Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023 - Footstill

Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023

Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023 Purchasing life insurance is a smart way to provide for your loved ones financially in the event of your death. Having a good policy in place ensures that you’re doing so in a cost-effective way and the insurer will have enough funds to pay the agreed-upon death benefit.

It’s possible to choose the lowest premiums for your individual circumstances by shopping around for coverage. Take a look at our list of the cheapest life insurance companies to help you find the best fit for your budget.

Our Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023
#1 Guardian Life
#2 State Farm
#3 Lincoln Financial Group
#4 Bestow
#5 Nationwide

Compare the Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023
COMPANY AVERAGE MONTHLY COST SAMPLE MONTHLY COST – WOMEN SAMPLE MONTHLY COST – MEN LEARN MORE
Guardian Life »
3.5
U.S. News Rating
$61.00 $57.00 $65.00 Compare Quotes »
State Farm »
4.1
U.S. News Rating
$62.19 $54.79 $69.59 Compare Quotes »
Lincoln Financial »
3.9
U.S. News Rating
$65.40 $57.09 $73.71 Compare Quotes »
Bestow »
4.3
U.S. News Rating
$66.42 $56.00 $76.83 Compare Quotes »
Nationwide »
4.0
U.S. News Rating
$68.25 $59.94 $76.56 Compare Quotes »
* Monthly costs are for a 35 year-old female and 35 year – old male, respectively, in the Standard Plus risk category, or equivalent, for 20-year term policy with coverage of $1 million. **Lincoln Financial doesn’t have Standard Plus risk category, instead the Standard risk category was used for pricing.

Cheapest Life Insurance Companies in Detail
Guardian Life »
Guardian Life
Compare Quotes
3.5
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A++
Online Estimates
Available for some policies
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term, whole, and universal policies available

Online applications for term policies provided

Cons:

No online access for permanent life policy quotes or applications

Fees for converting term policy to permanent one

Guardian Life offers term, whole, and three types of universal policies. You can convert a term policy to a permanent one, but you’ll have to pay associated fees. Customers can get quotes and apply online for term policies, but not for permanent ones. To get a quote or purchase a permanent policy, you’ll need to speak to a Guardian Life insurance agent.

Policies: Term, whole, universal, joint universal, and variable universal

Coverage Amounts: Guardian Life has coverage amounts starting at $25,000 for its whole life policy and $100,000 for its term, universal, and variable universal policies. For maximum available coverage amounts, you should contact a Guardian Life agent.

For more information on Guardian Life, check out our full review.

State Farm »
State Farm
Compare Quotes
4.1
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A++
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term and permanent policies offered

No-exam policies available

Cons:

Policies provided through State Farm agent only

State Farm offers both term and permanent life insurance policies, including whole and universal coverage options. It also offers two policies that don’t require a medical exam: instant Answer Term and Final Expense. You won’t be able to purchase a State Farm policy online, though; you’ll need to go through a State Farm agent.

Policies: Term, whole life, final expense, universal, survivorship universal, and joint universal

Coverage Amounts: State Farm has a wide variety of options available. Its final expense whole life policy offers $10,000 to $15,000 in coverage; its universal policies offer coverage starting at $25,000; and its term life policies provide coverage starting at $50,000. For maximum available coverage amounts, you’ll need to speak to a State Farm agent.

For more information, check out our full State Farm review.

Lincoln Financial »
Lincoln Financial
Compare Quotes
3.9
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A+
Online Estimates
Available for some policies
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term and permanent policies available

Cons:

Quotes and applications available through agent only

No whole life policies

Lincoln Financial offers term, indexed universal, and variable universal policies but not whole or standard universal coverage. The company also sells annuities and offers other financial planning services.

Policies: Term, indexed universal, variable universal, survivorship universal, and survivorship variable universal

Coverage Amounts: Term policies provide coverage limits ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million, dependent on underwriting. Other policies have different coverage amounts, so you should speak to an agent for more information.

For more information on Lincoln Financial Group, check out our full review.

Bestow »
Bestow
Compare Quotes
4.3
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A+
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Offers term life insurance policies

Entirely online application process

Cons:

No riders available

No permanent life insurance policies

Bestow offers only term life policies, meaning you won’t find any whole or universal policies and you can’t convert an existing term policy to a permanent one. None of its term policies require a medical exam, but you’ll be required to answer some health questions. Its entire application process is online. There are also no riders available to customize your policy.

