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Last updated on Jan 30, 2020

The Best Life Insurance Companies

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The best life insurance companies know that your policy is personal. Our picks offer diverse and customizable coverage, so anyone can find a policy to fit their needs. Each company we recommend is also backed by rock-solid financials for your peace of mind. The real trick is balancing excellent coverage with a premium you’re comfortable paying. Life insurance prices vary by individual and by company, so be sure to compare quotes from multiple providers before settling on a policy. You can use our quote tool to get started.

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How We Found the Best Life Insurance Companies

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8 insurance experts interviewed

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71 companies evaluated

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5 top picks

The Best Life Insurance Companies

Insurance is an important way to protect yourself from life’s biggest uncertainties, but it becomes even more vital when you’re protecting your loved ones. The best life insurance companies provide peace of mind for you and your family with reliable coverage and affordable premiums.

To help you find those companies, we started with a list of the largest life insurance providers and weeded out any that didn’t hit our high bar for consideration. Five companies not only met our standards, but stood out above the rest.

The Best Life Insurance Companies – 2020

Company
Rank
Reviews.com Score /5
Customer Experience Score /5
Financial Strength Score /5
Northwestern Mutual
1
4.9
5
4.7
State Farm
2
4.8
5
4.3
Nationwide
3
4.5
4.3
3.7
New York Life
4
4.4
4.3
4.7
Mutual of Omaha
5
4.25
4.3
4
Principal Financial
6
4.2
3.7
4.3
Guardian Life
7
4.1
4
4.3
Pacific Life
8
3.8
3.7
4
MassMutual
9
3.8
3.7
4.3
Lincoln Financial Group
10
3.5
3.3
4
Protective Life
11
3.25
3
4
Prudential
12
2.8
2.3
4.3

How to Find the Right Life Insurance Company for You

First you’ll need to answer the question: Do I need life insurance? As a rule of thumb, life insurance is necessary when there are others that depend on your income, but there may be circumstances where you would still benefit from coverage.

When you’re searching for the right company, it’s helpful to have an idea of what type of life insurance you’re looking for, so we created a detailed guide to the different types of life insurance to help you choose which is best for you. While it is valuable to be aware of the pros and cons of your options, you may also want to speak with an agent who can offer you tailored advice.

Once you have a good idea of the type of insurance you’ll be looking for, this can help you narrow down your search for the right insurer. Certain companies may have a reputation for excellence in one type over another, or for coverage for people with certain health conditions.

Carrier Deep Dives

Northwestern Mutual – Best for Whole Life Insurance

Best
Whole Life Insurance
Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual


Reviews.com Score: 4.9/5

Northwestern Mutual stands out as a top pick for whole life insurance for many reasons including a wide variety of riders and flexible benefit levels, which can help you customize your coverage, as well as strong dividends. It’s also an insurer that you can rely on to remain stable for years to come, with stellar financial strength rivaled only by New York Life.

Unlike other providers, Northwestern Mutual doesn’t give the option to receive a quote online, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Talking to an adviser or agent could provide valuable tailored advice, especially if you’re interested in a more complex product like whole life insurance.

State Farm – Best for Term Life Insurance


Best Term Life Insurance
State Farm Life
State Farm Life


Reviews.com Score: 4.8/5

State Farm is a strong option for most people, with customizable options, high performance on the 2019 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study, and far below the average number of NAIC complaints. With a range of term coverage types and extension availability, State Farm provides flexibility in its term life insurance that can be harder to find with other providers without compromising on solid financial strength. If you’re primarily looking to shop for life insurance online, State Farm is a great option with its online quote tool.

Nationwide – Best for Online Resources

Best
Online Resources
Nationwide Auto
Nationwide Auto


Reviews.com Score: 4.5/5

Out of all our top picks, Nationwide impressed us the most with its broad online library of resources specific to life insurance. Along with an estimator tool that allows you to get your term life insurance quote in a matter of minutes, Nationwide’s website gives you access to interactive information that can help you research the insurance that’s right for you, and easy to navigate policy management. While it was one of the top companies on customer satisfaction studies, slightly lower financial strength ratings pulled its overall Reviews.com score down.

New York Life – Best for Seniors

Best for
Seniors
New York Life
New York Life


Reviews.com Score: 4.4./5

New York Life topped our list of Best Life Insurance Companies for Seniors thanks to its benefit flexibility and AARP partnership. Its AARP partnership allows it to provide access to group life insurance policies for retirees, an option that can help seniors get affordable coverage. New York Life also offers a wide range of policy death benefits which could appeal not only to seniors, but to anyone looking for a lower entry-point to life insurance.

Mutual of Omaha – Best for Smokers

Best for
Smokers
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha


Pros

Highly rated customer service
Easy policy management
Lenient medical exam requirements

Cons

Not the most affordable option
Limited policy information online

Reviews.com Score: 4.25/5

When we looked at the Best Cheap Life Insurance Companies, Mutual of Omaha was one of the most affordable overall for smokers, second only to Pacific Life. But Mutual of Omaha outperforms Pacfic Life when it comes both to customer satisfaction and financial strength, making it a good place for smokers to request a quote. For anyone interested in learning more about its coverage options, Mutual of Omaha even offers an online quote tool for qualifying whole and term life insurance policies.

Reviews.com Best Life Insurance Methodology

To find the best life insurance companies, we started with a list of over 40 of the largest insurers in the U.S. Then, we narrowed the field by setting high standards to be considered for our top picks.

Insurers had to offer individual life insurance policies (meaning you’d be able to buy a policy on your own, not as part of a group), have high financial strength, and strong customer satisfaction and track record, measured by J.D. Power and the NAIC. Twelve companies passed this test.

Once we had this list of the top contenders, we gave each company a score to see how they stacked up. Here’s how we calculated our scores:

  1. We gathered data on two of the most important factors when it comes to life insurance providers: the customer experience policyholders can expect and the financial strength of the insurer.
    • Customer Experience: We looked at indicators of customer satisfaction, such as the J.D. Power Life Insurance Study and the NAIC Customer Complaint Index.
    • Financial Strength: Referencing three industry leading agencies, we recorded the financial strength ratings of each insurer, rewarding insurers that have been rated by each agency: A.M. Best, S&P, and Moody’s.
  2. We created a set of standards to convert the raw data into a 5-point scale. This allowed us to compare each factor equally.
  3. Using these standardized scores, we averaged the totals for our categories to get one overall score for each.
  4. We applied weights to each category because, although each measure is important, the financial stability of large, well-established insurers is not a strong distinguishing factor while customer experience can vary widely.
  5. With our weights and standardized scores, we were able to calculate an overall Reviews.com score for each insurer, helping us identify the best life insurance companies of 2020.

About the Authors

Samantha Kostaras

Samantha Kostaras Insurance Writer

Samantha Kostaras is an Insurance Writer for Reviews.com where she covers everything about making sure you’re covered. With a background in both finance and writing, Samantha enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their insurance. Her favorite service she’s subscribed to is Spotify Premium which she uses to binge news, science, and personal finance podcasts.