When considering whole life insurance, it is important to understand the difference between term life and whole life. Despite the rhetoric of the mainstream “financial gurus,” there are definitely times when whole life is better than term life insurance.
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Below you will find TermLife2Go’s top ten list of the best cash value whole life insurance companies that we work with. While there are other companies that we write policies for, the following top ten list of the best whole life companies is based on the companies we are currently writing the most whole life with.
Now on to our top 10 whole life insurance companies list…
The companies are listed in alphabetical order. (Yes, we know there are 14 listed but top 10 lists are so much cooler). There is no one “best” whole life insurance company. Each company serves a unique niche, as there are different types of life insurance policies available.
- American National
- AXA Equitable
- New York Life
- Penn Mutual
- United of Omaha
A.M. Best rating: A (as of Oct 2016)
Signature Whole Life Insurance from American National is available for ages 0-80. The policy build guaranteed cash value and offers potential annual dividend payments. You can also choose from a hand full of whole life insurance riders, such as:
- paid up additions rider
- Accelerated death benefit rider
- ANICO Signature Term rider
- child term rider
- Disability premium waiver rider
- Guaranteed insurance option rider
A.M. Best Company rating: A- (as of 2015)
Assurity Simplified Whole Life offers three plans based on your unique health profile: Level, Graded and Modified Death Benefit
Level Death Benefit: Face amounts of $5,000 – $50,000 available.
Graded Death Benefit: Face amounts of $5,000 – $35,000 available. The graded death benefit pays a portion of the face amount the first two years (40% in year one; 75% in year two; and 100% in year three and beyond).
Modified Death Benefit: Face amounts of $5,000 – $25,000 available. In year one, the policy pays out 110% of the annual premium; in year two, the policy pays out 220% of the annual premium; the policy pays out 100 percent of the full benefit amount in year three and beyond.
Interested in Assurity Simplified Whole Life Insurance rates? Give us a call today!
Please visit our Assurity Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A+ (as of August 2015)
AXA Equitable Interest Sensitive Whole Life insurance provides permanent coverage with fixed premiums guaranteed for life and guaranteed minimum 2% cash value that increases year over year (unless you take out a loan on the policy) and equals the death benefit face amount at age 100. Additional interest can accrue beyond the 2% minimum which may result in the policy’s cash value exceeding the minimum guaranteed cash value. A living benefits rider is available at no additional cost.
Interested in AXA Equitable Interest Sensitive Whole Life insurance rates? Give us a call today!
Please visit our AXA Equitable Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A (as of July 2015)
Advantage Plus Whole Life: Participating cash value whole life insurance, offering 20 pay whole life or pay to 100 whole life. Because this policy from Foresters is participating, you may also receive dividends. Foresters has a strong history of life insurance dividends, even in difficult times. For example, in 2008 when the stock market was down over 30% (negative 30%-ouch!), Foresters’ dividend was 7.9%.
Foresters PlanRight offers whole life insurance. The product comes in three forms: level benefit, graded benefit and modified benefit.
PlanRight Level Benefit: Full death benefit payout from first day the policy is in force. Available for ages 50-85, with maximum face amounts of $35,000 up to age 80, and maximum face amounts of $15,000 for ages 81-85.
PlanRight Graded Benefit: If death occurs in first two years, the policy pays out 30% of face amount in year one and 70% of face amount in year two. Available for ages 50-85, with maximum face amounts of $20,000 up to age 80, and maximum face amounts of $10,000 for ages 81-85.
PlanRight Modified Benefit: Policy pays out return of premium plus 10% if death occurs in the first two years. Available for ages 50-80, with maximum face amounts of $15,000.
Please visit our Foresters Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A (as of May 2015)
Gerber Guaranteed Life insurance offers whole life insurance coverage with no medical exam and no questions asked. Face amounts range from $5,000 – $25,000. Guaranteed issue life insurance from Gerber provides fixed premium whole life insurance cash value for ages 50-80.
For free Gerber Guaranteed life insurance rates, please give us a call today or visit our final expense and burial insurance page for final expense quotes.
