Most Affordable Life Insurance

How to choose the best cheap policy for you

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While we all hope to live long, healthy lives, it’s also important to be prepared for the unexpected. If you have a spouse or dependents who rely on your income, you’ll want to purchase an affordable life insurance policy that provides a death benefit or lump sum of money to your named beneficiaries when you die. The good news is that getting a policy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. 

The best way to find an affordable policy is to compare quotes from multiple insurers, since your age, gender, and health information will impact your rate. But to narrow down your options, we evaluated more than two dozen life insurance providers in terms of financial strength, customer satisfaction, range of options, and other features, and selected the most affordable companies. Read on for our list of the best affordable life insurance providers. 

Most Affordable Life Insurance for 2021

Best Overall : Nationwide

Nationwide

Nationwide 

Why We Chose It: Nationwide has a strong financial reputation, great customer satisfaction ratings, flexible conversion options, and affordable rates for all ages.

What We Like
  • Online quotes and policy management

  • Great financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings

  • Affordable premiums

What We Don't Like
  • May require a medical exam

Nationwide offers an affordable term life policy for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years that can be converted to a permanent policy at the end of the term or renewed annually up to age 95. The estimated price for a 20-year, $250,000 term policy is about $15/month for a 35-year-old female and $43/month for a 50-year-old male in excellent health. They also have several attractive riders that you can add to your policy, including a children’s term rider and an accelerated death benefit for terminal illness. 

You can easily get a quote and apply for term coverage online or contact an agent if you’d prefer. You’ll need to call to get a quote for a permanent life insurance policy. You can also manage your policy online or call customer service seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET. 

Founded in 1926, Nationwide has an A+ rating with AM Best, which indicates superior financial strength. The company also ranked third in J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study and has fewer complaints than average with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for a company of its size.

Best for Whole Life Policies : Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual

 Northwestern Mutual

Why We Chose It: Northwestern Mutual has great financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings and is expected to pay $6.2 billion in dividends to policyholders in 2021.

What We Like
  • Strong financial strength ratings

  • Strong history of paying dividends

  • Both whole life and term policies with conversion options

What We Don't Like
  • No online quotes

  • Requires underwriting

The affordability of Northwestern Mutual’s whole life policies will depend greatly on your health status and age, and you’ll need to call an agent to get a quote. But the company is generally known to be affordable, and their whole life policies are a popular option. You can customize your coverage with riders, such as the accelerated care rider. You’ll also be able to use the dividend payments to reduce your premium or increase your death benefit. 

Northwestern Mutual is the largest life insurance provider in the U.S. and has been around since 1857. Policies are available nationwide. The company has an A++ financial strength rating with AM Best, which indicates a great financial reputation, along with a strong history of paying dividends. Additionally, Northwestern Mutual was ranked fourth for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study. And Northwestern Mutual’s complaint index with the NAIC is well below average; the large company received just 10 complaints in 2019. 

Best for Term Policies : Banner Life

Banner Life

 Banner Life

Why We Chose It: Banner Life has some of the most affordable term policies in the industry, with term lengths up to 40 years, and you can save on higher coverage amounts by adding term riders.

What We Like
  • Affordable rates

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

  • Term riders to increase initial coverage at a lower cost

What We Don't Like
  • 35 and 40-year term lengths not available in New York state

  • Not rated by J.D. Power

Banner Life offers very competitive rates on their OPTerm policies, which are available in term lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years. For a $250,000, 20-year policy, a 35-year-old female nonsmoker can expect to pay only about $12/month, while a 50-year-old male nonsmoker would pay about $41/month. Plus, you can add term riders to your base policy to get more coverage during the years you need it most, which offers savings potential when compared to buying separate policies or a cover-all policy. 

It’s easy to get a quote and apply for coverage online. You can also call and speak to an agent, but only during business hours. 

Founded in 1949, Banner Life has an A+ financial strength rating with A.M. Best and offers term coverage in all 50 states. 

