Brighthouse Financial Life Insurance Review

Simple term coverage and dependable long-term care insurance

Family
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Brighthouse Financial Life Insurance is a company that traces its roots back to 1863 and offers straightforward term and long-term care insurance. Term coverage from Brighthouse is priced transparently, with rate sheets published directly on the company websites. The company is also unique in that it offers long-term care structured as a hybrid life insurance policy, rather than a living-benefits-only policy, which is how most long-term care is written.

In this review, we’ll consider the company’s offerings along with pricing, riders, customer reviews, and financial ratings. Read on to see how they fared.

What We Like

  • Born from Travelers and MetLife

  • Published rate tables

  • Standard and Poor's A+ rating

  • Strong BBB rating and few complaints

What We Don't Like

  • Term coverage is only renewable up to five years

  • No conventional permanent coverage

  • Few payment options

  • Not many riders available

Company Overview: A Spin-Off

Brighthouse Financial is a life insurance company that traces its roots back to Travelers, which was founded in 1863. It has over 2.6 million policies in force and was most recently owned by MetLife, but is now a standalone Fortune 500 company. The firm has been operating as Brighthouse since 2017 and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Available Plans: Just Term and Long-Term Care

Brighthouse Financial provides two different types of insurance: term life and long-term care. Term life policies last one year and offer optional riders that allow policyholders to renew their policy for up to five years. The company’s long-term care product is a hybrid policy that’s structured as a universal life policy with several additional benefits attached.

The types of life insurance offered by Brighthouse Financial include:

Brighthouse One Year Term

Term life coverage from Brighthouse Financial comes as a one-year policy. These policies can be renewed for up to five years if customers purchase an optional rider when they buy their policy (this rider is only available at the time of purchase). Otherwise, customers can just purchase the insurance when they want coverage. Term life policies have a $100,000 minimum and can be issued to customers from 18 to 85 years of age. 

Brighthouse SmartCare®

Brighthouse Financial also provides long-term care insurance with coverage up to $1 million, which is structured as a hybrid indexed universal life policy. It includes several riders to provide policyholders with benefits to cover expenses later in life. This is unique among long-term care insurance that is normally sold as a living-benefits-only policy. With Smartcare®, policyholders’ long-term care benefits, death benefits, and cash value all grow over time. Policies have a capped growth rate but also protect policyholders against stock market losses. These policies are available from ages 40 to 75 with no medical exams.

Brighthouse SmartCare is a hybrid life insurance and long-term care policy that provides protection in two ways. It offers your loved ones a death benefit and offers you long-term care (LTC) coverage if you need it.

Brighthouse long-term care insurance (LTC) offers three different types of benefit options for cash values that grow over time and that you can borrow against:

  • Indexed LTC: Policyholders’ benefits increase with market gains up to a maximum annual growth rate, but can’t fall below the original amounts. 
  • Fixed Growth LTC: The policy’s benefit amount grows by a set 5% interest rate, compounded annually.
  • Level LTC: The policy’s benefits remain the same over time.

Available Riders: Just a Couple Options

Riders are extra features that can be added to some life insurance policies for extra benefits. Brighthouse Financial only offers a few add-ons for policyholders who want to get extra benefits from their policies. These riders often include extra fees, but many are critical for those who want to unlock important features of their coverage. Note that not all riders are available with all policies.

The riders that Brighthouse Financial offers include:

Convertible and Renewable Options Rider

Convertible and renewable options riders are only available with term policies and only at the time of purchase. This rider allows policyholders to extend their coverage to five years at the end of their term eliminating the need for a new medical questionnaire.

Long-Term Care Acceleration of Death Benefit Rider

An acceleration of death benefit rider is only available with Brighthouse long-term care policies. This rider allows policyholders to access their death benefits before they die in order to pay expenses late in life. Access to these living benefits is for terminal illnesses and long-term care costs.

Extension of Benefits Rider

An extension of benefits rider is only available with long-term care policies. The rider allows policyholders to extend the amount of time they receive death benefit payments after their entire death benefit has been paid out. This provides additional funds in the event of unexpected costs due to serious illnesses needing medical care.