Bestow is a digital insurance agency. The policies it sells are issued by the North American Co. for Life and Health Insurance.

Policies: Term

Coverage Amounts: Bestow’s term life policy death benefits range from $50,000 to $1.5 million.

For more information on Bestow, check out our full review.

Nationwide »
Nationwide
Compare Quotes
4.0
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A+
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term and permanent policies available

Riders available to customize policies

Cons:

No online quotes for permanent policies; must contact agent

Nationwide offers only one term policy but several universal and whole life policies, including its Simplified Whole Life plan for existing policyholders that doesn’t require a medical exam. There are also riders available such as long-term care, accidental death benefit, accelerated death benefit, and waiver of premium. Not all riders are available for all policies. While you can get a quote for a term policy online, you won’t be able to get a quote for any of its permanent policies online and will need to speak to an agent.

Policies: Term, whole, universal, variable universal, indexed universal, and survivorship indexed universal

Coverage Amounts: Nationwide’s term policy provides coverage starting at $25,000. Whole life policies provide coverage starting at $10,000 and its universal policies start at $100,000. For maximum coverage amounts, you’ll need to speak to a Nationwide insurance agent.

For more information on Nationwide, check out our full review.

How Much Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance policies vary in price because of factors that affect your risk level in the eyes of insurers. The riskier your profile, the more likely you are to pay a higher premium. In other words, the more likely it is that the insurer will need to pay out claims, the more they’ll charge.

Below are some factors that determine how much you will pay for life insurance:

Coverage amount: The higher your death benefit, the higher your rates
Policy type: Term life insurance is generally cheaper than permanent life insurance policies because you’re not building cash value, however premiums can increase each year depending on the type of term policy chosen.
Term length: If you purchase a term life insurance policy, you will pay more for longer terms.
Gender: Men tend to have higher life insurance costs compared to women because they don’t live as long.
Health or medical history: Smokers tend to pay higher premiums compared to nonsmokers, as well as those who have a higher risk of pre-existing and future medical conditions. Other health factors may also be taken into consideration, such as your current health, weight, and cholesterol levels.
Age: The older you are, the more likely it is you will be charged higher premiums.
Lifestyle factors: If you generally live a risker lifestyle (if you have hobbies that involve potentially dangerous activities) or have a high-risk job, you might pay more.
For more information on life insurance, read our How Does Life Insurance Work? guide.

Find the best life insurance for you

Get free quotes and compare life insurance policies without your contact information.

Compare Quotes
How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
Understanding exactly how much life insurance you need will ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re not around. There is the possibility though, that you could purchase too much life insurance, leading you to pay more in premiums that won’t do much financial good.

Determining how much you need will depend on your individual circumstances, including the following:

You and your family’s current and potential income, assets, and liabilities
The number of dependents you have, plus their future financial needs
The loss in income your loved ones will face without your contributions
Out-of-pocket costs relating to end-of-life expenses, such as funeral costs, estate taxes, and outstanding debt
The Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests also looking at less obvious sources of income outside of your salary, such as the value of employee benefits like health insurance subsidies and employer 401(k) matches. Once you’re gone, your loved ones will need to make up for these losses if they want to maintain the same standard of living.

Calculating the coverage amount you’ll need is an important first step before purchasing a policy. Once you have this amount, you can then look at policies that match your needs, including how much you can afford to spend on premiums.

Group and Free Life Insurance
Some employers and member-based organizations offer group life insurance as one of their benefits. This type of life insurance is an agreement between the employer or group and its employees or members, stating that it’ll provide life insurance policies.

If you’re considering a group life insurance policy as your primary source of coverage, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Pros:

Employer subsidizes policies

Paperwork may be easier than purchasing an individual policy

Typically has guaranteed acceptance regardless of age or health status

Cons:

Coverage amount tends to be low

Limited customization options

A main benefit of group life insurance policies is that they’re paid for by the employer and guarantee coverage. However, if you want to customize your coverage, you may have to pay out of pocket. Plus, your coverage amount may be limited to a certain amount of your salary.

