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    by Neal Frankle Life Insurance Contributing Editor

    Use our guide to research and find the best life insurance company for you. We look at the types of policies available, the cost of life insurance and everything else you need to know to make an informed decision. These companies provide policies that ensure your family remains financially stable after your death.

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      Our favorite life insurance companies

      With a significant decision like buying life insurance, it’s vital you have all the necessary information about the companies and their policies. We considered a wide range of factors when choosing the top 3 life insurance companies. When making your decision, you should always investigate:

      1. Stability of the company: Because life insurance is such an important and long-term decision, stability is the most crucial factor in choosing a company. We looked at ratings from AM Best, S&P 500 and Weiss and Moody’s. We also examined their review history and the overall financial history of the company.
      2. Policies offered: Five common life insurance types are term life, universal, whole life, variable life and survivorship life insurance. Having more options is generally better; however, focusing on just a few policies while optimizing those benefits could be more beneficial for some.
      3. Customer experience: We looked to see which life insurance companies had the best and easiest online experience. Reliable, readily available customer service was also a factor.
      4. Online tools: The best life insurance companies share as much information online as possible. These companies clarify your options and help illuminate the ins and outs of life insurance. Some online tools include insurance calculators, learning centers and online policy management.

      Our favorite
      Policygenius Life Insurance

      Company nameContact
      Policygenius
      LogoSummary
      • Simple, intuitive interface
      • Offers term and whole insurance
      • Life insurance options from multiple companies

      Policygenius is a life insurance aggregator, which means they look at deals on life insurance from a variety of providers and suggest the best one for your needs. Policygenius offers both term and whole life insurance. You do not have to pay a fee for using Policygenius. Instead, life insurance companies pay Policygenius for directing potential customers to them.

      What we like
      The process with Policygenius is simple: Take about five to ten minutes and enter your information in the online tool. This process will include basic questions, like family and personal health history. Policygenius will analyze your results and then direct you to the best life insurance option for you. We like that Policygenius is honest about the benefits and downsides of each insurance company. The site also has several educational resources if you’re still new to the topic of life insurance and would like to learn more.
      What to consider
      Although Policygenius has a good variety of providers, they can’t cover every provider out there. Keep in mind that there might be other options Policygenius doesn’t have listed.
      Who’s it good for
      Policygenius is good for those looking for either term or whole insurance options, with the biggest variety of companies and the easiest online experience.

      Our favorite term life insurance company
      Haven Life

      Company nameContact
      Haven Life
      Authorized Partner
      LogoSummary
      • No medical exam for some applicants
      • Coverage up to 30 years and $3 million
      • Great benefits with Haven Life Plus

      Haven Life is backed by MassMutual, one of the largest insurers in the United States. You can apply online for immediate coverage in about half an hour.

      What we like
      If you’re under 59 and are looking for $1 million or less in coverage, you may receive immediate inclusion. If you want an idea of what the price might be with Haven Life, you can obtain a free estimate of your rate on their website without having to provide any contact information. Haven Life also offers price comparison tools so you can see how their coverage options and prices compare to those of their competitors. Certain applicants do not have to go through with a medical exam. If you’re healthy and under the age of 45, you’ll probably be able to skip the medical exam and undergo speedy approval. If you do need a medical exam, you’ll have to take one within 90 days. You’ll still be given temporary coverage before you take the medical exam. Some pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, will not prevent you from receiving Haven Life insurance. Policies are available in the following lengths: 10 years, 15 years, 20 years or 30 years. Haven Life Plus is a free feature with loads of great benefits. With Haven Life Plus, you gain access to features like Trust & Will, Aaptiv, LifeSite and MinuteClinic.
      What to consider
      Haven Life does not offer whole life insurance. Whole life insurance covers you for the rest of your life. Instead, Haven Life offers term life insurance in lengths ranging from 10 to 30 years.
      Who’s it good for
      Haven Life is good for those looking for term insurance who want to deal directly with a life insurance company instead of through agents or another website.

