The Best Life Insurance Companies
Because life insurance is personal, the best life insurance providers offer policies that can be tailored to fit your unique needs. After speaking with eight insurance professionals, we knew that would mean a wide range of policy types, customizable coverage options, and financial security for your peace of mind. Our top picks all hit these benchmarks. Depending on the type of policy you need, they each offer some standout coverage options as well.
Of course, the real trick is balancing the coverage you need with a premium you’re comfortable shouldering. Life insurance prices vary by individual and by company, so it’s important to compare providers before settling on a policy. Try using our quote tool to compare top providers in your area and see who can offer you the best premium.
Best Term Life Insurance
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating A++
J.D. Power Satisfaction Rating 853 /1000
Number of Available Add-On Riders 11
Best Whole Life Insurance
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating A++
J.D. Power Satisfaction Rating 802 /1000
Number of Available Add-On Riders 15
Best Life Insurance for Seniors
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating A++
J.D. Power Satisfaction Rating 782 /1000
Number of Available Add-On Riders 11
Best Cheap Life Insurance
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating A++
J.D. Power Satisfaction Rating N/A
Number of Available Add-On Riders 8
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How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies
Life insurance is complicated, with multiple policy types and coverage options to choose from. Try starting with our Life Insurance Buying Guide if you need a good jumping-off point. There, we compare the main policy types and answer common life insurance FAQs.
Before considering policy options or pricing, you have to find a provider that will actually cover you. As a preliminary step, we cleared our list of companies that limit their customer base. That meant nixing providers that only write employer-sponsored group policies (like Metlife) and those with special eligibility requirements (like USAA, which only insures members of the armed forces). We also required that each company write policies in at least 40 states, so you won’t have trouble finding coverage in your area.
Financial security is the backbone of insurance — after all, a provider is only as good as its ability to pay out on a claim if need be. That’s why experts like Scott Johnson of Marindependent Insurance Services recommend that you “always check and understand the financial strength of an insurer you’re considering.” Luckily, there are a number of independent agencies that do this work for you, evaluating insurers’ financial health by measuring their current assets against their ongoing obligations.
We checked in with the three most prominent agencies to make sure that all of our top picks are in excellent financial standing. Each provider earned “Superior” scores from A.M. Best, which focuses solely on insurance, as well as top ratings from a second major agency: either “Very Strong” or better from S&P Global or “Excellent” or better from Moody’s. Each one is guaranteed to have the funds to pay out on your death benefit, should it come to that.
After vetting each company on our list for availability and financial strength, it was time to dive into coverage details. The best life insurance policies can be customized through add-ons called ”riders.” When tacked onto your insurance, they might extend coverage or bolster protections against unforeseen circumstances, like accidental death or disability. Some are even classified as “living benefits” and allow part of the death benefit to be accessed during your lifetime.
The most critical riders for you depends on the type of policy you’re considering. For instance, long-term care coverage is an important add-on for lifelong insurance but may not make sense for a short-term policy that’s set to expire while you’re still young. Keeping this in mind, we looked for providers that offer a wide range of riders to accommodate different needs. You can see a complete list of the coverage options we considered and who offers them in our guide on how to choose a life insurance provider.
The Best Life Insurance Companies
- State Farm — Best Term Life Insurance
- Northwestern Mutual — Best Whole Life Insurance
- New York Life — Best Life Insurance for Seniors
- TIAA Life — Best Cheap Life Insurance
State Farm: Best Term Life Insurance
- Variety of term life plans
- Generous extension opportunities
- Best-in-class customer service
- Standout resources
- Rigid term lengths
- Likely not your cheapest option
Why we chose it
Variety of term life plans
Unlike most companies — which carry one or two term life options — State Farm offers four different varieties that let customers match their coverage to their financial goals. The first, Select Term, is boilerplate, affordable term life that lasts for 10, 20, or 30 years. The second, Return of Premium insurance, is more expensive but allows you to recoup your paid premiums if you outlive the policy. Mortgage Term Life covers you for 15 or 30 years, with payments that decrease over time as your mortgage is paid off. Finally, Instant Answer Term provides up to $50,000 of coverage for those who do not wish to take a medical exam. Whatever your term life needs, State Farm likely has a plan to match.
