Transamerica Life Insurance Review

Easy-to-get coverage with riders to protect your family

••• Getty Images/Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

Transamerica offers permanent life insurance and term life insurance with rider options that can help you get the most out of your coverage. If you are looking at comparing life insurance policy options, Transamerica comes in at a decent price and has policy choices with no medical exam for all ages. 

What We Like

  • No medical exam for final expense policy from 0 to 85 years

  • An interactive plan explorer helps you figure out your needs

  • Level premium guarantees (to help you budget)

  • Ability to borrow money from cash values in some plans

  • Online account servicing and an app

  • Family-oriented riders, for example: children and grandchildren 

  • Guaranteed issue policy up to $50,000

  • Good rates for smokers, or less than excellent health

What We Don't Like

  • Must speak to one of their agents for most quotes

  • Premiums will increase after set terms

  • Service levels may differ between local agents and call centers

  • Average customer service rankings

  • Pricing is fair to average

Company Overview

Transamerica is the ninth largest life insurance company in the U.S with an interesting history, rooted in banking. Founded as a bank in 1904 in San Francisco, they eventually became Bank of America in 1928, and two years later acquired a life insurance company under the holding company “Transamerica”. In 1956, Transamerica broke off from Bank of America due to the changes in regulations for banks and made the move to focus on insurance. In 1999, Transamerica became part of one of the world's leading international financial organizations: Aegon N.V. Transamerica Life Insurance. It is available in all states and is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a Better Business Bureau rating of A-. Transamerica provides service through agents. 

Transamerica Life offers useful online tools like an interactive life insurance plan selector, online policy management, and an APP to help make understanding their products and your life easy.

Available Plans 

Transamerica Life Insurance Company offers 8 different types of plans on their website, including term life, whole life, universal life, and variable universal life insurance. If you are unsure of which plan to choose, they also offer a “Plan Explorer” to help you learn about the options using your personalized information and goals.

Term Life Insurance

Transamerica offers two main term life insurance plans. The maximum term is 30 years. Coverage options start at terms from 10 to 30 years in five-year increments. You can get get a quote online through the website.

Trendsetter Super Series

The Trendsetter Super is a convertible term life insurance policy with coverage limits of up to $10 million. Additional coverage limits may be available but will be assessed on an individual basis. At the end of the term, you may have the option to convert to a whole life policy.

Trendsetter LB

Trendsetter LB is a term life insurance policy with living benefit options, meaning you can access benefits if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Coverage amounts are up to $2 million. If you end up having a chronic illness, critical illness or terminal illness then you may have an option to get an accelerated death benefit.

Whole Life Insurance

Transamerica offers a whole life permanent life insurance policy for individuals with guaranteed cash value and level premiums throughout the term. Like with most whole life insurance policies, you can borrow money from the cash values of the policy as a loan, however, this will diminish the full death benefit value, so you would have to pay it back in order to receive a full death benefit. Policy amounts range from $25,000 to $2,000,000. 

Universal Life Insurance

Transamerica offers a few plans for universal life insurance. Universal life plans provide lifetime coverage and are usually made up of two parts: 

  • Death benefit
  • Cash values that grow tax-deferred


An advantage of the universal life plan is modifiable premium payments and frequency options when there is sufficient cash value built in the account. You may also use the cash values to pay premiums, which gives you added flexibility.


Transamerica does not offer quotes for their universal life insurance online, to get details and pricing you will have to speak to an agent. 

Index Universal Life  

The Index Universal Life plan allows you to allocate your premiums among a basic interest account and two index accounts – tied to the stockmarket indexes. According to Transamerica, “The index accounts provide the potential for interest crediting based on changes in the value of an index or indexes.” 

