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Whether you’re just buying your first home or starting a family, life insurance is essential to protecting what you’ve worked for. And since it’s cheapest when you’re young and healthy, it’s a good idea to buy a policy as soon as there’s a need.
But choosing the right life insurance provider can be difficult. That’s why we’ve evaluated dozens of companies based on features pertinent to young adults—we looked for financially strong companies with great customer service and affordable pricing, as well as insurers that offer a convenient online application, live chat support, and no-medical-exam coverage. Below are our top picks for the best life insurance companies for young adults.
Best Overall : Protective Life Insurance
Tied for the cheapest term coverage
Superior financial stability ratings
Online application and quotes available for term life insurance
Low-ranked for customer satisfaction
Protective offers multiple policy types, including term, whole, and universal life insurance. The provider has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating with AM Best. While Protective ranks below average for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. individual Life Insurance Study, the company had fewer complaints with the NAIC than expected given its size. Protective also ties with Banner Life for the cheapest coverage for young, healthy folks, and has the longest available term lengths—up to 40 years.
We like that it’s easy to get an online quote and apply for term coverage, but you’ll need to work with an agent to get whole or universal life coverage (which is what most life insurance companies require). Protective Life offers numerous riders, but doesn’t include as many living benefit riders with coverage as some of its competitors do. It’s also possible to get term coverage up to $1 million without a medical exam if you’re 45 or younger.
Best for Longest Term : Banner Life Insurance
Tied with Protective for cheapest term coverage
Can stack coverage with term riders
Term policies with terms of up to 40 years
Lengthy conversion periods
Only offers term and universal coverage
Few customization options
Banner is a subsidiary of Legal & General America. Life Protective, Banner offers cheap term coverage for young, healthy adults and also offers the longest coverage terms currently available—up to 40 years. The selection of riders is less impressive than some competitors, but Banner does offer term riders that allow you to stack your coverage for cost-effective strategy. For example, you might get a 40-year term policy with a 15-year rider to boost your coverage while you’re paying off your mortgage or while kids are in school.
You can also convert term policies to permanent coverage through the end of the term. And the company offers no-medical-exam life insurance for up to $1 million of coverage if you’re 40 or younger. However, you’ll have fewer options for permanent policy types than at some other companies.
You can get an online quote for term coverage and apply online. When you buy a policy from Banner, you’re working with a reputable company in terms of financial strength and customer satisfaction—it earned an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating with AM Best. Also, it had far fewer complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) over the last three years than expected given its market share.
Best for Customization : Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance
At least two no-cost living benefits riders with some policies
Broad selection of riders to customize your policy
Live chat customer support
No-medical-exam coverage available
Return-of-premium policies available
No online application for term coverage
Doesn’t offer traditional whole life or variable universal life
All of Mutual of Omaha’s policies that are available to young adults come with chronic illness and terminal illness riders at no cost, and many policies also include a critical illness rider. Mutual of Omaha also has the widest selection of available add-ons of any of our top picks. While Mutual of Omaha’s pricing for term coverage isn’t as cheap as Protective or Banner, the included riders add value. However, though you can get a quote for term coverage online, you’ll need to apply for term coverage with help from an agent.
Mutual of Omaha is one of the few providers to offer return-of-premium (ROP) policies. ROP policies return some or all of the premiums paid if you outlive the policy’s term, but are more expensive than regular term policies. Of the 91 life insurance providers we reviewed, only nine offer ROP coverage.
Mutual of Omaha ranked fifth for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study with an above-average score. The company received about the expected number of complaints with the NAIC given its size. Features like live chat support make the customer service team at Mutual of Omaha accessible to policyholders. And the company has an A+ (Superior) grade from AM Best for its financial strength.
For more information, check out our Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance review.
Best for Instant Issue : Haven Life Insurance
Policies issued by MassMutual, an A++ rated insurer, or its subsidiary
Quick and easy online application with instant decision
No-medical-exam coverage available
Only offers term coverage
Term coverage is not convertible
Few customization options
Haven Life’s policies are underwritten by MassMutual, one of the oldest insurers with an A++ (Superior) financial strength grade from AM Best. Haven offers two term policies, and both offer online quotes and applications. One is a simplified issue policy offering up to $500,000 in no-medical-exam coverage, while the other offers up to $3 million in coverage and requires an exam for most applicants. The latter option is generally cheaper for healthy individuals and includes the Haven Life Plus rider, a package of benefits that are likely to appeal to young adults.
Both policies include an accelerated death benefit as well, but several other riders aren’t available. Haven term coverage is also not convertible to a permanent policy. And the maximum term length for no-medical-exam coverage is 20 years. Still, the quick and easy online application makes Haven our favorite company for instant decision life insurance.