Cheapest Option : Principal

Principal

Principal 

Why We Chose It: Principal offers the cheapest rates for term coverage for people in good health. The company also has the superior financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings and offers several riders to customize your policy, including an accelerated benefit at no cost.

What We Like
  • Cheap premiums

  • Accelerated underwriting

  • Great financial reputation

What We Don't Like
  • Limited customer service hours

Principal stood out because quotes are extremely competitive and several riders are available, including an accelerated benefit at no additional premium. For a 20-year, $250,000 policy, a 35-year-old female nonsmoker can expect to pay just $12/month, while a 50-year-old male nonsmoker can expect to pay $39/month. Principal offers term lengths of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. About half of applicants can qualify without a medical exam and get coverage, and the digital process is about 30 days faster on average. 

It’s easy to get a quote and manage your policy online, and you can speak to an agent as well, but customer service hours are limited. Note that although the provider issues policies nationwide, some riders may not be available in all states. 

Principal’s customer satisfaction rating in J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study is above the industry average, and the company has favorable customer service reviews and a lower-than-average number of complaints, according to the NAIC. Principal has an A+ financial strength rating with A.M. Best. 

Best for No Medical Exam : Bestow

Bestow

Bestow

Why We Chose It: Compared to other term life insurance products that don’t require a medical exam, Bestow offers longer terms, higher coverage amounts, and more affordable rates.

What We Like
  • No lab tests or medical exam required

  • Get an online quote and apply for coverage in minutes

  • Great customer service reviews

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in New York

Some no-exam life insurance policies have low maximum benefits, but you can get up to $1.5 million in coverage from Bestow with 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year terms for ages 18–60. Rates are affordable. The quote and application processes are entirely online with instant decision. 

Bestow is new to the industry, founded in 2016, but its policies are provided by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, which received an A+ financial strength rating with AM Best. 

While Bestow isn’t an option for seniors, who may need to pursue pricier simplified issue guaranteed life insurance to avoid a medical exam, it’s a great option for young people who want fast coverage without the hassle.

Best for Seniors : Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Why We Chose It: Mutual of Omaha offers affordable term policies up to age 80 with the option to convert to a permanent policy without an exam. Whole life and universal life policies are also available for seniors who want the option.

What We Like
  • Relatively affordable term rates for seniors

  • Coverage amounts range from $100,000 to more than $1 million

  • Customization and conversion options

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in New York

  • Some products aren’t offered in select states

It can be difficult to find affordable term policies for people over 70, but Mutual of Omaha offers plans to policyholders as old as 80. A 75-year-old male nonsmoker would pay about $184/month for a 10-year, $100,000 policy. Some other insurers charge nearly twice that amount. Policyholders also have the option to convert term life insurance to a cash value plan. It’s easy to get a price estimate online, but you’ll need to contact an agent to purchase a policy. 

Mutual of Omaha has a great reputation, with an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best and fewer than average complaints about a company of its size, according to the NAIC complaint index. It’s also ranked fifth for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study. The company has been around since 1909 and writes policies in every state except New York. 

Most Comprehensive Coverage : Ameritas

Ameritas

 Ameritas

Why We Chose It: Ameritas offers affordable term policies with high coverage amounts, conversion options, and attractive riders in addition to the whole and universal products with some of the most comprehensive living benefits available.

What We Like
  • Affordable rates

  • Many options for term lengths, benefit amounts, and riders

What We Don't Like
  • Few customer service reviews available online

Ameritas has a variety of product options, affordable policies with high coverage amounts, and plenty of customization options, making it a great option for people looking for comprehensive coverage. Benefit amounts go up to $20 million and you can choose term lengths of 1, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. You can convert to permanent coverage in the first five years or purchase the conversion extension rider, which allows you to convert until the end of the term or age 70, whichever comes first. You can also add a child rider, an accelerated death benefit for terminal illness, and more. With the Ameritas permanent policies, there are several living benefits riders available as well. 