Please visit our Gerber Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A++ (as of December 2015)
Guardian Whole Life insurance offers fixed premium permanent coverage. The policy accumulates cash value that can be borrowed against and used for whatever you need it for. The company offers dividends based on its profits and has consistently made dividend payments to policy holders since 1868. Guardian’s life insurance dividends have stayed above 6%, despite a climate of low interest rates. Additional policy riders include critical and terminal illness and disability.
Please visit our Guardian Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company Rating: A-
Currently available in 48 states (not yet in California), Kemper Senior Solutions fits a unique niche in the marketplace. This is a guaranteed issue cash value whole life insurance plan for ages 40-80. Face amounts range from $2,000 – $25,000. Graded death benefit that pays 120% of premiums if death occurs in first two years and the full death benefit amount thereafter. Whole life insurance cash value can be used to pay premiums to avoid a lapse in coverage. Premiums are fixed.
Please visit our Kemper Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A++ (as of June, 2016)
When it comes to whole life policies, MassMutual ranks at the top of the class. MassMutual is a mutual company that has been in operation for over 150 years. The company offers participating whole life insurance policies with non direct recognition. This is the company you want to choose when you are interested in purchasing life insurance as an asset. One of the top whole life insurance companies for building cash value.
MassMutual’s whole life offers:
- Guaranteed Death Benefit
- Guaranteed Level Premiums
- Guaranteed Cash Value Accumulation
In addition, whole life policyholders receive annual life insurance dividends. Although not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid life insurance dividends since the 1860s. In addition, MassMutual’s life insurance dividend rates are superior to its competitors year in and year out. In 2017, MassMutual’s dividend rate is 6.70%.
A.M. Best Company rating: A+ (as of February 25, 2016)
MetLife Promise Whole Life insurance offers a guaranteed death benefit, guaranteed level premium and guaranteed cash value. The policy pays life insurance dividends annually starting on the second policy year. Dividends can be used to acquire interest, purchase additional paid-up insurance, pay premiums, and as cash to use however you like.
MetLife Whole Life offers several policy riders, such as:
- The Enricher Rider: If you elect to include this optional rider you can add coverage and cash value over time without re-applying so that your death benefit corresponds to your changing needs.
- Accidental Death Benefit: pays an additional death benefit equal to the policy face amount if death is due to an accident.
- Child Term Rider: term life insurance for the insured’s children
- Flex Term Rider: includes term life that accompanies the whole life policy, offering additional coverage for a period of time.
- Disability Waiver of Premium Rider: Waives premiums owed if insured is disabled for 6 months or more.
- Enhanced Care Benefit: if the insured develops a prolonged illness, the policy owner can gain access to up to 90% of the death benefit to be used to care for the insured.
Please visit our MetLife Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Rating: A++ (as of July 2015)
Custom Whole Life Insurance: designed for maximum cash value accumulation, this policy also pays dividends. The policy can be designed so that it is paid up in a certain number of years, depending on your particular objectives. The policy’s dividend option term rider combines a decreasing term rider with the paid-up additions dividend option. Another beneficial rider for enhanced cash value growth is the option to purchase paid up additions. Living benefits and disability waiver of premium riders are also available.
Please visit our New York Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Rating: A+ (as of March 9, 2016)
Whole Life Insurance: Penn Mutual’s Guaranteed Choice Whole Life. Another top whole life insurance company for building cash value. The policy comes with some awesome guarantees, including:
- Guaranteed Death Benefit
- Guaranteed Cash Value Accumulation
- Guaranteed Level Premium
- 4% Minimum Guaranteed Interest
- Policy Can Earn Dividends.
- Penn Mutual’s 2017 life insurance dividend rate is 6.34%
Available Life Insurance Riders:
- Accelerated Death Benefit
- Paid Up Additions
- Disability Waiver of Premium
- Guaranteed Purchase Option
- Chronic Illness
- Children’s Term Insurance
Please visit our Penn Mutual Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A+ (as of April 2016)
SBLI whole life insurance comes in three flavors: Continuous Payment Whole Life, Limited Payment Whole Life and Single Premium Payment Whole Life.