      Our favorite whole life insurance company
      TrustedChoice.com Life Insurance

      Company nameContact
      TrustedChoice.com
      LogoSummary
      • Pairs consumers with agents
      • Term and whole insurance options
      • Over 60 insurance partners

      TrustedChoice.com is not a life insurance website. Instead, they employ insurance agents to work on your behalf and find the best deal for you. It doesn’t cost any money to use TrustedChoice.com; rather, the company that ultimately offers you life insurance will pay TrustedChoice.com a fee for receiving you as a referral.

      What we like
      TrustedChoice has over 3,000 independent agents who work across the United States, maximizing your chances of finding life insurance that works for you. They also partner with over 60 life insurance companies, making it likely your agent will find a compatible life insurance policy. We like that the TrustedChoice website provides easy-to-understand information on the different types of life insurance. Their priority is to make sure you are informed about your choice, not to coerce you into a plan that may or may not work for you.
      What to consider
      Keep in mind that TrustedChoice is not responsible for the life insurance you choose. They might recommend a life insurance company, but the decision is yours. It’s essential to do your own research and confirm that the life insurance they offer is right for you.
      Who’s it good for
      TrustedChoice is good for those wanting to work with an independent agent to find the best life insurance option for them.

      Types of life insurance

      Term life insurance

      Term life insurance is a life insurance policy that lasts for a set period, or "term." Common life insurance terms are 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and 30 years. Term life insurance is typically the cheapest form of life insurance. That is because it doesn’t last as long as whole life insurance. Once the term has expired, the life insurance coverage ends.

      Whole life insurance

      Whole life insurance does just what it sounds like — it stays active for your “whole” life. As long as the policyholder pays the premiums, the life insurance will remain in effect. This sets it apart from term life insurance, which only lasts for a preset amount of time. Whole life insurance’s yearly cost is more than term life insurance’s cost. The most significant benefit of whole life insurance is that policy conditions, such as death benefits and specific payment information, are defined upfront. Whole life policies often build up a cash value which may be borrowed from or used to pay premiums. The premiums for whole life insurance are also typically set in advance and stay the same over the life of the policy.

      Survivorship life insurance is a version of whole life insurance which can be purchased by couples. With this insurance in place, the benefits are paid out only after both parties pass away. You might also hear the term “permanent life insurance.” This is an umbrella term for life insurance policies that stay active until death. Permanent insurance includes both whole life insurance and universal life insurance, explained below.

      Universal life insurance

      Like whole life insurance, universal life insurance is permanent insurance that stays in force throughout your life. The main difference between universal life insurance and whole life insurance is universal life insurance has more flexibility with premium amounts benefits received on the payout. The terms change depending on how much the insurance company earns.

      If the insurance company earns more than expected, a policy will build cash value quickly and might even result in reduced or eliminated premium payments. If earnings come in lower than expected, the policyholder may have to make up the difference by increasing premiums.

      Variable universal life insurance

      Variable universal life insurance is just like universal life insurance, except you can have multiple sub-accounts where the premium is invested. These sub-accounts operate similarly to a mutual fund. The “variable” in variable universal life insurance refers to the fact that investments will return variable amounts, either gaining or losing funds. The key takeaway is that variable universal life insurance provides the potential for higher returns, but it also exposes the investor to the risk of more significant losses.

      Life insurance questions

      What is life insurance?
      Life insurance provides an agreed sum of money to your loved one in the case of your death. When you sign up for life insurance, you will designate a beneficiary, a term length for the insurance (which can include the rest of your life), and the amount of the payout. Life insurance can help provide stability to those who depend on your income.
      How does life insurance work?
      A life insurance policy requires you to pay a small monthly premium. If you die, the life insurance coverage will deliver a payout to your designated beneficiary. If you buy term life insurance, you will pay a premium for a set number of years, usually from 5 to 30. If you purchase whole life insurance, you will need to pay premiums for the rest of your life in order to receive a payout.
      How much is life insurance?
      Life insurance probably isn’t as expensive as you think. Several surveys have shown that Americans overestimate a given life insurance price by up to 200%. However, a 30-year-old woman purchasing a $250,000, 20-year term policy can expect to pay just $135 a year. A man of the same age with the same policy would pay about $150.

