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Guardian Life Insurance Review

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Community-owned insurance that pays dividends to policyholders
Offers whole life insurance plans to those with HIV
Offers EstateGuard, which covers two people under one policy

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Reviews Report

  • Reviews.com rates Guardian Life a 3.6 out of 5 based on riders, financial strength, customer satisfaction, and more.
  • Guardian Life sells term, whole, and universal life insurance coverage.
  • Certain individuals living with HIV can qualify for term or whole life coverage through Guardian Life.

Guardian Life Insurance Company is one of the largest life insurance providers, with an estimated 2.4% of the total market share. Guardian Life Insurance offers a few different insurance products, and provides specialized coverage for individuals with HIV. 
In our Guardian Life Insurance review, we evaluated the company based on policy options, third-party ratings, financial strength, and riders available. We also compared Guardian Life’s offerings to some of its main competitors, to help you determine if Guardian is the best life insurance company for you.

Guardian Life Insurance Overview

Reviews.com Score
3.6
In Business Since
1860
A.M. Best AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
A++
J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.
743*

Overall, Guardian Life Insurance is a solid life insurance provider. It has an A++ financial strength score from AM Best, which is the highest rating possible. However, Guardian is rated below-average by J.D. Power for overall customer satisfaction — but it does have fewer than average company complaints as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

In terms of coverage, Guardian offers policies that will suit a wide variety of needs, and there are tons of life insurance riders for customization. There’s even a special policy for individuals living with HIV. The company does have a few downsides, namely that it doesn’t offer a guaranteed acceptance policy and you can’t purchase coverage online.

PROS

  • Coverage for individuals with HIV: If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, you can qualify for term or whole life insurance from Guardian.
  • Policyholders can receive dividends: Guardian sells dividend policies, which can help you recoup some of your premium.
  • Lots of riders available: Guardian Life offers a dozen riders to build a customized policy.

CONS

  • Below average customer satisfaction score: Guardian Life Insurance is rated below average by J.D. Power for overall customer satisfaction.
  • Medical exam requirement: Guardian doesn’t offer guaranteed issue coverage, so most policies require a traditional medical exam.
  • Can’t buy coverage online: In order to purchase any type of policy from Guardian, you’ll need to work directly with an agent.

Coverage & Riders
Customer Experience
Before You Buy

Guardian Life offers term life insurance ($250,0000–$2 million), whole life insurance, and universal life insurance ($250,0000–$2 million). 

According to Guardian Life, the average term life insurance policy for a 21-year-old female with $500,000 in coverage costs just $27 per month. 

We were impressed by the long list of riders available from Guardian Life. Not only can you get the basics, like an accidental death benefit rider, but you can also take advantage of some unique endorsements, like the charitable benefit rider which adds an extra 1% to your policy’s death benefit and automatically gives the funds to a charity of your choice when you pass away. These are the riders offered by Guardian Life Insurance Company:

  • Term conversion 
  • Extended conversion 
  • Waiver of premium
  • Enhanced waiver plus 
  • Charitable benefit 
  • Guaranteed renewability 
  • Guaranteed insurability 
  • Accelerated terminal illness 
  • Accidental death
  • Paid-up additions 
  • Renewable term 
  • Index participation feature

Guardian Life Insurance received a score of 743 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power’s 200 U.S. Life Insurance Study, which is considered below average. However, it has fewer than average complaints as per NAIC, with a score of 0.70  with 1.0 as the industry average.

Most policies from Guardian require a medical exam prior to approval — it doesn’t offer any guaranteed or simplified issue policies. 

However, Guardian Life is one of the few life insurance companies that advertises coverage for individuals living with HIV. People who have been diagnosed with HIV and meet certain requirements can qualify for either a term life or whole life policy. However, the premiums for HIV life insurance policies are higher than average.

Guardian Life Insurance Policies

Guardian Life Insurance vs. The Competition 

ProviderReviews.com ScoreJ.D. Power*AM BestAvailable Policies
Guardian Life3.6743A++TermWholeUniversal
AIG4.2742ATermIndexed universalVariable universalGuaranteed universalGuaranteed issueWhole life
State Farm4.6838A++TermWholeUniversalFinal Expense
MassMutual3.8769A++TermWholeUniversalVariable Universal

Information accurate as of April 2021

*J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Satisfaction Study. Based on a 1,000-point scale

Guardian Life vs. AIG

Guardian Life and AIG differ in terms of policy offerings. AIG offers more policies, including several guaranteed issue options, which Guardian doesn’t sell. However, we found that Guardian Life offers more riders than AIG. Both companies are rated similarly for overall customer satisfaction by J.D. Power, but in terms of financial strength ratings from AM Best, Guardian Life has a stronger score than AIG, A++ compared to AIG’s A.

Guardian Life vs. State Farm

State Farm is the highest rated life insurance company for overall customer satisfaction by J.D. Power, earning a 838 out of 1,000, whereas Guardian Life ranks below average. State Farm also offers more policies than Guardian, with options like survivorship universal life and instant answer term life insurance. However, State Farm doesn’t sell life insurance in Massachusetts, New York, or Wisconsin, whereas Guardian Life offers coverage in all 50 states.

Guardian Life vs. MassMutual

MassMutual and Guardian Life are comparable in a number of ways. But one of the key differences is that MassMutual sells a variable universal life insurance policy, which is absent from Guardian’s offerings. Both companies have an A++ rating from AM Best, but MassMutual has a much better overall customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Power, earning a 769 compared to Guardian’s 743 out of 1,000. Additionally, both Guardian Life and MassMutual pay dividends, and we found that both companies offer a wide variety of riders.

Guardian Life Insurance FAQ

Methodology

We evaluated Guardian Life insurance based on riders, coverage, resources, financial strength and customer satisfaction to determine Reviews.com scores and create our best life insurance reviews. To compare life insurance companies with other providers across the board, we calculate each Reviews.com score based on the following:

  • Number of Riders: The more riders a life insurance company has, the higher it scores in our Reviews.com methodology.
  • Financial Stability: Reviews.com utilized AM Best ratings to assign a score based on each life insurance company’s financial stability.
  • Customer Satisfaction: With J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Satisfaction Study, we assigned a score to each company based on the rating it received.
  • Coverage: Life insurance companies scored higher if customers can convert term to whole and if they offered multiple options under different types of life insurance policies. 
  • Resources: Reviews.com compared website functionality for life insurance companies based on ability to receive online quotes, submit online claims, and read information on different policies available.

About the Authors

Sean Jackson

Sean Jackson Contributing Writer

Sean Jackson is a freelance journalist who has covered insurance, internet, home services and other topics for Reviews.com, ESPN, CBS, and the San Francisco Chronicle.