If you want additional coverage, you may need to purchase another policy to ensure you have enough to provide for your loved ones if you die. According to LIMRA, a financial industries association, the median coverage for life insurance provided through the workplace is either a $20,000 flat sum or one year’s salary.

Another disadvantage is that group policies are usually tied to your job. If you leave, you won’t be able to take it with you. There are some insurance companies that allow you to convert a group policy to an individual one, but you’ll need to pay your own premiums.

Considering group life policies are usually provided at no cost to you, it may be a smart idea to take advantage of this benefit. That being said, you may need to purchase an additional or supplemental policy to ensure you’ll have coverage if you leave your job or want to increase your overall death benefit.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Women
The chart below shows a sampling of monthly rates for life insurance policies for females. In general, the younger and healthier you are, the lower you’ll pay in premiums. Plus, whole life and universal life insurance policies usually cost more than term life policies.

COMPANY AGE 35 FEMALE AGE 45 FEMALE AGE 55 FEMALE AGE 65 FEMALE
State Farm »
$54.79 $119.19 $269.69 $854.39
Bestow »
$56.00 $135.99 N/A N/A
Guardian Life »
$57.00 $119.00 $259.00 $375.00
Lincoln Financial »
$57.09 $124.66 $290.80 $896.07
Nationwide »
$59.94 $123.81 $283.94 $948.94
Sample monthly rates for a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage for a 35, 45, 55, 65-year old female nonsmoker who falls in a Standard Plus risk class (Average Health). * Lincoln Financial does not have the Standard Plus risk category, instead the Standard risk category was used for pricing.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Men
Life insurance generally costs more for males than females because of life expectancy statistics from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Still, you can purchase a policy with the cheapest rates by shopping around with different insurance carriers and comparing different policies.

COMPANY AGE 35 MALE AGE 45 MALE AGE 55 MALE AGE 65 MALE
State Farm »
$69.59 $149.69 $389.79 $1,158.89
Bestow »
$76.83 $178.49 N/A N/A
Guardian Life »
$65.00 $159.00 $359.00 $598.00
Lincoln Financial »
$73.71 $160.78 $429.10 $1,383.69
Nationwide »
$76.56 $169.31 $416.94 $1,446.81
Sample monthly rates for a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage for a 35, 45, 55, 65-year old male nonsmoker who falls in a Standard Plus risk class (Average Health). * Lincoln Financial does not have the Standard Plus risk category, instead the Standard risk category was used for pricing.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Seniors
Purchasing life insurance later in life may be a smart choice if you don’t want to burden your loved ones with any outstanding debt or funeral expenses. Yes, life insurance may be more expensive the older you get, but there are ways to save on premiums.

Here are some options to look at if you’re a female and want to find the lowest cost for your policy.

Life insurance for men who are older may be more expensive depending on factors such as health conditions and death benefit amount. To help you save as much as possible, it’s a smart idea to shop around with different insurance carriers.

Take a look at the table below to see our picks for the top five cheapest life insurance policies for senior males.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Smokers
Life insurance for smokers may cost more compared to nonsmokers. Premiums also depend on other factors such as your gender, age, health condition, and how often you smoke.

Take a look at the table below to see a range of premiums you might pay if you’re a female.

While life insurance policies for men are generally more expensive, the same factors for females will also affect how much males will pay. You can see a sampling of life insurance rates for male smokers in the table below. Note the difference between preferred versus standard smoker rates. The healthier you are, the more likely you are to pay less for your policy.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Children
Life insurance for children is a type of whole life policy, giving parents, legal guardians, and grandparents the opportunity to provide death benefit coverage and build cash value. Depending on the policy, policyholders can help the insured child lock in premiums, guarantee coverage as an adult, and invest for the future.

There are also children’s insurance riders you can add to your existing coverage. Premiums depend on several factors, including the child’s age, state of residence, and coverage amount. You can add these riders to select term, whole, and universal insurance policies.

