Most Affordable Life Insurance

Nationwide offers affordable life insurance policies and great customer service

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If you have a spouse or dependents who rely on your income, a life insurance policy can provide a death benefit or lump sum of money to your named beneficiaries when you die. This can help to provide for your family even after you’re gone. While we all hope to live long, healthy lives, it’s also important to be prepared for the unexpected and have a plan in place that ensures your family will have the resources they deserve.

The best affordable life insurance policies have competitive rates and great ratings when it comes to financial strength, customer satisfaction, range of options, and other features. We evaluated more than two dozen life insurance providers in terms of these factors 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 

  • AM Best Rating: A+
  • Plans: 4
  • Issue Ages: Up to 80
Why We Chose It

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

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Online quotes and policy management

  • Great financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings

  • Affordable premiums

Cons
  • May require a medical exam

Overview

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

  • AM Best Rating: A++
  • Plans: 17
  • Issue Ages: Up to 80
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.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Strong financial strength ratings

  • Strong history of paying dividends

  • Both whole life and term policies with conversion options

Cons
  • No online quotes

  • Requires underwriting

Overview

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

  • AM Best Rating: A+
  • Plans: 1
  • Issue Ages: Up to 75
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.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable rates

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

  • Term riders to increase initial coverage at a lower cost

Cons
  • 35 and 40-year term lengths not available in New York state

  • Not rated by J.D. Power

Overview

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 

  • AM Best Rating: A+
  • Plans: 8
  • Issue Ages: Up to 90
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.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Cheap premiums

  • Accelerated underwriting

  • Great financial reputation

Cons
  • Limited customer service hours

Overview

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

  • AM Best Rating: A+
  • Plans: 1
  • Issue Ages: Up to 55
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.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No lab tests or medical exam required

  • Get an online quote and apply for coverage in minutes

  • Great customer service reviews

Cons
  • Not available in New York

Overview

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

  • AM Best Rating: A+
  • Plans: 5
  • Issue Ages: Up to 80
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.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Relatively affordable term rates for seniors

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

  • Customization and conversion options

Cons
  • Not available in New York

  • Some products aren’t offered in select states

Overview

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

  • AM Best Rating: A
  • Plans: 5
  • Issue Ages: Up to 70
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.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable rates

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

Cons
  • Few customer service reviews available online

Overview

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. 

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. 

Compare the Most Affordable Life Insurance Policies

Company AM Best Rating Coverage Capacity Issue Ages Premiums Policies Offered
Nationwide
Best Overall
A+ Not stated Up to 80 Varies Term, whole, universal, etc.
Northwestern Mutual
Best for Whole Life Policies
A++ $10,000,000 Up to 80 Varies Term life, whole life, universal life, variable universal life, survivorship life
Banner Life
Best for Term Policies
A+ $10,000,000 Up to 75 Varies Term, universal, final expense
Principal
Cheapest Option
A+ $1,000,000 Up to 90 Varies Term & permanent policies
Bestow
Best for No Medical Exam
A+ $1,500,000 Up to 55 Varies Term life insurance
Mutual of Omaha
Best for Seniors
A+ $1,000,000 Up to 80 Varies Term life, children’s whole life, whole life, universal life, guaranteed issue
Ameritas
Most Comprehensive Coverage
A $1,000,000 Up to 70 Varies Index Universal life, universal life, whole life, term life, variable life


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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

Methodology

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.