Transamerica Financial Foundation IUL Life Insurance Policy 

The Transamerica Financial Foundation Index Universal Life Insurance Policy (FFIUL) offers a guaranteed minimum interest rate, the potential to access tax-free loans or withdrawals and account accumulation through basic and indexed interest accounts (indexed accounts are based on the performance of the market). The plan also offers a no-lapse guarantee if you pay the minimum monthly no-lapse premium. Although this option gives you the no-lapse guarantee, if you stick to the minimum premium, you may not be able to grow the cash values of the plan.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Transamerica offers several final expense life insurance plans, some of which may not require medical exams. The advantage of the final expense insurance plans is that there is no waiting period and no increase in premium due to age. The policies also have the possibility of building a tax-deferred cash value that you can borrow against. They offer three options:

  • Immediate solution: Issue ages 0 to 85 and life paid-up at 121 – meaning you can have coverage paid in full through that age.
  • 10-Pay solution: Issue ages 0 to 85, premiums payable for 10 years.
  • Easy Solution: Issue ages 18 to 80 (50 to 75 in New York).

Death Benefit Limits for Final Expense with Transamerica:

The minimum death benefit for the final expense plans is $10,000. The maximum depends on age and the plan you choose. The Easy Solution Plan has a maximum death benefit of $25,000. The Immediate Solution and 10-Pay Solution plans have the following maximums based on age:

  • Age 0 to 55: $50,000
  • Age 56 to 65: $40,000
  • Age 66 to 75: $30,000
  • Age 76 to 85: $25,000

Does Transamerica Offer Riders?

Transamerica offers a good selection of riders. Riders give you the option to add features or coverage to your life insurance policy, or additional insured people. Access to good riders can save you money, or help you access money from your plan that you would not otherwise have access to. Here is a sample list of riders with Transamerica:

  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider with Nursing Home Benefit: This rider is subject to state availability; it provides access to the full death benefit value, less an interest discount, any loans, and administrative charge. Any premiums that would be due in the next year upon diagnosis of a qualifying event or confinement in a qualified nursing home facility. 
  • Waiver of Premium Rider: If you become disabled you may be eligible to have premiums waived after a six-month waiting period.
  • Monthly Disability Income Rider: This rider allows you to receive up to $2,000 of your monthly income for up to two years if you become disabled for 90 days or more.
  • Terminal Illness Accelerated Death Benefit Rider: This rider provides you with access to the death benefit less an interest discount, any loans, administrative charge, and any premiums that would be due in the next year if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and death is expected within 12 months, this must be supported by a physicians statement. This rider is only available in California.
  • Accidental Death Benefit Rider: In the event of death due to an accident, this rider provides an additional benefit to the death benefit.
  • Children’s and Grandchildren’s Benefit Rider: This rider gives you the option to add level term insurance with conversion options for children or grandchildren where the parent or grandparent is between 18 and 75 years old and the child is between 15 days old and 18 years old. The minimum amount is $1,000 and the maximum is $5,000. You can only cover up to nine children or grandchildren on this rider. 
  • Return of Premium Rider: This rider is only applicable to 20-year and 30-year terms. If you survive the term of your term life policy this rider will return 100% of eligible premiums to you. Be sure and get all the details of this rider if it is something you are interested in.

Customer Service  

Transamerica customer service is available through agents by telephone, or at local offices. You can search for a local office or agent to connect with online. They also offer online policy servicing and an app. 

Although their customer service overall satisfaction was not strong in the J.D. Power rankings, your experience with Transamerica may be influenced by how you choose to get your service: whether you develop a relationship with an agent at a local office, or use a call center for generalized service. Their website has a friendly feel and is easy to use and you can tell that they have put a lot of effort into helping you explore options and different strategies for life insurance. The “Plan Explorer” comparison shopping tool helps guide you. 

Customer Satisfaction: Fair

Transamerica Life scored 20th out of 24 life insurers reviewed for Customer Satisfaction Overall in the 2019 J.D. Power Life Insurance Study. The study rates various areas of customer experience including price, product offerings, and application and orientation. Here’s how Transamerica ranked with customers in each of the related areas: 

We checked complaints trends with several life insurance companies and compared them with Transamerica's results on the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) National Complaint Index Report. Transamerica’s Complaint Index Report shows them with a complaint index score of 1.30 for 2018, and 1.51 in 2019, with scores around the same range in the previous two years. The expected average for an insurance company is 1.0, therefore, their results are as expected when taking into consideration their market share.  

