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Best Life Insurance Companies of 2022

We’ve rounded up the best life insurance companies based on customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength and more.

Written by Erin Gobler / July 15, 2022
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Quick Bites

  • MassMutual is the best overall life insurance company, thanks to its variety of coverage options, financial strength, affordable policies and more.
  • State Farm, Nationwide and Northwestern Mutual lead the industry as the top three companies for customer satisfaction.
  • The best life insurance companies combine excellent coverage with highly-rated customer service, all at an affordable price.

Life insurance is one of the most important types of coverage you can have. It’s designed to provide financial support to your family in the event of your death. And while many people receive a small life insurance policy through their employer, it’s usually not enough.

That’s where individual life insurance policies come in. We want to help you find the best life insurance coverage available, so we rounded up nearly two dozen of the top providers and rated them based on factors like customer satisfaction, financial strength, affordability and more.

Based on our ranking criteria, we narrowed our list down to seven companies that provide reliable coverage and excellent customer service at an affordable price. Below you can read more about each of our top picks, as well as learn everything you’ll need to know about choosing the best life insurance coverage.

Best life insurance companies of 2022

Company
MassMutualVisit
Best for
Best for
Overall
Key benefits
Key benefits
Many coverage options with leading financial strength
Visit
Best for
Best for
Affordability
Key benefits
Key benefits
Most affordable carrier on our list, with discounts to help you save more
Best for
Best for
Customer satisfaction
Key benefits
Key benefits
Highest-rated customer satisfaction in the industry
Best for
Best for
Personalized service
Key benefits
Key benefits
Personalized service and a relationship with a financial advisor
Best for
Best for
Coverage with no medical exam
Key Benefits
Key Benefits
Guaranteed policies with no medical exam required
Best for
Best for
Policy customization
Key Benefits
Key Benefits
Customizable policies based on your budget and coverage needs
Best for
Best for
Unique coverage options
Key Benefits
Key Benefits
Unique coverage options you won’t find with other carriers

Best overall: MassMutual

MassMutual
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal, variable

Coverage terms:

10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years

Death benefit:

Up to $3M

Monthly premium:

$24.31 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

J.D. Power ranking:

782

AM Best rating:

A++ (Superior)

Visit

MassMutual—technically Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company—won for the best overall life insurance company. It’s the fourth largest in the industry, responsible for nearly 5% of premiums written.[1] It also happens to be one of the oldest insurance companies, offering life insurance policies since 1851.[7]

Why is it our number one? It offers a wide variety of options and the highest death benefit. MassMutual also holds the top spot in financial health, and ranks above average for customer service. All things combined made it a standout among the competition. And, major bonus here, it has below-average monthly premiums. We’ll take that!

Digging a little deeper into MassMutual’s offerings, we find several types of life insurance, including term, life, whole life, universal life and variable life. For term life insurance, MassMutual offers two different options. They offer a convertible term life policy (which is a term life policy that can convert to a permanent life policy in the future), as well as an online term life insurance policy—which isn’t convertible—through a subsidiary, Haven Life.

Tip

Haven Life is underwritten by MassMutual, meaning you get the benefit of an easy online service backed by one of the largest life insurance industry powerhouses.

MassMutual really stood out from the competition with a higher death benefit than most competitors, with coverage amounts of up to $3 million. It also offers more term options than any other company on our list.

The company earns AM Best’s highest possible rating for financial strength, which is no surprise, given that it ranks among the top ten for life insurance companies.[4]

MassMutual ranks above average for the industry for customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power, though New York Life and Guardian did come in higher. That said, MassMutual still has fewer complaints than the industry average with the NAIC.[6]

Pros

  • Most coverage options of any provider
  • Ability to sign up for coverage online
  • Highest-rated financial strength
  • Below-average monthly premiums

Cons

  • Online quotes for Haven Life term policies only
  • Medical exam required for most policies

Best for affordability: Nationwide

nationwide
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal, variable

Coverage terms:

10, 20, or 30 years

Death benefit:

Up to $1M

Monthly premium:

$20.56 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

J.D. Power ranking:

813

AM Best rating:

A+ (Superior)

Visit

Affordability is of increasing concern as inflation ratchets up. Nationwide Mutual Life Insurance Company came in number one for being accessible to our increasingly squeezed wallets.

Here’s a good example of what they offer:

  • A quote for a $500,000 20-year term policy for a 35-year-old female came in at $20.56. That compares to the industry average of $25.60 and lower than every other company on our list.[8]

On the downside, Nationwide only offers term life policies up to $1 million, which may not be sufficient in many cases. That said, Nationwide is highly rated in the industry both for life insurance and overall. It earns high marks across the board, especially when it comes to customer satisfaction, in second place in a 2021 J.D. Power study.

