Best Life Insurance Companies of 2019

We researched the top life insurance companies. Compare policies and products to find the best company for you.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

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U.S. News & World Report (U.S. News) prepared this content about insurance companies for general informational purposes only. Neither U.S. News nor the individual writers of this content are licensed to sell or advise on insurance products. Some coverages, discounts and features may not be available in all states. For more information about any of the companies or products profiled herein, or to inquire about the purchase of insurance, please contact the insurance company, an insurance agent or a financial advisor. This content is not, and should not be considered to be, a recommendation of life insurance products generally or an endorsement of a particular insurer or product. Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

The Top Life Insurance Companies of 2019

Life insurance is a financial tool that provides security for your loved ones after your death. You should consider it if your family members depend on you financially, particularly if your current financial obligations (such as expenses and debt) outweigh your assets.

Life insurance is available in a wide variety of policy types, ranging from affordable basic coverage to complex policies designed to supplement a comprehensive investment strategy. You may be wondering how much all of this is going to cost and whether it’s actually worth it. There are cheaper and more expensive options available, depending on the type of policy you want, the amount of coverage you need, and other factors specific to your situation.

If you’re just starting the process of shopping for life insurance, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Thinking about your priorities can help set you on the right track. The main factors to consider when shopping for life insurance include how much you can afford, how much coverage you need and why, whether you’re more comfortable with a simple policy or would prefer a more complex one with greater financial benefits, and how the life insurance you select will end up furthering your overall financial strategy. These are big questions, but they will help you narrow down your options. We’ll take a look at all of these factors, as well as others, in more depth below.

The Top Life Insurance Companies of 2019

Haven Life
4.5 Score
$10.93 Sample Monthly Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Banner Life
4.2 Score
$8.53 Sample Monthly Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Northwestern Mutual
4.2 Score
N/A Sample Monthly Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
State Farm
4.1 Score
$15.02 Sample Monthly Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
Nationwide
4.1 Score
$17.58 Sample Monthly Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
MassMutual
4.1 Score
$10.23 Sample Monthly Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More

Company

Score

Sample Monthly Cost

A.M. Best Rating

Learn More

Haven Life4.5$10.93A++Compare Quotes
Banner Life4.2$8.53A+Compare Quotes
Northwestern Mutual4.2N/AA++Learn More
State Farm4.1$15.02A++Learn More
Nationwide4.1$17.58A+Learn More
MassMutual4.1$10.23A++Learn More
Haven Life
4.5 Score
$10.93 Sample Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Banner Life
4.2 Score
$8.53 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Northwestern Mutual
4.2 Score
N/A Sample Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
State Farm
4.1 Score
$15.02 Sample Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
Nationwide
4.1 Score
$17.58 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
MassMutual
4.1 Score
$10.23 Sample Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
New York Life
3.9 Score
$10.75 Sample Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
See Review
Protective
3.8 Score
$8.92 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Guardian Life
3.8 Score
$14.00 Sample Cost
A++ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
Mutual of Omaha
3.8 Score
$9.89 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Amica Life
3.7 Score
$11.00 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More
Lincoln Financial
3.7 Score
$8.69 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Prudential
3.7 Score
$15.53 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Principal
3.7 Score
$10.00 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
John Hancock
3.5 Score
$10.76 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Compare Quotes
Transamerica
3.3 Score
$10.11 Sample Cost
A+ A.M. Best Rating
Learn More


Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only.You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

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Haven Life

360 Overall Rating

4.5 out of 5

Sample Monthly Cost
$10.93
AM Best Rating
A++
Online Tools
Available for all policies

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Haven Life offers only term life insurance policies, and utilizes an online application process without personal interaction with a traditional agent. While a relatively new player in the insurance business, it is backed by the well-established MassMutual. Haven Life aims to offer affordable, easy-to-manage term life insurance policies online, without the usual hassles of insurance shopping.
Read More»

Northwestern Mutual

360 Overall Rating

4.2 out of 5

Sample Monthly Cost
N/A
AM Best Rating
A++
Online Tools
Not Available

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Northwestern Mutual has more than 160 years of experience in the financial services industry and offers a traditional approach to life insurance. The company offers a variety of coverage options and a low-tech but personalized method of determining coverage needs, and Northwestern Mutual financial advisors are available to help customers through the process.
Read More»