Often, we think of life insurance as a long-term solution, but situations can arise when protection is needed for a shorter period of time. Brighthouse One Year Term is a life insurance product that delivers guaranteed, affordable protection.

Customer Service: Handled by MetLife

Customers who need assistance can call (800) 638-5000. The customer service number listed directs customers to a MetLife call center. There is no live chat through Brighthouse’s website, nor is there an email option available. Brighthouse life insurance is available through independent advisors around the country, who may be able to assist with some customer service issues.

Customer Satisfaction: They Follow Up

Brighthouse Financial has a 2-star rating from J.D. Power and an A+ rating from the BBB.  While there are over 30 registered customer complaints, the company makes an effort to address all customer complaints.

Most customer complaints are related to account administration issues not being handled or benefits being delayed, both reportedly due to incomplete paperwork. Brighthouse has responded to all of these complaints and attempted to resolve them.

Financial Strength: Multiple Strong Ratings

Brighthouse Financial has an A+ rating from Standard & Poors. The company is also rated A by A.M. Best, A3 by Moody’s, and A by Fitch. All of these represent very strong ratings, though they’re not the highest ratings available. Customers who decide to buy coverage from Brighthouse should rest easy knowing that their insurance is backed by a company with a strong balance sheet and solid risk management practices.

Cancellation Policy: Cancel Anytime But Fees May Apply

Term life coverage from Brighthouse can be canceled at any time—policyholders need to simply stop paying premiums. Long-term care coverage can also be canceled at any time but may include surrender charges (that decrease over time) and will reduce the cash value. 

Price: Rates Tables Available Online

Life insurance from Brighthouse Financial is priced both competitively and transparently, especially for term life insurance. It makes rates tables available directly on its website that show annual premiums for one-year term policies. 

Below are sample premiums for $150,000 in one-year term life coverage for men:

Competition: Brighthouse Financial vs. AIG

Brighthouse feels like a small insurance carrier compared to AIG. Unlike Brighthouse, AIG offers four different types of life insurance including term, whole, universal, and variable universal life through its subsidiary, American General Life Insurance. AIG also has a higher A.M. Best rating of A++ with a 2-star rating from J.D. Power. Customers who want more types of life insurance—except for long-term care, which AIG doesn’t offer —should work with AIG instead of Brighthouse.

Final Verdict: Two Offerings to Meet Many Needs

Brighthouse Financial is a relatively young company that traces its history back to two different behemoths in the insurance industry. The company offers a very simple, cost-efficient one-year term life insurance policy that can be renewed for up to five years. 

It also offers long-term care insurance for customers who want to use their life insurance to help cover medical bills and other expenses later in life. Ultimately, this provider has limited options for consumers who need more from their life insurance policies. However, if you want life insurance accessible for long-term care needs before you die or short-term life insurance coverage, Brighthouse is affordable and does a good job.

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Article Sources

  1. Brighthouse Financial. "Brighthouse Financial History." Accessed March 26, 2020.

  2. Brighthouse Financial. "Term Life Insurance." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  3. Brighthouse Financial. "Developing a Strategy for Your Clients’ Life Insurance and Long-Term Care Needs." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  4. Brighthouse Financial. "Term Life Insurance." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  5. Brighthouse Financial. "OYT Client Brochure." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  6. Brighthouse Financial. "Brighthouse SmartCare®." Accessed March 26, 2020.

  7. Brighthouse Financial. "SmartCare Client Brochure." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  8. Brighthouse Financial. "Brighthouse SmartCare®." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  9. Brighthouse Financial. "Brighthouse SmartCare®." Accessed March 27, 2020. 

  10. Brighthouse Financial. "Brighthouse SmartCare®." Accessed March 26, 2020.

  11. Brighthouse Financial. "Brighthouse Financial Support." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  12. JD Power. "2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study." Accessed March 28, 2020. 

  13. BBB. "Brighthouse Financial." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  14. Brighthouse Financial. "Our Story." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  15. Brighthouse Financial. "One Year Term Rates." Accessed March 27, 2020.