Kansas City Life Insurance Review

Term, Universal, Return of Premiums, Universal Index and Whole Life Options

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Kansas City Life

Kansas City Life

overall rating
3.9

Our Take

Kansas City Life offers several different life insurance options including term, universal, return of premium, indexed universal, variable universal, and whole life coverage that you can purchase through an agent. Kansas City Life is a great option for people shopping for life insurance who want many kinds of policy options and riders to choose from. 

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Offers three different universal life insurance policy types

  • Provides return of premiums coverage

  • Sells annuities

  • Allows you to convert your term policy

  • Offers annual renewal on their term policies

Cons
  • Does not offer pre-need or final expense coverage

  • Fewer indexing options than other universal index life policies

  • Coverage minimums and maximums are not listed on their site for all their policies

  • Some policies have a growth cap on interest

  • Policies are fully underwritten and might require a medical exam

Key Takeaways
  • Kansas City Life specializes in life insurance and annuities and offers a wide complement of life insurance options including types of coverage that aren’t usually offered. 
  • The company offers a robust selection of riders to add to your coverage including things like an accidental death benefit and a terminal illness rider.
  • Kansas City only sells life insurance and annuities, so you will not be able to buy supplemental insurance like critical illness coverage or property and casualty insurance.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1895
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, universal variable, universal index, return of premiums
  • Number of Plans 11
  • Payment Options Mail, online, phone, automated payment, credit card
  • Official Website https://www.kclife.com/Products.aspx

Introduction

Kansas City Life is a life insurance and annuities company that offers a significant number of riders to allow you to heavily customize the life insurance policies they sell. Its policies are sold via experienced agents and might require a medical exam. 

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

Company Overview

Kansas City Life is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. It works with 2,500 agents and has around 500,000 policyholders in the U.S. The company has more than 400 employees working to support the business and the independent agents it works with. 

In addition to its Kansas City Life products, the company also sells products through its subsidiaries including the Old American Insurance Company, which helps with final arrangement planning, Social Security replacement insurance, and charitable giving insurance; the Grange Life Insurance Company, which sell income replacement and mortgage protection plans; and Sunset Financial Services and Sunset Life Insurance Company of America, which both sell life insurance. 

Kansas City Life is licensed to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia, although it’s unclear in which state it is not licensed. All policies or policy options are not available in every state. 

Available Plans 

Potential customers of Kansas City Life have 11 policy options to choose from. 

Term Life Insurance

Kansas City Life offers term life insurance policies aimed at young families who have a limited budget but need significant protection. These policies feature level premiums and a fixed death benefit, and a portion of that death benefit can be allocated as income protection and paid out annually or monthly. 

The term life policies can also be used for key person insurance for businesses and can be converted to a permanent life insurance policy at any time. 

Signature Term Life 

This policy is sold in terms of 10,15, 20, 25, and 30 years. You can purchase coverage in amounts that start at $100,000. Terms are renewable up to 95 years and the policy provides you with flexible premium payments options—you can pay your premiums monthly, semi-annually, annually, or quarterly. 

Choice Advantage Term Life

This policy is sold in terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. You can purchase coverage starting at $250,000. The policy is renewable in specific term lengths or annually until you are 95 years old. You can convert your coverage to a whole life policy at any time. 

Whole Life Insurance

Kansas City Life offers whole life insurance policies that charge level premiums, have a guaranteed death benefit, and accumulate a cash value that grows income-tax-free and you can access through loans. 

Gift of Life Whole Life 

You can purchase between $15,000 and $30,000 in guaranteed issue whole life coverage for children between 15 days old and 25 years of age through this policy. It includes the capacity to increase coverage at age 25 without the need for a medical exam. At age 25, a waiver of premium rider, which covers your premiums in case you become totally disabled, is automatically added to this policy. 

Value Assured Whole Life

This policy allows you to get whole life coverage at a reasonable rate with level premiums and with a guaranteed death benefit. The policy builds cash value on a tax-deferred basis and you can access that value through a policy loan.

Value Certain 20 Whole Life

This policy allows you to purchase a whole life policy where you get a guaranteed death benefit but you only have to pay premiums on the policy for 20 years. Since you’re paying your premiums over a shorter period of time, they are higher than they would be on a traditional whole life policy (where you make payments for your entire life). 

However, paying more over a shorter time frame might save you money in the long term. 

Universal Life Insurance

Kansas City Life only offers one policy, Premier Protection Universal Life, which allows you to get the protection of a death benefit with the ability to more quickly grow the cash value of your policy. The policy guarantees you a minimum 2% rate of return, and it also offers you the opportunity to increase or decrease your death benefit as you need. Additionally, there is flexibility around when and how much you pay in premiums. 

