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10 Best Term Life Insurance Companies in 2021

Northwestern Mutual, Guardian, Haven and MassMutual are among our top 10 best term life insurance companies for 2021.
Aug. 9, 2021
Insurance, Life Insurance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

The best term life insurance policy for you may not be the best one for someone else. Coverage amounts, term lengths, age restrictions and convertibility are all important factors to consider when shopping for life insurance, and some may mean more to you than others. We’ve highlighted some of the term life policies sold by 10 of the best life insurance companies in the United States, so you can weigh your options and find the right coverage for you and your family.

» MORE: Term life insurance: What you need to know

The best term life insurance

The following term life insurance companies hold up under scrutiny. They have solid financial strength ratings and received fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for companies of their size. Since you likely won’t be around to fight for your rights when your policy pays out, you need to be able to trust that your insurer will treat your life insurance beneficiaries right.

CompanyTerm life policies
Northwestern Mutual

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Great for customer experience. Northwestern Mutual received fewer complaints to state regulators relative to its size than any other insurer on our top companies list, making it a solid choice for customer experience.
Annual Renewable Term Life: Premiums are relatively low at first, compared to level term policies, but increase as you get older. Coverage automatically renews each year.

Level Premium Term Life: Coverage is available in 10- or 20-year terms and issued up to age 65 to 70. Premiums stay level, which means they won’t go up over the term of the policy.
Guardian Life

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Great choice for people with HIV. Guardian offers specific coverage for people living with HIV. To apply, you must be between 20 and 60 years old and meet certain eligibility requirements, such as being on active antiretroviral therapy.
Guardian Level Term: Policies are issued to applicants 18 to 75 years old, and coverage amounts range from $250,000 to $5 million. Policies are available in 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year terms.
Haven Life

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Great for same-day coverage. Haven’s term life application can be completed online and approved within minutes. If approved, your coverage can start immediately.
Haven Term Life: Haven Life uses accelerated underwriting, which means you may not need to take a medical exam to qualify for coverage. Policies are available up to age 64 with coverage amounts up to $3 million. Term lengths are 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.

Haven Simple: Haven also offers a simplified issue term life policy, which means a life insurance medical exam is never required. You must be from 20 to 55 years old to apply. Coverage is available in 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year terms. Policy amounts range from $25,000 to $500,000.

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Great for temporary coverage. If you buy a Direct Term policy online, you can receive up to $1 million of coverage while you complete the application process, regardless of whether your application gets approved.
MassMutual Term: Maximum issue age for MassMutual standard term life policy is 75, with coverage starting at $250,000.

MassMutual Direct Term: Applications take 20 minutes to complete online. You must be between 18 and 64 to apply, and can buy up to $3 million in coverage.

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Great for coverage without the medical exam. AARP's policies, including its term life product, never require a medical exam, just questions about your health.
Level Benefit Term Life: Available to AARP members 50 to 74 years old. Coverage amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000. Higher coverage amounts may be available by speaking to New York Life, the company that issues AARP’s term life products.

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Great for long-term coverage. You can extend your term policy until age 95, which is older than many term life policies typically cover.
Level Term Life: You can choose a 10-, 20- or 30-year term policy. In general, applicants 18 to 70 can apply and buy $50,000 of coverage. Various life insurance riders can be added to the policy, such as a disability premium waiver, accidental death benefit and guaranteed renewability benefit.
New York Life

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Great for high coverage amounts. One of the company’s term life policies focuses on larger coverage amounts, with a minimum death benefit of $1 million.
Yearly Convertible Term: Issued to applicants 18 to 75 with a minimum coverage amount of $100,000. You can renew this annual policy every year. If you want lifelong coverage, you can convert it to a permanent policy.

Level Premium Convertible Term: Coverage is available in 10- and 20-year term lengths, with death benefits starting at $100,000. The issue age ranges from 18 to 75 and varies depending on the term length.

Million Plus Level Term: With a minimum face value of $1 million, this policy is for people looking for a sizable death benefit. The only available term length is 10 years, and you must be from 18 to 69 years old to apply.
Pacific Life

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Great for conversion flexibility. The company offers a term policy built specifically for converting to permanent coverage. It offers a more flexible conversion window than the company’s standard policy and includes cash value perks.
PL Promise Term: Coverage is available in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year term lengths, with a $50,000 minimum policy. You can choose to add life insurance riders at a cost, such as an accelerated death benefit, waiver of premium or child term rider.

Pacific Elite Term: A more conversion-friendly product, the Pacific Elite Term policy can be converted to a permanent policy within the first 10 years. The company also throws in a cash value credit — equal to one year’s term premium payments — when converted. Coverage amounts range from $750,000 to over $3 million, and term lengths are sold in 10-, 20- and 30-year increments.
State Farm

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Great for customer satisfaction. State Farm ranked first out of 23 companies in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study for customer satisfaction, making it a trustworthy choice.
Select Term Life Insurance: Coverage starts at $100,000 and is available to applicants 18 to 75. You have the option to add a child rider, term rider or waiver of premium rider at an additional cost.

Return of Premium Life: Similar to the standard term life products, this policy offers coverage for a set number of years. But, if you outlive the term, it returns the premiums you paid. You must be from 18 to 60 years old to apply, and coverage is available in 10- and 20-year terms. Keep in mind that return of premium life insurance tends to be more expensive than standard term policies.

Instant Answer Term Life: You can apply in person with a State Farm agent and get coverage the same day. Only $50,000 of coverage is available, and the policy lasts 10 years.

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Great for military personnel. USAA life insurance covers you during wartime and helps pay bills if you're severely injured in the line of duty. It also lets you replace your lost group coverage if you retire or leave the military.
USAA Term Life: You don’t need a military connection to get USAA life insurance. Coverage amounts start at $100,000 with no maximum. If you’re 18 to 35 years old, you can purchase an additional $100,000 of coverage after qualifying life events, like having children or getting married.

» COMPARE: Life insurance quotes

How to find the best term life insurance company

When you buy life insurance, you’re counting on a company to be there for your family many years in the future. For that reason, it’s important to choose a company you can trust. Here are some ways to compare companies and find the one that’s best for you.

» MORE: Life insurance reviews

Look up the insurer’s financial strength

You want a company that will be around decades from now, with enough money to pay claims. The  financial strength rating of a life insurance company is one way to gauge whether an insurer is likely to meet that mark. You can check the financial strength rating of each term life insurance company you’re considering through a rating firm such as A.M. Best.

NerdWallet typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Any company with an A.M. Best rating of B+ or higher has a “good” ability to meet its obligations, in A.M. Best’s opinion. Companies with ratings below that may not be quite as safe a bet and often have higher rates of complaints relative to their size.

All of the largest life insurance companies, for example, have solid financial strength ratings.

Research the insurer’s reputation for customer service

You want a company that provides solid customer service, from the day you start shopping until it’s time for a claim. To get an idea of whether other customers have been satisfied, you can look up an insurer’s complaint index on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website. The score is based on the number of complaints filed against the insurance company with state regulators, adjusted for the company’s market share (based on premiums written). The average is 1, so a score higher than 1 means the company received more complaints than expected for its size.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s a good idea to compare life insurance quotes from more than one company. That way, you can get the best rate for the type of term life policy you’re looking for.

» MORE: Best life insurance companies

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims, and complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.

These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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