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Chesapeake Life is an underwriting company for life insurance offered under the SureBridge brand name. The insurer offers only one form of life insurance: final expense policies. Its policies may be an attractive option for individuals looking to cover their burial expenses and who don’t want to undergo a medical exam.
- Pros and Cons
- Key Takeaways
Policy does not require a medical exam
Offers an accelerated benefit rider
Offers and accidental death benefit rider
Only offers two policies
Online quotes not available
Age restrictions apply
- The Chesapeake Life Insurance Company was founded in 1956 and is currently a subsidiary of their parent company, HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc.
- Final expense policies are the only life insurance coverage the insurer offers.
- The company also underwrites supplemental accident, disability, and illness-related insurance.
- Its policies are available in 46 states, with no coverage available in Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont.
- Year Founded 1956
- Kinds of Plans Final expense
- Number of Plans 2
- Payment Options Monthly
- Official Website https://www.surebridgeinsurance.com/
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company offers final expense insurance, and you can choose from two different no-medical exam policies. The company requires you to contact an agent to get a quote and apply for coverage.
We reviewed the company’s policies, riders, financial stability ratings, customer satisfaction data, rates, and more to help you compare the life insurance policy options of Chesapeake Life Insurance Company with other providers.
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company was founded in 1956 and is now headquartered in North Richland Hills, Texas.
While the insurer’s sole life insurance offering is final expense coverage, it also offers a host of supplemental health insurance solutions, including accident, critical accident, critical illness, dental, disability, fixed indemnity, hospital, income protection, and vision coverage.
The company operates in 46 states and the District of Columbia but does not serve Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont.
Final expense insurance, also known as burial insurance, is meant to cover funeral and burial costs. This insurer states their coverage also covers outstanding debts, probate fees, medical expenses, and other end-of-life costs.
Both final expense policies from Chesapeake Life Insurance company feature fixed premiums and remain in force as long as you pay your monthly premiums. As whole life policies, both plans feature a cash value account that grows on a tax-deferred basis.
You can borrow against your cash-value account, but policy loans decrease the death benefit.
Level Benefit Plan
To qualify for the level benefit plan, you must be between the ages of 45 and 85. You do not have to take a medical exam, but you will need to answer health-related questions during a phone interview with an agent.
The level benefit plan provides coverage between $3,000 and $35,000, and the full death benefit is available immediately upon your passing. Also included is an accelerated death benefit for terminal illnesses.
Graded Benefit Plan
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company will try to qualify you for their graded benefit plan if you are denied coverage through the level benefit plan. To qualify, you must be between the ages of 50 and 85. Instead of a medical exam, you must complete a health questionnaire with a phone agent.
According to the plan’s death benefit structure for non-accidental deaths, your benefit during the first year of your policy is 30% of your coverage amount, 70% in the second year, and 100% after that. The full death benefit is paid for accidental death at all times.
Unfortunately, the graded benefit plan doesn’t offer accelerated benefits for terminal illnesses.
Riders are options you can add to your life insurance policy to receive additional benefits. While optional riders increase your premiums, you can add them strategically to round out your life insurance coverage and customize it to meet your needs. For example, many policy riders provide you with early access to your benefits if you become ill or disabled, or they can add to your death benefit if your death is the result of an accident.
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company offers two riders:
Accelerated Death Benefit
The accelerated benefit is only available through the insurer’s level benefit plan. Eligible policyholders can access up to 50% of their death benefit while still alive if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness and are expected to live 12 months or less.
With this rider, the death benefit doubles if the death results from an accident and triples if the accident takes place while riding as a fare-paying passenger on commercial transportation, such as an airline, train, or bus.
The accidental death benefit expires at age 100. Coverage restrictions apply, but the website doesn’t list what they are. Make sure to read your policy details for complete information.
Customer Service: Limited Options
The customer service options for Chesapeake Life Insurance Company are somewhat limited. Unlike many life insurance companies, this insurer does not offer email, online, or chat correspondence. To get a quote or ask questions, you must contact a local insurance agent or call SureBridge at (800) 815-8535, weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. in your time zone.
Your other option is to mail the company at the following address:
The Chesapeake Life Insurance Company
PO Box 31382
Salt Lake City, UT 84131-0382
SureBridge and the Chesapeake Life Insurance Company also provide an online platform to view your policy information, pay your premium, update your beneficiary information, and more.
Customer Satisfaction: Poor Rating
Each year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) researches insurance company complaints and publicizes their findings. Based on their research, the NAIC assigns a complaint index score for each insurer that helps consumers compare the complaint records of an insurance company against the national average for insurance companies of similar size.
The national average is 1.0, which means any score below 1.0 receives less than the average number of complaints. A score of 2 indicates the insurer receives twice the average number of complaints.
