5 Best Term Life Insurance Companies

We took a deep dive into the top life insurance companies to find the best term policies—here’s who we’ve rated the highest.

You can’t throw a rock without hitting an agent who sells a million brands of term life insurance. And while the abundance of options can be nice, it can also get overwhelming—real quick. We understand how much of a headache it is narrowing down your options, so we did our best to help you find the best term life insurance you can get.

Best term life insurance companies

  • Banner (Legal and General): Best overall
  • Protective: Best value
  • State Farm: Best customer service
  • Nationwide: Best riders
  • Bestow: Best for quick approval

Our approach

We looked at a lot of companies to find the best ones. But right off the bat, we narrowed down companies with the following criteria:

  • Online availability of policy details: None of that “call for info” shtick.
  • Availability in as many states as possible: We don’t like excluding people.
  • Rock-steady company financials: Only financially secure companies exist on this list.
  • Minimal complaints: We’re fans of “below average” when it comes to the number of complaints.

Banner life insurance (Legal and General): Best overall

#1

Superior financials. Plenty of riders. Affordable for the healthy and the not-so-healthy. Banner flies with us.

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Competitive rates, a variety of riders, large range of term lengths, great financials, and minimal complaints push Banner into our best company overall for term life insurance.

Pros

  • Terms up to 40 years
  • Lots of riders
  • Convertible to permanent

Cons

  • $100K minimum coverage
  • 5-year increment terms
  • May require medical exam

Why we chose it

Banner (Legal and General) might be the biggest life insurance company you’ve never heard of.

With superior financials, over $1B in premiums, and far less than the industry average in expected complaints, Banner provides affordable coverage—whether you’re in good health or . . . a bit less than perfect.

Banner is known for providing affordable rates to not only the ubermensch but also substandard health classes. You don’t have to pretend to be a triathlete to get coverage with these guys.

We also really like the availability of options—from the term lengths, available riders, and convertibility options to turn a term policy into permanent if the need arises. Their term policies will likely require a medical exam, however.

Banner life term life sample quotes

20-year term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $26 $27
$250K $26 $26
$500K $31 $27
$1M $36 $33

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $34 $27
$250K $40 $32
$500K $71 $58
$1M $140 $113

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

Recap: Who is Banner best for?

  • People with health issues: Banner provides affordable rates for health conditions that other companies may charge up the wazoo for.
  • Those who want extra bells and whistles: Riders are available for this policy, including waiver of premium, child rider, accelerated death benefit, and even term riders for adding more coverage.
  • Long term fans: Term lengths up to 40 years are unusual to see (a plus), and all term policies are convertible to permanent, even if your health declines during the term. If you convert, keep in mind your premiums will go up to reflect your current age.

See everything we have to say about Banner Life Insurance.


Protective: Best value term life insurance

#2

Rates that consistently beat the competition but don’t skimp on quality push Protective ahead as the best bang for your buck.

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If you’re looking for the lowest rates with a company that won’t take your money and move to the Caymans, you may consider Protective. They typically beat the price of their competition without skimping on quality.

Pros

  • Consistently low rates
  • Up to $50M coverage
  • Possible conversion options

Cons

  • Requires a medical exam
  • Not available in NY
  • Not many riders

Why we chose it

Protective has low rates, but not irresponsibly low, as their A.M. Best financial score suggests. In fact, they’re in very good standing both financially and in terms of their complaint index, which is half of the expected amount for a company their size (0.54). Their size, you ask? It’s substantial, with $1.7B in active premiums.

Term options start at 10 years and cap off at 30 years, and you can choose any term length between in 5-year increments. Protective’s coverage option starts at $100K and goes up to a whopping $50M.

In terms of customizability, you may have the choice to add a terminal illness rider, and possibly a conversion option, but that’s pretty much it with Protective. If you’re looking for rider variety, you may be better served elsewhere. Additionally, all term policies require a medical exam.

