Best Life Insurance for Self-Employed

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 18, 2022

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If you work for a big company, chances are your employer has a life insurance policy for you. But what if you work for yourself? In that case, not only do you have to pay for your own life insurance, you’re in charge of finding the best deal. If you’re self-employed, you’re the boss when it comes to the best life insurance. The real problem is finding a life insurance policy that fits your needs and is affordable. Let Benzinga help you find the right life insurance policy at the right price.

The Best Life Insurance Carriers for the Self-Employed

If you’re self-employed and looking for life insurance, the hardest part may well be where to get started. Let Benzinga take the hard part out and steer you in the right direction with its picks of best life insurance for the self-employed.


Ladder life insurance allows you to adjust your death benefit at will. Whether you’re looking to increase or decrease your death benefit, Ladder makes it easy for you to adjust your policy. 

Ladder life insurance specializes in term life policies. Plans start at $100,000 and go to $8 million. The company sells policies in all 50 states (including Washington, DC), through partner issuers Allianz Life Insurance of New York and Allianz Life Insurance of North America. The company offers no-medical exam policies for those who qualify, up to $3 million. Restrictions include:

  • No whole life policies
  • No policy riders
  • No coverage past 70 years
  • securely through Ladder Life Insurance's website
    securely through Ladder Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Adjustable coverage
    Read Review

    Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (Cal. license # 0K22568; Ark. license # 3000140372) offers term life insurance policies: (i) in New York, on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (policy form # MN-26); and (ii) in all other states and the District of Columbia on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to issue life insurance in the state of New York. Insurance policy prices, coverages, features, terms, benefits, exclusions, limitations and available discounts vary among these insurers and are subject to qualifications. Each insurer is solely responsible for any claims and has financial responsibility for its own products.


Founded in 1955 and based in Columbus, Georgia, Aflac is the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the world. It also sells life insurance. Although specializing in group and workplace policies, the company does offer individual policies for the self-employed.

Aflac offers both term and whole life coverage up to $500,000. Term life plans come in increments of 10, 20 and 30 years and can be purchased either individually or through the workplace. Term life policies max out at $500,000 for ages 18 to 70 ($250,000 for ages 51 to 70). Aflac also offers guaranteed issue policies up to $50,000. Available riders include:

  • Advanced claim payment
  • Accelerated death benefit
  • Spouse term rider 
  • Waiver of premium benefit
  • Accidental death benefit
  • Child term rider
  • securely through Aflac's website
    securely through Aflac's website


Founded in 1925, Nationwide is one of the largest financial services companies in the world. The company offers a vast array of insurance products including home, auto and life.

When it comes to life insurance, Nationwide sells both term and permanent coverage. Term life policies range from 10 to 30 years, up to the age of 95. Term life is renewable and convertible to permanent insurance. Whole life policies offer fixed premiums up to the age of 100. Universal life policies include:

  • Nationwide CareMatters II: Hybrid policy, combines universal life with long-term care.
  • Nationwide Survivorship Indexed UL: Policy for 2 people, benefit paid after both persons die. 
  • Nationwide Indexed Universal Life Accumulator II: Best for higher income potential. Includes death benefits and tax advantages for greater cash value.
  • Nationwide Indexed Universal Life Protector II: Permanent life insurance with fixed benefits. Includes multi-layer tax protection and greater cash value potential.
  • securely through Nationwide's website
    securely through Nationwide's website
    Best For:
    Product Selection

Haven Life

Haven Life specializes in term life coverage and sells policies online. Applications take typically just 25 minutes. Haven Life policies are issued by the parent company, MassMutual, and applicants up to age 59 can qualify for $1 million in coverage with no medical exam. The company offers two types of term life policies:

  • Haven Term: Haven Term offers up to $3 million in coverage for people under the age of 60. While some can qualify for no exam up to $1 million, most applicants must take a medical exam.
  • Haven Simple: Specializes in no-exam life insurance up to $500,000. Applications are processed digitally and available in all 50 states except California, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota and New York.
  • securely through Haven Life Insurance's website
    securely through Haven Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Under Age 64
    Read Review

    Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC21 Haven Term in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Company (C.M. Life), Enfield, CT 06082. In New York (DTC-NY) and California (DTC-CA), it is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001.

