SBLI Life Insurance Review

Customizable term and whole life policies at very competitive rates

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SBLI Life Insurance

SBLI Life Insurance

overall rating
4.2

Our Take

SBLI offers options for both term and whole life insurance policies with high coverage limits and several available riders to customize your policy. The insurer quotes some of the lowest rates around for young and healthy applicants seeking term life coverage, and it’s possible to get a policy without a medical exam though a phone call will be required. SBLI won’t be the best fit for higher-risk applicants or those seeking an entirely online process.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Low premiums for term coverage for young and healthy applicants

  • High coverage limits available

  • Several attractive riders

  • Excellent customer service reviews

  • A (excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best

Cons
  • No anonymous online quotes

  • Phone interview required in place of medical exam

  • Not rated in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study

  • Not the best pricing for smokers or people with health conditions

Key Takeaways
  • SBLI (Savings Bank Life Insurance) has been around since 1907 and has provided more than one million families with life insurance.
  • SBLI offers lots of customization options, allowing applicants to add riders, combine term and whole life coverage, and choose from a wide range of coverage limits. There’s even a product that allows policyholders to ladder down their term coverage over time. 
  • SBLI offers several online tools including a website for online payments and filing claims and a quote tool for term life coverage. 
  • The accelerated underwriting option requires a phone interview. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1907
  • Kinds of Plans Term life, whole life, and final expense
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually
  • Official Website https://www.sbli.com/

Introduction

SBLI Life insurance offers term life, whole life, and final expense life insurance plans with plenty of options for customizing your policy. Coverage is available at affordable rates, especially for those who are young and healthy. 

We researched SBLI Life Insurance’s financial strength rating, customer reviews, coverage options and riders, and website tools to help you compare the life insurance policy options that SBLI offers with the competition. Read on to find out if SBLI is the right choice for your family. 

Company Overview

SBLI was founded in 1907 and is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts. The company makes up a tiny percentage of the current U.S. life insurance market (less than 0.05% of premiums) but has successfully issued policies to more than one million customers. SBLI is licensed to provide life insurance in all states (except New York) and Washington D.C., but product offerings may vary by state. 

You’ll be able to complete most of your application online, but a phone call is often required before finalizing your application. 

Available Plans

With SBLI, you can choose between term life, whole life, or final expense life insurance. There are a couple of unique options for their term life product, and SBLI allows policyholders to blend term and whole life insurance as well. 

SBLI Term Life Insurance

SBLI offers term life policies with values ranging from $100,000 and $20 million. You can select a term of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. Your premiums will stay level for the entire term. You can also opt to continue coverage after the term ends, up to age 85, but your rates will increase each year. 

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 60 and applying for a policy worth $750,000 or less, you can get coverage with just a phone interview and no medical exam. That’s the case even if you are only in fair health. You can also convert to a whole or universal policy without taking a medical exam. 

One-Year Non-Renewable Term Life Insurance

If you’re planning to purchase permanent coverage but aren’t ready to pay the premiums yet, you can get a one-year term policy from SBLI for a single premium. You won’t be able to renew your coverage for another term, but you will be able to convert it to a permanent insurance policy. 

SmartTerm 360

This is a group of policies intended to save you money on your overall premiums by allowing you to adjust your coverage in different periods. For example, you may need a $500,000 policy for 10 years while you’re paying off your mortgage and dealing with education expenses, but after the kids graduate or your mortgage is paid off, you may only need $250,000 in coverage. SmartTerm 360 can help you put multiple policies in place at once to essentially lower your premiums over time.  

Tip

If you’re young and purchasing a 20- or 30-year policy, SBLI’s SmartTerm 360 product can provide significant savings.

SBLI Whole Life Insurance

A whole life insurance policy is a more expensive option that lasts for the duration of your life and builds cash value. Coverage doesn’t expire as long as you pay your premiums, and your premiums will stay level as long as the policy is in place. With SBLI, you can choose from a variety of premium payment schedules. And you’ll have the opportunity to borrow against the cash value of your policy should you need financial help while you’re alive. You can also choose to blend whole and term life coverage with a term life rider. 

Final Expense Life Insurance

SBLI’s Cherish Life final expense product is a whole life policy for seniors that comes in face value amounts between $2,000 and $35,000. The benefit can be used however your family chooses, not just for burial costs. 

You can get an instant decision when you apply online, and you’ll even get free access to Life’s Mission Control from LegacyShield, an online tool for important final documents. Note that if you’re in poor health, the payout for the first two to three years may be reduced except if you die in an accident. 

Available Riders

A rider is an add-on or endorsement that allows you to customize your coverage. They may provide you with living benefits or allow you to increase your coverage at a later date, for example. Not every rider is available with all plans. 

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

This rider is included with every policy free of charge. It pays up to $250,000 while the policyholder is still alive in the event that they are diagnosed with a terminal illness that will result in death within one year. While using this living benefit will reduce the death benefit, it can help families pay for medical bills and end-of-life care. 

Children’s Level Term Rider

Available with SBLI’s term and whole life products, this rider provides coverage for all the children in your household between the ages of 15 days and 23 years who are your financial dependents. You can convert this coverage to an SBLI whole life policy for your child at up to five times the initial face value. 

