THE GOOD

Industry-leading financial ratings:

When shopping for a permanent whole life or universal life insurance policy, it's important to choose a company with solid financial stability and a strong credit outlook. Northwestern Mutual life insurance excels on both of these counts, boasting some of the best financial ratings in the industry. Top national rating agencies such as Moody's, A.M. Best, and S&P all place Northwestern Mutual at or very near the top of their ratings scales, attesting to the company's position among the strongest financial performers in the insurance industry. While there are plenty of other factors to take into account when making a policy decision, Northwestern Mutual's superior financial ratings offer you the confidence and peace of mind that comes with trusting that a company will be with you for the long haul.

Complete coverage options:

With Northwestern Mutual's full assortment of term, whole, and universal life policies to choose from, you can find just the coverage you need to meet your unique insurance requirements. A cash surrender option enables you to end your policy early, while a conversion option gives you the opportunity to extend your policy beyond its original term. With a return of premium option, you can even get your premiums back if you outlive a temporary policy. If you have a whole life policy, you can choose a vanishing premium option to reduce your premium payments when your income begins to fall later in life. A mortgage life option will take care of any outstanding mortgage debt in the event of your death, providing security for your family just when they need it the most. And what's more, Northwestern Mutual offers term and whole life policies with low minimum coverage requirements starting at $50,000, providing good affordability for younger shoppers looking to get their first policy.

Full-featured policies:

Northwestern Mutual's standard policy features rank among the industry's very best and offer a great combination of flexibility and predictability, creating policies that you can rely on to protect you and your family no matter what life throws your way. With cash value access and partial surrenders, you're able to tap your policy's accumulated value if life demands it. An interest rate guarantee offers dependable growth, while waivers on policy deductions and premium payments offer flexibility if you're injured and can't afford to make your payments. Expiration and lapse guarantees provide protection should you miss a policy payment, while guaranteed term renewals and no-exam conversions give you the flexibility to extend your temporary coverage when your term is up. Many Northwestern Mutual life insurance policies also offer the choice of level or flexible premiums and death benefits, and universal life policies even offer you the chance to choose the amount and timing of your premiums.

THE BAD

Missing a mobile app:

Although Northwestern Mutual does maintain a mobile website accessible to smartphones, it offers very little functionality for life insurance customers apart from an agent search tool. All things considered, this should probably rank as a pretty minor criticism, but given that mobile apps are so common these days, this omission is hard to ignore.

Mediocre online materials:

Since there are so many policies, options, riders, and features to consider, access to clear information and effective learning materials is key to the life insurance buying process. Although Northwestern Mutual offers a good amount of explanatory material and policy descriptions, they fail to provide comprehensive educational resources. Most notably, they are missing effective beginner's guides, a fundamental feature for most first-time life insurance buyers. Northwestern Mutual also lacks an online quote tool. As it stands, you have to call a Northwestern Mutual agent for help with the quotation process.

THE DETAILS

Details
A.M. Best FSR Rating A++
A.M. Best ICR Rating aaa
Moody's Rating Aaa
Policy Offerings Term, Whole, Universal
Standard & Poor's Rating AA+

FEATURES

Title
  • A.M. Best "Excellent" or Better The insurance company has an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or better.

  • ICR Rating "Stable" The insurance company has an A.M. Best Credit Rating of "Stable" or better.

  • Moody's "Very Strong" The insurance company has a Moody's rating of "Aa3" or better.

  • S&P Rated "Very Strong" The insurance company has an S&P rating of "AA-" or better.

  • Cash Value Access The policy owner can access or borrow against the value of policy accounts.

  • Dividends The policy owner can receive periodic dividends based on account performance.

  • Dynamic Premium Amount You decide the amount and date of premium payments, subject to basic minimums.

  • Expiration or Lapse Guarantee The policy does not expire if premiums paid are insufficient.

  • Graded Premium Option The life insurance company offers a policy that starts with a low initial premium and gradually increases over time.

  • Guaranteed Level Premiums Premiums do not increase over time but remain constant for the entire life of the policy.

  • Interest Rate Guarantee You receive a guaranteed minimum level of interest in the contract.

  • Level Death Benefit A policy where the death benefit remains level is available.

  • Limited Premium Payments Whole life insurance premium payments can be limited to a fixed number of years.

  • No Exam Term Conversion The insurance company guarantees conversion of a term policy to a cash value or permanent policy offered by the life insurance company without a physical exam.

  • Paid-Up Additions You can purchase additional insurance with paid-out policy dividends.