Pros

  • Low monthly premiums
  • Excellent customer satisfaction
  • Bundle with other Nationwide policies for a discount
  • Wide variety of plans and riders

Cons

  • Coverage limited at $1 million
  • Medical exam required for most policies

Best for customer satisfaction: State Farm

State Farm
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal

Coverage terms:

10, 20, or 30 years

Death benefit:

Up to $1M

Monthly premium:

$24.34 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

J.D. Power ranking:

822

AM Best rating:

A++ (Superior)

Visit

State Farm takes the cake for customer satisfaction. The century-old company ranked first in the industry in the 2021 J.D. power study, outshining all of its competitors. That’s a major bonus in times like these where we grapple with long waits and glitchy automated systems across industries.

State Farm also offers more types of insurance than most providers on our list, including life, auto, homeowners, business, health, umbrella and disability insurance.[9] That means you can bundle for a better price.

Like with Nationwide, however, the death benefits are limited to up to $1 million.

That said, State Farm offers return of premium term life policies, which allow you to recover your premiums at the end of the term and get your money back if you’ve outlived the policy. These policies aren’t offered by all life insurance companies, so State Farm will certainly stand out for customers who want this type of policy.[5]

Alert

There’s some debate among financial experts about whether return of life term policies are really worth it because of their significantly higher premiums. Many argue that you’d be better off paying the lower premium and investing the difference.

Pros

  • Excellent customer satisfaction
  • Highest-rated financial strength
  • Below-average monthly premiums
  • Bundle with other State Farm policies for a discount

Cons

  • Coverage limited at $1 million
  • Policies are available in all states
  • Fewer product options than some competitors

Best for personalized service: New York Life

NYL
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal, variable

Coverage terms:

10, 15, or 20 years

Death benefit:

Varies

Monthly premium:

$31 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

J.D. Power ranking:

777

AM Best rating:

A++ (Superior)

Visit

New York Life takes things to the next level. When you connect with the company, you don’t just get a salesperson. You actually get a financial advisor who can help you with your life insurance, investment needs, education planning, and more. For those of us with more complex situations, this can be a blessing.

New York Life, which has been in business for 175 years(!), is one of the largest life insurance companies, accounting for about 4.5% of premiums written. It also has the highest possible financial strength rating from AM Best.

New York Life offers many term life products that are convertible, meaning they can turn into permanent life policies later on. The company also offers several riders to help you build a policy that best fits your needs.[10]

Pros

  • Highest-rated financial strength
  • Many life insurance products available
  • Several riders and policy customizations to choose from
  • Provides comprehensive financial planning services

Cons

  • No online quotes
  • Medical exams required for most policies
  • Term life policies only go up to 20 years

Best for coverage with no medical exam: Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal

Coverage terms:

10, 15, 20, or 30 years

Death benefit:

Starting at $100K

Monthly premium:

$22.15 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

J.D. Power ranking:

795

AM Best rating:

A+ (Superior)

Visit

One of the frustrating things about life insurance can be the medical exam hurdle. We’re unfortunately not all in perfect health, and a health issue can send your premium into the stratosphere, if you are offered one at all.

Enter Mutual of Omaha. The insurer offers a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, meaning everyone who applies can get guaranteed coverage without a medical exam. This offer is available on whole life insurance policies for customers ages 45 through 85, which is the age range in which a medical exam would be most likely to disqualify someone from coverage.[3,11]

Mutual of Omaha also has rates that are below the industry average.

Pros

  • Below-average monthly premiums
  • Certain policy types available without a medical exam
  • Online quotes for term and whole life
  • Many riders available to customize your policy

Cons

  • Fewer product options than some competitors
  • Whole life coverage amounts capped at $25,000 for some customers

Best for policy customization: Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal, variable

Coverage terms:

10, 15 or 20 years

Death benefit:

Varies

Monthly premium:

$30.29 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

J.D. Power ranking:

807

AM Best rating:

A++ (Superior)

Visit Northwestern Mutual

Not all of us are going to fit nicely into predetermined policies. Luckily, Northwestern Mutual is aware of that and its policies are highly customizable.

Their agents help customers build policies that fit individual needs. For example, rather than having set death benefit amounts, your agent can work with you to set a custom death benefit that matches your needs. You can also customize through the many riders offered.

Let’s say you’re building a life insurance policy and finding it’s a bit outside your budget. An agent will work with you to determine exactly the amount that will fit your budget. This perk is especially true of the company’s Custom Universal Life policy, which has the flexibility to adjust the policy along the way as life and needs change. And the chances that things will change are probably pretty high (and we can’t yet tell the future, so…).

The company has limited information about its policies available online, and you’ll have to speak with an agent to learn all the details or get a quote, which, of course, is how you get such great customization.

