with term life over whole life insurance.

Indexed Universal Life Details

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Indexed universal life insurance provides a guaranteed death benefit and a cash value component. Premiums and death benefit amounts are flexible depending on your financial situation.

The cash value is invested in a fixed account connected to Transamerica’s performance or an indexed account that tracks a particular stock index such as the S&P 500.

We don’t recommend you apply for indexed universal life insurance due to the high costs and complexity involved. Most people will be fine with a term life insurance policy and a regular investment option like a savings account.

Final Expense Life Insurance Details

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Transamerica’s final expense life insurance offers up to $50,000 in coverage and can help pay for funerals, debts, or any other expenses. The premium costs remain the same throughout your entire life, and unlike Transamerica’s term life insurance plans, there is no waiting period before your coverage begins. There is no medical exam required, either.

Want to learn more about universal life policies? Check out our comprehensive explainers that detail the pros and cons of this type of coverage.

Ease of Application

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7.8

The application process will vary depending on what policy you apply for.

Application process

The application process for Transamerica can be shorter and simpler than many other life insurance applications. Applying with Transamerica requires a phone interview involving questions about your medical and prescription histories, and a medical exam. Policies under $100,000 may not require a medical exam. If you’re applying for a policy under $100,000, you will be asked medical questions during your phone interview.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time to receive a decision on a life insurance application can take longer than most life insurance companies on the market.

Policy delivery

Transamerica delivers its policies electronically.

More Info

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State availability

Transamerica’s Trendsetter Super term life policy is offered in every state, while the Trendsetter LB policy is not offered in New York.

People who buy Transamerica’s whole life insurance policy will have $5,000 minimums in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Change method

For most changes to your policy, you’ll have to mail in or upload a paper form, which you can obtain online.

  • Online: View policy details, change contact details (address, email, phone number), obtain change forms, upload completed change forms
  • Phone: Update address for final expense life insurance policy only
  • Mail: Update beneficiaries, change payment information, and cancel your policy

Payment methods

All premium payments for a Transamerica life insurance policy are paid by:

  • Checking, savings, or money market account
  • ATM or debit card
  • Mastercard, Visa, or Discover credit card
  • By phone via bank account
  • By mail via check

Digital tools

Transamerica has an easy-to-use coverage calculator and quote tool on their website. You can also use the online quote tool on the Policygenius site.

Claims documentation

Beneficiaries will need to submit the following information to receive the death benefit:

  • Death certificate
  • Claims statement packet

To receive the claims statement packet, your beneficiaries will need to call Transamerica and speak with a claims representative. They will then receive a claims statement packet that they will need to fill out and return to Transamerica, for no extra cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Transamerica offer online quotes?

Yes, but only for the Trendsetter Super term life policy. You simply enter some basic information (birthdate, height, weight) 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?

That depends on your age and the coverage amount you apply for. Otherwise, Transamerica doesn’t offer a guaranteed issue, no-med term life policy. It also depends on answers to health questions on the application. To skip the medical exam entirely with Transamerica you’ll have to apply for their final expense life insurance policy.

What’s the difference between Trendsetter Super and Trendsetter LB?

Trendsetter Super has affordable rates and offers up to $10 million in coverage. Trendsetter LB costs more, provides up to $2 million in death benefits, and you get living benefits if you have a qualifying chronic, critical, or terminal illness. Both can be complemented by additional riders and both allow you to convert to a permanent policy without another medical exam. Of the two, we recommend Trendsetter Super.

What are the main health conditions that Transamerica covers?

Transamerica covers a decent amount of health conditions, including anxiety, depression, hepatitis, kidney stones, and seizures. People who used to smoke or currently use marijuana or CBD may also see better rates compared to other carriers.

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.

Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir

Life Insurance Expert

Expertise
Nupur Gambhir is a life insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. She has researched and written extensively about life insurance since 2019, with specialties in life insurance companies, policy types, and end-of-life planning. Her writing on insurance and finance has appeared on MSN, The Financial Gym, and end-of-life planning service Cake. Previously, she worked in marketing and business development for travel and tech.

Education
Nupur has a B.A. in Economics from Ohio State University.

Reviews Expert

Tim Torres

Reviews Expert

Tim Torres is the reviews editor at Policygenius. His work has appeared in Computer Shopper, Tom's Guide, and numerous other outlets over the last ten years.