Companion Life Insurance Review

Voluntary group term life insurance coverage

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Companion Life

Companion Life

Our Take

Companion Life Insurance offers voluntary group term life insurance coverage through payroll deductions. The Companion Choice Plus plan covers companies of all sizes but requires a minimum number or percentage of employees to enroll in the plan to qualify for coverage. It’s a great option if your employer offers it and you need guaranteed term life coverage at an affordable rate. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Coverage in $5,000 increments starting at $10,000

  • Policies go up to $500,000

  • Guaranteed issue coverage on a portion of the policy amount depending on how many subscribe

  • Can get coverage for a spouse

  • Offers an Accidental Death and Dismemberment rider that you can purchase

Cons
  • Only offers term coverage

  • Only $100,000 in coverage is available at companies with only five employees enrolled

  • Premium cost can depend on your industry

  • Premiums change depending on age

Key Takeaways
  • Companion Life Insurance sells group term voluntary coverage through employers that you can get via payroll deductions at a reasonable rate and with the capacity to easily customize your amount of coverage.
  • It offers several rider options including a child benefit rider and a waiver of premium provision.
  • Companion only allows you to purchase a policy through your employer. Luckily, it does offer life insurance conversion if you leave your company so that you can keep your policy. 
  • The company requires that 10 employees or 25% of the workforce purchase the voluntary life benefit to get access to their normal coverage. You can access lower amounts of coverage if there are five employees enrolled.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1970
  • Kinds of Plans Term
  • Number of Plans 1
  • Payment Options Payroll deduction
  • Official Website https://www.companionlife.com

Introduction

Companion Life Insurance is a group insurance company that sells group and voluntary term life insurance plans to small to medium-sized businesses. Companies can get access to Companion Life Insurance plans so long as they have a minimum of five employees who sign up, but it does not offer plans directly to consumers. 

We reviewed Companion Life Insurance’s policy offerings, riders, pricing, customer service, industry ratings, and more to help you decide if its policies are right for you.  

Company Overview

Companion Life Insurance is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, and claims to hold over one million life insurance policies. The company works with a network of over 180 general agents and 15,000 independent agents and insurance brokers to sell life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance directly to employers or through group voluntary programs. Not all plans are available in all states.

It also operates under the names Companion Life of California and Niagara Life and Health, and is currently rated A+ by AM Best for financial strength. 

Companion Life Insurance is licensed for business in 49 states and the District of Columbia. It is not clear in which state the company is not licensed.

Available Plans 

Companion Life Insurance offers term group insurance plans through employers that have guaranteed coverage amounts, and most of its policies do not require medical exams.

To find out more, contact your HR plan administrator. 

Term Life Insurance

Companion Life Insurance offers term coverage to employee groups with a minimum of five enrollees. For guaranteed issue coverage, the company must have at least 10 employees or 25% of employees (whichever is greater) enroll in the coverage. The coverage amounts that you can get in vary depending on the group size and participation level. 

Companion Life Insurance offers up to $100,000 in coverage under the Companion Choice Plus plan if there are just five enrollees. Coverage amounts start at $10,000 and increase in $5,000 increments up to $500,000 or seven times your salary. For the guaranteed issue policies, the minimum amount of coverage is $25,000 and larger amounts require a medical exam or a short medical form to be completed. 

The Companion Choice Plus plan has a built-in accelerated benefit provision which allows policyholders to access up to 75% of their benefit up to $100,000 if they are terminally ill. Your policy is portable and you can also convert your coverage if you leave the company, but only on your spousal and personal policies; if you have coverage for your child through a rider, you can not take that with you. 

Companion Life Insurance’s plans have exclusions for certain types of industries. For example, munitions factories, athletic teams, health clubs, auto detail shops, car washes, drivers, coal mines, charitable organizations, massage parlors, wrecking companies, and many other industries are ineligible for coverage. For instance, if you work in the airline industry, are a firefighter, or are in trucking, you will fall into a category that is "referred for consideration" rather than automatically covered. The company will then choose whether to cover a business on a case-by-case basis based on risk. 

Many group life insurance policies have industry exclusions or industries that are offered more favorable rates. This is because the statistical risks of death are higher in certain industries and many group plans are offered on a guaranteed issue basis.

Available Riders

Companion offers a variety of riders that you can add to your plan to increase or supplement your coverage for an additional cost.

  • Dependent child rider: This rider allows you to buy term coverage in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000. 
  • Spouse rider: This rider allows you to purchase coverage for your spouse in increments of $5,000 up to 50% of the employee’s death benefit up to a maximum of $150,000. 
  • Waiver of Premium Rider: You can get this rider which will cover your premiums in case you become disabled prior to turning 60 years old. 

