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What is the reason for buying a “whole life” insurance policy? As the name implies, “whole life” insurance is meant to last for your entire life. This is the opposite of a temporary life insurance policy that covers a specific amount of time such as a 10-, 20-, or 30-year term. There are many good reasons for purchasing a whole life policy. The whole life policy never expires and in most cases, the premium doesn’t increase over the life of the policy. Some policies also build cash value that you can borrow from.
Want a little help finding the right policy? We teamed up with QuinStreet to help you get life insurance quotes from the following companies, and below the table, we provide the details on our picks for the best options for whole life insurance.
Best Whole Life Insurance Policies of 2019
- MassMutual: Best Whole Life for Building Cash Value
- Northwestern Mutual: Best Whole Life for Pricing
- New York Life: Best Whole Life for Dividend Returns
- MetLife: Best Whole Life for Optional Benefits (Riders)
- Transamerica: Best Whole Life for Final Expense Coverage
- Mutual of Omaha: Best Whole Life for No Medical Exams
- Guardian: Best Whole Life for Cash Value Options
- State Farm: Best Whole Life for Paying Off Your Premium Early
Death benefits are guaranteed through the MassMutual whole life policy, which means the beneficiary of your life insurance policy receives a lump sum cash payment regardless of when you die. Cash value benefits build over the life of the policy. If you are looking to use your life insurance as a supplement for your retirement income, the cash value of a whole life insurance policy can help contribute as a source of income. The MassMutual whole life policy also offers policy dividends, meaning you earn cash dividend payments annually. MassMutual is “A++” rated by A.M. Best and Insure.com rates MassMutual highly in the area of “value for the price.”
How does morbidity rate come into play?
Northwestern Mutual is the largest direct writer of life insurance in the United States. It offers policy dividends payments for its whole life insurance policy. Northwestern Mutual received a 4-out-of-5 score in a recent customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Power & Associates. The waiver of premium rider from Northwestern Mutual is available, which pays your insurance premium should you suffer a disabling injury. Premiums are guaranteed not to increase and the whole life policy from Northwestern accumulates cash value that is tax-deferred. Northwestern Mutual’s whole life insurance rates are very competitive, particularly for seniors.
New York Life has consistently received the highest financial strength rating from four major insurance rating organizations (A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services). Why is financial strength important in your life insurance company? The financial strength of an insurance company shows its ability to meet financial obligations and pay any claims presented. For policyholders, this means higher dividend payments.
MetLife received the No. 2 ranking in customer satisfaction from J.D. Power & Associates. The MetLife whole life insurance policy offers a guaranteed level premium and cash value benefits. Dividend payments are earned starting with the second year term of the policy. MetLife gives policyholders the options of adding more coverage to the basic policy by something called a policy rider. Several policy riders are available: The Enrichment Rider (option to add more coverage and cash value over time as you need it); Accident Death Benefit (additional payment for a death as the result of an accident); Child Term Rider (coverage added for your children); Enhanced Care (cash value available for prolonged illness with access to up to 90 percent of the policy value); Flex Term Rider (a term life policy can be added that adds to the coverage for a period of time); and the Disability Waiver (premium is waived for a disability of six months or more).
Transamerica’s whole life insurance policy is available in amounts up to $50,000. Group whole life insurance is also available through your employer as a voluntary benefit in amounts up to $25,000. Small whole life insurance policies are available through Transamerica designed to cover funeral costs and other final expenses. Premiums are guaranteed for life as long as you keep paying your premium. Cash accumulation (tied to the performance of investments) is available that can be borrowed from and the tax payable on cash accumulation can be deferred. The accelerated death benefit pays a portion of the policy’s death benefits if you have a terminal illness, chronic illness or a critical illness such as a heart attack or stroke after your policy goes into effect. Transamerica has an “A+” financial strength rating from A.M. Best.
Mutual of Omaha does not require a medical exam for coverage and offers whole life insurance in values from $2,000 to $25,000. Whole life insurance policies are available for individuals aged 45 to 85 (in NY, 50 to 75). Children’s whole life insurance is also available. Mutual of Omaha has an “A+” financial strength rating from A.M. Best. There is a graded death benefit for the first two years of the policy, meaning, if during the first two years of the policy the death results from natural causes, the beneficiary receives all premiums paid plus 10 percent. For death by accidental injury, full benefits are available as soon as the policy becomes effective. Coverage is guaranteed for as long as you continue to pay your policy premium. Since Mutual of Omaha is a mutual firm, it pays back policyholders in the form of dividend payments.
In addition to paying policy dividends, Guardian also excels at options available to customers looking to accumulate cash value. In fact, there are eight different cash value options, far more than other life insurers. Guardian has an “A++” financial strength rating from A.M. Best. The whole life policy through Guardian offers guaranteed premium, cash value accumulations, potential dividend payments and tax benefits such as being able to defer paying taxes and the dividends accumulating on your policy. Also, if you have to borrow against your policy, the loan may not count as income for tax purposes. Several riders are available, including waiver of premium, enhanced accelerated death benefit, guaranteed insurability and the accidental death benefit.
A whole life insurance policy from State Farm has many benefits, including lifetime coverage, access to cash value (tax deferred), guaranteed death benefit and level premium amounts over the life of the policy. Policy limits are available up to $100,000. State Farm also has what they call “Limited Pay Life Plans” for 10, 15 or 20 years. What this means is that you can completely pay for your life insurance premium for the term you choose, in 10, 15 or 20 years. This will help you avoid having to pay life insurance premiums during your retirement.
You are eligible to earn dividend payments but these are not guaranteed. If you are looking for a value in whole life insurance, State Farm offers more policy discounts than many other insurers; (67 percent vs. 40 percent for the industry average). State Farm offers online quoting for its whole life policy. State Farm is “A++” rated by A.M. Best and has the highest rating from J.D. Power & Associates in the area of customer satisfaction.