For final expense policies, you can also add a children’s level term rider for all children and grandchildren between the ages of 30 days and 17 years. 

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

This rider is available with both term and whole life policies and pays an extra amount if the policyholder dies due to an accident within 180 days of the accident. 

Waiver of Premium Rider

This rider allows you to stop paying premiums should you become totally disabled and unable to work. It’s available with whole and term life insurance. 

Guaranteed Purchase Rider

If you think you might want more coverage later on, this rider allows you to purchase more at certain ages or milestones without having to worry about a medical exam. It’s only available with whole life insurance. 

Guaranteed Level Premium Term Rider

You can add term coverage to a whole life insurance policy with this rider. This can be helpful if you want more robust coverage during your working years. You can choose terms of 10,15, 20, 25, or 30 years and premiums are guaranteed to stay level for the term. 

Cash-Out Term Rider

This 30-year term rider can be surrendered to get a full or partial return on premiums. It’s only available with a whole life policy. 

Value-Added Benefit Rider

This is a package of services, subscriptions, and programs designed for seniors to manage their health and wellness. It’s available as an add-on to a final expense policy. 

Customer Service: Limited Hours and Options

You can reach aN SBLI customer service representative by phone at 800-694-7254 on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET. If you’re looking to buy a policy, the phone number is 888-630-5000 and the hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET.

You can also email customer service at records@sbli.com, but there’s no online form or online chat, which are standard at most other life insurance companies. 

Customer Satisfaction: Favorable Reviews

SBLI isn’t ranked in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The company had only two complaints with the NAIC for 2020. However, given the company’s small share of the market, this was more than expected. The industry average complaint index is 1.00, and SBLI’s complaint index for 2020 was 2.98. 

Still, SBLI’s customer service reviews on third-party websites were mostly positive. Many customers comment on the responsiveness of the employees, the ease of the application process, and the reasonable rates. 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

AM Best is an independent rating agency that evaluates the financial stability of insurance companies. It’s important to choose a life insurance provider with a high rating from AM Best because this indicates that the company is stable enough to pay claims far into the future. 

SBLI received an A (excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best. While not the highest possible rating, this indicates the company is reliable. 

Cancellation Policy: Standard

SBLI has a free look period of 30 days, which is longer than the 10-day minimum required in many states. That means that you can cancel for any reason within 30 days of issuance and your paid premiums will be refunded. If you cancel after the 30-day window, your premiums will not be returned. However, if you cancel a whole life policy, you may get some of the accumulated cash value back. 

Price of SBLI: Low Rates for the Young and Healthy

For young, healthy applicants, SBLI has some of the lowest rates we’ve seen. A 35-year-old female in excellent health would pay just $10.78 per month for a 15-year, $250,000 policy, and a 35-year-old male in excellent health purchasing a 30-year, $500,000 policy would pay $39.84 per month (though this varies by locale). Neither policy would require a medical exam, and SBLI’s pricing beats out other no-exam life insurance providers like Haven and Bestow. 

Rates for older folks in fair health were less impressive but still competitive. A 50-year-old in fair health would pay $67.97 per month for a 15-year, $250,000 policy, and a 55-year-old female in fair health would pay $102.20 for a 10-year, $500,000 policy. 

Keep in mind, however, that SBLI’s quick quotes are just an estimate. There are no specific health or nicotine use questions included with the quote tool, so you may be surprised by higher rates if you smoke or have certain health conditions. And you won’t be able to get a quote for SBLI’s whole life insurance product online; you’ll need to call an agent at 844-282-2894. 

How SBLI Compares to Other Life Insurance 

When compared to other no-exam life insurance providers, SBLI offers lower rates, more customization options, higher coverage limits, and more term options. However, people seeking an entirely online application process or 24/7 customer service may be better served by another provider like Bestow Life Insurance.

SBLI Life Insurance vs. Bestow Life Insurance Review

Both SBLI and Bestow offer term policies with accelerated underwriting, so there’s no need for a medical exam. However, there are some key differences between them:

  • Bestow offers up to $1.5 million in coverage, while SBLI only offers up to $750,000 without a medical exam. 
  • Bestow doesn’t require a phone interview. The application process is handled entirely online and decisions are instant. 
  • Bestow doesn’t offer whole life insurance, blended life insurance, or conversion options.
  • Bestow doesn’t offer riders or laddered policies like SBLI does.
  • Bestow’s pricing is slightly higher for young, healthy applicants than SBLI’s estimates.

While both providers offer affordable term coverage, their offerings meet different needs. Those who want more customization options and the lowest rates should go with SBLI. Those who want higher coverage limits and a completely online process will be better served by Bestow. 

Final Verdict

SBLI offers a variety of customizable life insurance products at highly competitive rates, and the company offers up to $750,000 in term coverage without a medical exam. The provider also has great financial strength ratings and customer reviews. 

If you don’t need a higher face value policy and you don’t mind taking the time to speak with an agent, we recommend getting a quote from SBLI while you’re shopping around for life insurance providers. If you just want a quick online application and decision, other insurance companies can provide a more seamless application experience. 

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.