How To Lower Your Life Insurance Premiums
There are several ways to lower your life insurance premiums:

Consider term life insurance. This type of policy is generally less expensive compared to permanent life insurance because your premiums don’t go towards building cash value. If you want to invest, however, you’ll need to look at other alternatives such as putting money in your employer-sponsored retirement plan or a brokerage account.
Lower your death benefit. Decreasing the amount of coverage might increase your chances of getting a lower premium. Whatever amount you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll still be able to provide enough for your beneficiaries.
Bundle policies. Many insurance companies offer discounts if you have a multi-line policy. For instance, if you purchase an auto and life insurance policy from the same insurer, your premium may go down.
Select the most cost-effective payment schedule. Some insurers offer a discount if you pay upfront, whether that’s annually, quarterly, or semi-annually. If you’re concerned that you may not be able to make a larger upfront payment, then monthly premiums may be your best bet, even if you may not save on premiums.
Opt out of extras. Some policies have life insurance riders or other add-ons to customize coverage. Even though they may offer more protection, the additional cost may not be worth it. Take your time to research which riders you want and determine whether you really need the additional coverage.
What Is the Cheapest Life Insurance?
Generally speaking, term life insurance policies have the cheapest rates, while permanent policies, like whole life insurance, are more expensive. However, there are a lot of variables that can affect the price of a life insurance policy.

Term life insurance is cheaper because it only covers the insured for a specific period of time, or term (e.g., 5, 10, or 30 years). Permanent life insurance, which includes whole life, universal life, and variable life policies, covers the insured for their entire life. That can make it a riskier investment for the insurer. Permanent life insurance also has a cash value component that acts as a savings or investment vehicle, depending on the policy type.

Because life insurance rates are personalized, getting and comparing life insurance quotes can help you find a policy that matches your needs and budget. Our life insurance quotes guide can help you choose the type and amount of coverage you need and compare rate quotes.

The Best Life Insurance Companies
Selecting a life insurance policy suited for your needs starts by doing research on reputable companies. Below is a list of the top-rated ones.

#1 Bestow
#2 Haven Life
#3 State Farm
#3 USAA
#5 Nationwide
#5 MassMutual
READ MORE
Learn More
For more information about life insurance, see the following guides:
Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best Term Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best Whole Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best Universal Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best No-Exam Life Insurance Companies of 2023
READ MORE
Why You Can Trust Us: 42 Life Insurance Companies Researched
At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 42 life insurance companies and agencies and analyzed 14 third-party review sources. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.

The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing life insurance to guide prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.
U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which life insurance companies and agencies Americans are most interested in. We found 42 companies and agencies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across the different rating sources. After conducting a thorough analysis, we were able to condense the initial list to the 10 overall Best Life Insurance Companies. With the companies and agencies determined, we conducted a comprehensive research on their features to create a general layout of what consumers should know to assist with their purchasing decisions.

We then compared the available plans provided by our top life insurance companies and agencies across several criteria, including but not limited to cost, coverage limits, policy features, and availability. Research shows that these are the most important criteria for people shopping for life insurance. We compared costs across companies and agencies using two types of estimated cost information per company or agency, as applicable: a summary cost relative to the company in our main review page, as well as more detailed costs by age. At the company or agency level, we offer what we call a “base cost”: a cost representing a 35-year-old woman/man in average health getting a 20-year term policy with $1,000,000 in coverage. By keeping certain criteria consistent, such as health status, we make it easier for readers to compare costs by company or agency. In our company and agency profiles, we show cost estimates regarding policies for which online quote information was available at the time of publication. Where available, quote information was provided from a data analytics partner or from each company or agency. We provided the same information to each company or agency, and obtained quotes either using publicly available online quoting tools, direct conversations with the companies, or both. In addition, we show the costs for a range of typical individuals, including 35-, 45-, 55-, and 65-year-old males and females and in average health. Prices shown are for $1,000,000 policies, with a 20-year-term for term life insurance and no term for permanent life and whole life insurance policies. Prices for seniors are for $500,000 policies, with a 10-year-term for term life insurance. This range of choices allows readers to understand insurance costs, although the best way to get an accurate estimate is to use a company’s or agency’s online tools as well as speaking with company agents.

2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.
U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from professional reviews as well as consumer reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:
Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent life insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of life insurance companies and agencies and their plans. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of life insurance companies and agencies. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.

(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations, and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company and agency’s score compared to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:
Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company or agency, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies and agencies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the mean from the company’s rating and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.

We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than one was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.