Types of Life Insurance for Self-Employed

When it comes to different types of life insurance for the self-employed, you have a variety of choices — whether you’re looking for life insurance for a limited time or your whole life.

Term life insurance 

Term life insurance is the most popular and affordable type of life insurance. Term life policies are sold in increments of 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. Because term life is set for a predetermined period of time and holds no cash value, it’s the cheapest type of life insurance. Benefits of a term life policy include:

  • More affordable than whole life
  • Exam-free policies available
  • Greater death benefits
  • Convertible to whole life
  • Can be resold

Term life policies are best for shorter periods at lesser values. Most people buy term policies to cover a certain period of time or because they’re more affordable. Term life policies hold no cash value but can be resold.

Whole life insurance

A whole life insurance policy lasts exactly that: your whole life. Because it’s permanent and carries with it a cash value, it’s more expensive than term life, sometimes as much as 10 to 15 times more. Because whole life insurance has a cash value, you can take loans from it or even cash it in. Proceeds that accrue in your account are tax deferred, and the death benefit is tax free.

Whole life policies are more affordable when you’re young and because it's a permanent policy, your rates get locked in. While it does have a cash value, the majority of your premiums goes towards the death benefit.

Variable life insurance

Variable life is a permanent form of life insurance. Also known as cash value insurance, like whole life, it carries with it a cash value. But that’s where the similarities end. While the cash value in a whole life policy is controlled by the insurance company, variable life allows you to decide where the money goes.

Types of variable life insurance include:

  • Indexed
  • Guaranteed
  • Variable

Most people buy a variable policy for the investment opportunities. Variable life insurance is like having a mutual fund account with a death benefit. Gains are tax-deferred until time of withdrawal, and premium payments are flexible.

Universal life insurance

Like whole life, universal life insurance is a permanent policy that has a cash value. Universal life allows you more flexibility than a standard whole life policy, however, in that you can choose how much money you want in your cash account or use it to pay your premiums. You can use the cash value to:

  • Take out a loan
  • Withdraw cash
  • Pay your premiums

For example: You can adjust the amount of your premiums and even the death benefit itself. If you find yourself strapped, you can use the cash value to pay your premiums. Universal policies do come with risk, and if your cash value declines too much, your policy can be canceled.

Other types of life insurance include

  • Guaranteed issue 
  • Simplified issue
  • Final expense
  • Group life
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Key life

When is the Best Time to Buy Life Insurance?

The best time to buy life insurance is when you’re young. Generally speaking, as long as you're in good health and a non-smoker, if you buy a life insurance policy when you’re young, you’re going to be able to lock-in low rates.

Comparing the Best Life Insurance Plans

If you’re self-employed, finding the right life insurance policy is just a matter of getting off on the right foot. Let Benzinga show you the way with its vast array of articles on life insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you get life insurance if you’re self-employed?


Being self-employed is not an impediment to getting life insurance. Anyone, as long as their application is approved, can get life insurance, and that includes the self-employed, the unemployed and those employed by others. Life insurance for the self-employed is often more expensive because they have to pay 100% of the costs compared to those working for businesses where the company pays for some or sometimes all the premiums. 


Is life insurance a business expense for the self-employed?


If you own a business and pay life insurance premiums for your employees, it’s considered a business expense and is tax-deductible. If you’re self-employed, however, you don’t get that same privilege. While many expenses you pay to run your business are tax-deductible, life insurance is not. 


*One exception to the rule is when purchasing a life insurance policy for your business assets. In some instances, you may be allowed the cost of those premiums on Schedule C, Form 1040 from your tax returns.



Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank life insurance. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit our Life Insurance Methodology page.