Banner Life

360 Overall Rating

4.2 out of 5

Sample Monthly Cost
$8.53
AM Best Rating
A+
Online Tools
Available for some policies

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Banner Life, owned by Legal & General America, offers three basic life insurance products – term, whole life and universal life – with relatively few options for customization. Product offerings are straightforward, which may appeal to people who want to keep the process of buying life insurance as simple as possible.
Read More»

Cost Comparison By Life Insurance Company

Comparing Term Life Insurance Policies (10-year, $250,000)

For a 25/35/45-Year-Old Healthy Virginia Female/Male*

Haven Life
$10.93 (female)
$11.64 (male)
Age 25
$11.34 (female)
$12.85 (male)
Age 35
$21.02 (female)
$24.77 (male)
Age 45
Banner Life
$8.53 (female)
$12.81 (male)
Age 25
$9.85 (female)
$13.52 (male)
Age 35
$15.69 (female)
$20.25 (male)
Age 45
State Farm
$15.02 (female)
$16.74 (male)
Age 25
$16.74 (female)
$18.72 (male)
Age 35
$25.02 (female)
$25.89 (male)
Age 45
Nationwide
$17.58 (female)
$18.91 (male)
Age 25
$14.69 (female)
$14.69 (male)
Age 35
$22.03 (female)
$22.70 (male)
Age 45

Company

Age 25

Age 35

Age 45

Haven Life$10.93 (female)
$11.64 (male)
$11.34 (female)
$12.85 (male)
$21.02 (female)
$24.77 (male)
Banner Life$8.53 (female)
$12.81 (male)
$9.85 (female)
$13.52 (male)
$15.69 (female)
$20.25 (male)
State Farm$15.02 (female)
$16.74 (male)
$16.74 (female)
$18.72 (male)
$25.02 (female)
$25.89 (male)
Nationwide$17.58 (female)
$18.91 (male)
$14.69 (female)
$14.69 (male)
$22.03 (female)
$22.70 (male)

* Policies compared include: Haven Life Term Life Insurance, Banner OPTerm Life Insurance, State Farm Select Term Life, and Nationwide YourLife® Guaranteed Level Term. Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only.You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

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Although most people can benefit from a life insurance plan, it’s not necessary for everyone. If you have no dependents, or if you have accumulated enough wealth that your death would not cause financial hardship to your dependents and you don’t plan to leave a legacy to a charity, you may not need to purchase life insurance.

To decide how much life insurance coverage you need and for how long, the Insurance Information Institute recommends considering the following factors:

  • Your loved ones' financial resources after you die, broken down into Social Security and other retirement-related survivor benefits, group life insurance, and other assets and resources.
  • Your loved ones' financial needs after you die, broken down into final expenses, debts and income needs.

Subtract the amount of resources from the amount of financial needs to determine the correct amount of coverage. The Insurance Information Institute says most people underestimate this step and end up with too little life insurance coverage. To determine how long you need coverage, consider your priorities. If you want to build a financial asset and provide lifetime coverage for your dependents, you need a permanent policy rather than a term policy.

The people at an insurance company who decide whether someone is insurable are called underwriters. Underwriters generally assign an applicant to a class based on factors such as age, gender, health and lifestyle. That class will determine how much the applicant pays for the requested coverage, based on the insurance company’s standard rate table. Other factors include the type of policy and any extra features the consumer may want.

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The main types of life insurance are:

  • Term life: affordable coverage over a predetermined period but without cash value accumulation; when the term ends, there is no benefit to the policy.
  • Permanent: a category of coverage that includes whole life and universal life policy types; these are more expensive than term but offer more benefits.
  • Whole life: permanent coverage with consistent premiums and guaranteed accumulation of cash value; this policy type may be eligible for dividends from a mutual company and typically is expensive.
  • Universal life: permanent coverage that builds cash value with investment options; it is frequently offered with flexible premiums, although those premiums affect the cash value and death benefit.
  • Variable universal life: a type of universal life policy that ties cash value to a number of investment options.
  • Indexed universal life: a universal life policy that accumulates cash value based on the performance of certain indices; it is typically less expensive and less risky than variable universal life because there is no actual investment in an index.

