Best Life Insurance Companies: Top Term and Whole Life Insurers in 2024

MassMutual has the best term life insurance policy at $238 per year. Northwestern Mutual is the best company for whole life insurance.

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Best life insurance companies

Best term life insurance companies

Mass Mutual, Northwestern Mutual and Haven are the best life insurance companies for most people, offering consistency and high quality.

Annual cost
AM Best
NAIC complaints
Protective Life$240A+0.22
Pacific Life$240A+0.03
Principal Financial$243A+0.24
Lincoln Heritage$259A-0.69
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Term life insurance rates are for a 35-year-old applicant in excellent health. Policies have a term length of 20 years and a $500,000 face value.

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How to compare the best life insurance for you

How does term life insurance work?

  • You buy a life insurance policy, and choose a coverage amount, usually between $100,000 and $10 million, depending on your needs, and a term length, usually between 10 and 30 years.
  • You pay the annual premium each year.
  • If you pass away during the term you chose when you bought your policy, your beneficiary receives the money.
  • If you are still alive at the end of the term, the policy ends.

The cost is one of the most crucial features of choosing a life insurance policy. Fortunately, term life insurance is the simplest and often cheapest life insurance you can purchase. It's also the best choice for most people who need life insurance.

Financial stability is particularly important for life insurance. Choosing a life insurance company means committing to a long-term agreement of 10 to 30 years, and you want to be sure your insurer will be around for that whole time. This is different from auto or health insurance, where you can easily reassess your needs and budget on a yearly basis.

Some life insurance companies have better coverage and rider options than others. You may want to consider add-ons like an accelerated death benefit, or extra coverage for accidental death.

Dependable customer service is important, too. Good customer service will make buying your policy easier and faster, as well as help your loved ones navigate the claim process if you pass away.

Best online life insurance companies

In the past few years, a number of startups have begun to sell term life insurance online, with near-immediate approval decisions in many cases.

Best cheap online life insurance: Haven Life

  • Editor rating

  • AM Best

    A++ (Superior) ?
  • J.D. Power

    Not rated ?

Pros and cons

  • Fast approvals for most people
  • Backed by MassMutual, one of the largest and longest-standing life insurance companies in the U.S.
  • Limited phone and in-person support

Haven Life Insurance provides the best term life insurance quotes for a wide variety of life situations and allows you to complete the entire application online.

You can even pay for your policy with a credit card, which is rare for life insurance. In addition, Haven Life offers some of the fastest approvals. Although some policies are fully underwritten with a medical exam, many customers will get a same-day approval decision.

Term policies can be purchased from Haven Life for periods ranging from 10 years to 30 years, and the company offers up to $3 million in coverage. Although Haven Life's set of optional features, also known as riders, is somewhat limited, it has all the standard options you'd expect from an insurer, such as an accelerated death benefit rider and a waiver of premium rider.

And, while Haven Life is a relatively new insurer, the company is backed by MassMutual (the top pick for overall best term life insurer), meaning it's very financially stable.

Best flexible online life insurance: Ladder

  • Editor rating

  • J.D. Power

    Not rated ?
  • AM Best

    NR(Excellent) ?

Pros and cons

  • High maximum coverage amounts (up to $8 million)
  • Can increase or decrease coverage levels over time
  • Relatively new company compared to most life insurers Doesn't offer riders/policy customizations

The amount of life insurance you need may change over time. Unlike most insurers, Ladder Life Insurance allows you to easily increase or decrease your policy limits. This means you don't have to pay for unnecessary coverage now if you expect your financial situation to change later — for example, when you have kids or buy a house.

Though Ladder Life's rates aren't the lowest, its prices are quite competitive, often with below-average premiums. Its term life policies can be purchased for periods of 10 to 30 years, and Ladder lets you purchase up to $8 million in coverage.

Ladder also doesn't offer riders, which are extra ways you can customize your life insurance policy. For example, some companies offer a rider that covers you if you're killed in an accident, or accelerated death benefit, which helps cover end-of-life care if you're diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Best whole life insurance companies

Whole life insurance is the most popular form of lifelong coverage, as it provides benefits after your death, plus a cash value that grows consistently over time.

You can borrow against your policy's cash value if you want to cover an expense, such as buying a car or paying off medical expenses. It can also be returned to you if you decide you no longer want coverage. Since whole life insurance needs to provide coverage for decades, long-term financial strength is a key factor to look at.

Best whole life insurance overall: Northwestern Mutual

  • Editor rating

  • J.D. Power

    790 ?
  • AM Best

    A++ (Superior) ?

Pros and cons

  • Flexible payment options
  • Great customer reviews
  • Doesn't offer policies worth less than $50,000 Requires medical exam

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. has highly rated customer service, and as a mutual insurance company, it has consistently issued cash dividend payouts to whole life insurance policyholders.

Northwestern Mutual's whole life insurance payments are flexible, as you choose to pay for coverage until age 65, until age 90 or for a certain period of time (such as 20 years). Paying over a shorter time means your monthly premium will be higher, but you can invest a greater amount in the cash value portion of the policy early on, which gives you higher returns over the length of coverage.