In 2020, Chesapeake Life Insurance Company’s complaint index score was 5.52 for its individual life policies. That’s five and a half times higher than the industry average. The majority of complaints relate to misrepresentations in marketing materials and slow customer service response.
Financial Strength: A (Excellent)
AM Best is an organization whose financial strength ratings (FSRs) measure an insurer’s financial stability. Their FSRs help consumers assess the ability of an insurance company to meet its ongoing financial obligations.
In 2020, AM Best confirmed an A (Excellent) FSR for Chesapeake Life Insurance Company, based on the insurer’s strong earnings and balance sheet strength. The rating agency expects the insurer’s balance sheet to remain strong based on favorable operating performance and the company’s capital management strategy.
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company’s strong financial rating is a good indicator the insurer will fulfill their financial obligation to you and your beneficiaries when the time comes.
Cancellation Policy: Industry Standard
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company does not publicize its cancellation policy online. But as with other insurance companies, you have access to a 10-day free-look period, allowing you more time to review your policy. You won’t owe any money if you cancel during the free-look period, and the company will owe you a full refund of all the premiums you’ve paid. On the other hand, if you cancel after the free look period expires, you might be responsible for cancellation fees.
You may be able to receive a surrender cash value when you cancel your policy. The amount you receive will depend on how much has accumulated in your account, minus surrender charges assessed by the policy.
Contact your agent to cancel your policy, or call customer service at 800-815-8535.
Since Chesapeake Life Insurance Company’s cancellation policies aren’t published online, make sure you read the policy’s fine print. Also, ask your agent to provide you with full details before signing on the dotted line.
Price of Chesapeake Life Insurance Company: Must Call an Agent
Unfortunately, Chesapeake Life Insurance Company does not offer online quotes, nor does it include pricing information for its coverage. Generally, several factors figure into the cost of your premiums, including age, health, and your family’s health history.
To determine how much coverage would cost for you and your family, contact an agent or speak with the company directly.
How Chesapeake Life Insurance Company Compares to Other Life Insurance
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company has a limited product suite compared to other life insurance agencies. It doesn’t offer temporary coverage or a variety of riders and the company only offers two policies, which is fewer than most competitors.
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company is a good option for those who simply want a final expense policy, without a medical exam, to cover burial, legal and other end-of-life services. We compared them to AARP life insurance to see how this company stacks up with another final expense insurance provider.
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company vs. AARP
Both Chesapeake Life Insurance Company and AARP offer final expense coverage that doesn’t require a medical exam. Additionally, both companies provide few policy and rider options, and neither insurer gives quotes online.
However, there are some key differences between these two companies.
- The Chesapeake Life Insurance Company only sells two final expense whole life policies.
- While AARP only sells four policies, its coverage offers consumers more variety, with one temporary and three whole life policies.
- Among AARP’s whole life policies is Easy Acceptance Life Insurance, which provides final expense coverage that accepts all applicants who aren’t terminally ill.
- Not everyone qualifies for the final expense plans the Chesapeake Life Insurance Company offers.
- Chesapeake Life Insurance Company’s complaint ratio score for 2020 was 5.52, over five times the industry average, while AARP’s score was just 0.16.
|Chesapeake Life Insurance Co.||AARP (underwritten by New York Life)|
|Market Share||Not applicable||Fifth-largest in the U.S., 4.83%|
|Number of Plans||2||4|
|Dividends for 2020 Q4||Not applicable||$1.9 billion|
|Wellness Program Discounts/ Quit Smoking Incentives||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Service Method||Agents, phone||Direct, phone|
|Financial Strength (AM Best Rating)||A (Excellent)||A++ (Superior)|
|Complaints Trend||5.52 (below average)||0.16 (above average)|
Read our full AARP life insurance review.
Chesapeake Life Insurance Company fills a specific niche in the life insurance marketplace by providing final expense insurance to help your beneficiaries pay for a funeral, medical bills, legal fees, and other end-of-life expenses. If you’re looking for burial insurance, this insurer offers coverage amounts up to $35,000 and you can add an accidental death rider to increase your benefit. You can obtain coverage without taking a medical exam, which may be a plus if you’ve been denied coverage elsewhere.
However, the Chesapeake Life Insurance Company is not the best choice for anyone seeking term or universal life insurance or various rider options. It also may not be the right choice for anyone who places high importance on customer service, an area where the company has performed poorly in recent years.
All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Chesapeake Life Insurance Company." Accessed June 12, 2021.
NAIC. "Complaint Code - Chesapeake Life Insurance Company." Accessed June 12, 2021.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of UnitedHealth Group and Most Subsidiaries; Upgrades Credit Ratings of Certain Subsidiaries." Accessed June 12, 2021.