Purchasing life insurance is a smart way to provide for your loved ones financially in the event of your death. Having a good policy in place ensures that you’re doing so in a cost-effective way and the insurer will have enough funds to pay the agreed-upon death benefit.

It’s possible to choose the lowest premiums for your individual circumstances by shopping around for coverage. Take a look at our list of the cheapest life insurance companies to help you find the best fit for your budget.

Our Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023
#1 Guardian Life
#2 State Farm
#3 Lincoln Financial Group
#4 Bestow
#5 Nationwide

Compare the Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023
COMPANY AVERAGE MONTHLY COST SAMPLE MONTHLY COST – WOMEN SAMPLE MONTHLY COST – MEN LEARN MORE
Guardian Life »
3.5
U.S. News Rating
$61.00 $57.00 $65.00 Compare Quotes »
State Farm »
4.1
U.S. News Rating
$62.19 $54.79 $69.59 Compare Quotes »
Lincoln Financial »
3.9
U.S. News Rating
$65.40 $57.09 $73.71 Compare Quotes »
Bestow »
4.3
U.S. News Rating
$66.42 $56.00 $76.83 Compare Quotes »
Nationwide »
4.0
U.S. News Rating
$68.25 $59.94 $76.56 Compare Quotes »
* Monthly costs are for a 35 year-old female and 35 year – old male, respectively, in the Standard Plus risk category, or equivalent, for 20-year term policy with coverage of $1 million. **Lincoln Financial doesn’t have Standard Plus risk category, instead the Standard risk category was used for pricing.

Cheapest Life Insurance Companies in Detail
Guardian Life »
Guardian Life
Compare Quotes
3.5
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A++
Online Estimates
Available for some policies
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term, whole, and universal policies available

Online applications for term policies provided

Cons:

No online access for permanent life policy quotes or applications

Fees for converting term policy to permanent one

Guardian Life offers term, whole, and three types of universal policies. You can convert a term policy to a permanent one, but you’ll have to pay associated fees. Customers can get quotes and apply online for term policies, but not for permanent ones. To get a quote or purchase a permanent policy, you’ll need to speak to a Guardian Life insurance agent.

Policies: Term, whole, universal, joint universal, and variable universal

Coverage Amounts: Guardian Life has coverage amounts starting at $25,000 for its whole life policy and $100,000 for its term, universal, and variable universal policies. For maximum available coverage amounts, you should contact a Guardian Life agent.

For more information on Guardian Life, check out our full review.

State Farm »
State Farm
Compare Quotes
4.1
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A++
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term and permanent policies offered

No-exam policies available

Cons:

Policies provided through State Farm agent only

State Farm offers both term and permanent life insurance policies, including whole and universal coverage options. It also offers two policies that don’t require a medical exam: instant Answer Term and Final Expense. You won’t be able to purchase a State Farm policy online, though; you’ll need to go through a State Farm agent.

Policies: Term, whole life, final expense, universal, survivorship universal, and joint universal

Coverage Amounts: State Farm has a wide variety of options available. Its final expense whole life policy offers $10,000 to $15,000 in coverage; its universal policies offer coverage starting at $25,000; and its term life policies provide coverage starting at $50,000. For maximum available coverage amounts, you’ll need to speak to a State Farm agent.

For more information, check out our full State Farm review.

Lincoln Financial »
Lincoln Financial
Compare Quotes
3.9
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A+
Online Estimates
Available for some policies
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term and permanent policies available

Cons:

Quotes and applications available through agent only

No whole life policies

Lincoln Financial offers term, indexed universal, and variable universal policies but not whole or standard universal coverage. The company also sells annuities and offers other financial planning services.

Policies: Term, indexed universal, variable universal, survivorship universal, and survivorship variable universal

Coverage Amounts: Term policies provide coverage limits ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million, dependent on underwriting. Other policies have different coverage amounts, so you should speak to an agent for more information.

For more information on Lincoln Financial Group, check out our full review.

Bestow »
Bestow
Compare Quotes
4.3
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A+
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Offers term life insurance policies

Entirely online application process

Cons:

No riders available

No permanent life insurance policies

Bestow offers only term life policies, meaning you won’t find any whole or universal policies and you can’t convert an existing term policy to a permanent one. None of its term policies require a medical exam, but you’ll be required to answer some health questions. Its entire application process is online. There are also no riders available to customize your policy.

