Life Insurance

Primerica Life Insurance Review: Promoters of 'Buy Term and Invest the Difference'

Primerica Life Insurance Review: Promoters of 'Buy Term and Invest the Difference'

Editor's Rating

Standard term life insurance policies with a wide variety of riders.

Good for

  • Standard term life insurance
  • No medical exam for less than $300K coverage
  • Large network of local agents

Bad for

  • Average premiums
  • No permanent insurance options
  • Pushy sales tactics
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Editor's Rating

Standard term life insurance policies with a wide variety of riders.

Good for

  • Standard term life insurance
  • No medical exam for less than $300K coverage
  • Large network of local agents

Bad for

  • Average premiums
  • No permanent insurance options
  • Pushy sales tactics
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Primerica Financial Services, also called Prime America, offers fairly standard term life insurance coverage at rates that are a bit higher than average. While the company’s sales tactics receive criticism, Primerica has a great financial strength rating and is prompt in paying claims.

Primerica offers a variety of options when it comes to their term policies but doesn’t have alternatives for those that want whole life insurance or other permanent life insurance products. In addition, their agents are captive, meaning agents will only show you policies and quotes from Primerica.

Primerica: specialized in term life insurance

Primerica only offers term life insurance, not whole life or other life insurance products. However, Primerica does offer two term products: Custom Advantage and TermNow. The primary difference between these is that TermNow has a maximum death benefit of $300,000 and usually doesn't require a medical exam, which makes it more expensive.

Term lengths and coverage details

Primerica offers term life insurance coverage for 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, 30-year, and 35-year terms, but the term lengths you can pick from will change depending on your age. Some of Primerica's longer term policies (such as the 30-year and 35-year options) only guarantee level premiums for the first 20 years. Your premiums can potentially increase after that period, and you might lose your coverage if you can't afford the extra cost.

Term LengthGuaranteed Level PremiumAvailability by Age
10 years10 years18-70 years old
15 years15 years18-65 years old
20 years20 years12-60 years old
25 years20 years18-55 years old
30 years20 years18-50 years old
35 years20 years18-45 years old

However, all of Primerica’s policies do offer the option of “guaranteed insurability” until age 95, meaning you can renew your policy without undergoing a new health exam or application. Premiums for the new policy would increase solely due to your age. Guaranteed insurability can be an incredibly valuable feature since, for example, you might get cancer or another disease during the original term that would make it incredibly challenging to qualify for a new policy (and, if you did manage to get coverage, the cost would be incredibly high).

Primerica also offers several riders which act as add-ons to their term coverage, allowing you to customize a policy to your financial situation, though each rider will typically increase your premiums by a small amount.

One of the most unique riders Primerica offers is an increasing benefit rider, which allows you to increase the death benefit of your policy up to 10% per year for 10 years. Most insurers only offer decreasing term insurance policies, in which the death benefit becomes smaller over time, because financial obligations tend to decrease with age. For example, say you purchased enough life insurance to cover your mortgage--as you made mortgage payments, the outstanding loan, and therefore your coverage needs, would decrease. Given this, increasing benefit term policies are somewhat rare, and Primerica is an option if you want the flexibility of increasing coverage during the term. Just note that this option is only available up until age 55.

Comparison of Primerica Custom Advantage vs TermNow

Unless you need coverage immediately, we recommend Primerica’s Custom Advantage policy over TermNow. While both policies provide term life insurance coverage with the features listed above, they differ in the following areas:

  • TermNow doesn't require a medical exam, making it the faster option
  • Custom Advantage is significantly cheaper than TermNow
  • TermNow policies are limited to $300,000 or less in benefits

TermNow is only available if your life insurance policy has a death benefit between $15,000 to $300,000. Since the payout is limited, Primerica offers you the option to go through a simplified underwriting process with no medical exam. Instead, you give them permission to run your personal details through several databases (such as the Medical Information Bureau and DMV) and, if no issues come up, Primerica issues coverage within a few minutes. The key downside to TermNow is that, similar to all simplified underwriting life insurance products, the premiums will be significantly higher.

With Custom Advantage, the underwriting process can take between 1 to 6 weeks, but you have the benefits of being able to choose any face value (death benefits can be over $1 million) and paying lower premiums for comparable coverage. And, while it may sound like a hassle, the medical exam typically takes less than an hour and can be scheduled at your home or work.

How much does Primerica's term life insurance cost?

ValuePenguin compared sample term life insurance quotes from Primerica against 50 insurers and found that Primerica ranged from 11% to 29% more expensive for the same coverage.

Primerica Quote Comparison

Sample quotes were for a 35-year old non-smoker male in great health. All policies are for $500,000 in coverage.

Primerica consumer reviews and complaints

Primerica is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, a widely accepted rating which indicates an insurance company's financial stability relative to its claim obligations. The company states that they pay 94% of claims within 14 days on average. Positive consumer reviews discuss how the company offers a wide range of financial products, such as mutual funds and investment accounts, and some of Primerica’s agents are featured as being particularly knowledgeable.

Complaints primarily focus on Primerica’s sales tactics and sales process, which can best be described as a multi-level marketing operation. Primerica life insurance policies can only be purchased through their captive agents who are not allowed to represent other insurers, meaning you have to check yourself whether better quotes can be found elsewhere.

Besides being encouraged to sell policies to their friends and family, Primerica's agents are also incentivized to recruit them as new agents (the “recruiting agent” receives a portion of the commission from each sale one of the recruits makes). Given Primerica has a large number of new agents joining and working part-time (the average pay per licensed agent was $6,088 in 2016), many agents receive poor ratings due to their lack of experience with life insurance.

Is Primerica a legitimate life insurance company?

Based on Primerica's ability to maintain an A+ A.M. Best rating, the company's life insurance policies clearly provide real coverage. However, Primerica's tactic of having agents recruit more agents marks it as a multi-level marketing operation. While Primerica's life insurance offerings are legitimate, its sales and recruitment practices leave something to be desired.

How do I cancel a Primerica life insurance policy?

Canceling life insurance from Primerica works the same as with any other provider. You can contact the Primerica Life Insurance Company by calling their line at 1-800-257-4725 or by emailing them at [email protected] Keep in mind that generally, term life insurance policies don't offer you any refund of premiums that you've already paid. Also be sure to cancel any direct deposits you have set up to pay for the premium after you cancel.

Is Primerica life insurance expensive?

Our analysis of quotes found that Primerica's term life insurance costs roughly 11% to 29% more than equivalent policies from a group of 50 major competing companies. Our findings were based on quotes for a 35-year-old non-smoking man seeking $500,000 in coverage. Read more about the cheapest insurers we identified.

Maxime Croll

Maxime is a Director at ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry. Previously she was the Director of Product Marketing at CoverWallet, a commercial insurance startup, and helped launch NerdWallet's personal insurance business. Maxime has contributed insurance insights and analysis to Forbes, USA Today, The Hill, and many other publications.

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.

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