As a side note: Costco’s life insurance policies are sold by Protective. So if Costco’s quality record is anything to note, we think it goes a long way that they endorse Protective too.

Protective life term life sample quotes

20-year term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $9 $8
$250K $13 $11
$500K $20 $17
$1M $32 $26

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $22 $18
$250K $40 $31
$500K $72 $55
$1M $138 $100

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

Recap: Who is Protective best for?

  • Budget-conscious individuals: If you need great coverage for a low price, Protective is a great choice.
  • People who want a simple policy: Protective’s no-frills policies don’t come with many options or riders. They do level term, and they do it well.
  • Generally healthy individuals: Protective offers great deals for people in reasonably good health, but those in lower health tiers or smokers may find better rates by shopping around.

Want to see more? We’ve reviewed Protective in-depth.


State Farm life insurance: Best Customer Service

#3

Like a good neighbor (that you actually want to talk to), State Farm is there when it comes to customer satisfaction.

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State Farm doesn’t lead the pack in low pricing, and they tend to be strict with their medical underwriting. Where they shine is their product variety for term life insurance and their superior customer service.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Term life product variety
  • Nearly nationwide availability

Cons

  • Strict medical underwriting
  • Expensive
  • 10-year term minimum

Why we chose it

State Farm is a mutual company—owned by its policyholders—and as such, its loyal to doing what’s best for its customers. State Farm proves this time and time again with its consistently high customer satisfaction ratings. In fact, State Farm took the J.D. Power trophy this last year for the top customer satisfaction of all the life insurance companies they rated.1 Coupled with its low complaint index (0.27), State Farm customers can be sure they’re partnering with a provider that takes customer support seriously.

This exceptional customer support is slightly offset by generally higher premiums coupled with strict medical underwriting. In other words, by State Farm’s criteria, not many will fall into the “excellent” health category, meaning higher premiums for most.

However, State Farm offers great variety with three distinct term life products: a level term product, a return of premium product, and a no-medical exam, quick-acceptance product. Each policy can be customized with riders, and they have a good coverage amount range, with the exception of Instant Answer Term—that one offers a death benefit payout of $50K. No more, no less.

State Farm life term life sample quotes

20-year term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $13 $13
$250K $19 $20
$500K $28 $30
$1M $43 $50

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $27 $29
$250K $50 $55
$500K $91 $97
$1M $170 $178

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

Recap: Who is State Farm best for?

  • People who care about customer service: If you’re looking for the best customer-service-oriented company with the record to prove it, State Farm is for you.
  • Healthy individuals: Only those with exceptional vitals and clean family history are placed in State Farm’s highest health category.
  • Those who enjoy options: Between the term products and the optional riders, you can walk out of State Farm with a pimped out policy the neighbors will be jealous of.

See everything we have to say about our favorite neighbor in the State Farm review.


Nationwide life insurance: Best family coverage

#4

Nationwide isn’t just on your side, it’s on your family’s side too—with the availability of spouse and children’s riders.

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Nationwide is in more than just the life insurance game, offering homeowners, auto, and even dental insurance to name a few. That said, their term life policy rises above the rest in the number of riders you can add. We were especially drawn to the prospect of adding an entire family onto a single policy.

Pros

  • Nationwide availability
  • Riders for the whole family
  • Low complaint index

Cons

  • Only one type of term policy
  • No online quotes
  • May need a medical exam

Why we chose it

You’ve likely heard the Nationwide jingle more than a few times: “Nationwide is on your side” (sorry if we just got it stuck in your head). Beyond the marketing, however, is a term life policy with riders for the whole family, (plus some riders for yourself). And as a Fortune 100 company existing since the 1920s, you can bet they’ll be around to pay claims well into the future.

The term policy offered by Nationwide is nothing unique by any means. It’s a guaranteed level term for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. But where Nationwide’s term policy excels is its optional riders. On a single term policy, you can add a rider to include coverage for a spouse, a rider for children (including any that are born or adopted during the policy), an accelerated death benefit rider in case you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, and a premium waiver rider if you become disabled.