Term life provides coverage for a specific period of time, which makes it suitable for priorities like ensuring dependent children have their financial needs covered until adulthood. For permanent insurance coverage and the potential to build value in the policy, choose whole life or universal life coverage.

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When comparing life insurance plans, whether different policies from the same company or similar policies from different companies, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. First, you should generally ensure you’re comparing the same type of policy, such as term life, whole life or universal life. Once you decide on a policy, consider the following questions, as well as anything else that's important to you:

  • Are the policy's premiums guaranteed-level, flexible or increasing on a periodic basis?
  • Are the policy's fees built into the premiums?
  • Is a medical exam required?
  • Is the approval process fully underwritten, simplified issue or guaranteed issue?
  • For a term life insurance policy, is the term length you want available?
  • For a term life policy, can it be converted to a whole life policy, and how?
  • Does cash value accumulate, and if so, how?
  • Is the policy eligible for dividends?
  • Are the riders you want available?

Do Life Insurance Policies Build Cash Value?

Theodore Affleck, an insurance industry consultant at Newington, Connecticut-based consulting firm CLU & Associates LLC, says one of the main factors to consider when choosing whether to buy a term, whole life or universal life policy is how long you will need coverage. He notes that term policies are cheaper than the other types because they don't build cash value, and eventually the coverage stops. If the term ends before the policyholder dies, there’s no benefit to the policyholder for all the premiums paid over the years.

By contrast, the cash value in whole life and universal life policies can provide important benefits when the term ends, or even before. “One advantage of having cash value in a policy is that the cash value can allow the company to charge level premiums that are the same from year to year," Affleck says. "You also can borrow against the cash value, and the insurance company doesn’t check up on your credit.” In addition, you can surrender a whole life or universal life policy and receive the cash value if you no longer need the policy. “There are certainties that cash value policies create that term policies don’t,” he says.

David Paige, an insurance industry attorney and consultant based in New York City, says cash-value policies are "a forced-savings mechanism" that have some disadvantages. For example, he notes that the interest rates that insurance companies typically charge for borrowing against a policy's cash value are relatively high, and there are administrative fees to facilitate the loan. Plus, if someone doesn't pay back the loan, they could forfeit the policy, including all of the funds left in it. In addition, commissions paid to agents or brokers who sell cash-value life insurance policies can be more than 100% of the total premiums during the first year, which means a policyholder would build no cash value in the policy for that period of time. Finally, investment funds created by insurance companies for investing premium payments are “fairly conservative” and don’t grow very fast, Paige says. “Plus, there are fees upon fees in many of these funds that aren’t always disclosed without being very good at reading the fine print."

Paige says policies that allow people to select investment vehicles – particularly, but not exclusively, universal life policies – have been disfavored by some insurance regulators. "Many people who buy these policies aren’t very financially sophisticated, and growth projections sometimes are overly rosy and make assumptions that may not be fair," he says. “It's less a problem with the policies themselves than the way they are presented.” Paige emphasizes that this is not the case with all universal life policies, many of which are perfectly fine. But if you're considering a universal life policy, be aware of these possible downsides.

What Are the Tax Implications of Life Insurance, and How Are Death Benefits Paid?

In addition to whether a life insurance policy accumulates cash value, talk to a tax professional about the tax implications of life insurance. Generally, life insurance premiums are not tax-deductible. There may be an exception for business owners whose business pays life insurance premiums for employees. There may be tax advantages, however, in that most death benefits are paid tax-free, particularly if paid in a lump sum. If a death benefit is paid in installments with interest, that interest may be taxed as income. Please do not rely on this general information for tax purposes; it’s always good to discuss the tax implications of any financial strategy with a financial advisor.