Continuous payment is your standard whole life insurance policy that offers cash value and a fixed premium. You pay the premium and the policy lasts your whole life. It has a lower premium than some policies because the maturity age for the policy is 121, compared to age 100.
Limited payment allows you to make limited payments for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years or until you are age 65.
SBLI offers a full suite of whole life insurance policy riders, such as Accelerated Death Benefit, Child Term Rider, Guaranteed Purchase Option and Waiver of Premium.
Single premium life allows you to purchase coverage with a onetime payment.
Please visit our SBLI Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A+ (as of November 16, 2015)
Transamerica Guaranteed Whole Life insurance is available for face amounts ranging from $50,001 – $3,000,000. Excellent senior life insurance company due to competitive pricing for the elderly. Guaranteed premiums and guaranteed coverage for your whole life as long as premiums are paid. Available for all ages up to 80. The policy offers tax deferred cash value accumulation that can be borrowed against.
Please visit our Transamerica Life Insurance page for more on this company.
A.M. Best Company rating: A+ as of April 2016.
United of Omaha Living Promise no exam whole life insurance offers two plans: Level and Graded.
- Level Benefit is available for ages 45-85.
- Face amounts range from $2,000 – $40,000.
- Accelerated Death Benefit for Terminal Illness or
- Nursing Home Confinement Rider
- Graded Benefit is available for ages 45-80.
- Face amounts range from $2,000 – $20,000.
- 2 year graded death benefit
Please visit our United of Omaha Life Insurance page for more on this company.
Whole Life Insurance Definition
Whole life insurance DEFINED: a contact (i.e. policy) between the owner (who is most often also the insured) and the insurance company that covers the life of the insured until death or surrender of the policy. The policy builds cash value which can be withdrawn or borrowed against via a life insurance loan tax free. Upon the death of the insured, the insurer pays a death benefit to the beneficiary of the policy, typically income tax free.
How does whole life insurance work?
- Step 1. Make the decisions that you need life insurance.
- Step 2. Decide that whole life insurance is the right type of life insurance for you.
- Step 3. Apply for whole life insurance with your company of choice, preferably through a life insurance agency rather than direct from the company.
- Step 4. Fill out an application.
- Step 5. Schedule and take the life insurance medical exam.
- Step 6. Wait until your policy has been approved by the life insurance underwriter.
- Step 7. Your policy is approved.
- Step 8. Read through your policy and ask your agent any questions.
- Step 9. Make your first premium payment either annual, semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly.
- Step10. Congratulations, your policy is now in force!
Is whole life insurance a good investment?
An investment is a risk. Whole life insurance comes with guarantees that alleviate risk. If you pay your premiums, the death benefit payout is guaranteed. Further, the premiums are guaranteed to remain fixed, and the cash value in the policy is guaranteed to grow.
Since whole life insurance has all these guaranteed benefits, it is difficult to call whole life insurance an investment. Rather, whole life insurance is an asset that benefits a holistic approach to financial independence.
Is whole life insurance worth it?
Life insurance dividends
In addition to all the wonderful guarantees listed above, your policy may also participate in whole life insurance dividends.
Participating life insurance is life insurance that pays dividends. We have several companies that offer participating whole life insurance in our top 10 list.
Life insurance dividends are considered return of premium that a company pays to participating policyholders based on the companies yearly overall financial performance.
Life insurance dividends are not taxable unless the dividends exceed your basis in policy premiums you paid. In other words, if the dividends are in excess of the premiums you paid into the policy, then your life insurance dividends may be taxable.
You can use life insurance dividends to buy more paid up additional life insurance, to pay premiums, gain interest with the carrier, or simply cash in hand.