Generous extension opportunities
Your life insurance needs could change at any time. For example, you may have kids living at home longer than expected, need to take out a second mortgage, assume care of an elderly parent, and so on. This means it’s important to look for term insurance that can be extended if necessary. State Farm has some of the most lenient allowances in that department. It lets you renew term coverage through age 95 or convert to a permanent policy through age 75, all without taking a medical exam. By comparison, many companies require a second health exam to renew or convert — meaning prices will go up. Some companies, like New York Life, may even require you to purchase an additional rider for conversion privileges. State Farm guarantees the right to extend coverage at no additional cost to you.
Best-in-class customer service
As of 2017, State Farm is enjoying its fourth year in a row as J.D. Power’s top-ranked company for customer satisfaction. The J.D. Power survey, which polled more than 6,000 life insurance customers, asks policyholders to rate their experience with a provider. Everything from policy options to billing and statements to customer interaction is taken into account — and State Farm scored top marks in every category. A guarantee of great service is especially important for life insurance. We’re confident that State Farm will be easy to work with and won’t muddy the claims process or add stress during an already difficult time.
Life insurance is pretty complex, so we appreciate any company that takes steps to simplify shopping and policy management. State Farm has a few unique tools to that end. First, the company offers quotes for term life insurance online. Not all providers do, and it’s a hugely convenient tool when comparison shopping. State Farm is also one of the few providers that lets you file claims online and provides a checklist of the information you’ll need to do so. Most companies tiptoe around the subject of claims and make information scarce, so State Farm’s straightforward approach is refreshing.
Points to consider
Rigid term lengths
State Farm only offers 10-, 20-, and 30-year term lengths (unless you opt for its 15-year mortgage term insurance). That means it’s not the best choice for people with very specific term needs: say, someone who only wants coverage for 12 years until their child moves out. If you’d prefer a more tailored term length, we suggest checking out New York Life, which lets customers choose a term life policy anywhere between 10 and 20 years.
Likely not your cheapest option
In our review of the best cheap life insurance, State Farm quoted slightly higher premiums than other companies we tested, including TIAA Life, Amica, Transamerica, and New York Life. Of course, premium comparisons need to be taken with a grain of salt. Life insurance quotes are highly personal, so State Farm may still end up being the best choice for you. We recommend requesting quotes from a few different companies to see how your coverage and pricing options stack up.
Life Insurance Content Marketing in 5 Minutes
Many agents always seem to have questions about SEO and with good reason too. Who wouldn’t want a website generating leads 24/7? However, in my experience in generating organic life insurance leads online, SEO should be on the backburner until you become a great content marketer.
Before you even begin to think about SEO (which will drive you crazy with the changing landscape), you need to understand content marketing. Or in other words, blogging for leads. That’s really all we’re doing here. Once you understand content marketing, then you move on to SEO.
As independent life insurance agents, we’re in sales and this online marketing aspect is hard to grasp. I get that.
However, if you’re going to market for life insurance online you need to become a student to marketing OR be willing to pay someone a good chunk of change to do it for you. There are several ways to market online for life insurance – content marketing/SEO, Pay Per Click, Media Buys, email marketing etc. Most agents don’t have the budget and this post is meant for those agents.
If you can carve out 1-2 hours a day for the next year and follow the advice below, you’ll never have to buy a lead again. Bold statement, I know. If it can work for me, it can work for anyone.
Here’s the best advice I can give someone who wants to “blog for leads” in the life insurance space.
1. Keyword Research.
Always start with this. Don’t even write a single piece of content for your website until you researched your keywords. This is the single most important part of content marketing. Target long tail, low competition phrases. And target tons of these!
If I were going to write an article for seniors over 60 years old – I would target the keywords with the least amount of competition. Using my keyword research tool, I can see that “life insurance after 60” keyword has the lowest competition, followed by “life insurance for people over 60”. If I write my content around these keywords, with just a little bit of promotion, I could hit the first page of Google easily.
