Best Whole Life Insurance

Contributor, Benzinga

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If you’re considering a life insurance policy, you might feel like you’re about to step into a confusing web of policies and terms. The ability to search for policy types and providers online means you have choices. How do you sort through the web to find the best option for you? 

When it comes to life insurance, your first decision will be between term or whole life policies. From there, you’ll need to choose the provider that can offer you the best rate. We always recommend getting free quotes to find your best life insurance rates. 

Benzinga has put together this guide to give you more insight into whole life insurance policies and to help you narrow your search.

Are you convinced a whole life insurance policy is right for you? Here are Benzinga’s top picks for the best life insurance companies that provide permanent life insurance policies.

1. Best for Additional Coverage: Prudential

Prudential offers permanent life insurance policies, but not a basic whole life option. Its indexed universal life, universal life and variable universal life policies are all a means for you to build cash value through your policy. Prudential also allows you to customize your policy by adding riders to extend your coverage. These optional riders include serious illness, disability or additional death benefit riders.

Prudential also provides survivorship or second-to-die insurance. This policy pays out the death benefit after 2 people have passed, typically a married couple. This type of policy is most often used in estate planning when parents wish to leave an inheritance to their children.

Age Requirements
18 – 75
N/A
1 Minute Review

Prudential offers a wide variety of life insurance policies, including extremely short-term policies. Its options mean that there’s a policy that can fit just about every need. 

The company also provides other services and products, including retirement plans and some health insurance. 

Prudential is a reliable company in good financial standing, evidenced by its ratings. You can get a quote for term life insurance policies online, but for other policy types, you’ll need to go through one of Prudential’s financial professionals. 

Best For
  • Short-term policies
  • Families who want to leave a legacy behind
  • Flexible whole life insurance
Pros
  • Riders can be added to policies
  • Some policies can be used as final expenses life insurance
  • There is a “free look” period
Cons
  • Quotes for Prudential’s term policies only available online

2. Best for Customer Service: Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual takes the time to match you with the right financial advisor. Answer a few basic questions online about yourself and your financial goals and an advisor will contact you to help you find the right type of insurance for your goals and budget.

When you choose a whole life policy from Northwestern Mutual, you’re guaranteed your premiums will never increase. To top it off, Northwestern Mutual boasts some of the highest financial strength ratings out there, so you can be assured your policy is in good hands.

Age Requirements
18 – 100
N/A
1 Minute Review

Northwestern Mutual offers a variety of life insurance policies that are suitable for a wide range of people. Policies are available in all 50 states, although some policies and riders may not be available in every state. The company has strong financial strength ratings and an above-average rating when it comes to consumer complaints. 

To get a quote from Northwestern Mutual, you have to talk to one of its agents. However, you can browse information on its website and use the coverage calculator tool to estimate how much life insurance coverage is recommended for your family.

Best For
  • Affordable term life insurance that can be converted to a permanent life insurance policy later
  • Adding riders to a life insurance policy
Pros
  • Strong financial strength ratings and a low number of consumer complaints
  • Several types of life insurance policies available
  • Offers other financial planning, insurance and investment products and services
Cons
  • Lack of clarity about the product offerings on Northwestern Mutual’s website
  • Can’t get a quote or apply directly for a policy online

3. Best for Alternative Policies: AIG 

AIG offers a variety of life insurance products to meet your needs. It provides Guaranteed Issue Whole Life if you’re 50 to 85. No medical exam is required, and the tax-free benefits can help with your final expenses. 

The company’s unique Quality of Life offering is a product suite that can provide protection not only upon unexpected death, but also in the case of unforeseen illness or insufficient retirement income. All products in this suite have built-in, no-cost benefits that can be used while you’re still living. AIG makes service simple with the ability to manage your policy online.

Age Requirements
All ages
N/A
1 Minute Review

AIG Life Insurance is known as one of the biggest insurers in the entire world. Its services are offered to millions of customers throughout more than 80 countries. The agency also provides a wide range of insurance and investment products for businesses. According to Fitch and S&P, an A+ rating best suits AIG Life while an A2 rating from Moody’s alon and an A rating from AM Best perfectly supports just how much of a positive reputation the company radiates overall. AIG Life proves that there is more than term life insurance and the ability to cover everything is possible.

 

Best For
  • Life insurance as an investment tool
  • Parents, individuals and businesses
  • Anyone in need of several insurance options
Pros
  • Unique variants of traditional life insurance policies
  • Variety of term lengths for term life policies
  • Business services offered to help protect your bottom line
  • Multipolicy discounts available
Cons
  • Low score for customer satisfaction
  • Unavailable in some states (New York and Maine); some states only available online (Pennsylvania)

4. Best for Insuring Children: Gerber

You can purchase a Gerber Life Grow-Up plan for a child if you’re a parent, grandparent or legal guardian. Apply for this whole life insurance policy when your child is between 14 days and 14 years old.

You can lock in an affordable premium to accumulate cash value throughout your child’s life. The child can then cash out the policy as an adult or carry this plan throughout his or her lifetime.

Age Requirements
1 – 80
N/A
1 Minute Review

Gerber Life provides a variety of life insurance plans for every life stage. It is particularly known for having life insurance policies for children, which can be beneficial for children in a few different ways. Not only does it provide financial protection for your children if you pass away, but it also can be used as an investment and savings resource for their future.

Gerber also offers life insurance policies that are designed for adults and seniors. It even offers policies with guaranteed acceptance if you meet the age requirements. As a whole, the company offers something for everyone. 