      Life insurance cost varies based on your age, gender, health and lifestyle. After the age of 40, you can expect life insurance costs to increase by about 10% each year. Life insurance for women is often 15% to 40% cheaper than life insurance for men.

      When should you get life insurance?
      Technically, the best time to buy life insurance is the day you are born because life insurance gets more and more expensive as you go through life. If you’re worried about the cost, always remember that today is the youngest you’ll ever be. Fortunately, if you are over the age of 35, it’s not too late to buy life insurance. If you are 50 or over, you can still get life insurance, but the options will be limited, and it will cost more.
      Is life insurance worth it?
      Once you’ve asked, “What is life insurance?” the next question is, “Is life insurance worth it?” For many people, it is — especially if you have a dependent, spouse or relative who is heavily reliant on your income and support. Then, if you pass away, your loved one can be supported by the life insurance payout. No one likes preparing for their death, but it’s good to have a safety net for your loved ones in case something happens.
      Is a whole life policy a good investment?
      Whole life insurance provides coverage for the rest of your life. While whole life policies usually cost more than short-term life policies, they also have more benefits. If you’re interested in a long-term life insurance policy that could accrue a substantial cash value, a whole life policy could be for you.

      Not sure how to choose?

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        Life insurance reviews

        Gerber Life Insurance

        Gerber Life Insurance is an affiliate of the Gerber baby food company, although the two are financially independent from one another. Gerber has been providing life insurance since 1967 with a focus on children and young parents. They currently sell policies throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

        Read more about Gerber Life Insurance
        Policygenius Life Insurance

        PolicyGenius is a website that allows you to comparison shop for various types of insurance. PolicyGenius’ life insurance options give you several quotes from leading life insurance providers, and you can apply directly from PolicyGenius.

        Read 127 Reviews
        TrustedChoice.com Life Insurance

        TrustedChoice partners with independent agents across the United States to help consumers find competitive rates for their insurance needs. Their website offers a lot of helpful insurance advice in easily accessible language. In addition to life insurance, TrustedChoice can help consumers find an agent for their auto, home and business insurance.

        Read 28 Reviews
        AARP Life Insurance

        AARP is a large organization boasting over 38 million members ages 50 and up. They opened their doors in 1958 and now have offices in all 50 states.

        Read more about AARP Life Insurance
        Prudential Life Insurance

        Prudential is a financial services conglomerate that first started operations in 1875. Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, Prudential is and is a Fortune 500 company offering life insurance, annuities and investments to consumers.

        Read more about Prudential Life Insurance
        John Hancock Life Insurance

        Hancock was founded in 1862, but it was acquired by Canadian insurer Manulife Financial in 2004. The subsidiary is still headquartered in Boston.

        Read more about John Hancock Life Insurance
        MetLife Life

        Headquartered in New York City, MetLife, Inc. is the holding company for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (Met Life). The parent company (MetLife, Inc.) is one of the largest insurance sales companies in the world — MetLife, Inc. has over 90 million customers in over 60 countries across the globe.

        Read more about MetLife Life
        American General Life Insurance

        American General was founded in 1850. They do business with 13 million customers worldwide and offer a wide range of insurance products and annuities.

        Read more about American General Life Insurance
        Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance

        Also a Fortune 500 company, Mutual of Omaha was founded in 1909 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

        Read more about Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance
        AAA Life Insurance

        The American Automobile Association has over 51 million members and the national headquarters are in Heathrow, Florida. AAA was founded in 1902.

        Read more about AAA Life Insurance
        Allstate Life Insurance

        Allstate was founded in 1931 as part of Sears, Roebuck and Company. Allstate established its beginning by selling auto insurance and calls Northfield Township, Illinois home.

