According to LIMRA’s 2020 Life Insurance Barometer Study, approximately 54% of Americans have life insurance coverage. But LIMRA estimates that another 16% of Americans should have life insurance but don’t.
If you’ve been hesitant to get life insurance out of concern that it’s too costly, too difficult to get, or simply not necessary, know that term life insurance is the most affordable and easy-to-obtain type of life insurance available. If you’re under 40 and in good health, you can probably get enough 20-year or 30-year term life coverage for less than $100 per month.
That leaves just one question: Which term life insurance company is right for you? Keep reading to find out.
The Best Term Life Insurance Companies
These are the best term life insurance companies on the market right now.
Each does at least one thing really well, whether it’s underwriting larger policies without requiring a medical exam or offering great value-adds for little to nothing extra each month.
Our best overall pick offers the best value for the greatest number of potential life insurance applicants.
Best Overall: Bestow
Bestow is another digital-first term life insurance provider with an even speedier application process than Haven Life’s. Bestow claims you’ll spend no more than five minutes applying for coverage, all but eliminating the “not enough time” excuse.
Plus, Bestow’s underwriting process is completely algorithm-driven and may approve policies as large as $1.5 million without requiring a medical exam.
- Terms range from 10 to 30 years in five-year increments
- Coverage starts at $50,000
- Premiums start at $10 per month
- Open to applicants up to 60 years old
- Has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from A.M. Best
Best for No Medical Exam: Ladder
Ladder is one of many life insurance companies that don’t require a medical exam as a condition of underwriting. What sets it apart is its unusual flexibility for no-exam applicants — you can get a death benefit as high as $3 million without an exam if you’re in excellent health and have no red flags in your medical history.
- Premiums start at just $5 per month for applicants in excellent health
- In-home exam option for policies larger than $3 million
- Scale down coverage over time with multiple policies as your life insurance needs decrease
- Conditional approval within minutes
Best If You Want to Work With an Agent: State Farm
State Farm is one of the few life insurance companies on this list that also offers permanent life insurance coverage, such as universal life insurance and whole life insurance. It also puts much greater emphasis on the human element in life insurance shopping and sales.
Nowhere is that more evident than in State Farm’s network of nearly 20,000 agents across the United States. If you need help thinking through your term life insurance options or aren’t yet sure if term life is the right call for you, there’s almost certainly an agent in your area waiting to take your call.
- Optional return-of-premium rider on a 20- or 30-year level term policy — repaying premiums paid by policyholders who outlive the initial term
- Instant Answer term life insurance — a $50,000, 10-year policy for those under age 50 that doesn’t require a medical exam
- A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from A.M. Best
- Excellent customer satisfaction ratings
Best Nontraditional Underwriting Process: Sproutt
Sproutt isn’t the only life insurance provider that uses nontraditional factors in underwriting. But as an online life insurance broker, it’s in the best position to deliver results to applicants who don’t want to be bound by cumbersome medical underwriting processes.
Sproutt’s secret sauce is the innovative Quality of Life Index (QL Index), which assesses your risk using factors other than your personal and family health history. These include:
- Your work-life balance
- Your exercise habits, including type and frequency of exercise
- Your sleep habits and quality
- Your emotional health
- Your nutrition and eating habits
The QL Index doesn’t completely replace traditional underwriting considerations, and some insurers that work with Sproutt require medical exams. But it’s still a helpful way of looking at things and may help you secure a better term life policy than if you hadn’t used Sproutt.
- Choose from fully medically underwritten term life, no-exam life insurance, and guaranteed issue life insurance (for older adults)
- Quotes generated within minutes
- Sproutt agents can help you apply directly with the insurer
Best for Larger Policies: Fabric
Fabric is the best term life insurance provider on this list for people with high coverage needs and modest budgets. Although it’ll require a medical exam, you can get as much as $5 million in life insurance coverage using Fabric’s otherwise all-digital application process.
If you don’t need quite as much, that’s fine too — and you might not need a medical exam for lower levels of coverage.
