Unum Life Insurance Review

Guaranteed-issue life insurance plans with low costs

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Unum Life Insurance

Unum Life Insurance

Our Take

Unum Life Insurance offers whole and term life insurance policies exclusively through employer group plans. This means there are no options to purchase coverage directly from Unum as an individual consumer, although you can customize your coverage through your employer-offered plan. And while your premiums may be deducted from your paycheck, making it convenient, it might not offer enough coverage for your needs. 

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Offers term and whole life insurance options

  • Does not always require a medical exam

  • Offers child and spouse riders

  • Can keep your coverage if you leave your job

  • Can choose from various amounts of coverage

Cons
  • Cannot purchase plans directly from Unum

  • Can increase your coverage after purchase

  • Supplementary coverage might not be enough

  • Limited policy details on website

  • Limited rider selection compared to competitors

Key Takeaways
  • Unum Life Insurance sells whole and term life insurance as well as a wide selection of other supplementary insurance policies like critical illness, disability, accident coverage, and hospital coverage directly to employers. 
  • Unum’s plans include access to life planning resources such as financial and legal assistance for things like estate planning or the handling of an estate after death. 
  • Unum limits how much coverage you’re eligible for based on your salary, and the maximum benefit is six times your salary or $750,000, whichever is lower. 
  • While your policy is portable, meaning you can take your policy with you if you leave your employer, you will have to pay all the premiums rather than just the employee portion. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1848
  • Kinds of Plans Whole, term
  • Number of Plans 2
  • Payment Options Payroll deduction
  • Official Website https://www.unum.com/employees/benefits/life-insurance

Introduction

Unum Life Insurance is a supplementary group insurance company that sells life insurance and other types of supplementary coverage like disability coverage and critical illness coverage directly to employers via group plans. Employees can then purchase life insurance coverage or supplementary coverage on top of a base amount provided by their employer. A plan is purchased through an Unum sales representative or your employer’s HR team.  

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

Company Overview

Unum Life Insurance was founded in 1848 and is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It offers coverage to 39 million people around the world and provides insurance solutions to over 182,000 businesses in the U.S. and the UK. It has paid out $7.5 billion in benefits over the life of its company. 

Unum is licensed to sell coverage in all 50 states and offers a full slate of other types of insurance products including dental and vision insurance to provide companies with a solution to all their coverage needs. 

Available Plans 

Unum offers group life insurance plans that are sold via HR representatives or through Unum’s customer care representatives. You can generally choose between a term or whole life insurance policy, and Unum offers a maximum of $750,000 of coverage or six times your salary—whichever is less. 

When you start a job with an employer that offers Unum insurance plans, you typically have to enroll in life insurance coverage within 60 days of becoming eligible. You can get up to $100,000 in guaranteed-issue coverage for yourself without a medical exam. However, if you want more coverage, you will have to answer a medical questionnaire and get a medical exam. You can get issued coverage between the ages of 15 and 80 under Unum’s plans.

You are also able to apply for extra coverage for your children and spouse. You can purchase up to 100% of your salary or $150,000 in coverage for your spouse, whichever is the lesser amount. If you want coverage for your children, you can apply for term policies for up to $10,000 per child.

Term Life Insurance

Unum Life insurance offers term life insurance options that are determined by your employer but tend to be 20-year policies that offer coverage amounts in multiples of your salary. For example, if you make $50,000, you could be covered at four times your salary ($200,000). If you get a $5,000 raise, your coverage amount would adjust to four times your new salary. Either your employer or you can choose that multiple up to six times your salary or $750,000, whichever is less. 

You are often able to purchase supplementary coverage to increase your term coverage, but this is also in a multiple of your salary. It also offers term conversion on their term policies, allowing you to convert your policy to a whole life insurance policy.

Rather than pay a level premium for a set number of years, your premium is dependent on your age. Age increments are divided into five-year periods where your premiums remain the same, and as you age into the next five-year age period, your premiums increase. The age bands and premium increase amounts are not listed online, but you can get this information from your employer’s HR office. 

Whole Life Insurance

Unum Life Insurance offers whole life insurance policies that allow you to build cash value you can later access through a policy loan. Unum offers a guaranteed return of 4.5% on the cash value portion of your policy, or the amount that you pay that doesn’t go directly to your death benefit coverage. Its policies also provide you with dividends which you can take as cash, leave in to grow the policy, or use to pay your premiums. Whole life policy premiums tend to be more expensive than term life policy premiums. 

Note

When choosing between whole and term life insurance, consider how long you will need a death benefit to provide for your dependents. Some people choose to only get term coverage until they pay off their mortgage or their kids go to college. 

Available Riders

Unum Life Insurance offers a couple of life insurance riders that you can add to the group life insurance plans to provide you with additional protection: 

  • Accelerated death benefit rider: If you become terminally ill, this rider allows you the option to get up to 50% of your death benefit in advance to pay for your health care expenses.
  • Waiver of premium rider: With this rider, you don’t have to pay your premiums should you become disabled and can no longer work. 