In addition to comprehensive coverage, Ameritas has very affordable rates. For a 20-year, $250,000 term life policy, a 35-year-old female nonsmoker can expect to pay about $14/month, while a 50-year-old male nonsmoker would pay about $44/month. 

Founded in 1887, Ameritas issues life insurance policies in all 50 states. While there are few customer service reviews available online, there haven’t been any complaints with the NAIC in the last two years. Ameritas also has an A financial strength rating with AM Best. It’s easy to get a quote online for term life insurance, but you’ll need to contact an agent to buy a policy. 

Compare Providers

Provider Why We Picked It Cost Per Month (excellent health) Financial Strength Rating (A.M. Best)
Nationwide Affordable rates and strong reputation 20-year, $250,000 term policy: $15 for a 35-year-old female; $43 for a 50-year-old male A+
Northwestern Mutual Good financial strength and history of paying dividends Call for quote A++
Banner Life Affordable policies with term riders 20-year, $250,000 term policy: $12 for a 35-year-old female; $41 for a 50-year-old male A+
Principal Cheapest rates for people in good health 20-year, $250,000 term policy: $12 for a 35-year-old female; $39 for a 50-year-old male A+
Bestow No medical exam required; high coverage amounts $250,000 term policy: $14.58 for 20 years for a 35-year-old female; $32.08 for 10 years for a 50-year-old male A+
Mutual of Omaha Cheap term coverage up to age 80 10-year, $100,000 term policy: $184 for a 75-year-old male nonsmoker A+
Ameritas High coverage amounts and plenty of riders 20-year, $250,000 term policy: $14 for a 35-year-old female; $44 for a 50-year-old male A

Final Verdict

While all of the companies we selected offer affordable rates to healthy people, the most affordable life insurance policy for you will depend on several individual factors such as your age, health status, and the amount of coverage you need. It’s a good idea to get your own customized quotes from different insurers, and this list is a great place to start. Keep in mind that online quotes are rarely available for permanent life insurance policies with a high face value, so you may need to make some phone calls to find a cheap rate on whole or universal life insurance. 


While there are many affordable life insurance plans to choose from, Nationwide stood out to us because of its strong reputation for financial strength and customer satisfaction, along with a great range of policy options and extended customer service hours.

FAQs

What Is the Cheapest Type of Life Insurance?

Term life insurance is the least expensive type of life insurance you can buy. You’ll get the highest death benefit for the lowest premium with a term life insurance plan. That’s because term policies do not build cash value and the benefit is only paid if the insured dies during the term. 

What Is the Average Cost of Life Insurance?

Many people overestimate the cost of life insurance, particularly younger generations, according to LIMRA’s 2020 Insurance Barometer Study. Half of the millennials believe life insurance will cost them more than five times the typical price for a policy.

The average cost of a life insurance policy is $44/month, according to S&P Global. That average includes more expensive whole life policies as well as term life insurance policies, which are typically much cheaper. A term life insurance policy for someone in their 30s costs an average of just $16/month. 

Depending on how much coverage you need and your health status, you may even be able to get a cheaper premium

When Is the Best Time to Buy Life Insurance?

The younger you are when you purchase a policy, the cheaper your monthly premium will be. But that doesn’t mean you’ll need a life insurance policy as soon as you reach adulthood. Life insurance is intended to provide a death benefit to your beneficiaries, like your spouse and children if you pass away while your family depends on your income. So you may not need life insurance if you’re single and debt-free. But if you have student loans, mortgage debt, and dependents, you should apply for a life insurance policy as soon as possible. 

How We Chose the Most Affordable Life Insurance

To find the most affordable life insurance providers, we evaluated more than two dozen providers based on their financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings and selected the most affordable of the top-rated providers based on quotes for an applicant in good health. We also considered the range of options and coverage amounts, ease of online quotes and applications, available riders, and other distinguishing features. 

All of the life insurance companies we chose offer very competitive premiums, great financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings, and a variety of customization options.