You’ll never rank for “life insurance quotes”, but you could easily rank for “life insurance after 60”. Sure, there’s not a lot of searches for this term (91 monthly according to Google), but long tail life insurance keywords convert very high if you’re providing the information your reader is looking for. Do this 200 times and it adds up fast.
If you’re just starting your website, research a list of 100 long-tail keywords to start. Write your 1st 100 articles around these keywords. You’ll get an idea of what keywords are doing well for you and then target a list of another 100 keywords. There are lots of keyword research tools – I personally use Long Tail Pro (affiliate link). The screenshot above is from this software. It’s a simple tool and they’ll also teach you how to use it to find great keywords.
The biggest mistake agents make is just blogging for the sake of blogging. Your content needs to be intentional and calculated.
2. Write Great Content.
Don’t pitch life insurance – solve their problem. Use the keyword you’re targeting and provide all the information they can possibly be looking for.
Drop some massive “value bombs” on your readers. Be engaging and speak to the prospect, not to your peers. Show some character. Make them want to contact you and not click the back button and go to another life insurance website for the information they were searching for.
Treat it as a research paper in the beginning. Get ideas from the top spots in Google, combine it with your own resources, experience and knowledge. Make it better than any article on the net.
Never plagiarize. Duplicate content will NOT rank your site – it will only hurt it. Google’s smart enough to know whose content was published first.
3. Make every article at LEAST 750 words.
I didn’t figure this out until recently. My target was always 500 words until now. What I’ve been doing is extending old articles and republishing them with new information. You never want to “fluff” your content just to increase word count.
The longer your article, the more more long tail keywords you hit. Life insurance long tail keywords convert!
I would rather get 100 visitors from a long tail keyword than a high competition keyword any day.
4. Extend, Extend, Extend.
I know I just said it, but keep adding to old articles as new information comes up. I add to old articles all the time and my traffic steadily increases to those articles every month because I’m hitting other long tail keywords.
It’s also a good signal to the search engines that you’re constantly refreshing your content.
For example, I just found a Final Expense company that offers 1st day coverage to epileptics. The first thing I did was update my epilepsy article to reflect that information.
5. Make it readable.
Shoot for 4 lines per paragraph at the most. No one wants to read a long block of content. Especially if you’re pumping out long pieces of content.
Use images, bold, italics, bullet points, video etc. to break up the content and make it flow.
Most readers are “skimmers” so highlight the most important parts of your article to make sure they see it.
Hubspot surveyed over 4,000 business bloggers and found that the tipping point of traffic was 20 posts per month. Obviously, that’s not really doable without spending a considerable amount of time – but if you put your head down for 12 months and crank out 20 well written life insurance articles per month, I’d bet you wouldn’t have to buy a lead again even if you didn’t do any SEO work.
7. Lots of guest posting.
If you’re not willing to invest in marketing or SEO and want some more immediate results, do 1 post for you, 2 for them.
Referral traffic will be your fastest source of traffic in the beginning, so start leveraging other blogs. If you blogged for the keyword “life insurance after 60”, find baby boomer websites or retirement blogs and ask them for a guest blog post.
The concept of guest blogging is leveraging other people’s audiences. It also positions you as an expert.
When you write a guest post, you’ll see an initial burst of traffic. Then it’s going to have a small trickle of traffic forever and you can see the results really start to add up.
8. Tell your readers what to do at the end of the article.
“Call me”, “run a quote”, “fill out this form”. It sounds like common sense, but your readers need to be told what to do. You just provided them with the information they were looking for, now tell them how to put that in action and why you’re the person to do that.
This is on top of your website’s main call to action.
9. Social Media Outreach
I’m NOT talking about posting your link on your Facebook or Twitter page. I’m talking about getting other trusted sources to share your articles. Leverage other people’s audiences.
Using the same example as earlier “life insurance after 60”, you would source all the Facebook and Twitter accounts of baby boomer sites or retirement websites and ask them to share the article.
Personally, after I write a blog post geared toward a certain niche, I have my virtual assistant source active social media profiles with over 500 Facebook “likes” and send them all a message asking to share this article with their readers and also for the opportunity to write a guest blog post. Most get ignored, but some will get shared.
