• January 12, 2018 - We’ve updated this review with the most recent financial strength scores and customer satisfaction ratings for New York Life. It remains among the highest-scoring life insurance companies in both categories. We’ve also taken a deeper dive into New York Life’s policy parameters and riders to give a better analysis of its life insurance offerings.

Our New York Life Review

New York Life provides top-tier life insurance, from an excellent shopping experience to well-rounded, customizable policies. With permanent coverage, term coverage, and any variation in between, New York Life has a policy for everyone. It also offers a wide array of features and riders. This make it easy to build a policy that’s unique to you, your family, and your life’s circumstances — even when they change.

Along with its many life insurance options, we appreciate the care that New York Life shows for its policyholders. Excellent customer service through a variety of channels (Twitter, anyone?) makes this company incredibly accessible. And first-time life insurance shoppers will appreciate New York Life’s comprehensive resources and learning tools. All of these features help relieve the stress of life insurance shopping and make it easy to build a great policy.

The Claim

New York Life boasts not only great insurance, but also great guidance — as a company it has a strong focus on “doing right by you.” In other words, if you work with New York Life, you should expect to feel like your policy and your individual needs are well taken care of.

Is It True?

Yes.

From the outset, New York Life’s attention to the customer sets it apart from the pack. It brings to the table a complete learning toolkit and good customer support, so you have all the help you need to build a great policy. New York Life is also a mutual company — meaning it’s owned by its policyholders — so customers come first. If you buy a permanent policy through New York Life, more money goes back into your savings, not the pockets of shareholders.

When it comes to crafting a policy, New York Life offers all the important coverage and riders. Whether you choose a term, whole, or universal policy, you’ll be able to tailor it to your needs with options like term conversion, an Accelerated Death Benefit, and Cost of Living rider. On top of this, New York Life has a history of solid financial strength ratings and “Above average” customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 survey. This means that if you do need your policy, the company won’t make a difficult situation even worse.

A Closer Look at Features

Financial Strength
A.M. Best: A++
Standard & Poor’s: AA+
Moody’s: Ba3
2017 J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Rating
782/1000
“Above average”
Policy Offerings
Term
Whole
Universal
Term Limits
10 - 20 years (in increments of one year)
Important Coverage Features
Guaranteed Level Premiums*
Guaranteed Renewability
Waiver of Premium Rider
Accelerated Death Benefit Rider
Disability Waiver of Premium
Convertibility
Term-to-permanent conversion without a medical exam
Customer Tools
Online chat
Click-to-call
Contact through Facebook and Twitter
Excellent online insurance information resources

*With term life insurance policies

Our Deep Dive

  • High Financial Security: New York Life is a rock-solid financial performer with an outstanding credit outlook. The company crushes much of the competition when it comes to financial ratings, earning the best overall marks in the industry. All of the top ratings agencies, including A.M. Best, Moody’s, and S&P, rate New York Life in the top tier for its ability to meet current and future financial obligations. No matter what kind of life insurance policy you’re interested in, New York Life’s exceptional financial outlook is a big source of confidence. You and your family will never have to worry about its ability to make good on an insurance payout.
  • Excellent Customer Support: We love that New York Life is accessible through a variety of channels. You can get in touch with a New York Life rep by phone during daytime hours, and by email at any time — they’re even available through Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Click to Chat and Click to Call tools on the New York Life website. Click to Chat grants you instant access to a company representative, who can answer questions in real-time while you peruse the site. The Click to Call feature instantly transmits your telephone number to a representative, who then calls you within minutes. With difficult topics like insurance, it’s important to have lots of available resources for getting your questions answered. Whether that means online chatting or hashing it out over the phone, New York Life makes that easy.
  • Great Online Resources and Learning Materials: For those who prefer to work through their policy options independently, New York Life provides a great selection of online learning materials. Its resources will guide you through the basics of life insurance and help you decide on the type and amount of coverage that are best suited to your goals and needs. Some competitors do top New York Life by offering interactive learning guides and policy calculators. However, we found the company’s information resources thorough enough to answer the average user’s questions and help them make a smart, informed purchase.
  • Comprehensive Coverage Options: New York Life sells all the major types of life insurance: term, whole, universal, and variable universal policies. All industry-standard coverage options are also offered — highlights include a cash surrender option that returns your policy balance after cancellation and a survivorship option that extends policy coverage to a second party. Term insurance holders benefit from return of premium and term conversion options, which provide flexibility as a policy ages. Vanishing premium options offer enhanced protections for mortgaged homeowners and for policyholders who will need lower premiums as their income decreases later in life. In addition, customers looking for an affordable policy will appreciate New York Life’s low initial coverage requirements — starting at just $5,000 for some policies. All told, few competitors in the market can match New York Life for coverage options.
  • A Wealth of Riders: In addition to robust protection, New York Life offers a wide range of riders to flesh out your coverage. Its permanent life insurance includes all the basics: cash value access, guaranteed interest rates, partial surrenders, and periodic dividends with a paid-up additions option. Term policies can be bought with renewal guarantees and expiration or lapse protection — assurances that your coverage will remain in place for as long as you need it. To any policy, you can add riders like accelerated death benefit and waiver of premium, which adjust your coverage in light of illnesses or accidents.These and other available features combine to offer New York Life policyholders a great combination of stability and flexibility.

Other Considerations

  • Relatively Short Term Length: The majority of term life insurance providers offer term lengths from 10 to 35 years, usually in increments of five years. New York Life, however, maxes out at a 20-year term, which limits the length of your financial planning. Although its policies are renewable, premiums will always go up at the time of renewal. We prefer the option to keep a policy a little longer at the initial, lower premium. That said, New York Life offers term lengths in one-year increments instead of five-year. That’s a level of flexibility you won’t get with other providers. You could, for example, pay for exactly 18 years of coverage — until your kid is out of the house — instead of the 20 years you’d have to pay for with a different company.
  • Lacks a Mobile App for Convenient Account Management: New York Life doesn’t offer a mobile app for accessing your important accounts and documents. It does maintain a mobile website, but this lacks the on-the-go convenience that an app can bring to your account management. This isn’t a serious issue for usability, but with more and more people managing everything — finances included — on their smartphones, we appreciate the life insurance companies that are keeping up with the Joneses.

The Bottom Line

New York Life has been one of our Best Life Insurance picks three years running, thanks to its consistently stellar financial ratings, comprehensive coverage options, and extensive list of policy add-ons. Tack on excellent customer service and a truly useful insurance knowledgebase, and you’re looking at a winning provider. Whether you’re just beginning to consider life insurance or know exactly what you need, New York Life has you covered.

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