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Primerica Life Insurance Review 2020

Captive agents with high turnover make this otherwise solid insurer a good option only if you research coverage beforehand.
Pro Bullet Term life policies
Pro Bullet No medical exam options available
Licensed Life Insurance Agent/Staff Writer
Published on April 16, 2020

We've updated our review to reflect the most recent updates to Primerica's life insurance offerings, rates, and financial ratings.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Primerica 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 their website.

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Founded in the late ‘70s, Primerica has grown into one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States. Primerica boasts 130,000 licensed life insurance representatives in North America, and their target market is middle-class families.1 Using the mantra “buy term, invest the difference,” Primerica sells term life insurance, then encourages customers to buy Primerica’s other investment products (rather than solely investing in permanent life insurance).

Primerica is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. As such, many of its part-time agents sell to primarily friends and family (which is not uncommon in the world of life insurance). But Primerica reps differ from other companies in that they typically try to recruit customers to become agents themselves and sell for Primerica.

Who might choose Primerica life insurance?
  • People who want term life insurance: Primerica is a proponent of term life—and that’s the only life insurance they sell.
  • Middle-income families: Primerica’s focus on families is reflected in its riders for spouse and children.
  • People interested in selling financial products: Many Primerica representatives recruit their customers to sell Primerica products.

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Primerica life insurance policies

Life insurance policy types
Term life insurance
Starting from
  • 10–35 years
  • Terminal illness benefits
  • Spouse, child, waiver of premium, and increasing benefit riders
  • Accelerated underwriting for death benefits under $300K

Information generated from partner data and is for illustration purposes only. Data as of 3/17/2020.

Primerica term life insurance

Primerica built its business on term life insurance. Although Primerica sells other financial products like mutual funds and annuities, Primerica maintains that “life insurance is the cornerstone of our business.”2

Primerica sells term life insurance with terms of 10 years up to 35 years. Each policy comes with terminal illness benefits—benefits that allow the person covered by the policy to claim a portion of the death benefit early if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Commonly, this benefit is used to help pay for hospital bills and the cost of palliative care.

You may also be able to add these riders to a Primerica term life policy:

  • Spouse rider, which covers the death of your spouse.
  • Child rider, which covers the death of any of your children.
  • Waiver of premium rider, which covers your premiums if you become disabled.
  • Increasing benefit rider, which allows the insured to increase death benefits (typically at predetermined ages or milestones).
Primerica accelerated underwriting

If you get a policy under $300,000, you may qualify for accelerated underwriting, which Primerica calls “TermNow.” Depending on how you answer health questions, Primerica can sometimes issue your policy more quickly than traditionally underwritten policies. You might even be able to skip the medical exam.

Primerica life insurance rates

Primerica does not allow you to ask for quotes on its website. Primerica also doesn’t allow independent life insurance agents or brokers to access its prices—unless an agent is contracted directly with Primerica. All of these factors make comparing Primerica’s rates with other companies pretty difficult.

If you want a quote for a term life insurance policy, you’ll need to contact a Primerica representative directly.

What you should know about Primerica

It’s important to do your due diligence on a company before buying life insurance. Here are a few things we think you should know about Primerica.

Lack of transparency

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get information about Primerica’s term life policies online—not just pricing but product offerings too. If you really want information, you’ll need to talk to a Primerica agent directly.

This lack of transparency probably isn’t unintentional; it’s a fairly common tactic of multilevel marketing companies that’s designed to direct curious customers to a contracted agent.

Multilevel marketing structure

Just mentioning “MLM” in a casual gathering can be like lobbing a social grenade into a crowd—it draws heated debate from both directions. We won’t get into the specifics of MLMs here, but it’s worth noting that Primerica is built on that direct-sales model.

Here’s the most noteworthy takeaway: Primerica representatives might try to convince you to join the company.

If you buy term life insurance from a Primerica agent, they will likely try to recruit you to join Primerica as an independent contractor so you can sell Primerica products too. If you join, part of the commission from your sales will go to your recruiter, and their recruiter, and so on, rippling through the company’s “upline.”

Primerica seems to push the goal of recruiting new members pretty hard—almost as hard as selling the actual products. Call us old fashioned, but we think if you’re attending a pitch to buy life insurance, you shouldn’t be roped into “starting your own business” (i.e., selling for Primerica) in the process.

Ordinary term life insurance products

The few bits and pieces of information that we found about Primerica’s term life insurance didn’t appear different from term life insurance sold by other top companies.