Bestow is a digital insurance agency. The policies it sells are issued by the North American Co. for Life and Health Insurance.

Policies: Term

Coverage Amounts: Bestow’s term life policy death benefits range from $50,000 to $1.5 million.

For more information on Bestow, check out our full review.

Nationwide »
Nationwide
Compare Quotes
4.0
U.S. News Rating
AM best rating
A+
SEE REVIEW
Pros:

Term and permanent policies available

Riders available to customize policies

Cons:

No online quotes for permanent policies; must contact agent

Nationwide offers only one term policy but several universal and whole life policies, including its Simplified Whole Life plan for existing policyholders that doesn’t require a medical exam. There are also riders available such as long-term care, accidental death benefit, accelerated death benefit, and waiver of premium. Not all riders are available for all policies. While you can get a quote for a term policy online, you won’t be able to get a quote for any of its permanent policies online and will need to speak to an agent.

Policies: Term, whole, universal, variable universal, indexed universal, and survivorship indexed universal

Coverage Amounts: Nationwide’s term policy provides coverage starting at $25,000. Whole life policies provide coverage starting at $10,000 and its universal policies start at $100,000. For maximum coverage amounts, you’ll need to speak to a Nationwide insurance agent.

For more information on Nationwide, check out our full review.

How Much Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance policies vary in price because of factors that affect your risk level in the eyes of insurers. The riskier your profile, the more likely you are to pay a higher premium. In other words, the more likely it is that the insurer will need to pay out claims, the more they’ll charge.

Below are some factors that determine how much you will pay for life insurance:

Coverage amount: The higher your death benefit, the higher your rates
Policy type: Term life insurance is generally cheaper than permanent life insurance policies because you’re not building cash value, however premiums can increase each year depending on the type of term policy chosen.
Term length: If you purchase a term life insurance policy, you will pay more for longer terms.
Gender: Men tend to have higher life insurance costs compared to women because they don’t live as long.
Health or medical history: Smokers tend to pay higher premiums compared to nonsmokers, as well as those who have a higher risk of pre-existing and future medical conditions. Other health factors may also be taken into consideration, such as your current health, weight, and cholesterol levels.
Age: The older you are, the more likely it is you will be charged higher premiums.
Lifestyle factors: If you generally live a risker lifestyle (if you have hobbies that involve potentially dangerous activities) or have a high-risk job, you might pay more.
For more information on life insurance, read our How Does Life Insurance Work? guide.

Find the best life insurance for you

Get free quotes and compare life insurance policies without your contact information.

Compare Quotes
How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
Understanding exactly how much life insurance you need will ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re not around. There is the possibility though, that you could purchase too much life insurance, leading you to pay more in premiums that won’t do much financial good.

Determining how much you need will depend on your individual circumstances, including the following:

You and your family’s current and potential income, assets, and liabilities
The number of dependents you have, plus their future financial needs
The loss in income your loved ones will face without your contributions
Out-of-pocket costs relating to end-of-life expenses, such as funeral costs, estate taxes, and outstanding debt
The Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests also looking at less obvious sources of income outside of your salary, such as the value of employee benefits like health insurance subsidies and employer 401(k) matches. Once you’re gone, your loved ones will need to make up for these losses if they want to maintain the same standard of living.

Calculating the coverage amount you’ll need is an important first step before purchasing a policy. Once you have this amount, you can then look at policies that match your needs, including how much you can afford to spend on premiums.

Group and Free Life Insurance
Some employers and member-based organizations offer group life insurance as one of their benefits. This type of life insurance is an agreement between the employer or group and its employees or members, stating that it’ll provide life insurance policies.

If you’re considering a group life insurance policy as your primary source of coverage, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Pros:

Employer subsidizes policies

Paperwork may be easier than purchasing an individual policy

Typically has guaranteed acceptance regardless of age or health status

Cons:

Coverage amount tends to be low

Limited customization options

A main benefit of group life insurance policies is that they’re paid for by the employer and guarantee coverage. However, if you want to customize your coverage, you may have to pay out of pocket. Plus, your coverage amount may be limited to a certain amount of your salary.