- Get accidental death coverage up to $500,000
- Backed by Vantis Life, which has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating
- Monthly rates starting as low as $1 per month for an amount of coverage up to $1 million
- Take advantage of Fabric’s will-making services for estate planning
- Set up a complimentary, secure online vault for financial and personal documents
Best for Value-Added Features: Walnut
Walnut offers a membership-based life insurance solution that it calls “life insurance as a premium membership.” Basically, that means Walnut has lots of value-added features included in its monthly premium.
For $10 per month, Walnut gives you:
- Transparently priced term life insurance coverage — know what it’ll cost before you apply
- No-exam coverage for eligible applicants
- A membership to Headspace Plus, a guided meditation and self-directed therapy library
- A membership to ClassPass Digital, a home workout video library
- A membership to Dashlane Premium, a digital password manager
That’s a cumulative value of more than $25 per month, excluding the cost of insurance. And for an additional monthly fee, take advantage of a Digital Protection Membership that includes:
- Dashlane Premium
- 24/7 access to a cyber support helpline
- As much as $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement should you fall victim to identity theft
Best Term Life Insurance Broker: Quotacy
Quotacy is an online insurance broker that focuses solely on life insurance quotes, including term life insurance. That gives it some distinct advantages over other online insurance brokers:
- The potential to find term life policies as long as 40 years, a longer term than the usual 30-year maximum
- The option to choose from multiple insurers and policy types that suit your needs
- A quote creation process that takes just five minutes online
- Human agents who can walk you through the life insurance application process
- Competitive premium payments on larger policies
Best All-Around Life Insurance Broker: Policygenius
Policygenius is another online insurance broker. Unlike Quotacy, it’s not limited to life insurance rates — you can also find homeowners insurance, renters insurance, auto insurance, disability insurance, and pet health insurance here.
Needless to say, that’s great news if you’re shopping for more than one type of insurance at the same time. And because Policygenius works with many insurers that offer more than just life insurance, you may find answers to all your insurance questions — and solutions for all your needs — under the same roof.
Methodology: How We Select the Best Term Life Insurance Companies
We use several important criteria to assess the overall quality of term life insurance providers and narrow down this list. Each factor relates in some way to the underlying value of the insurance products offered by these companies.
Policy Terms and Age to Apply
The typical term life insurance company offers initial policy term lengths between 10 years and 30 years. If you look long enough, you can find five-year terms and in rare cases 35- or 40-year terms.
Not every term life insurance company offers 30-year policy terms, however. To mitigate risk, some online life insurance companies top out at 20-year terms, especially for older applicants. Others cap the maximum age to apply at 60 or younger.
All else being equal, we rate life insurance companies with the broadest age and term range better than those that are more picky.
Medical Underwriting Requirement
It gets easier all the time to find life insurance companies that don’t require a medical exam as a condition of underwriting. Although they take personal and family health history into account, these policies are not fully medically underwritten. You may see them referred to as simplified issue life insurance policies.
If that’s important to you because you’re concerned that a medical exam might reveal a health issue that results in a higher insurance premium or even gets your application denied outright, pay special attention to this criteria. We’re fans of companies with generous no-exam coverage options.
Just know that most life insurance companies have lower maximum coverage amounts for policies that aren’t fully medically underwritten. Typical maximums range from $500,000 to $3 million, depending on the insurer.
Coverage Amounts (Death Benefit)
Term life insurance death benefits usually start at $50,000 or $100,000 and range upwards of $1 million. If you’re willing to get a medical exam as a condition of coverage, you’ll likely qualify for a higher death benefit than on a no-exam policy.
All else being equal, we prefer life insurance companies that offer wide coverage ranges — from modest policies designed to pay off specific debts or expenses to hefty policies meant to replace income for decades.
Applying for life insurance is not as much of a chore as you might think. Some online life insurance companies brag that their all-digital simplified issue applications take just a few minutes to complete — and they’re not exaggerating.