Dividends can be used to contribute to your whole life insurance cash value account, thereby increasing your cash value, which in turn increases the cash you get from dividends, which increases your cash value, which increases your cash from dividends, and on and on and on…
Whole Life Insurance Pros and Cons
- Lifetime coverage
- Guaranteed level fixed premiums
- Guaranteed death benefit
- Guaranteed cash value growth (true compound interest)
- Customized to your specific requirements
- Paid up additions for maximize cash value growth
- Tax free policy loans
- Tax deferred compounding growth
- More expensive than term at the outset
- Policy design is very important
Term vs Whole Life Insurance
We wrote an entire article highlighting the differences between term life vs whole life. The main thing you should consider is that term lasts for a period of time, the “term”. Once the term expires the policy can be renewed annually but typically for much higher premiums or for a decreasing face amount. According to life insurance statistics, term life expires 98% of the time.
Whole life on the other hand lasts your whole life, i.e. your entire life until you die (as long as you pay your premiums). It has come under a lot of scrutiny lately from certain financial entertainers but whole life still meets a crucial need, particularly for those who desire to benefit from their own life insurance policy. The main knock on whole life is that it is more expensive than term and comes with fees. However, the fees and commissions can be reduced substantially when the policy is designed for high cash value growth.
Whole life insurance calculator
You can run some quotes on our whole life insurance calculator below and compare it with our term life insurance calculator.
Other Top 10 Best Companies Lists
At TermLife2Go, we like top 10 lists. You may also be interested in:
- Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies
- Top 10 Best No Medical Exam Companies
- Top 10 Best Universal Life Insurance Companies
- Infinite Banking Top 10 Best Benefits
- Top 10 Final Expense Whole Life Insurance Companies
Each list is comprised of the companies that we tend to write the most policies for in each particular segment.
Cash Value Whole Life insurance – Myth vs Truth
Myth: The cash value in many whole life policies grows very slow in the early years.
Truth: Setting up a participating whole life policy with paid up additions rider allows for maximum cash value growth. A properly designed policy can accumulate cash value much faster than its counterparts that do not include the appropriate riders. The key is finding an agent that can help you design a policy for high cash value growth.
Myth: There are a lot of better tax-advantaged plans out there, such as a 401k plan or IRA.
Truth: Dividend paying whole life insurance offers some of the best tax advantages in the marketplace, such as tax free death benefit, tax deferred cash value growth, tax free policy loans, and tax free policy withdrawals up to basis.
In contrast, try withdrawing from your 401k or IRA early. You will most likely be hit with additional fees and penalties.
Further, neither a 401k plan or IRA offer a death benefit. If you contribute $1,000 a month into a 401k plan, you will have $12,000 in the plan, plus any interest, minus fees. If you contribute $1,000 into a high cash value whole life insurance policy you will have a large death benefit far in excess of the money you put into it.
Myth: The returns of other types of investments far outshine the small returns of whole life insurance.
Truth: Whole life insurance is an amazing asset that can produce better returns than typical mutual funds and stock accounts. The 2016 release of Dalbar’s Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB) states the average 20 year return for a mutual fund investor was 4.67%. Contrast that with certain mutual insurance companies, such as MassMutual, who had a dividend of at least 6.85% over the last 20 years.
Further, when using whole life for infinite banking the returns on your money can be astronomical, as you use your policy’s cash value to purchase other income producing assets or to recapture interest that would otherwise go to a financial institution.
Myth: There are restrictions in place that make it difficult to access your policy’s cash value.
Truth: As the policy owner, you have the #1 right to your cash value. And taking a policy loan against your cash value is as easy as filling out the form and letting the company know you wish to take out a policy loan.
Myth: The fees and commissions associated with whole life make it a poor choice.
Truth: the fees inherent in a 401k or mutual funds are at least as painful as whole life. Further, a properly structured participating whole life policy will focus more on cash accumulation than death benefit, which allows for lower premiums and fees, and quicker cash accumulation.
Myth: You should buy term and invest the difference.
Truth: The battle between term life vs. whole life insurance comes down to rather you want to rent or own your coverage. There are many tax advantages to owning your policy for life, rather than renting a death benefit for a term. Further, term life gets more and more expensive as time goes on, while whole life premiums can go down or stop altogether, such as with 10 Pay Whole Life.
Take the next steps
If you see a company that you believe may be a fit or if you need more information on the different top rated whole life insurance companies available, please give us a call today and see what we can do for you!
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