Life Insurance

Editor's Rating

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance is a strong insurer whether you are shopping for basic term insurance or looking for lifelong coverage through a permanent insurance policy.

The company offers competitive rates for standard applicants, but you may be able to find better quotes elsewhere if you smoke or you're a senior. If you have a preexisting condition and you're looking for a guaranteed acceptance or no medical exam policy, then MassMutual would be a great choice, as it offers plans with these benefits. Customer reviews and ratings are above average, indicating MassMutual cares about settling complaints and catering to its policyholders.

Good for
  • Excellent financial stability
  • No medical exam and guaranteed acceptance policies
  • Online application and acceptance for Direct Term and Simplified Whole life insurance policies
  • Free life insurance (MassMutual's LifeBridge Program)
Bad for
  • Smoker and senior life insurance rates

MassMutual life insurance products

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, better known as MassMutual, is a mutual insurance company that offers life insurance as well as other investment products such as 401(k)s and annuities.

For this reason, MassMutual could be a great option if you are looking to handle your life insurance and retirement planning with a single company.

Policy offerings include term, whole and universal life insurance. All life insurance products through MassMutual have standard rider add-ons, such as waivers for premium and accelerated death benefits, at no additional cost — similar to other major insurers. Policyholders can also change their beneficiaries at any time by filling out a form and showing insurable interest.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is available through MassMutual's Vantage Term policies, which provide affordable life insurance coverage for a set period of time. Term policies through MassMutual are guaranteed level, meaning premiums will not increase during the term period.

You can purchase Vantage Term plans with a death benefit from $100,000 to over $10 million. Coverage lengths for this policy include:

  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years
  • 25 years
  • 30 years

Once the initial term period ends, you may renew the policy annually but will likely pay a larger premium. Alternatively, all Vantage Term plans can be converted to permanent life insurance such as MassMutual's Whole Life Legacy products.

MassMutual offers competitive rates for its term life insurance products when compared to other top insurers. The graph below shows quotes for MassMutual's Vantage Term 20 product against other 20-year term policies.

MassMutual vs Top Rated

As you can see, MassMutual offers better-than-average rates for a standard applicant when compared to some of the top rated insurers like New York Life. However, it is not the cheapest option available. Protective Life Insurance offers the same product for $3 less per month.

Because MassMutual is more expensive for certain applicant groups like smokers and seniors, you may want to consider a different provider if you fall into these categories.

For instance, Northwestern Mutual has some of the cheapest rates for smokers and seniors in the industry.

In the graph below, we compare MassMutual quotes with Northwestern Mutual's Level Term insurance.

MassMutual vs Northwestern

MassMutual Direct Term

MassMutual's Direct Term life insurance option allows you to buy life insurance quickly through a simple online application process.

Direct Term insurance is best if you are looking for instant insurance coverage and do not want to take a medical exam.

This policy has coverage lengths of 10, 20 or 30 years but smaller possible face values of $100,000 to $2 million. Once you complete your application, and if you are approved, your life insurance coverage would start immediately. However, if MassMutual also requires you to complete a medical exam based on your responses, you would need to complete this step within 90 days of application approval for coverage to remain in effect.

MassMutual also sells term life insurance online through its subsidiary Haven Life. This online provider uses your medical history to set rates. Healthy, younger individuals typically don't need to take a medical exam or drug test. All policies sold through Haven Life are underwritten by MassMutual, but they do have some differentiating factors to consider. For example, Haven's InstantTerm product only offers up to $1 million in coverage immediately with no medical exam required.

Whole life insurance

The simplest form of permanent life insurance offered at MassMutual is its Legacy whole life insurance policy.

Whole life insurance provides lifelong coverage by allowing you to pay premiums for a set period of time. Legacy products include:

  • Legacy 100
  • Legacy 65
  • Legacy 20
  • Legacy 10
  • Legacy High Early Cash Value (HECV)

The marketing names indicate how long you'll pay premiums.

For example, the Legacy 65 and Legacy 100 imply that premiums are guaranteed level until you reach the age of 65 and 100, respectively. This is different from the Legacy 10 or 20, which imply that the policy can be paid up in 10 and 20 years, respectively.

The Legacy 10 or 10 Pay whole life insurance product has the shortest pay period offered by MassMutual, but since this policy has a short pay period, the premiums will be more expensive than a longer policy like the Legacy 20.

The most unique Legacy product is the Legacy High Early Cash Value whole life policy. This insurance is similar to single premium life insurance in that a large portion or all of the premiums will be paid within the first year. This means the policy would be fully funded and have the greatest cash value accumulation.

All Legacy whole life insurance plans are "participating," meaning the policy is eligible for dividends.

MassMutual is a mutual insurance company, and all whole life policyholders are classified as stakeholders in the company. So if the company has a positive financial performance during the year, then a policyholder may receive a dividend.

MassMutual has consistently paid dividends, which customers can use to increase the death benefit or cash value in a policy or subsidize monthly premium payments.