If you do need to undergo a medical exam, you’ll wait longer for final approval and you’ll need to carve out some time for the exam itself. But most life insurance medical exams can be done in the comfort of your home.
Whether they require a medical exam or not, we prefer life insurance companies that make the application process as smooth as possible. That usually means as online as possible.
Financial Strength Ratings
Third-party financial strength ratings measure the likelihood that an insurer will make good on its promise to pay life insurance death benefits. We use ratings from A.M. Best, which specializes in insurance companies, wherever possible.
Policy Add-ons and Riders
Most term life policies come with riders — policy add-ons that enhance the flexibility or usefulness of the policy. Some riders increase premiums; others come at no extra charge.
Common examples of riders include:
- Return of premium — reimbursing the policyholder for premiums paid during the policy term
- Accelerated death benefit — allowing terminally ill policyholders to access a portion of their policy’s death benefit while they’re still alive
- Accidental death rider — boosting the death benefit if the policyholder’s death occurs in a covered accident
A few life insurance companies offer other types of value enhancements, such as complimentary subscriptions to health and wellness apps or complimentary estate planning support for policyholders.
All else being equal, we’re fans of companies that go above and beyond to create value for their policyholders through riders and nontraditional policy add-ons.
Term Life Insurance FAQs
You have questions about term life insurance and term life insurance providers. We have answers.
How Much Does Term Life Insurance Cost?
Term life insurance is much more affordable than permanent life insurance. Although the exact difference varies by policyholder, policy type, coverage amount, and other factors, you can expect whole life insurance premiums to cost at least five times as much as term life insurance premiums for the same coverage amount. Don’t be surprised by a difference of 10 times or even more.
Within the term life insurance category, policy premiums vary considerably by age, health status, coverage amount, policy term, and whether the policy requires a medical exam during underwriting. The longer the policy term and the higher the coverage amount, the higher the policy premium.
As an example, a healthy 30-year-old might pay $25 per month for a 30-year term life policy with a death benefit of $500,000. A healthy 45-year-old might pay $50 or more per month for the same policy.
Can You Renew a Term Life Insurance Policy?
You can usually renew a term life insurance policy when the initial policy term ends. However, the renewal period is likely to be much shorter — typically a five-year or even one-year term — and your premium will be much higher.
Depending on the new premium and term length, you could save money by converting your term policy to a permanent policy if the insurer allows this.
Does a Term Life Insurance Policy Have Cash Value?
Term life insurance policies do not have cash value. You can’t borrow against the policy during the term and won’t receive any payout if you outlive the policy, with the possible exception of premiums returned as part of a return-of-premium rider.
If you want to extract cash from your life insurance policy, you must either convert your term life policy to a permanent life policy or choose a permanent life policy in the first place. Converting your policy isn’t always possible.
Do You Really Need Term Life Insurance?
Probably. How much life insurance you need is a separate question, but most people need some amount of term life insurance. You’re a good candidate for this type of coverage if any of these situations apply to you:
- You have substantial debts that may outlive you, such as a mortgage on your first home
- You expect to incur substantial expenses in the future, such as college tuition for your kids
- Your family would be adversely affected by the loss of your income
- Your death would create additional financial or labor burdens for your survivors, such as childcare while your spouse is at work
- You’re a partner in a business that would be adversely affected by your death
How to Choose the Best Term Life Insurance Company
To find the best life insurance company for your situation, consider why you’re getting life insurance in the first place.
You first want to confirm that term life insurance is the appropriate choice. If you’re looking for a life insurance policy that grows old with you and accumulates cash value that you can borrow against, you’re better off with whole life insurance or another type of permanent coverage.
Next, figure out how much coverage you need. If you need a substantial coverage amount, make sure the insurers you’re looking at can accommodate. Some require a medical exam for coverage amounts above $500,000 or $1 million. Others put hard caps on coverage even with full medical underwriting.
Don’t snooze on life insurance companies’ financial strength ratings either. For your beneficiaries’ sake, you want your insurer to be there to pay your policy’s death benefit, whether that’s necessary tomorrow or 30 years from now.