        Read more about Allstate Life Insurance
        Farmers New World Life Insurance

        As one of the only large insurance companies based on the West Coast, Farmers is headquartered in Los Angeles. Farmers opened its doors in 1928 but is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zurich Financial, an Irish insurance company.

        Read more about Farmers New World Life Insurance
        New York Life

        New York Life offers life insurance, investment products, retirement income and long-term care solutions. It also provides services to assist with planning for retirement.

        Read 102 Reviews
        Aflac Life Insurance

        Founded in 1955, Aflac offers whole and term life insurance policies to individuals through their employers, with payment done by payroll deduction only. Aflac offers a variety of insurance policies that include life, auto and even cancer insurance.

        Read more about Aflac Life Insurance
        American Family Life Insurance

        American Family Life Insurance is a company that is dedicated to giving its customers peace of mind, as well as custom-tailored insurance policies that fit each individual's needs. They also make the insurance process simple by providing friendly and helpful service, as well as keeping the claims process easy and worry-free.

        Read more about American Family Life Insurance
        Erie Life Insurance

        Erie Life Insurance is a Fortune 500 company that offers a variety of term, whole and universal life insurance solutions. It currently serves residents living in 12 surrounding states, along with those living in the Washington, DC, area.

        Read more about Erie Life Insurance
        Esurance Life Insurance

        Esurance Life Insurance is known for giving their customers an easy way to find insurance coverage online. They have grown into a company with over 3,000 associates nationwide that help people find the right policy to meet their individual needs. Their goal is to provide quality insurance coverage for the modern world.

        Read more about Esurance Life Insurance
        USAA Life

        USAA Life offers a variety of life insurance policies for active-duty, retired and discharged members of the military and their spouses, as well as a term life insurance plan for customers' children under the age of 17. Unlike other life insurance companies, USAA will pay benefits on a member's policy even if he or she is killed in war. Additionally, some USAA life insurance policies do not require a medical exam.

        Read more about USAA Life
        Farm Bureau Life

        Farm Bureau Financial Services offers several types of life insurance to residents in Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. They have earned "Excellent" ratings from A.M. Best for more than 50 years.

        Read more about Farm Bureau Life
        Geico Life Insurance

        Founded in 1936 with a customer base of government and military employees, Geico has grown into one of the largest insurance companies in the US. Geico offers a range of insurance policies, which can be tailored to meet the needs of individual customers.

        Read more about Geico Life Insurance
        Globe Life Insurance

        Globe Life Insurance is among the most prominent and reputable life insurance writers in the United States. Founded in Oklahoma in 1951, the company provides life and accident insurance to individuals. They offer a variety of plans that tailor to individual needs, and make the buying experience easy with no sales agents involved. They have more than $69 billion of insurance in force and are committed to providing secure life insurance protection to their policyholders.

        Read 296 Reviews
        Liberty Mutual Life Insurance

        Liberty Mutual provides Life, Home and Auto insurance that help meet the needs of individuals, families and businesses. Since 1912, Liberty Mutual has developed a corporate culture that treats its customers like people and strives to deliver excellent customer service.

        Read more about Liberty Mutual Life Insurance
        Nationwide Life Insurance

        For over 85 years, Nationwide Insurance has proven itself as a leader in the insurance industry. The company offers many choices with insurance — from auto and homeowners insurance to even life and pet insurance. Financial advisers can also help customers who may have concerns about their insurance needs.

        Read more about Nationwide Life Insurance
        Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance

        Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance is a financial services company that provides its clients various insurance options and investment opportunities. It can aid individuals and businesses to possess a lifetime of financial stability.

        Read more about Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
        Progressive Life Insurance

        Progressive Life Insurance helps individuals understand and compare different types of life insurance and choose policies that meet their needs. The company offers term, permanent and final expense life insurance, as well as a wide variety of riders, saving components and payment options. With an established quote system, a customer service telephone line and a wide range of policies, Progressive Life Insurance helps people plan for a secure future.