 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

Financial stability is an important factor in choosing a good life insurance company. It shows the ability for an insurer to meet it’s commitments, and strength in the financial decisions they make. Transamerica has an AM Best financial strength rating of A (Excellent). 

Transamerica Cancellation Policy

If you want to cancel a Transamerica life insurance policy you will have to speak with them directly to find out how it works.

Price of Transamerica Life Insurance: Basic

According to LIMRA the average cost of a $250,000 term life insurance policy is $160 per year for a healthy 30-year-old. We researched prices for comparison using the “Very Good” health criteria and included both male and female sample rates. 

Transamerica Sample Insurance prices below were for 25, 35 and 45-year-old males and females in California, in “Very Good” health, average weight (healthy BMI), with excellent driving records and non-smoker at $250,000 of coverage on the 20-year term “Trendsetter Super” Transamerica Life Insurance policy. Rates were obtained from the TransAmerica website.

How Transamerica Life Stacks Up to The Competition

Transamerica has an advantage over some competitors with their “no medical” term life rates, especially for younger (non-senior) applicants. Their prices are about average according to the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. But when we researched pricing using the online quotes of each insurance company and compared them to a few other insurers that we reviewed with some specific criteria, we found that they had good rates for younger applicants overall, and also for smokers in “good” health.

Transamerica Life vs. Mass Mutual Life Insurance

When it comes to regular term life insurance plans, Transamerica’s prices were better for both smokers and non-smokers compared to Mass Mutual. Consider the savings in our sample rates, especially at the 25- to 35-year-old age groups.

Transamerica Life vs. John Hancock Term 20 Life Insurance

Although Transamerica ranked as about average for customer satisfaction on price in the same category as John Hancock, when we ran tests on term life pricing with both companies, Transamerica rates were significantly less than John Hancock’s. This is a good example of how it is always a wise idea to get personalized quotes with any insurance company because the prices are really tailored to your specific age and health and two companies receiving the same rank in a survey may not necessarily represent how their pricing will work for you.

Although we like that John Hancock offers potential premium return options for their Vitality Life insurance program, a feature that Transamerica does not have, Transamerica’s standard rates were clearly better in our testing. Transamerica also offers convertible life options, where John Hancock does not. Overall, Transamerica is the clear winner between the two on pricing and also for providing a product that can be converted to a permanent life policy later on. 

Transamerica vs. Mutual of Omaha Final Expense Policy

Transamerica offers a good final expense product that can provide instant coverage with no medical exam from age zero up until age 85. We compared Transamerica’s final expense product to Mutual of Omaha.

Transamerica offers immediate coverage with no medical exam in all states for the Immediate Solution and 10-Pay Solution Plans, the plan is available for ages zero to 85. The coverage for ages zero to 55 can go up to $50,000. Beyond this has a graded limit starting at $40,000 and dropping to $10,000 at various age bands.

Mutual of Omaha, who has similar plan offerings, only has age limits from 45 to 85 with maximum coverage is only $25,000. In addition, Mutual of Omaha may only offer you a graded death benefit option if you are not approved for their level plan. 

A graded death benefit means that coverage may not be immediate and the death benefit in the first two years may be limited to 110% of the sum of premiums paid. Transamerica also offers a graded death benefit, but only on their “Easy Solution” plan. 

As we reviewed these two products, the Mutual of Omaha plan seems geared more for older clients, whereas Transamerica provides options starting at age zero.  

The Transamerica final expense plans provide more coverage, the possibility of full death benefits (even in the first two years), and can serve a broader age group than the Mutual of Omaha plans. Transamerica is our top pick in this category between the two. 

Final Verdict

Transamerica offers a good range of policies with multiple terms to choose from. Term policies include no medical exam options for people under a certain age with good health, or for people ages 0 to 85 years looking for final expense coverage up to $50,000. 

Transamerica offers some thoughtful riders that help protect your family members, including children and grandchildren. Overall, the service and pricing with Transamerica rank as average, but their financial strength and longevity in the market make them a reliable company to consider when comparing life insurance companies.

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