Most people choose to receive death benefits in a lump sum, but there are alternatives, including annuities. An annuity splits the death benefit into a number of equal annual payments to the beneficiaries, plus interest. Fixed annuities earn interest at a fixed rate, and variable annuities generate interest based on market performance. Annuities are a good choice if your beneficiary would do better with a source of guaranteed annual income. However, annuities may consume some of the death benefit in the form of ongoing fees, and a beneficiary who dies before the annuity is paid out will not have been able to take advantage of the full death benefit.

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How Do I Choose a Life Insurance Company and Policy?

Although price might not be the primary consideration in choosing a life insurance company and policy, it’s always helpful to know what you get for your money. Steven Weisbart, senior vice president and chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute, suggests comparing life insurance quotes from online brokers and talking with agents who represent multiple life insurance companies.

John Gibbons, a partner in the insurance practice of the law firm Blank Rome in Washington, D.C., generally agrees but says this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. “I like people who have the ability to look at multiple companies, but I wouldn’t necessarily rule out dedicated agents," he says. "If you have a strong relationship with someone who works for a single company, I wouldn’t shy away from them."

As you compare quotes from competing companies, you might wonder why premiums vary among companies even for the same amount of coverage. This is because no two insurance companies’ policies are exactly the same, even for a given type (such as whole life insurance). Each company uses its own algorithms and writes the coverage in its own way. For example, if you’re comparing $1 million whole life policies from two different companies, one company might set your expected mortality at age 90, while the other might set it at age 121, which would affect the premiums quoted. Some policies also build in common benefits, while others charge fees for those benefits via optional riders.

Your premium might not seem to have much relation to the amount of coverage you receive, but it is carefully calculated by your insurance company. Gibbons explains that insurance companies calculate your premium based on statistics that show how likely they are to turn a profit on your policy before paying out your death benefit. Further complicating the matter is that an insurance company’s financial rating is based on liquid assets, i.e., how much money is available to pay out benefits.

Term life insurance policies provide affordable coverage for a specific death benefit over a predetermined period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. It can be a smart choice for certain customers, like parents who want to ensure their children are provided for until they reach adulthood. However, once the term is complete, the policy is worthless. Instead of starting over from scratch, many life insurance companies offer the option to convert a term policy to a permanent one, such as a whole life or universal life policy. The costs and terms of these options vary by company and policy, and they are worth taking the time to discuss with a financial advisor before purchasing a new term life policy.

Whole life insurance is both predictable and flexible, and for those reasons, it can be confusing. Some whole life insurance policies specify how long you will have to pay premiums. With some policies, you pay premiums until you die, and with others, you pay for a specific period, either in a number of installments or until a certain age. Some whole life insurance policies will even insure you for life after you make just a single, relatively large premium payment. This is a case in which an agent or financial advisor can help you make the best call for your situation.

What Is an Insurance Rider?

A rider is a provision of an insurance policy that usually adds benefits, although some add restrictions. Riders are a way to customize coverage and make a policy fit your individual needs. They do add cost to an insurance policy, so the consumer must consider the benefit of a particular rider against the extra expense, because many riders are designed to provide benefits for a specific situation that might not occur. For example, an accelerated death benefit rider enables the policyholder to claim the death benefit while still living if he or she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Some people might feel that it’s worth the extra expense to take that chance, while others might not. Some riders must be added at the beginning of the policy, and others can be added at any time.

Affleck says one of the most common and useful riders is a disability waiver of premium rider, under which the insurance company will waive premium payments for a certain period (often six months) if the policyholder becomes disabled. By contrast, he says accidental death benefit riders, under which the insurance company doubles the death benefit if the policyholder dies in an accident such as a car crash, are generally not worth the cost because policyholders statistically are much more likely to become disabled at some point in their lives than to be killed in an accident. Another helpful rider for many people is a guaranteed insurability rider, which allows the policyholder to increase insurance benefits at certain intervals (usually every three years until age 40) without undergoing another medical exam or otherwise demonstrating eligibility for the extra coverage. "For a younger person, guaranteeing insurability is a good thing," he says. "You never know what’s going to happen in your life and how it will affect your insurability.”