 

Best For
  • Parents or grandparents who want life insurance for their children
  • Parents or grandparents who want to save for their children’s future
  • Seniors who want a modest amount of guaranteed coverage
Pros
  • Several policies to choose from
  • No medical exam required for most of its policies
  • Guaranteed acceptance for those who meet the age qualifications
Cons
  • No mobile app
  • Customer service only by phone

5. Best for Investment Options: MassMutual

MassMutual is a long-running insurance provider with competitive rates. You’ll be able to choose your investments if you purchase a variable life insurance policy from MassMutual. Some participating policies also provide the opportunity to earn dividends and build account value.

Dividends are never guaranteed, but MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders since 1869. These dividends can help increase the cash value or your policy or bump up your death benefit. You can also choose to use dividends to help pay your premiums.

Age Requirements
All ages
N/A
1 Minute Review

Mass Mutual is great for people who are looking for one-stop shopping for a range of insurance and financial products such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and retirement plans.

Mass Mutual is the short version of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and it is one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States. 

Policyholders own the company as it is a mutual insurance company. When the company is prosperous, policyholders can expect to receive a dividend.   

The company is popular because it offers a wide range of products, and the customer service department is reliable and responsive. 

Best For
  • Males or females over the age of 18
  • Customers seeking a large offering of life insurance products
Pros
  • Wide range of life insurance products for term life, whole life and universal life
  • Claims accepted via email
  • No medical exam in some cases
  • Online applications
  • Dividends paid to policyholders
  • Competitive premiums
Cons
  • Medical exam generally required
  • No online application for some plans

Whole Life Insurance Quotes

Cost is always a deciding factor, and note that whole life is not cheap life insurance. While it will certainly have a higher price tag than term life, the final cost of your whole life insurance policy will depend on a number of personal factors. 

Take a look at this chart for a snapshot of how your age and coverage amount interact to create your monthly premium. 

AgeCoverage AmountTypical Monthly PremiumYour Quote
20$500,000$350Click Here
30$500,000$462Click Here
40$500,000$636Click Here
50$500,000$933Click Here
60$500,000$1,533Click Here

What is Whole Life Insurance?

Life insurance — term or whole — is designed to help your loved ones recover financially when you pass away. It can ensure that your spouse upholds the same standard of living or that you can provide financially for young children.

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. A whole life insurance policy will stay in effect for your entire life as long as you continue to pay for it. 

On the other hand, term life insurance policies only covers the person insured for a set number of years. That set number of years is your term, and common terms are 10, 20 or 30 years. When the term is over, your policy expires and death benefits are no longer available.  

How Whole Life Insurance Works

Understanding what your policy will provide is important and insurance policies are full of jargon. Here are some common terms to become familiar with before you start comparing whole life insurance policies.

  • Beneficiary: The person, people or entity you choose to receive your benefit upon your death. The beneficiary will receive a lump-sum payment after a death claim is filed.
  • Death benefit: The death benefit is the lump-sum payment your beneficiary receives when you die. Your beneficiary will receive a $500,000 death benefit if you select a $500,000 coverage amount.
  • Policyholder: The policyholder is the person who owns the whole life insurance policy. In most cases, the policyholder is the person whose life is insured. You’re the policyholder if you’re buying a whole life insurance policy on yourself. You may also be able to purchase a whole life insurance policy to insure someone else’s life.
  • Premium: A premium is the monthly payment you submit to keep your life insurance policy active. A whole life policy requires you to pay your premiums for the rest of your life. In some cases, you may be able to make annual payments instead of monthly payments.

When you purchase a whole life insurance policy, you enter a contract with the insurance provider. Your whole life insurance policy will go into effect as soon as you make your first premium payment. Coverage will remain active as long as you continue to pay your premium. As soon as your policy is active, your beneficiary is eligible to receive the death benefit upon your death. However, there are some circumstances in which your beneficiary may not be able to receive the death benefit. 

When you pass away, your beneficiary will need to contact your insurance agent to notify the agent of your death. This process is called a death claim. You’ll also need to submit a certified copy of your death certificate, which is usually available from the funeral director. 

Your insurance company can then begin processing the claim, and your beneficiary will receive the death benefit if the claim is approved. In some cases, your beneficiary may be able to choose how they receive your life insurance payouts.

Your whole life insurance policy will also come with a cash value. The cash value of your policy is a tax-deferred savings component of your policy. When you pay your premium, a certain percentage of the money goes into this account. As with most savings accounts, the cash value of your policy will earn interest over time, based on a rate determined by your policy. You’ll be able to withdraw money tax-free from the cash value of your policy and use it to take out a low-interest loan. If you surrender your policy, you can also collect the cash value.

When Whole Life Insurance is Worth It

Whole life insurance rates are often higher than other types of life insurance. It can be a good idea if you:

  • Make a lot of money and want to use it as an investment strategy. If you need life insurance anyway, it can be worth the higher premiums to build your cash value over time. This is especially true if you’re younger.
  • Want to use it to build your retirement savings. Another reason to take out a whole life insurance policy is to use the cash value to fund your retirement later in life.

When Whole Life Insurance is Not Worth It

A whole life policy isn’t best for everyone. Whole life might not be a good idea if you:

  • Have a modest income. A term life insurance policy is probably a better option for you. It requires lower premiums and is a good option for most life insurance policyholders.
  • If you’re older. As you age, you’re going to see increased premiums for your life insurance policy. The cash value of your policy probably won’t be able to offset these increased premiums. Take a look into life insurance for seniors.

Is Whole Life Insurance Right for You?

The benefits you want and the rate you can afford are at the heart of your decision for a life insurance policy. If you’re looking for an insurance policy you can also use as an investment product, whole life insurance may be a good option. Find your best policy by comparing quotes from a variety of providers. Enter your ZIP code and get started today.

Methodology

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