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Principal Life Insurance Company Review 2020

This insurer has competitive prices for high-value, healthy consumers.
Pro Bullet Term
Pro Bullet Universal
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Licensed Life Insurance Agent/Staff Writer
Published on December 05, 2019

Principal Life Insurance Company, part of Principal Financial Group, is a stable company that began offering life insurance in 1897. Today, this insurer has a reputation for providing low premiums to healthy applicants and high death benefit options.

Who might choose Principal?

  • Healthy people needing higher levels of coverage: These people will find the most competitive rates.
  • People too busy to take an exam: If you fall into the two highest health classes, you probably won’t have to take an exam.
  • Couples and other partners: Principal Life offers survivorship (second-to-die) policies that cover two people.

Principal Life Insurance policies

Death benefit

Age range

Exam required?

Term life




Universal life




Table created for illustration purposes only. Information available at Data effective 12/5/2019.

Principal offers three types of life insurance policies: term, universal, and survivorship. Principal Life doesn't offer whole life insurance. If that's something you're curious about, read about the difference between term vs. whole life insurance.


Principal Life’s term policies are pretty standard, with 10-, 20-, and 30-year policies available.


This insurer’s universal policies come in three options:

  • Straight universal life with flexible payouts and premiums
  • Indexed universal life with interest rate protection
  • Variable universal life with an aggressive but risky cash value accumulation strategy


Lastly, Principal Life offers survivorship insurance that covers two people under the same policy. This type of life insurance pays out only when the second covered person dies. Unfortunately, Principal Life doesn't seem to feature this insurance on their website, so finding information on it is challenging. You may need to work directly with an agent to see life insurance quotes for this type of coverage from this company.

How much does life insurance with Principal Life cost?

Principal Life Insurance rates are highly competitive. When compared with the best life insurance rates, Principal Life was at or slightly above the lowest prices.

Healthy people who want multimillion-dollar death benefits will see the most competitive rates. But even previous tobacco users (who often struggle with high premiums long after quitting) can find decent rates with Principal Life.

Principal Life sample rates

20-year term life policy for a healthy 25 year old
Death Benefit

Male monthly premium

Female monthly premium










Sample quotes based on and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/27/2019.

20-year term life policy for a healthy 50 year old
Death benefit

Male monthly premium




Female monthly premium




Sample quotes based on and are for illustration purposes only. Actual quotes may vary. Data effective 11/27/2019.

Why you should consider Principal Life

Principal Life is a reputable life insurance company with a lot to offer policyholders, but it’s not for everybody. If you’re looking for whole life insurance, for instance, you won’t find it at Principal Life. If you’re healthy and want a lot of term or universal coverage, however, this life insurance company could be the right choice.

Caters to high net-worth individuals

The highest payout Principal Life offers is $50 million—much greater than many other insurers. And prices at this level of coverage are competitive, although you may need to work with an agent to get a quote for policies above a few million dollars.

Although most people will never need nearly that much coverage, high-value policies are kind of Principal Life’s specialty.

Healthy people have it made

Most people will have to take life insurance medical exams as part of their application. But people who qualify for the highest health classes based on a medical questionnaire and other documentation won’t have to submit to an exam. Principal Life waives these lucky ducks right on through.

This insurer is also one of the few companies that allows you to skip the exam at higher death benefit payouts. You can buy up to $1 million in coverage without an exam. The only other life insurance companies we review that offers no exam coverage with such a high death benefit are Haven Life and John Hancock.

How Principal Life stacks up

Principal Life financial ratings
A.M. Best (FSR)








Table created using information available at,,, and Data effective 12/5/2019.

Principal Life is a large, financially stable company that's 140 years old. It receives high marks from several financial rating agencies, including A.M. Best’s highest rating of A+.

S&P, Moodys, and Fitch’s financial strength ratings for this insurer aren’t as high as A.M. Best’s—each of those rating entities gives Principal Life their third-highest mark and a stable outlook. All of these ratings describe a company with low risk of defaulting on its financial responsibilities for the foreseeable future.

In short, you can expect Principal Life to stay standing for quite a while.

Claims and customer service

If you’re looking for a life insurance company with a good track record for service and claims, Principal Life fits that bill, too. J.D. Power rated this insurer above average when it comes to overall customer satisfaction in 2019.That's a boost from an average rating in 2018.2

When claim time rolls around, Principal Life is there for its customers. In 2018, this insurer had just four official complaints filed against it regarding individual life insurance policies. When you compare that to the nearly $885 billion in premiums Principal Life brought in that year, four complaints is close to nothing.3

Bottom line: Principal Life is best for healthy, high net worth people

But plenty of other consumers will find competitive pricing, reliability, and strong customer service here, too.

Principal Life’s high death benefit options, no exam options for healthy people, and competitive pricing are best utilized by healthy people who want a lot of coverage. Luckily, the rest of us can still find an excellent policy backed by decades of financial stability and good customer service.

If you’re looking for a universal, survivorship, or term life insurance policy, Principal Life could be for you. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for whole life insurance, this insurer can’t oblige.

If Principal Life fills all of your life insurance needs, then it’s time to get started with a quote.

Want help understanding how life insurance works? Read up here:

Principal Life FAQ
What other kinds of insurance is Principal Financial Group known for?

Principal Financial Group also offers health, group life, retirement savings protection, and disability income insurance. In fact, Principal Financial Group is one of the best disability insurance companies we’ve found.

Does Principal Financial offer final expense insurance?

While you can use a Principal Life term or permanent life policy to cover final expenses, none of Principal Life’s products are designed specifically for that purpose. If that’s what you’re looking for, check out the best final expense insurance.

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.