MassMutual is also ranked above average for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study and had the fewest complaints with the NAIC of any of the companies on this list.
Best for Living Benefits : Nationwide Life Insurance
Receives high marks for customer satisfaction
Offers a variety of policy types
Most policies include three living benefits at no cost
Up to $5 million in no-medical-exam coverage available
No live chat
Average pricing for term coverage
Nationwide is our top choice for the best life insurance company with living benefits for young adults, but is also our top pick for the best life insurance companies overall. The company has an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction, offers no-medical-exam policies to healthy applicants for up to $5 million in coverage, and offers online quotes and applications for its term policies. Plus, most policies include three living benefit riders—for critical, terminal, and chronic illnesses—at no upfront cost.
Nationwide is ranked second in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study and received far fewer complaints than expected over the last three years. The company also has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best.
However, note that the maximum benefit amount for some living benefit riders may be less than its top competitors. For example, you can only access up to 50% of the death benefit if you have a terminal illness with Nationwide’s policies. Mutual of Omaha allows you to accelerate up to 80%.
Protective is our top pick for young adults because term coverage has low premiums, term lengths are long, and it provides an online application for term coverage. Banner is a close second. It has fewer conversion and customization options than Protective, but it offers a cost-effective term coverage stacking solution. If you want a quick and easy, no-frills policy, you’ll get the best online experience with Haven Life, along with a policy issued by a top-rated company for financial strength. On the other hand, if you want customization options, choose Mutual of Omaha for the most comprehensive rider choices and Nationwide for three included living benefits at no upfront cost.
What Is the Difference Between Term and Whole Life Insurance?
Term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, typically between 10 and 30 years. If you die outside the term, your beneficiaries won’t receive a payout. Whole life insurance, meanwhile, typically covers you for life, as long as pay the specified premiums. Your premium dollars also build a cash value component that you can borrow from in later years. But whole life insurance is typically more expensive than term life insurance, and for many families, term life insurance offers enough protection.
How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?
Permanent life insurance is much more expensive than term life insurance, and quotes for permanent policies are typically not available online. Term coverage can be very affordable, especially for young and healthy applicants. For example, the companies with the cheapest policies on our list—Protective and Banner—offer healthy 25-year-olds a 30-year, $250,000 term policy for around $15-$17 per month. The cost of life insurance will vary depending on your age, health, smoking status, and your choice of term length and face amount.
However, price isn’t the only factor you should consider when shopping for a life insurance policy. You also need to make sure the company is financially strong and offers good customer service. Furthermore, consider the value of any included riders and the options for converting a term policy into a permanent policy. It can be worth paying a little more for life insurance to get exactly what you need from your coverage.
How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
Some people advise purchasing a life insurance policy that covers a multiple of your salary (say, 10 times your salary). An alternate method is to accurately calculate your life insurance need—add up your sources of income that your dependents rely on, including health insurance coverage and other benefits, along with any other expenses your family would incur as a result of your death, such as burial expenses, travel expenses, and medical bills.
If you want to pass down wealth, you may consider a larger permanent policy.
If calculating your life insurance needs feels overwhelming, many of the life insurance companies on our list offer life insurance calculators. For example, Protective has an online calculator you can use to estimate how much coverage to buy. You’ll just need to fill out some information about your income, assets, and debts.
How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies
We developed a comprehensive life insurance methodology to put together our review of the best life insurance companies for young adults. To start, we researched what younger consumers want from life insurance companies. We gathered that information from third-party consumer studies, including J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance New Business Study and the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA.
Then, we collected more than 50 data points on 91 life insurance companies, including ratings for:
- Financial strength
- Policy types and features
- Available riders
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer complaints
- Years in business
- Online tools
- No-exam options
Our review process gave preference to companies with top ratings from AM Best, a lower-than-expected customer complaint rate, and a well-rounded offering of products and resources. In particular, we valued online quoting and application tools, transparent pricing, and no-exam policy options. We gave a company’s rating a boost if customers could reach customer service via features like live chat, too. To rank the companies we researched, we applied the following weights to each category:
- Customer education, application, and online service features: 32%
- Policy types, features, and riders: 29%
- Financial stability: 17%
- Customer satisfaction ratings: 15%
- Cost: 8%
Additionally, we delved into product specifics, including maximum issue ages, maximum coverage amounts, riders, and product-specific application processes, to try and understand each company’s individual offerings. We used our findings to determine the best companies for different products and consumer groups such as term-life policies and people over 50.
The companies that scored the highest in our rankings had the soundest financial stability, fewest complaints, lowest cost, and most generous no-medical-exam options, as we believe these companies are best positioned to help customers secure the life insurance coverage they need.