Captive agents

Primerica’s agents are captive, meaning they are dedicated to Primerica and cannot quote rates from multiple companies. Their inability to quote comparables makes it difficult for you to know if Primerica will give you a competitive rate for life insurance.

Additionally, since the captive agents at Primerica sell only term life insurance, they won’t ever suggest permanent products—even if a whole life insurance or universal life insurance policy may fit your needs better than a term life policy.

Primerica ratings and financial strength

Primerica is in great financial shape even though it hasn’t been around nearly as long as other insurance companies. You can feel confident that Primerica’s financial standing will ensure its future and ability to pay claims down the line.

Is Primerica financially stable?

Rating Agency
Rating
AM Best (FSR)A+
S&PAA-
Moody'sA1
FitchN/A

Table created using information available at AMBest.com, StandardAndPoors.com, and Moodys.com. Data effective 2/25/20.

AM Best awards Primerica a rating of A+ (second only to A++).3 On AM Best’s scale, an A+ ranking is position 2 out of a 13-place scale.

Standard and Poor’s gives Primerica a similar rating of AA-, which is one tier below AAA—S&P’s highest rating.4

Moody’s A1 rating of Primerica is in the upper third of its rating system, designating a low credit risk.5

Along with the ratings, Primerica’s financial outlook is stable according to AM Best, S&P, and Moody’s.6,7,8 These ratings signal that Primerica is a financially strong company that will be able to pay your claims if you purchase a policy.

Primerica claims and customer service

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) rates every insurance company on a complaint index. Compared to insurers of a similar size, Primerica has received fewer complaints than expected, with a rating of 0.65—under an expected complaint number of 1.00.9

J.D. Power ranked Primerica on a 1,000 point scale to determine overall customer satisfaction. Primerica ranked 741, which is the bottom tier (“the rest”) in overall customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power—16th place out of 24 companies.10 According to J.D. Power, this ranking refers to a customer’s overall experience with the company.

Practically speaking, Primerica does a good job of paying claims. But it’s nowhere near the top of the industry in terms of customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power.

Bottom line: Multilevel marketing meets life insurance

If that description scares you, you might not want to buy a Primerica policy.

Primerica is one of the biggest players in the life insurance industry, and it likely got there because of its multilevel-marketing strategy. Its financial strength speaks volumes about its ability to pay claims, and you can have confidence that Primerica can fulfill its contractual obligations.

However, Primerica is not super upfront about its products, prices, or practices. That makes it hard to know how Primerica stacks up against the competition—and, ultimately, hard to recommend its product.

If you’re wary of MLMs, you’ll probably want to steer clear of Primerica. On the other hand, if you personally know a rep or align with Primerica’s philosophy, it might be a good fit for you.

If you’d rather see quotes from multiple insurance companies online and not have to sit through a pitch to get there, check out our instant online quoting tool.

FAQs about Primerica

What does Primerica do?

Primerica is an insurance and financial services organization specializing in term life insurance for middle-class families.

Can I borrow from my Primerica life insurance?

No. A term life insurance policy doesn't typically build cash value. Primerica's philosophy is that you should skip on the higher premiums often associated with cash-value policies and invest the difference instead. If money isn't an issue or you want a cash-value policy, learn more about indexed universal life insurance.

Does Primerica offer whole life insurance?

No, Primerica sells only term life insurance. For companies that sell whole life insurance, check out the best companies that sell whole life insurance.

Does Primerica pay out life insurance?

Primerica prides itself on its quick payout of life insurance claims, stating that 94% of claims are paid within two weeks.11

Does Primerica pay out life insurance?

Primerica is a legitimate company selling legitimate life insurance policies. Many people become wary of Primerica, however, when they learn that it is a multilevel marketing company—sometimes unflatteringly referred to as a “pyramid scheme.” Your comfort level with Primerica will likely depend on how you feel about MLMs and their business strategy.

If you’re considering joining Primerica, use your best judgment. In 2019, the average Primerica representative made $6,249.12 The overwhelming majority of Primerica reps will not get rich selling Primerica products.

Written by
Alex Enabnit
Alex is a licensed life insurance agent who has appeared on Yahoo Finance, HealthPopuli, and Good Morning Arizona. He writes factual, useful, and occasionally amusing articles about life insurance. Believe it or not, he enjoys researching the intricacies of life insurance and helping people choose the best policies for their specific needs—almost as much as he enjoys kayaking and long hikes.