Long-term care (LTC) Access rider

The LTC Access rider is similar to an accelerated death benefit rider offered by most life insurance companies. This policy add-on allows you to use a portion of your death benefit to pay for long-term care.

This type of rider is best if you are older or worried about your family's ability to pay for long-term care if you need it when you are a senior.

All Legacy whole life insurance products allow policyholders to add this rider for an additional cost. Any benefit you use for long-term care will reduce the death benefit left in your legacy whole life policy. However, the money you receive is not taxable as income, and thus you would receive the full amount.

Simplified Issue Whole Life Insurance

The Simplified Issue Whole Life product is similar to MassMutual's Direct Term policy, as you can apply for it completely online. This policy is available for people between the ages of 40 and 80 years old and is designed to cover end-of-life expenses like funeral costs or debts. Coverage amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000.

Simplified Issue is unique because applicants won't have to take a medical exam to receive coverage. Instead, you would answer a few health and lifestyle questions. If you still do not qualify for the Simplified Issue policy after the questionnaire, MassMutual also offers Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance for people between 50 and 75 years old. When applying for MassMutual's Guaranteed Acceptance plan, you cannot be denied coverage for any health reasons, but the quote you receive for coverage will be higher.

Universal life insurance

MassMutual has a universal life insurance product that's similar to other companies' policies. These policies have a death benefit that is guaranteed throughout your life if premiums are paid into the plan. Furthermore, universal life allows you to increase or decrease the premium that you pay each month to accommodate your financial situation.

Universal life insurance also has a cash value component that builds over time. As you pay premiums for your policy, a portion of the money will go toward fees while a separate portion will be deposited into the cash value account. This account will grow at a minimum guaranteed interest rate throughout the life of the plan but can perform better depending on the insurer's market performance. The cash value can be used as:

  • Surrender value: You may cancel your life insurance policy and get back the accumulated cash value.
  • Premium payments: You can also use the cash value to pay a portion or all of your monthly premiums.
  • Loan collateral You can take out a loan from your insurance provider and use the accumulated cash value as collateral.

Variable universal life insurance

Variable universal life (VUL) insurance differs from a standard universal policy in that the interest rate for the cash value has more potential growth — but also downside risk if the market performs poorly.

When you first receive your VUL policy, you will have several options for investing your cash value. These options are similar to mutual funds in that they are a group of securities such as:

  • An index (such as the S&P 500)
  • Bonds
  • Money market fund
  • Portfolio of equities

Other than the interest rate for the cash value, variable universal life insurance operates the same as universal life in that the death benefit is guaranteed and there are a variety of options for how you can use your cash value account.

Group life insurance

If you own a business and want to provide life insurance as a benefit for your employees, then you could offer coverage through MassMutual's group life insurance policies. Group plans are available as term, whole or universal life insurance. You can also choose to include group policy add-ons, such as critical illness and accident coverage riders.

MassMutual's LifeBridge Program

The LifeBridge plan is one of MassMutual's free life insurance programs. Designed for lower-income parents, LifeBridge provides a free $50,000 policy that can go toward your child's education if you die within a certain term. Eligibility is restricted to individuals who are:

  • Between the ages of 19 and 42.
  • A parent or legal guardian to a dependent under the age of 18.
  • A U.S. permanent or legal resident.
  • Currently employed with a total family income between $10,000 and $40,000.
  • In good health.

Under the LifeBridge program, MassMutual would issue a $50,000 policy to a trust for a 10-year period with no cost to you. If you die during that period, payments for education expenses would begin immediately. This money could be used to pay for tuition, books, and campus room and board.

MassMutual customer reviews and complaints

MassMutual is a great choice for life insurance if you are looking for a financially stable provider. Financial strength ratings for MassMutual are overall good with an A.M. Best rating of A++ (Superior) and Standard & Poor's AA+ (Very Strong). These ratings indicate that MassMutual is positioned well to pay claims and is financially healthy.

MassMutual has received average grades and reviews from some of the largest rating companies. This includes the Better Business Bureau, which has not given MassMutual accreditation status and instead a rating of B. This is due to some negative customer reviews for its policy service and claims department. Additionally, MassMutual has an NAIC Complaint Ratio of 0.06. The median complaint is a 1.00, so the low ratio implies MassMutual is conscious about responding to customer issues.

MassMutual's CEO is Roger Crandall, and the company is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Frequently asked questions

Is MassMutual a good life insurance option?

Life insurance products from MassMutual are an excellent option for most individuals that are looking for cheap term and permanent policies. However, if you are currently a smoker or older, then you may be able to get cheaper rates from other life insurance companies.

Why would I get life insurance?

Purchasing a life insurance policy is important and provides financial security for you and your loved ones. Having an adequate life insurance plan allows for your family to continue to have financial stability even if you were to pass away, making it a cornerstone financial planning product.

What is the difference between term and whole life insurance?

Term life insurance is a type of life insurance policy that only provides coverage for a specific period of years. If you were to pass away within the term life insurance period, then the death benefit from the policy would be paid to your beneficiary. Whole life differs in that the coverage period extends for the entirety of your life.

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.