Companion Life Insurance does not list the cost of their riders online, so you will have to reach out to your HR professional for more details. 

Customer Service: Good Phone, Mail, Fax, and Email Options

Companion has a customer service call center for policy owners that operates from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET Monday to Friday. You can reach them by calling 1-800-753-0404.

You can also contact the company via fax, mail, and online form.

Customer Satisfaction: More Complaints Than Average 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Complaint Index rates insurance companies based on customer complaints. If a company receives an average number of complaints, they would have a rating of 1. If they get more than average, they would have a rating above 1. If they get fewer complaints than average they would have a rating below 1. 

Companion has an NAIC complaint index of 1.47, meaning that it receives more complaints than average. Overall, they received 0.01% of the national complaint market share. Many of the complaints received were for issues with payout timelines and billing. 

Financial Strength: A+ (Superior)

AM Best is a service that rates insurance companies on their financial strength, examining factors including a company’s income, balance sheet, performance, and history. Financial strength is important because it helps determine how likely a company is to meet its financial obligations. 

Companion Life Insurance has an A+ (Superior) rating. 

Cancellation Policy: 10-Day Free Look

Companion Life Insurance offers a 10-day free look period. If you are at all unsatisfied with your policy within 10 days of purchase, you can contact them for a full refund of your policy premiums and you can cancel without any cancellation fees.

Be sure to ask whether there are any cancellation fees involved if you need to cancel after that. 

Price Of Companion Life Insurance: Varies by Policy Type

Companion Life Insurance has several charts that detail premium costs depending on your age and industry. The company charges different rates for standard industries and preferred industries, and it doesn’t charge level premiums. Instead, the premiums increase over time and along age ranges. It offers plans that have a five-year premium lock and ones without it. 

For an example of rates and age bands, here are some costs for the plan based on age per $1,000 in insurance on the non-premium lock plan. These amounts are for the guaranteed issue coverage but note that they could be higher if your company did not qualify for that coverage.

Age Category Monthly Premium Per $1,000 in Coverage
15-29 $0.09
30-34 $0.10 
35-39 $0.12 
40-44 $0.17 
45-49 $0.29
50-54 $0.53 
55-59 $0.79 
60-64  $1.52 
65-69  $2.39 
70+  $4.41 

Often policies that don’t have level premiums start out cheaper but add up over time. Many times, level premiums are a better bet over the life of a policy.

How Companion Compares to Other Life Insurance

Companion Life Insurance is a group life insurance provider with a high financial strength rating and reasonable coverage costs, but a company that sells products directly to consumers or has more coverage options like Aflac might be a better choice. 

Companion vs. Aflac

Companion Life Insurance and Aflac are both insurance companies that offer supplementary benefit coverage through your employer, however, Aflac also offers coverage directly to consumers. Both Companion and Aflac have a relatively high number of customer complaints and offer similar amounts of coverage. However, Aflac also sells directly to consumers, allowing anyone to get coverage. 

Consider these other key similarities and differences between Companion Life Insurance and Aflac:  

  • Aflac offers a whole life insurance policy option and term conversion. 
  • Aflac offers other insurance options like critical care coverage. 
  • Both offer a good complement of riders for companies their size with options for coverage for your children and spouse. 
  • Companion Life Insurance has varying prices for coverage based on your industry and excludes many industries from coverage. 

Read our Aflac Life Insurance review.

  Companion Aflac
Types of Plans Term Whole, term
Customer Service  Phone, email, mail, fax  Phone, fax, online 
NAIC Complaint Index  1.47  1.27 
Optional Riders Available  Yes  Yes 
AM Best Rating  A+  A+ 

Your employer’s life insurance plan doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. If your plan is voluntary and your employer isn’t subsidizing it, shop around before purchasing a plan, especially if your group plan doesn’t offer level premiums. Locking in a low premium while you’re young is one way to keep your life insurance affordable.

Final Verdict

Companion Life Insurance offers very limited coverage options and only to those who work for employers who have decided to purchase its group plans. While the premiums are reasonably priced, they are not level premiums and will increase as you age. You also will not be able to purchase as much insurance as you might want through a Companion Life Insurance plan. You are likely better off getting coverage from an insurer that offers more options and level premiums.  

However, Companion Life Insurance is a good choice for people whose employers are covering all or part of their life insurance plans as a benefit. It might also be a good way to get guaranteed issue coverage for you, your children, and your spouse.

Methodology 

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.