  • Partial Surrenders You can withdraw funds up to a certain percentage of the policy value.

  • Tax-Deferred Growth The cash value of the policy grows tax-deferred.

  • Term Renewal Guarantee You are guaranteed a renewal option annually after term expiration.

  • Variable Death Benefit A policy where the death benefit increases or decreases with your policy account value is available.

  • Waiver of Monthly Deductions Future monthly deductions are waived in the event of disability.

  • Accelerated Benefit for Terminal Illness A rider which grants early access to the death benefit to defray the cost of a terminal illness is available.

  • Accidental Death Benefit A rider that pays an additional death benefit in the event of the accidental death of the insured is available.

  • Additional Insured Rider A rider that extends coverage to an additional person/spouse is available.

  • Child Rider An added rider that covers the death of your child is available.

  • Disability Income Rider An added rider that provides income in the event of a bodily injury that prevents you from working is offered.

  • Estate Protection Rider A rider that provides extra coverage to offset estate taxes if the policy is included in the insured's estate is offered.

  • Final Expenses Policy A rider or a policy that covers funeral expenses is available.

  • Long-Term Care Rider A rider is available that covers the cost of long-term care if needed during the policy term.

  • Whole Life Guaranteed Insurability Rider An option to guarantee future insurability at standard rates without further proof of insurability is available.

  • All Policy Types Term, whole, and universal coverage options are available.

  • Cash Surrender Option Policyholders of lapsed or surrendered policies can request immediate cash disbursement or remaining balances.

  • Flexible Coverage Options Low initial coverage options below $100,000 are available.

  • Mortgage Life Option A policy in which the death benefit stays level for a fixed number of years but then decreases over the remainder of the term is available.

  • Return of Premium Option An option is available where the premiums paid over the life of the policy are returned at the end of the term less any deductions or loans taken.

  • Survivorship/Joint Coverage Option The policy covers two people and is paid when the first or the last of the two people covered in the policy dies.

  • Term Conversion Option Conversion to a cash value or permanent policy is offered by the life insurance company.

  • Whole Life Vanishing Premium Option A whole life policy whose dividends can be used to reduce future premium payments is available.

  • Email/Ticket An email or ticket system dedicated to support is available.

  • Phone You can get support by phone.

  • Social Media You can contact the insurance provider with questions through social media websites.

  • Live Chat You can get support through live chat.

  • Assignment Clause The insurance policy is freely assignable to anyone.

  • Automatic Premium Loan Provision The insurance provider can automatically pay an outstanding premium with a policy loan, preventing a lapse of coverage.

  • Grace Period The insured has a grace period after missing a premium payment before the policy is cancelled.

  • Incontestable Clause After an initial period, the provider can no longer contest or revoke the policy.

  • No Medical Exam Required A medical exam is not required in order to qualify for a policy.

  • Waiver of Premium An option that waives the premium payment if the policyholder becomes disabled or otherwise unable to pay is available.

  • Interest-Free Cash Value Loan You can borrow against the cash value of the policy without paying interest.

  • No Maximum Age No maximum age for policy coverage is imposed.

  • No Maximum Coverage Level The provider does not impose a maximum coverage level.

  • No Minimum Age The provider does not impose a minimum age for policy coverage.

  • No Minimum Coverage Level The provider does not impose a minimum coverage level to start a policy.

  • No Minimum Premium The provider does not impose a minimum premium amount in the early stages of a policy.

  • Policy Discount A discount is offered if you hold additional insurance with the life insurance company.

  • Claim Status and Management Death claims can be managed online.

  • FAQs You have access to a collection of relevant frequently asked questions and answers.

  • Learning Resources You have access to online resources that explain the various types of life insurance.

  • Level of Coverage Calculator An online tool to determine the level of insurance coverage that you need is available.

  • Policy Selection Guidance A tool or guide to help you select the best type of coverage is offered.

  • Glossary You have access to an online resource that explains commonly used insurance terminology.

  • Online Agent Contact You can forward the details of your online rate quote directly to an agent for review.

  • Online Purchase You can purchase a new policy over the Internet.

  • Online Quotes You can obtain a term insurance quote online.

  • Automatic Payments Premium payments can be automatically scheduled.

  • Bank Account Payment You can pay your premiums with a linked bank account.

  • Online Premium Payment You can pay your premiums online.

  • Single Premium Payment An option to pay a single life premium payment up front for whole or universal life insurance is available.

  • Credit Card Payment You can pay your premiums with a credit card.

  • Phone Payments You can pay your premiums over the phone.

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