In general, it’s rare to see a spouse rider on a term life insurance policy—many companies would rather you buy two separate term policies instead. But to have both a spouse rider and children’s rider at the same time? That’s great coverage. Not to mention both the main policy and spouse rider are convertible to permanent up to age 65.

Nationwide term life sample quotes

20-year term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $13 $12
$250K $16 $15
$500K $23 $20
$1M $39 $33

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $24 $22
$250K $43 $34
$500K $77 $58
$1M $146 $106

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

Recap: Who is Nationwide best for?

  • People looking for whole family coverage: Adding the entire family—including potential children—to a single policy is a unique feature and could be a great way to cover everyone in the household.
  • Those who don’t mind talking to an agent: Nationwide doesn’t provide online quotes or online applications—you’ll have to talk to someone directly to buy a policy.
  • Couples who want conversion options: Both the insured and the spouse rider are convertible to permanent policies up to age 65.

Learn more about all of Nationwide’s products on our in-depth review.


Bestow: Best quick approval life insurance

#5

No medical exams, instant approval, and affordable rates place Bestow’s application process miles ahead of the industry.

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Bestow is shaking up the industry with its quick application process, no medical exam, and algorithm-based underwriting that grants instant approval for policies from $50K to $1M.

Pros

  • No medical exam
  • Competitive rates
  • Application to approval in minutes

Cons

  • No riders
  • No conversion options
  • No availability for ages 55+

Why we chose it

Bestow may just be the quickest, easiest way to apply and get approved for a term life insurance policy. They don’t have a medical exam (although they do ask health questions) and their application literally takes minutes. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Backed by the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance (rated A+ by A.M. Best), Bestow has the intelligence of a tech startup with the funds of a national life insurance company behind each policy.2

Speaking of policies, they offer two types: a short-term, 2-year level term with up to $500K in coverage and a 10- or 20-year level term policy with up to $1M in coverage. The 2-year term is intended for business owners who need collateral for a loan or people who just need short-term coverage fast. The 10- and 20-year term policy is geared toward families.

Bestow term life sample quotes

20-year term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $10 $8
$250K $15 $11
$500K $25 $18
$1M $47 $32

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old nonsmoker

Death benefit payout Male monthly premium Female monthly premium
$100K $17 $15
$250K $32 $26
$500K $60 $47
$1M $118 $90

Sample quotes based on Clearlink partner and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/25/19.

Recap: Who is Bestow best for?

  • Small business owners: Need collateral for a loan? This policy can get a small business owner covered while they’re standing in line at the bank.
  • Parents whose time is precious: There’s not a parent in the world who wouldn’t love to reclaim a few minutes of their day. Avoiding a medical exam or lengthy underwriting can be one way to do just that.
  • Those who need a policy—fast: Forgot to get life insurance before going on vacation? You can get a policy while boarding the plane with Bestow.

Learn more about Bestow in our review.


Bottom line: You probably won’t go wrong buying term life insurance from one of these companies

When you choose term life insurance, you’re not just buying a policy; you’re choosing a partnership with a company for up to 40 years. And since it’ll be such a long partnership, you want to ensure that they’ll be around, they’ll take care of you and your claims, and they’ll deliver a high-quality product. When you choose term life insurance from any of these companies, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

  • Banner: Best overall company for term life insurance, likely working well for almost anybody, regardless of health class
  • Protective: Best value, good for the budget-conscious
  • State Farm: Best customer service, appealing to those who are willing to pay a little more for superior customer satisfaction
  • Nationwide: Best coverage for a growing family under a single policy
  • Bestow: Best quick-approval, no-medical term life insurance for business owners and busy families alike

Next steps: Learn more about life insurance

Now that you know the top term life insurance companies, you may be interested in the following articles:

Or if you’re ready to buy life insurance, get a quote.


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