Pros

  • Highly customizable policies
  • Highest-rated financial strength
  • Excellent customer satisfaction
  • Comprehensive financial planning services

Con

  • No online quotes
  • No online quotes Term life policies only go up to 20 years
  • Medical exams required for most policies

Best for unique coverage options: Guardian Life

Guardian Life
Policy types:

Term, whole, universal

Monthly premium:

$32 (for a 20-year $500k term policy for a 35-year-old female)

Coverage terms:

10, 15, 20 or 30 years

Death benefit:

Up to $5M

J.D. Power ranking:

775

AM Best rating:

A++ (Superior)

Visit Guardian Life

We’re all unique individuals, and Guardian Life knows it. Among the different kinds of policies and riders are an estate preservation rider and a survivorship rider.

For example, Guardian Life’s EstateGuard policy offers estate preservation strategies including: two people insured under one policy, making it more economical than two separate policies; in that case, the policy cash value increases after the first death, so the surviving insured can use the cash value to cover policy premiums and expenses or help supplement retirement income.

Survivorship life insurance is similar: It also covers two people (usually spouses) instead of just one. In this case, it only pays a benefit after both policyholders die.

Guardian Life also offers a high death benefit, up to an impressive $5 million.

The bad news is Guardian Life is the only company on our list that doesn’t have an above-average ranking for customer satisfaction. It falls just below the industry average of 776 with its score of 775. However, it does have fewer than average complaints with the NAIC and the highest possible financial strength rating from AM Best.

Pros

  • Unique coverage options to customize your policy
  • Highest-rated financial strength
  • Very high coverage amounts

Cons

  • Below-average customer satisfaction ranking
  • Fewer product options than some competitors
  • Above-average premiums

Compare the best life insurance companies

Company
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
813
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A+
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal, variable
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 20, or 30 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Up to $1M
Price*
Price*
$20.56
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
795
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A+
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 15, 20 or 30 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Starting at $100k
Price*
Price*
$22.15
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
782
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A++
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal, variable
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Up to $3M
Price*
Price*
$24.31
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
822
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A++
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 20 or 30 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Up to $1M
Price*
Price*
$24.34
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
807
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A++
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal, variable
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 15 or 20 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Varies
Price*
Price*
$30.29
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
777
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A++
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal, variable
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 15 or 20 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Varies
Price*
Price*
$31
J.D. Power Rating
J.D. Power Rating
775
AM Best Rating
AM Best Rating
A++
NAIC Complaint Index
NAIC Complaint Index
Fewer than average
Policy Types
Policy Types
Term, whole, universal
Coverage Terms
Coverage Terms
10, 15, 20 or 30 years
Death Benefit Options
Death Benefit Options
Up to $5M
Price*
Price*
$32

How life insurance works

Life insurance is a contract between a consumer and a life insurance company. Each month, you’ll pay an agreed-upon life insurance premium to the insurance company. If you die during the policy term, the insurance company will pay a specified death benefit to your beneficiaries. There are two different types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is the simplest and most affordable type. When you sign up for a policy, you can choose a policy term ranging from 10 to 30 years. The insurance company will set your premiums based on your age, gender, and other risk factors. If you die within the policy term, the life insurance company will pay the death benefit to your beneficiaries. Death benefits for term life insurance can start at around $10,000 and be as high as several million dollars.

Permanent life insurance

A permanent life insurance policy provides features of a term life insurance policy with other benefits. First, rather than lasting for only a set policy term, permanent life insurance policies last until you die (or for as long as you pay the premiums). As a result, this type of policy may be more desirable for someone who wants coverage for longer than 30 years.

The other key feature of a permanent life insurance policy is a cash value component. These policies have considerably higher premiums than term life insurance. Part of the premium pays for the death benefit coverage, while the rest starts building cash value. The cash value is usually invested, so it grows over time. There are several types of permanent life insurance, including whole life, universal life, variable life and variable universal life.

Permanent life insurance policies aren’t necessary for most people. While the investment component can be attractive, the returns tend to be significantly lower than you could earn by investing the money on your own. That being said, the investment earnings in a permanent life insurance policy are tax-advantaged, making these policies attractive to high earners who want additional ways to reduce their taxable income.

Learn more: What Are the Different Types of Life Insurance?

The cost of life insurance

The cost of life insurance varies dramatically depending on the type of policy and individual characteristics of the insured. Term life insurance policies tend to be quite affordable, while permanent life insurance policies are considerably more expensive. The table below shows the average cost of term life insurance, along with quotes from each of the providers on our list. The sample rates are based on a $500,000 20-year term life policy for a 35-year-old female in excellent health.

