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Foresters Life Insurance Review for 2020: Best Plans and Policies

Pro Bullet Term life
Pro Bullet Whole life
Pro Bullet Universal life
Pro Bullet Variable life
4.6 out of 5 stars4.6
Licensed Life Insurance Agent/Staff Writer
Published on March 20, 2020

Update: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foresters is one of several insurance companies that is directly addressing customers’ questions about the virus and/or providing specialized service options to ensure the safety of customers and agents alike. For up-to-date information, visit the Foresters website.


Foresters may be small, but it’s been around as long or longer than some of today’s life insurance giants. This mutual company was founded in 1874 by The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal society. Today, Foresters has more than 3 million members in the US, Canada, and the UK.

With its many unique offerings, Foresters could have the policy you’ve been looking for—provided you’re willing to pay extra for it.

Who might choose Foresters for life insurance?
  • People looking for whole life insurance: Foresters offers four types of whole life coverage and plenty of online info on each.
  • People with a favorite charity: Policies include a rider (add-on) that donates 1% of your death benefit to the charity of your choice.
  • People looking for dividends: Some policies make you eligible to receive life insurance dividends.

Foresters life insurance policies

Term life
Policy options
  • 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-year terms
  • Level premiums
  • Some riders included
Whole life
Policy options
  • PlanRight Whole Life
  • Advantage Plus II Participating Whole Life
  • Interest Sensitive Whole Life Insurance
Universal life
Policy options
  • Custom Choice UL
  • Variable universal
  • Indexed universal
Variable life
Policy options
  • ISP Choice 15
  • ISP CHOICE Whole Life

Created for illustration purposes only. Information available at Foresters.com. Data effective 1/13/2020.

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Foresters Financial sells a variety of common types of life insurance, but it also offers a few rare policies and riders. Because you may not have seen them before, we’ll explain a bit about these unique products later in this review.

For now, just know that this insurer automatically includes the following riders with most of its policies:

  • Accelerated death benefit
  • Common carrier accidental death benefit
  • Family health benefit
  • Charity benefit

Foresters term life insurance

Foresters’ Your Term Level Life Insurance comes in more term lengths than most insurers: 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year terms. Still, this coverage is the cheapest, most straightforward policy you can buy from Foresters.

In addition to Foresters’ regular riders, you can also purchase a disability income protection, waiver of premium, and accidental death riders.

Foresters universal life insurance

Foresters’ universal life insurance product is called SMART UL and offers a minimum cash value growth rate of 2% per year. It includes Foresters’ standard riders, as well as the ability to add the following riders:

  • Children’s term
  • Guaranteed purchase option
  • Waiver of monthly deductions

For a full explanation of each, jump to Foresters riders.

This product also offers a 10-year, no-lapse guarantee provided you pay the minimum premium. This feature is next-level for universal life insurance because this insurance is interest-sensitive, and its value can fall if the market enters a downturn.

But with the no-lapse guarantee, you don’t have to worry about losing your coverage for the first decade you have your policy.

Foresters whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is where Foresters truly shines. The company sells three types of traditional whole life policies, each providing coverage until age 121.

PlanRight Whole Life Insurance

As Foresters’ most basic whole life option, this policy offers guaranteed level premiums and a (typically) tax-free death benefit for your loved ones. PlanRight also includes Foresters’ standard riders.

Advantage Plus II Whole Life Insurance

Advantage Plus II is Foresters’ participating whole life insurance, which means policyowners may receive dividends. You can also choose to pay premiums for just 20 years or until you reach age 100, while still receiving coverage until age 121.

In addition to its standard riders, Foresters offers the ability to add a term rider to your policy to boost your coverage for 10 or 20 years. This rider makes it easy to build yourself a two-rung ladder strategy if you need more coverage right now but don’t want to buy enough permanent protection to cover that need.

Interest Sensitive Whole Life Insurance

This policy is like Foresters’ basic life insurance option, except in one crucial way: your cash value growth may be augmented by an accumulation value. As this account grows, your death benefit can grow as well.

Accumulation value growth is subject to current interest rates but includes a guaranteed interest rate. In short, these funds may grow more quickly than traditional cash value, but they won’t ever shrink like they might with a variable life insurance policy. In this way, Interest Sensitive Whole Life is like universal life insurance but has the guaranteed coverage of whole life policies.

This policy may not come with Foresters’ regular riders, but you may be able to add the following ones:

  • Waiver of premium (ages 18–55)
  • Accidental death benefit
  • Term insurance (for you)
  • Spouse’s term
  • Children’s term

Foresters variable life insurance

Foresters variable policy options include ISP Choice 15 and ISP CHOICE Whole Life. If you’re interested in a Foresters variable life insurance policy, contact the company directly for more information.

Foresters life insurance rates

Foresters’ prices can be steep—all the monthly rates we sampled were higher than average. At age 25, the difference was just a few dollars. But at age 50, your premiums with Foresters could be $10 to $20 higher than average.

Oddly, some of Forester’s most substantial premiums overall are for its $250,000 policies. If you want this much coverage, it’s probably cheaper to double your death benefit.

If you’re looking for a less expensive insurance company, consider Banner Life or Assurity Life.

Foresters sample rates

20-year term life policy for a healthy 25-year-old
Death benefit payout
Male monthly premium
Female monthly premium
$100K$20$15
$250K$40$29
$500K$29$22
$1M$48$36

Sample quotes are from Chris Abrams, founder of MJ Life Insurance, and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 1/15/2019.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old
Death benefit payout
Male monthly premium
Female monthly premium
$100K$58$53
$250K$135$124
$500K$105$82
$1M$194$153

Sample quotes are from Chris Abrams, founder of MJ Life Insurance, and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 1/15/2019.