Universal Variable Life Insurance

Kansas City Life only offers one universal variable life policy, the Accumulator Variable Universal Life, with which you can get permanent death benefits with flexibility over the timing and amount of your premiums. It also allows you to choose from multiple different kinds of investment options to increase your potential rate of return. The minimum specified coverage amount is $50,000 if you’re between the ages of 50 and 79 and $100,000 if you’re between the ages of 0 and 29. 

You can choose between three death benefit options: one that has a level death benefit, one that provides an increasing death benefit, and one that provides an increasing death benefit that is equal to the amount you pay in premiums. The policy has an automatic portfolio rebalancing feature that you can choose which adjusts your portfolio mix every three months to respond to your asset allocation instructions.  

Universal Indexed Life Insurance

Universal indexed life insurance allows you to index your cash value’s growth to popular indexes. Kansas City Life offers two universal indexed life policies.

Compass Elite Universal Life

Kansas City Life allows you to combine a death benefit with several indexing options in this account to help you build your cash value. You can put your money in a fixed account where it will earn 1% interest. You can also put your cash value in the policy’s indexed accounts. 

These accounts are connected to the market performances of the S&P 500. However, your policy is not directly invested in this fund but rather indexed to it so if the fund loses money, you don’t lose cash value in your policy. Your annual credit is never less than 0%. You can also borrow from this account against your cash value. 

EquiFlex Indexed Universal Life

This policy gives you a guaranteed death benefit and allows you the flexibility to set your premium and payment schedule by choosing either monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual payments. The cash value of your policy accumulates and is indexed to the S&P 500. The amount that you earn on this indexed amount depends on the index's performance, but you can never lose money because your cash value isn’t directly invested in the market. 

You can also put your cash value in a fixed account that earns a guaranteed 1% interest. The minimum coverage amount for this policy starts at $50,000 and it’s available up to age 80 or age 70 if you use tobacco. 

Return of Premiums Life Insurance

Return of premium life insurance policies allow you to invest in a term life insurance policy knowing that you will at least get a death benefit and your premiums returned to you if you die during the policy term. 

Cashback Life 20

This policy allows you to get a term life insurance policy where you pay level premiums for a term of 20 years, receive a guaranteed death benefit during that time, and the return of all your premiums if you outlive your policy. At the end of the 20-year term, you will also have the option to convert your coverage to a permanent life insurance policy. 

Cashback Life 30

With this policy, you get term coverage that includes level premiums and a guaranteed death benefit for a term of 30 years. If you outlive that term, all of your premiums will be returned to you. This policy also gives you the option to convert your coverage to a permanent life insurance policy at the end of the term. 

Kansas City Life is one of the life insurance companies that guarantees a 2% return on the cash value in their universal index life insurance. Many similar policies only guarantee that you won’t lose money if the index decreases in value. Make sure you purchase a plan that maximizes your interest, no matter the market conditions.

Available Riders

Kansas City Life offers a large number of riders that you can add to their life insurance policies to customize your coverage. 

  • Accidental death benefit rider: You can purchase coverage with this rider to increase your death benefit in the event of accidental death. 
  • Additional life insurance rider: This rider allows you to purchase an additional term policy to give you additional coverage
  • Assured insurability rider: You can purchase this rider to lock in your low premiums and your insurability in case you want to convert your coverage or purchase more coverage in the future. 
  • Child life insurance rider: This rider lets you purchase a permanent life insurance policy to cover your minor children. You can get up to $25,000 in guaranteed-issue permanent life insurance for a child under age 25. 
  • Chronic condition benefit rider: This is a rider that allows you to access part of your death benefit early if you develop a chronic condition.
  • Disability continuance of insurance rider: Worried about your insurability in case you become disabled? This rider ensures that you can continue to convert, add to, or purchase insurance in the event of a disability. 
  • Disability payment of premium rider: If you purchase this rider, it will pay for your premiums on your life insurance if you become totally disabled. 
  • Enhanced living benefits rider: This rider will advance a portion of your death benefit if you are living in a nursing home or need assistance with two of the five activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, mobility, and toileting).
  • Guaranteed minimum death benefit rider: If you purchase a permanent life insurance policy with a variable death benefit, this rider will guarantee you a minimum death benefit on your policy. 
  • Income assured option rider: The income assured option rider pays out the death benefit in a monthly amount rather than the full lump sum payment. For example, if you had a $1,000,000 policy, this rider would provide you with a $300,000 lump sum and then $47,051 over 20 years, giving you a total payout of $1,241.020.  
  • Monthly benefit rider: This rider also provides you with a monthly benefit instead of a lump sum death benefit and allows you to decide your beneficiaries, how much they will get, and the length of the benefit period. 
  • Other insured rider: With this rider, you can insure someone else on your policy. This can sometimes be used to insure a business partner. 
  • Spouse’s term insurance rider: This rider allows you to purchase additional term insurance for your spouse up until your spouse’s 65th birthday. You can also convert this coverage without a medical exam to a permanent life insurance policy. If you die before your spouse’s 65th birthday, this coverage continues without any further premium payments. 
  • Terminal illness rider: The terminal illness rider allows you to accelerate all or part of your death benefit, up to 50% of the policy’s face value, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. 