Other common riders for life insurance include: long-term care, generally available with cash-value policy types to access the death benefit to use for specific long-term care needs; term conversion, to convert a term policy to a permanent policy under the same terms; waiver of premium, which covers premiums if the policyholder becomes ill or disabled; and guaranteed insurability, which lets you add to the death benefit without providing more health information. Of these common policy riders, the Insurance Information Institute recommends the latter two. Additional common life insurance riders include children’s protection, spouse protection, estate protection, and lapse or overloan protection.

Life insurance benefits typically are paid out in a lump sum as the default method, but many life insurance companies now offer additional options to beneficiaries. Those who don’t want the full death benefit all at once may be able to choose investment accounts or installment payments over a specified time period, or roll the benefit into a new life insurance policy.

Cash value is a perk of many whole or permanent life insurance policies. With a policy that accumulates cash value, a portion of the premiums paid grows tax-deferred. Some companies offer different investment options to help cash value grow faster, but this approach often carries financial risks. The upshot is that not all policies will accumulate cash value at the same rate. The advantages of cash value are that you can take out loans or make partial withdrawals against your policy, and you may be able to use the cash value to cover premiums. However, these options can significantly reduce your death benefit if you die before the cash value is replenished. A policy with cash value generally will cost more for the same coverage than a policy without cash value, but if you plan to take advantage of the benefits, it may be worth the extra expense.

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How Do I Find the Right Life Insurance Agent or Broker?

Finding the right agent or broker is another key to finding the right life insurance policy. Look for someone licensed by your state’s insurance department, and if you can’t develop a rapport with your agent, find someone else. You need a comfortable working relationship with an agent who understands your financial situation, answers your questions in a way that makes sense to you, clarifies how your life insurance plan benefits you and supports your goals, and will work with you until you are satisfied with your decision.

“Get a trustworthy insurance broker who has a good understanding of your goals and financial needs," Gibbons says. "You need to trust their judgment and trust that they understand what your goals are."

As a starting point, try asking friends and family for recommendations. Also, find out whether your agent works on commission or on a fee basis and what that means for you. Although some people are uncomfortable with agents who work on commission for fear that their recommendations depend on the size of their commissions and not on what’s best for consumers, Weisbart says he finds that this concern is usually unfounded.

“The most important characteristic is the extent to which the agent understands the needs of the buyer and the degree to which the buyer is confident that he/she understands what they are buying," Weisbart says. "The manner of paying the agent is, to my mind, secondary."

Some policies have innovative options, such as discounts for wearing a fitness tracker and meeting certain fitness goals. Weisbart says that while such policies can be beneficial, not many companies offer them.

Although insurance companies aren’t exactly transparent about how rates are calculated, there are few truly hidden costs to a life insurance policy. One example of a hidden cost is that companies charge an effective interest rate, which can be quite high, for paying premiums more frequently than annually. Another factor to consider, while not a hidden cost per se, is that dangerous hobbies such as scuba diving or skydiving can make your rates very high.

How Important Is an Insurance Company’s Financial Rating?

Five different independent agencies rate insurance companies based on financial strength: A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. Each of these agencies uses its own scale and criteria. The Insurance Information Institute offers the following advice for considering financial ratings:

  • Don’t accept what the insurance companies themselves say about their ratings because they’re likely to share only the most favorable information. Do your own research.
  • Check the ratings regularly while you’re shopping for insurance because they change frequently.
  • Go with an insurance company that has favorable ratings from two or more agencies because they often disagree.

Weisbart advises to steer clear of life insurance companies with bad financial ratings. He also notes that about half of the companies in the market are financially very strong, and most others have decent financial strength. “A company’s financial health matters a lot,” Weisbart says. “After all, life insurance policies are long-term financial instruments, and so you need to buy from a company that is likely to be in business for, perhaps, the next half century.”
Another potential indicator of an insurance company’s financial health is its size. Companies that hold the most assets are likely to be the most solvent, and therefore are less likely to run into financial trouble that will leave you or your loved ones holding a worthless policy. The other main advantage to picking a large insurance company is that if you need a jumbo policy with a high payout, a large insurance company will probably be more willing to back it. Advantages to using a smaller life insurance company include more personalized customer service or a more community-oriented atmosphere.