Things to consider about Foresters

Foresters may be smaller than household names like MassMutual and Protective, but this company offers a few niche products that most of the big guys don’t. Some of those unique products are uncommon policy types (discussed above), while others are riders.

Foresters automatically includes several riders with most of its policies, and you may be able to buy others depending on which policy you choose.

Foresters standard life insurance riders

Foresters automatically includes the following riders in many of its policies:

  • Accelerated death benefit: This popular rider allows you to draw on your death benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a critical, chronic, terminal, or other covered illness.
  • Common carrier accidental death benefit: More specific than an accidental death benefit, this rider provides an additional payout if you die while you’re a fare-paying passenger of common carrier transportation, such as a bus, train, or airplane.
  • Family health benefit: This uncommon rider pays a limited benefit for health expenses incurred from natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • Charity benefit: The insurer agrees to pay 1% (up to $100,000) of your death benefit to the registered charity of your choice at claim time.

Foresters optional life insurance riders

You may be able to purchase the following riders with specific Foresters policies:

  • Guaranteed purchase/insurability option rider: This rider allows you to increase the face amount of your coverage by up to $50,000 without proof of insurability on each scheduled option date. Available on SMART UL.
  • Waiver of premium: The insurer will wave your premiums and keep your coverage in force if you become totally disabled for six or more months. Available on Your Term, Advantage Plus II, Interest Sensitive Whole Life.
  • Waiver of monthly deductions: This rider waives your monthly insurance costs if you are totally disabled and can’t work for six or more months. It’s similar to a waiver of premium rider you might find on a term life policy, but only the portion of your premiums that go toward insurance costs (not cash value) are waved. Available on SMART UL.
  • Children’s term: This rider adds term life coverage for your children, which you can convert to permanent coverage later. Available on SMART UL, Advantage Plus II, Interest Sensitive Whole Life.
  • Term insurance: This option may allow you to purchase 10- or 20-year term coverage to temporarily boost your death benefit in the short term. Available on Interest Sensitive Whole Life.
  • Spouse’s term: This rider may allow you to purchase up to $25,000 of term life on your spouse. Available on Interest Sensitive Whole Life.
  • Accidental death benefit: This popular rider may include up to $200,000 in additional death benefit if your death is caused by a qualifying accident. Available on Your Term, SMART UL, PlanRight, Advantage Plus II, Interest Sensitive Whole Life.
  • Disability income: This rider may pay out if you become disabled. You can choose from accident-only or accident and illness coverage. Available on Your Term.

How Foresters stacks up

Because of Foresters’ small stature, you may be wondering how safe it is to trust this insurer with your hard-earned money.

While most of our go-to rating agencies don’t have current scores for Foresters, AM Best (the gold standard for the insurance industry) does. And it’s a good one.

Agency
Rating
What it means
AM Best (FSR)A-Excellent
S&PN/AN/A
Moody'sN/AN/A
FitchN/AN/A

Table created using information available at AMBest.com, StandardAndPoors.com, Moodys.com, and FitchRatings.com. Data effective 1/13/2020.

AM Best places Foresters in its second-highest rating class, A. The minus means the insurer falls in the lower portion of this class. Still, AM Best describes the A category as having an excellent ability to pay its financial obligations, so Foresters is likely a safe bet.

Foresters claims and customer service

Unfortunately, Foresters doesn’t have a clean claims history. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reported three complaints regarding Foresters’ individual life insurance in 2018.

That may not seem like many, but Foresters is a small insurer. The company holds only .05% of the life insurance market but received more than twice that percentage (.11%) in complaints.1 And trusted review sources JD Power and Trustpilot don’t have ratings for Foresters at all.

Still, complaints about claims don’t always tell the whole story, and we like that this insurer includes plenty of details about its life insurance products on its website, which may suggest a high level of transparency with customers. So, overall, Foresters’ customer service is a bit of a question mark.

If you’re looking for insurers with top-notch service, consider State Farm or Northwestern Mutual, which have topped JD Power’s US Life Insurance Study for overall customer satisfaction for the last two years.2, 3

Bottom line: Foresters has niche products but high prices
This small-but-mighty insurer competes with the big guys on product choices and stability, but its rates and customer service may not be ideal.

If you’re looking for niche riders or plenty of whole life policy choices, Foresters is a great place to start your search. We also like that this insurer scores big on financial stability and longevity.

Unfortunately, Foresters will simply be too pricey for many people, with rates double or triple competitors’ prices in some situations. And because agencies like JD Power and Trustpilot don’t have scores for Foresters, its customer service is a bit of a mystery.

Still, if this insurer has the right policy and rider combo you’re looking for, and the price tag works for your budget, Foresters could be the right call for you. Of course, it never hurts to check prices elsewhere, so compare quotes from multiple insurers before giving Foresters a call.

Not sure Foresters is right for you? Scope your options: 

Foresters FAQ
Does Foresters sell annuities?

Yes, Foresters offers deferred annuities, but it appears the products may be available to Canadians only. True to its habit of creating unique products, you can choose to add a tax-free savings account (TFSA) to your annuity. A TFSA is the Canadian version of the US’s Individual Savings Account (IRA).

What is The Independent Order of Foresters?

The Independent Order of Foresters is a fraternal benefit society and non-profit organization formed to provide specific benefits to its members. It’s the organization that provides life insurance for Foresters Financial.

Written by
Kathryn Casna
Kathryn Casna is a licensed insurance agent and life insurance specialist who has appeared on The Simple Dollar and Best Company. On a weekly basis, she dives into complex life insurance topics to wring out genuinely useful information. When she’s not wrangling big ideas into easy-to-understand articles, Kathryn nerds out on budget-tracking spreadsheets and tries to coax her leash-trained cat to take outdoor adventures.