In addition, Northwestern Mutual offers a unique option called an accelerated care benefit. While most insurers only allow you to receive a portion of your death benefit early if diagnosed with a terminal illness, Northwestern Mutual lets you access funds to pay for long-term care, such as a nursing home.

Northwestern Mutual's life insurance policies come with some restrictions. They aren't available with lower death benefits (the minimum is $50,000), and the company requires a medical exam for all policies. If you have a preexisting medical condition or certain health problems, for example, you would have to apply with a different company.

Best whole life insurance for policy options: New York Life

  • Editor rating

  • J.D. Power

    794 ?
  • AM Best

    A++ (Superior) ?

Pros and cons

  • Wide variety of whole life insurance options
  • Excellent financial stability
  • Doesn't offer first-to-die policy for couples

New York Life offers a wide variety of types of whole life insurance policies, meaning it's likely to offer a policy that suits your needs. For example, if you want the benefits of paying whole life insurance premiums more quickly but can only afford a particular dollar amount per year, New York Life offers you the ability to choose exactly how much you want to pay and adjust the length of your payment period accordingly.

Couples can also choose a joint "second-to-die" policy, which is typically used to leave an inheritance or help dependents cover estate taxes. While New York Life doesn't have first-to-die whole life insurance, it does have a spouse's paid-up insurance purchase option (SPPO). An SPPO means that if you die, your spouse will be able to buy a life insurance policy no-questions-asked — for example, they wouldn't need to take a medical exam.

While a portion of your policy's death benefit would go toward the cost of the new policy, this can be a valuable benefit because it provides your spouse coverage if they aren't eligible for life insurance.

New York Life Insurance Company also has the highest attainable financial strength rating from AM Best, so it's very likely to be around for years to come.

Best guaranteed whole life insurance: Mutual of Omaha

  • Editor rating

  • J.D. Power

    805 ?
  • AM Best

    A+ (Superior) ?

Pros and cons

  • Affordable rates for small guaranteed-issue policies
  • Backed by MassMutual, one of the largest and longest-standing life insurance companies in the U.S.
  • Less useful for higher-value policies

Mutual of Omaha is a life insurance company that offers guaranteed whole life policies. These life insurance plans are similar to standard whole life but do not require you to take a medical exam. However, the policies have much smaller death benefits — Mutual of Omaha offers coverage amounts of less than $25,000. For this reason, guaranteed whole life is often used by older individuals to help pay for funeral expenses.

Compared to other guaranteed life insurance quotes, Mutual of Omaha has some of the best rates available in the industry. This, coupled with better-than-average complaint numbers and a strong financial rating, makes the life insurance company a great option for any final expense insurance policy.

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How to choose the best life insurance company

When shopping for life insurance, the best strategy is to consider the type and length of coverage you need, policy costs and customer reviews. You should also compare quotes from several providers so you can find the best insurance company for your needs and budget.

Policy details and options

Before you compare quotes, you need to determine how much coverage you will need and estimate for how long.

Deciding whether to purchase term or permanent life insurance will depend on how long you need coverage.

Term life insurance is the cheapest life insurance option available because it provides coverage for a limited period of time. Other forms of life insurance, like whole and universal policies, tend to be more expensive since these plans are designed to provide life insurance coverage for your entire life and often include extras like cash value accounts.

Customer reviews

Finding the cheapest life insurance rates is important, but choosing a company that provides an excellent customer experience can be equally important. Life insurance is a personal product, and getting relevant information about your policy is essential to understanding the details of your plan.

The most important customer experience will occur once you have passed away and your loved ones try to obtain the payout from your life insurance policy. Many insurance companies have mixed reviews when it comes to this process. For example, some beneficiaries have found that an insurance company will hold out paying the death benefit until the last possible moment. For this reason, you should look carefully at customer reviews to find the best life insurance company.

Frequently asked questions

Should I get term life or whole life insurance?

Term life insurance is usually best for people with young families since it's cheaper and only lasts for a set period of time. This makes it ideal for covering the costs of raising children and sending them to college or making sure a spouse can pay off large expenses, like a mortgage, alone. Whole life insurance is best if you need lifelong coverage for final expenses, like funerals and estate taxes.

What is the best life insurance company for me?


ValuePenguin determined the rankings for the best term life insurance companies by compiling a list of the top life insurance companies in the United States. This analysis of the best life insurance companies included:

  • Guardian Life
  • Haven Life
  • John Hancock
  • Ladder Life
  • Lincoln Heritage
  • Massachusetts Mutual
  • Minnesota Life
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • New York Life
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Pacific Life
  • Principal Financial
  • Protective Life

Then, our experts used three factors to evaluate each company:

  • AM Best: A score that is based on the financial health of a life insurance company. The best score is an A++ (Superior).
  • NAIC complaint index: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index compares how many complaints an insurer receives compared to its size. A score of 1.00 indicates that the company received an average number of complaints relative to its size, and a score of 0.50 means it received half as many.
  • Rates: We compiled term life insurance quotes from each insurer using a sample application, then ranked providers from cheapest to most expensive.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.