Benzinga’s Life Insurance Methodology

We aim to provide comprehensive and unbiased reviews on Benzinga to help users understand and learn about life insurance. Our goal is to help lead you to the best life insurance provider for you. We break down the criteria and scores below.

Meet the Reviewers

Janet has been working in, and writing about, the insurance industry for over 20 years. Her career has spanned customer service and personal lines of insurance to writing about insurance industry trends and reviewing insurance companies.

Our Methodology Scores

DataWeight
All-online application10%
# of Plans available5%
Trustpilot Stars5%
Offers Term Life1%
Offers Whole Life1%
Offers Universal Life1%
Offers Indexed Universal life2%
Coverage Limit5%
Offers No-Medical Exam Coverage5%
Guaranteed Issue Option5%
Number of Riders/Endorsements Available1%
Mobile App1%
AM Best Rating1%
NAIC Complaint Index3%
BBB Rating3%
# BBB Complaints3%
Group/employer coverage2%
Return of premium term5%
Maximum term option2%
Minimum coverage amount5%
Pricing10%
Variable life insurance available1%
Child life insurance available1%
Local agents available1%
# of payment options1%
Length of free look period4%
Types of customer service available2%
Accelerated death benefits1%
Survivorship policies available (SVUL)2%
Final expense coverage available2%
Other types of insurance offered as well (homeowners, auto)2%
Multi-policy discounts available2%
Investment services available1%
Waiver of Premium available1%
JD Power Score3%
Score Totals100%

Review Process

For life insurance providers, Benzinga created a weighted scale based on 34 different data points. Reviewers meticulously researched each point and applied the score according to our criteria to arrive at an overall rating. From there we score 4 different categories:

Policy Options

We considered which policy and term options are available and indicated those options with the scores that are listed. Policy options are important part of selecting an insurance company for a variety of reasons. When a carrier offers multiple options, it can offer you bundled discounts along with more powerful policies that appear to be tailored to suit your situation. Additionally, the variety of policies you can choose from will help you purchase multiple policies that offer layers of coverage for you and your family.

These scores grow as a carrier helps you build an insurance package for your family that is both powerful and valuable. As you read further, you will discover that coverage limits, return of premium options, the number of available riders and maximum terms are weighted heavily to favor companies that allow you to hold policies for longer periods of time and obtain coverage that carries greater value.

CriteriaScore
Offers Term LifeY/N Y=1 N=0
Offers Whole LifeY/N Y=1 N=0
Offers Universal LifeY/N Y=1 N=0
Offers Indexed Universal lifeY/N Y=1 N=0
Offers No-Medical Exam CoverageY/N Y=1 N=0
Guaranteed Issue OptionY/N Y=1 N=0
Variable life insurance availableY/N Y=1 N=0
Child life insurance availableY/N Y=1 N=0
Accelerated death benefitsY/N Y=1 N=0
Survivorship policies available (SVUL)Y/N Y=1 N=0
Final expense coverage availableY/N Y=1 N=0
Coverage Limit<$250k = 0, $250k-$1.5M = 3, $1.5M+ = 5
Number of Riders/Endorsements Available<3 = 0, 3-5 = 3, 5+ = 5
Return of premium term4 options = 5, 3 options = 3 2 options = 1
Maximum term option30 yrs = 3 20 yrs = 2 10 years = 1
Minimum coverage amount$1,000 – $5,000 = 5; $5,001 – $10,000 = 4 $10,001 – $50,000 =3 $50,001+ = 2

Policy Premiums

Life insurance rates are calculated by a number of different factors including the age at the time of policy, if there are any pre-existing conditions, what plan and term you choose. You’ll pay a different premium depending on those factors—this section represents 10% of our overall rating.

As with any other financial instrument, you want to save money and spend as little as possible. Therefore, policies with lower prices are graded higher than those with higher annual premiums.

The profile used to generate these premiums was: male, 35, non-smoker, average health, United States.

We rated each carrier based on starting price as follows:

ScoreCriteria
5$1 – $20 per month
4$21 – $30 per month
3$31 – $50 per month
2$50+ per month

Customer Service

We used a secret shopper to contact each life insurance company and rated them based on responsiveness. 5 is the highest score and 1 is the lowest. When speaking with a live agent representing the carrier, the secret shopper was looking for a friendly and knowledgable agent who was both responsive and quick to research any questions for which they did not have immediate answers.

The secret shopper also took into consideration which methods are available for contacting the company: phone, email, online chat and more. The category represents 2% of the overall rating.

ScoreCriteria
5Replied or answered the phone in under 2 minutes
4Replied or answered the phone in 3-5 minutes
3Replied or answered the phone in 6-10 minutes
2Did not answer but responded back within 24 hours
1Did not answer or respond back within 24 hours

Application Experience

These ratings considered the application experience in the rating, looking at things like whether an online application was available, how the mobile app functioned and whether a medical exam was required. The application experience also comes down to ease of use and how quickly the application is submitted or passed through to an agent for a quote.

ScoreCriteria
Y/N Y=1 N=0All-online application
Y/N Y=1 N=0Has mobile app
Y/N Y=1 N=0Offers no medical exam coverage