Not all riders are available on all Kansas City Life insurance policies. Some rider options might not be available to you based on your underwriting class or the state you live in. For information on prices, contact your agent or broker for more details.  

Customer Service: Good Phone, Mail, and Email Options

Kansas City Life has one number for customer service and claims: 1-800-821-6164. Its call center hours of operations aren’t listed online but are presumably during the regular business hours Monday to Friday. 

You can also contact the company via mail or by using a form email on their website. 

Customer Satisfaction: Fewer Complaints Than Average 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) rates insurance companies based on customer complaints. A company receiving an average number of complaints would receive a rating of 1. A company receiving more than average complaints would receive a rating above 1. A company receiving fewer than average complaints would receive a rating below 1. 

Kansas City Life holds an NAIC complaint index of 0.16, meaning that the company receives fewer complaints than average. In total, Kansas City Life holds 0.002% of the national complaint market share. Many of the complaints received were for issues with customer service or billing errors. 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

AM Best provides consumers with ratings that analyze a company’s financial strength. It does so by looking at things like a company’s fundamentals including its balance sheet, assets, and forward-looking statements. These are good indicators of how likely a company is to make good on its future financial obligations. 

Kansas City Life has an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best. 

Cancellation Policy: Must Give Written Notice to Cancel

Kansas City Life does not list all the details of its cancellation policy online. However, most life insurance companies have a free-look period of typically between 10 to 30 days. During this time, you can cancel your policy at any time without any penalties or fees and get a full refund of your premiums. 

Be sure to ask your agent or broker what their policies are around canceling your policy and whether there are any fees involved. Kansas City Life does charge surrender or cancellation fees on some of its policies, but they vary depending on the policy so make sure you read the fine print on the specific policy you purchased.  

If you are getting a permanent life insurance policy from Kansas City Life, read through how they calculate your policy’s surrender value. This is the cash value amount that they will have to pay back to you once you cancel your policy with them. 

Price Of Kansas City Life Life Insurance: No Details Online

Kansas City Life does not give online quotes for any of its policies. To find out how much a policy will cost, you will have to get in touch with an agent or broker who works with Kansas City Life. 

Your premiums will likely vary significantly depending on things like what kind of policy you choose, how much coverage you get, and what riders you purchase. It will also vary based on risk factors like age, gender, lifestyle, smoking habits, and general health.

How Kansas City Life Compares to Other Life Insurance

Kansas City Life offers more policy selections than many of its competitors. However, other companies like Western & Southern Life might be a better choice.

Western & Southern Life vs. Kansas City Life  

Kansas City Life and Western & Southern Life both offer a significant number of policy options and customization choices, although Western & Southern Life also offers several other financial planning services including things like 529 plans, mutual funds, and investing instruments, allowing you to do all your retirement planning with one financial planner. 

With Western & Southern, you’ll work directly with company representatives rather than independent agents, as you would with Kansas City Life Insurance. This means it might take longer to get a policy or the agents might not be as knowledgeable since they are selling many lines of life insurance from different carriers.

Consider these key differences between Western & Southern Life and Kansas City Life:  

  • Western & Southern Life offers a built-in accelerated death benefit on some of its policies.
  • Kansas City Life offers return of premiums and variable index life insurance, two rare types of life insurance coverage.
  • Western & Southern Life offers several rare add-on riders including overloan protection and a term rider for purchasing an additional term policy for yourself.
  • Both companies have high AM Best ratings and low consumer complaint ratings.
  Kansas City Life Western & Southern Life
Types of Plans Term, whole, universal, universal variable, universal index, return of premiums Whole, term, universal, universal index
Customer Service  Phone, online, email  Phone, email, mail online 
NAIC Complaint Index  0.16  0.05 
Optional Riders Available  Yes  Yes 
AM Best Rating  A+ 
Final Verdict

Kansas City Life offers several different insurance and investment products including a great selection of universal index life insurance with a considerable choice of riders. The 2% interest guarantee on some of its policies is better than many of its competitors who only guarantee that you will not lose money in your account value.

Because Kansas City Life offers rare types of coverage like return of premiums life insurance and variable universal life insurance, it is a great option for people looking for term life insurance with less risk of losing their premiums and not getting a death benefit or permanent life coverage that gives you more potential for increasing your rate of return. 

Ultimately, Kansas City Life is a good choice if you want to buy insurance from a company with many different types of policy options which allows you to customize those options with an extensive complement of policy riders.

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.