If you want additional coverage, you may need to purchase another policy to ensure you have enough to provide for your loved ones if you die. According to LIMRA, a financial industries association, the median coverage for life insurance provided through the workplace is either a $20,000 flat sum or one year’s salary.

Another disadvantage is that group policies are usually tied to your job. If you leave, you won’t be able to take it with you. There are some insurance companies that allow you to convert a group policy to an individual one, but you’ll need to pay your own premiums.

Considering group life policies are usually provided at no cost to you, it may be a smart idea to take advantage of this benefit. That being said, you may need to purchase an additional or supplemental policy to ensure you’ll have coverage if you leave your job or want to increase your overall death benefit.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Women
The chart below shows a sampling of monthly rates for life insurance policies for females. In general, the younger and healthier you are, the lower you’ll pay in premiums. Plus, whole life and universal life insurance policies usually cost more than term life policies.

COMPANY AGE 35 FEMALE AGE 45 FEMALE AGE 55 FEMALE AGE 65 FEMALE
State Farm »
$54.79 $119.19 $269.69 $854.39
Bestow »
$56.00 $135.99 N/A N/A
Guardian Life »
$57.00 $119.00 $259.00 $375.00
Lincoln Financial »
$57.09 $124.66 $290.80 $896.07
Nationwide »
$59.94 $123.81 $283.94 $948.94
Sample monthly rates for a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage for a 35, 45, 55, 65-year old female nonsmoker who falls in a Standard Plus risk class (Average Health). * Lincoln Financial does not have the Standard Plus risk category, instead the Standard risk category was used for pricing.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Men
Life insurance generally costs more for males than females because of life expectancy statistics from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Still, you can purchase a policy with the cheapest rates by shopping around with different insurance carriers and comparing different policies.

COMPANY AGE 35 MALE AGE 45 MALE AGE 55 MALE AGE 65 MALE
State Farm »
$69.59 $149.69 $389.79 $1,158.89
Bestow »
$76.83 $178.49 N/A N/A
Guardian Life »
$65.00 $159.00 $359.00 $598.00
Lincoln Financial »
$73.71 $160.78 $429.10 $1,383.69
Nationwide »
$76.56 $169.31 $416.94 $1,446.81
Sample monthly rates for a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage for a 35, 45, 55, 65-year old male nonsmoker who falls in a Standard Plus risk class (Average Health). * Lincoln Financial does not have the Standard Plus risk category, instead the Standard risk category was used for pricing.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Seniors
Purchasing life insurance later in life may be a smart choice if you don’t want to burden your loved ones with any outstanding debt or funeral expenses. Yes, life insurance may be more expensive the older you get, but there are ways to save on premiums.

Here are some options to look at if you’re a female and want to find the lowest cost for your policy.

Life insurance for men who are older may be more expensive depending on factors such as health conditions and death benefit amount. To help you save as much as possible, it’s a smart idea to shop around with different insurance carriers.

Take a look at the table below to see our picks for the top five cheapest life insurance policies for senior males.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Smokers
Life insurance for smokers may cost more compared to nonsmokers. Premiums also depend on other factors such as your gender, age, health condition, and how often you smoke.

Take a look at the table below to see a range of premiums you might pay if you’re a female.

While life insurance policies for men are generally more expensive, the same factors for females will also affect how much males will pay. You can see a sampling of life insurance rates for male smokers in the table below. Note the difference between preferred versus standard smoker rates. The healthier you are, the more likely you are to pay less for your policy.

Cheapest Life Insurance for Children
Life insurance for children is a type of whole life policy, giving parents, legal guardians, and grandparents the opportunity to provide death benefit coverage and build cash value. Depending on the policy, policyholders can help the insured child lock in premiums, guarantee coverage as an adult, and invest for the future.

There are also children’s insurance riders you can add to your existing coverage. Premiums depend on several factors, including the child’s age, state of residence, and coverage amount. You can add these riders to select term, whole, and universal insurance policies.