CompanyCost
Nationwide$20.56
Mutual of Omaha$22.15
MassMutual$24.31
State Farm$24.34
Industry average$25.60[2]
Guardian Life$32
New York Life$31
Northwestern Mutual$30.29

As you can see from the table above, term life insurance starts at very affordable rates. For the same person to open a permanent life insurance policy, the premiums would be considerably higher. For example, a whole life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit for a healthy 35-year-old female would cost roughly $481 per month.[2]

In addition to the type of policy you open, there are a variety of other factors that can affect your life insurance rates, including:

  • Age: Generally speaking, life insurance premiums rise as you get older.

  • Gender: Women usually pay less than men for life insurance because they are expected to live longer.

  • Medical history: Healthy individuals tend to pay the lowest insurance rates, while those with preexisting conditions may pay higher premiums (or be denied coverage).

  • Family history: Consumers with a family history of certain diseases — especially genetic diseases — can expect to pay more for life insurance.

  • Tobacco use: Insurance companies always ask about tobacco use on applications, and generally charge higher premiums for those who use tobacco.

  • Occupation and hobbies: Customers with high-risk jobs or hobbies present an increased risk for the insurer and pay higher premiums.

  • Lifestyle factors: If you have certain lifestyle factors, including a criminal background or poor driving record, an insurance company may charge you higher premiums.[3]

Learn more: Life Insurance Rates By Age

FAQs

What is the most reputable life insurance company?

All of the providers on our list have an excellent reputation in the insurance industry. MassMutual is the largest company on our list and the one with the greatest financial strength. In terms of reputation among customers, State Farm has the highest customer satisfaction ranking.

Which is better, term or whole life insurance?
How do I choose the right life insurance?

Methodology

To compile our list of the best life insurance companies, we compared nearly two dozen providers and used a variety of data points to narrow them down. We analyzed data from third parties such as AM Best[4], J.D. Power[5], and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners[6]. We also gathered information of our own about the cost, product options, and user experience by taking a deep dive into each provider’s website. Ultimately, we chose our top seven life insurance companies using the following criteria:

Product availability

We judged companies based on the type of life insurance policies they offer. Each of the companies on our list offers term policies, but we also looked for those with the widest variety of permanent life insurance policies. Additionally, we chose companies with a wide variety of coverage amounts and term lengths to ensure all of our readers could find a policy to meet their unique needs.

Customer satisfaction

We used two pieces of data to determine customer satisfaction. First, we looked at the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study to find the companies with the best customer satisfaction rankings. J.D. Power is the top consumer insights and analytics firm for the insurance industry (and many others), which is why we relied on its data. We also looked at the complaint index with the National Associated of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC indicates whether companies have above-average or below-average complaints, and we only considered those companies that have fewer complaints than the industry average.

Financial strength

To determine each company’s financial strength we looked at their AM Best financial strength rating and only considered those with ratings of A+ or A++. Financial strength is critical because it’s what ensures a company can pay out all of its claims. AM Best is the top rating company for the insurance industry, which is why we used their ratings for this comparison piece.

Affordability

Not only did we want to include companies that offer excellent coverage, but we wanted those that did it at a great price. To determine this, we got a quote from each company for a 20-year term life insurance policy with $500,000 of coverage for a 35-year-old female. The industry average price for this policy is $25.60. While not every company on our list beats the industry average, each one offers affordable policies with other stand-out features that could make up for an above-average price.

Article Sources
  1. “Facts + Statistics: Insurance company rankings.” Insurance Information Institute.https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-insurance-company-rankings.
  2. “Average life insurance rates by age, gender, policy type, and coverage amount.” Policygenius. https://www.policygenius.com/life-insurance/life-insurance-rates/.
  3. “8 factors that affect life insurance premiums.” Fidelity Life. https://fidelitylife.com/learn-and-plan/insights/factors-that-affect-life-insurance-premiums/.
  4. “AM Best.” AM Best. https://web.ambest.com/home.
  5. “2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.” J.D. Power. Oct. 14, 2021. https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-individual-life-insurance-study.
  6. “Consumer Insurance Search Results.” NAIC. https://www.naic.org/cis_refined_results.htm?INSURANCE_TYPE=(All)&COCODE=68136&REALM=PROD.
  7. “MassMutual.” MassMutual. https://www.massmutual.com/
  8. “Nationwide.” Nationwide. https://www.nationwide.com
  9. “State Farm.” Smithsonian National Postal Museum. https://postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibition/america%E2%80%99s-mailing-industry-industry-segments-financial-services-industry/state-farm
  10. “New York Life.” New York Life. https://www.newyorklife.com/
  11. “Mutual of Omaha.” Mutual of Omaha. https://www.mutualofomaha.com/
  12. “Northwestern Mutual.” Northwestern Mutual. https://www.northwesternmutual.com/
  13. “Guardian Life.” Guardian Life. https://www.guardianlife.com

About the Author

Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler

Erin is a personal finance expert and journalist who has been writing online for nearly a decade. Erin’s work has appeared in major financial publications, including Fox Business, Time, Credit Karma, and more.

Full bio

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