        Read more about Progressive Life Insurance
        State Farm Life Insurance

        State Farm Life Insurance is a Fortune 500 company that specializes in a variety of insurance solutions, including term, whole and universal life insurance. Its flexible policy options allow its customers to obtain a customized life insurance policy that meets their needs and fits their budgets.

        Read more about State Farm Life Insurance

        Author note

        Expert grades are awarded based on the following criteria: availability of a wide variety of life insurance products, company focus on life insurance, and length of history offering life insurance products. We also take note of consumer reviews, when available.

        The higher the grade, the more likely it is that the company will better compete for your life insurance needs. This is not to say that you should restrict your life insurance research to companies with higher grades or eliminate those companies with poor marks. Also, marks awarded here are no indication of financial strength and/or stability. Readers should perform their own due diligence prior to making any life insurance decision.

        Life insurance is very situation-specific. Consumers should be absolutely sure about which type of life insurance they need before making a decision. A trusted advisor such as a tax planner, attorney, or financial planner should be consulted before purchasing a policy. There are a number of different types of life insurance policies, but each varies greatly in terms of cost and benefits. It’s critical to become familiar with these differences, so you have the best opportunity to choose the right life insurance provider and buy the policy that matches your unique needs.

        Be cautious when asking insurance companies for advice because they may try to convince customers to buy products just for the sake of a sale. When you are certain about which type of life insurance you need, you should seek out multiple quotes. Remember life insurance agents who work as captive agents for one company can only sell that company’s products.

        For women

         

        Women need life insurance

        Nearly everyone (85% of consumers) agrees that they need life insurance. Yet, only 62% of consumers say they have life insurance, and of those who do, more than 40% think they don’t have enough.

        What’s more, there is a sizable gender gap in life insurance coverage. Only 40% of women in the U.S. have life insurance, and women average smaller amounts of individual life insurance coverage than men. On average, women have $129,800 of individual life insurance to men’s $187,100. Here are three reasons women, especially women with children, should own life insurance.

         

        1. To protect their families from loss of income

        A mom's contribution to household income

        Most (70%) U.S. households with children under 18 would have trouble meeting everyday living expenses within a few months if a primary wage earner were to die. That could be bad news for the 40% of homes where mothers are the primary breadwinner in their family, and the more than 60% where the mother brings home at least 25% of the family’s earnings.

         

        2. To replace the services they provide

         How much would stay-at-home moms earn?

        In 2014, there were 5.2 million stay-at-home moms nationwide. And while no amount of money can replace the love and caring the moms provide their families, recent surveys show that stay-at-home moms would earn, conservatively, $117,000 per year for the tangible services they provide (activities like cooking, cleaning, and caring for their children). The same survey showed working moms render $71,860 per year worth of services on top of their annual salaries. 

         

        3. To care for their children

         Single parents and life insurance

        83% of single parents are single mothers. For them, life insurance will provide their children with the financial resources they will need to avoid additional hardships in their lives. Yet, 70% of single parents don’t have life insurance.

        Although nobody wants to think about it, 800,000 people are widowed each year in the U.S. Life insurance gives moms peace of mind knowing that, should the worst happen, their families will be protected. For more helpful tips  and user reviews to help you choose the right insurance provider for you, check out the rest of our guide.

         

        Sources: 
        http://www.widowshope.org/first-steps/these-are-the-statistics/
        http://www.salary.com/mom-paycheck/
        http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/04/25/going-naked-dont-single-parents-life-insurance/
        http://investor.genworth.com/investors/news-releases/archive/archive/2011/Children-of-Single-Parents-at-Greatest-Risk-to-be-Uninsured/default.aspx
         

        Compare Top Life Insurance Reviews

        by Neal Frankle Life Insurance Contributing Editor

        Neal Frankle is a Certified Financial Planner in Los Angeles. He is the publisher of WealthPilgrim.com, an information resource for consumers. He has been a professional financial advisor since 1991 and is the editor of www.MCMHA.org.

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