How To Lower Your Life Insurance Premiums
There are several ways to lower your life insurance premiums:

Consider term life insurance. This type of policy is generally less expensive compared to permanent life insurance because your premiums don’t go towards building cash value. If you want to invest, however, you’ll need to look at other alternatives such as putting money in your employer-sponsored retirement plan or a brokerage account.
Lower your death benefit. Decreasing the amount of coverage might increase your chances of getting a lower premium. Whatever amount you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll still be able to provide enough for your beneficiaries.
Bundle policies. Many insurance companies offer discounts if you have a multi-line policy. For instance, if you purchase an auto and life insurance policy from the same insurer, your premium may go down.
Select the most cost-effective payment schedule. Some insurers offer a discount if you pay upfront, whether that’s annually, quarterly, or semi-annually. If you’re concerned that you may not be able to make a larger upfront payment, then monthly premiums may be your best bet, even if you may not save on premiums.
Opt out of extras. Some policies have life insurance riders or other add-ons to customize coverage. Even though they may offer more protection, the additional cost may not be worth it. Take your time to research which riders you want and determine whether you really need the additional coverage.
What Is the Cheapest Life Insurance?
Generally speaking, term life insurance policies have the cheapest rates, while permanent policies, like whole life insurance, are more expensive. However, there are a lot of variables that can affect the price of a life insurance policy.

Term life insurance is cheaper because it only covers the insured for a specific period of time, or term (e.g., 5, 10, or 30 years). Permanent life insurance, which includes whole life, universal life, and variable life policies, covers the insured for their entire life. That can make it a riskier investment for the insurer. Permanent life insurance also has a cash value component that acts as a savings or investment vehicle, depending on the policy type.

Because life insurance rates are personalized, getting and comparing life insurance quotes can help you find a policy that matches your needs and budget. Our life insurance quotes guide can help you choose the type and amount of coverage you need and compare rate quotes.

The Best Life Insurance Companies
Selecting a life insurance policy suited for your needs starts by doing research on reputable companies. Below is a list of the top-rated ones.

#1 Bestow
#2 Haven Life
#3 State Farm
#3 USAA
#5 Nationwide
#5 MassMutual
READ MORE
Learn More
For more information about life insurance, see the following guides:
Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best Term Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best Whole Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best Universal Life Insurance Companies of 2023
Best No-Exam Life Insurance Companies of 2023
READ MORE
Why You Can Trust Us: 42 Life Insurance Companies Researched
At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 42 life insurance companies and agencies and analyzed 14 third-party review sources. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.

The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing life insurance to guide prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.
U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which life insurance companies and agencies Americans are most interested in. We found 42 companies and agencies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across the different rating sources. After conducting a thorough analysis, we were able to condense the initial list to the 10 overall Best Life Insurance Companies. With the companies and agencies determined, we conducted a comprehensive research on their features to create a general layout of what consumers should know to assist with their purchasing decisions.

We then compared the available plans provided by our top life insurance companies and agencies across several criteria, including but not limited to cost, coverage limits, policy features, and availability. Research shows that these are the most important criteria for people shopping for life insurance. We compared costs across companies and agencies using two types of estimated cost information per company or agency, as applicable: a summary cost relative to the company in our main review page, as well as more detailed costs by age. At the company or agency level, we offer what we call a “base cost”: a cost representing a 35-year-old woman/man in average health getting a 20-year term policy with $1,000,000 in coverage. By keeping certain criteria consistent, such as health status, we make it easier for readers to compare costs by company or agency. In our company and agency profiles, we show cost estimates regarding policies for which online quote information was available at the time of publication. Where available, quote information was provided from a data analytics partner or from each company or agency. We provided the same information to each company or agency, and obtained quotes either using publicly available online quoting tools, direct conversations with the companies, or both. In addition, we show the costs for a range of typical individuals, including 35-, 45-, 55-, and 65-year-old males and females and in average health. Prices shown are for $1,000,000 policies, with a 20-year-term for term life insurance and no term for permanent life and whole life insurance policies. Prices for seniors are for $500,000 policies, with a 10-year-term for term life insurance. This range of choices allows readers to understand insurance costs, although the best way to get an accurate estimate is to use a company’s or agency’s online tools as well as speaking with company agents.

2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.
U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from professional reviews as well as consumer reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:
Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent life insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of life insurance companies and agencies and their plans. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of life insurance companies and agencies. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.

(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations, and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company and agency’s score compared to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:
Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company or agency, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies and agencies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the mean from the company’s rating and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.

We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than one was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.