The cost of the riders is not indicated on the website, so you’ll need to contact the company or your HR representative for those details. 

Customer Service: Good Phone, Mobile, and Online Options

If you’re an Unum Life Insurance policyholder, you can contact customer service Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m ET. by calling 1-866-679-3054. You can also get policy information from your company’s human resources department. 

Claims can be filed online or through the company’s mobile app. 

Customer Satisfaction: Fewer Complaints Than Average 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides a rating system that helps customers understand the level of consumer complaints a life insurance company receives. A company with a score of 1 receives an average number of complaints. Below 1 indicates a lower number of complaints, and higher than 1 indicates a larger number of complaints. 

Unum Life Insurance has an NAIC complaint index of 0.38, which means the company received fewer complaints than its competitors. In total, they have 0.12% of the national complaint market share. Many of the complaints received were for things like problems with the claims process and billing issues. 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

AM Best rates companies’ financial strength by looking at data about the company that includes things like the company’s recent performance, future outlook, business profile, and balance sheet to determine a company’s financial health and capacity to fulfill its financial obligations such as insurance payouts.

Unum Life Insurance has an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best. 

Cancellation Policy: 10-Day Free-Look Policy

Unum Life Insurance offers a 10-day free-look period. This means you get 10 days to consider the policy you purchased and potentially cancel it without a penalty and with a full refund. 

Once your free-look period expires, the process for canceling your policy depends on the type of insurance you have. A term life insurance policy can be canceled at any time, whereas a whole life insurance policy is more complicated to cancel since you have to complete surrender forms and the company will have to determine the surrender value of your policy (permanent life insurance accumulates cash value). 

While Unum Life Insurance is portable, you might not choose to and can cancel it at that point. If you have a term policy, you can convert it to a whole life insurance policy or you can extend your term life coverage at that time. 

Price of Unum Life Insurance: Varies Based on Employer

The cost of an Unum Life Insurance policy depends on your employer and, as such, the company does not list prices online or provide quotes. 

Some employers will pay for your entire policy while others may only pay for a specific amount of coverage for all employees but provide the option to purchase additional coverage. Some employers may pay for a percentage of your plan or nothing at all. 

Other factors that could affect your premiums include your age, gender, history of smoking, weight, how much coverage you want, the type of policy you purchase, and where you live. 

How Unum Compares to Other Life Insurance

Unum Life Insurance exclusively sells employer-sponsored plans, which is rare in an industry where companies tend to sell both employer-sponsored plans and individual direct-to-consumer life insurance policies. Unum Life Insurance also offers supplementary insurance including dental, vision, disability, and critical care coverage. 

Unum Life Insurance is a good option for people whose employers are offering coverage via the company, but might not be the best option for purchasing additional life insurance coverage over what your employer is covering or sponsoring. 

If you’re considering purchasing an Unum Life Insurance policy through your employer, compare it to another company that also sells group insurance: Aflac. 

Unum vs. Aflac

Unum Life Insurance and Aflac both offer group life insurance policy options, although Aflac also offers an individual life insurance option. Both companies are rated highly by AM Best, but Unum has far fewer consumer complaints than Aflac. Aflac allows you to purchase a policy with an agent over the phone but with Unum, you need to work with your HR department at your work and the premiums must come out of your paycheck.

Here's how Unum and Aflac compare:  

  • Unum has a mobile app for managing your plan and doing things like updating your beneficiaries, making it easier to update your policy.
  • Aflac has more options for riders, including an accidental death rider. 
  • Aflac offers up to $500,000 in coverage but Unum offers up to $750,000 in coverage or six times your salary, whichever is less. 
  • Aflac has level premiums on their term life policy whereas the premiums on Unum’s policy depending on your age. 

Read the full Aflac review.

  Unum Aflac
Types of plans Whole, term,  Whole, term
Customer service  Phone, email, app, online Phone, fax, online
NAIC complaint index 0.38 1.27
Optional riders available Yes Yes
AM Best rating A A+
How Much Coverage Do You Need?

If you’re not sure how much coverage you need, consider using an online life insurance coverage calculator or visiting an insurance agent.

Final Verdict

Unum Life Insurance has limited life insurance options that are only available to those who have employer plans with Unum. The amount of coverage that you can get from an Unum Life Insurance whole or term life insurance plan depends on your income and the company doesn’t offer level premiums on their term life insurance policy. Given this, it might make more sense to take advantage of the free policy and coverage amount offered by your employer and purchase an additional policy from another insurer that can provide you with more options. 

However, Unum Life Insurance does have a high AM Best rating and few customer complaints, so if you have limited life insurance needs, it might be a good choice. Having your premium payment deducted from your paycheck is convenient and being able to obtain some coverage without a medical exam might make getting an Unum Life Insurance policy worthwhile. 

Methodology 

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company based on 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.