Even better is to forge relationships via social media with other websites with the intention of using that relationship for access to their audience every once in a while. There are plenty of services that you can outsource this.
10. Have a great “About Us” page
Show your face. Tell people who you are. I have tracking on my leads that show what pages they visited and what they searched for online. My conversions of leads to sale are the highest for those who view our “About Us” page. I believe it’s because it personalizes the experience – seeing your face and what you’re about.
As you can tell by now, content marketing is very labor intensive. It’s a massive project and that’s why you don’t see many successful life insurance blogs. Sure, there’s 100’s or even 1000’s of life insurance blogs out there, but they sit on page 8 of Google collecting dust because they don’t understand content marketing….or they quit writing and marketing because they don’t have the patience.
It takes time and energy to rank your website and generate your own leads. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Benefits of Life Insurance Content Marketing
- The most obvious benefit is if you do it right, you no longer have to buy leads and you will always have a consistent lead flow.
- You build trust with your leads. They know you’re a life insurance expert after reading an article you wrote – a level of trust has already been built when they call or fill out a lead form. Breaking down any trust walls on a phone call with organic self generated leads is easy and sometimes non-existant.
- You build “business to business” referral relationships. I’ve personally developed ongoing relationships with other financial planning firms, lenders, P/C agents, CPAs etc. We all know that finding good COI’s (Centers of Influence) are hard to come by and if you’ve ever worked in a captive environment – this is what they train you to do.These COI’s will start finding you if you publish great content.Example: My most recent COI call in was from a personal injury trial attorney. He reached out to me because of my high risk life insurance expertise and I helped him place 1 of his clients that was declined for life insurance. Now I’m putting together a program for his 900 member trial attorney association. More on this in another post as this develops. The reason I mention this is because other professionals from industries you don’t even think about will reach out to you just by establishing yourself as an expert in the articles you write. It’s not just the internet leads you’re receiving – it’s also the ongoing relationships that come along with it when you demonstrate your experise.
- The media will reach out to you every once in a while. I’ve been quoted in several magazines and online articles in different niches that has generated a lot of new business.
If I were starting from scratch with No budget
I would register an aged domain with some back links already built. (I can help you with)
Start a generic WordPress site and just start writing. Nothing fancy – just a basic template.
I would blog and guest blog consistently for 1 year (following my tips above). I would start seeing some traffic and leads come in around the 90 day mark. Sooner if you really attack it.
I wouldn’t invest any money on a nice looking site until I hit 20 organic unique visitors per day. Focus on content first and when your site begins to see some unique visitors, it’s time to invest in a re-design to convert your visitors.
After the redesign, I would begin a guest blogging campaign for the rest of the year on top of the 5 articles/week.
“I don’t have the time” – BS. Make the time. Like clockwork, I personally create content and hone my knowledge of content marketing every morning with a cup of green tea after my morning workout. I put a one hour timer on and don’t pick up my phone, look at emails or let anything distract me. I also listen to this while writing (for some reason I’m more efficient). It’s routine for me now and I enjoy it. That’s my routine. Make the time.
“I don’t know how” – I didn’t know how when I started. You learn as you go. If you’re an agent of mine, I’m here to lean on for any questions. Also, Google is your friend. There are a TON of content marketing resources out there.
“I can’t write for crap” – Hire a writer. I write the content for this site and my main site, but my other websites are all hired writers. All I do is provide the keywords we’re targeting and add any value or points they need to touch on and send it over. I’ve had great articles written for me on elance.com and hirewriters.com (expert level), but there are a ton of other options.
I know content marketing isn’t for everyone. Again, this post is for those willing to invest their time, energy and eventually money into generating their own leads online.
I 100% believe in order to sell life insurance online or over the phone successfully over the next decade, you need to learn some sort of internet marketing. Content marketing is just one way to do this as a life insurance agent.
This post is the basis of a content marketing training course I’ve put together for life insurance agents. The course goes more in depth with step by step actions, tools I use and has higher level tips and tricks, but the meat of it is in this article.