Regardless of size, “If a death occurs, you want to make sure the company will be available to pay the claim," Affleck says. "There aren’t too many instances of a company failing to pay a claim, but it’s still an issue to consider."

Gibbons agrees, saying, "Knowing you’re with someone with a lot of financial means is something people look for because it provides certainty." In addition, he notes that a larger company can spread insurance risks over a larger group of policyholders, which can lower premiums.

What Other Factors Should I Consider When Choosing Life Insurance?

Before deciding on an insurance company, check to see if there are any complaints. Two good resources are the NAIC and the insurance department in your state. Both keep records of complaints against life insurance companies and make that information available to consumers. You can use the NAIC's website to search for complaints in your state and the organization’s map to find contact information for your state’s insurance commission. However, Weisbart says that complaints against life insurers are very rare.

Another factor to consider is that some life insurance companies operate as mutual companies as opposed to stock companies. There are other ownership structures, but stock and mutual companies are by far the most common, and it might make a difference to you when shopping for life insurance. Some consumers think that a stock insurance company is a better choice because the responsibility to create profit for outside investors will help ensure the company is managed well, while other consumers prefer a mutual insurance company because they want the opportunity to earn dividends if the company performs well.

Not all insurance companies offer insurance in all states. Furthermore, some insurance companies may sell some, but not all, of their policies in a certain state, based on that state’s laws or restrictions. Each state's insurance department can help consumers with problems (including if a life insurance company becomes insolvent), and can step in and help with companies licensed in that state. Consumers who have questions about life insurance companies that are licensed in their state should contact their state’s insurance department.

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The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing life insurance companies to provide guidance to prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.

U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which life insurance brands Americans are most interested in. We found 22 companies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across the different rating sources. Once we identified these companies, we reviewed insurance companies' data to determine every available life insurance product offered by each company at the time of publication. We focused on companies with policies that are widely available, so we excluded a certain number of policies that are only available through employers and not available for individuals.

We compared available coverages and packages from top life insurance companies across several criteria, including cost, coverage limits, policy features and availability. Research shows that these criteria are among the most important considerations to people shopping for life insurance. We compared cost across companies using two types of estimated cost information per company: a summary cost relative to the company in our main review page, as well as more detail about costs by specific policy in our company profiles. At the company level, we offer what we call a “base cost”: a cost representing a 25-year-old Virginia woman in excellent health getting a typical 10-year term, $250,000 life insurance policy from a given company. By keeping certain criteria consistent, such as state of residence, we make it easier for readers to compare costs by company. In our company profiles, we show cost estimates regarding every specific policy for which online quote information was available at the time of publication. Where available, quote information has been provided from each company. We provided the same information to each company, and got the quote either using publicly available online quoting tools, direct conversations with the companies, or both. In addition, we show the costs for a range of typical individuals, including 25-, 35- and 45-year-old males and females residing in Virginia and in excellent health. All prices shown are for $250,000 policies, with a 10-year-term for term life insurance and no term for permanent life and whole life insurance policies. This range of choices allows readers to understand insurance costs, although the best way to get an accurate estimate is to use a company’s online tools as well as speak to company agents.

2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.
U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from independent life insurance experts and third-party reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:

  • Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent life insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of life insurance companies and products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of life insurance providers. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.

(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company that a source rated was scored in comparison to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:

  • Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point's relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it's above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it's equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the company’s rating from the mean and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
  • Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
  • Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.
We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than two was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.

All life insurance information was accurate as of June 1, 2019.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

U.S. News & World Report (U.S. News) prepared this content about insurance companies for general informational purposes only. Neither U.S. News nor the individual writers of this content are licensed to sell or advise on insurance products. Some coverages, discounts and features may not be available in all states. For more information about any of the companies or products profiled herein, or to inquire about the purchase of insurance, please contact the insurance company, an insurance agent or a financial advisor. This content is not, and should not be considered to be, a recommendation of life insurance products generally or an endorsement of a particular insurer or product. Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.