6 Best Life Insurance Companies of 2023 Staff Profile Picture
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Purchasing a life insurance policy is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make. This coverage can take care of your loved ones by covering end-of-life expenses, tuition and education costs, estate planning, and loss of income in the event of your death. 

Because life insurance is such a critical component of financial planning, it’s important to choose a policy and insurer that meets all of your needs. To help you pick the best life insurance company, we compared 19 of the top companies for 2023. Our picks offer a variety of policy types, additional riders (aka optional coverage you can add to your policy), and receive high customer satisfaction and financial strength ratings from third-party institutions. 

Read on to learn about the six companies we consider the best in the life insurance industry. 

Our Top Picks

Comparing the Top Life Insurance Companies  



Best for


Ranking ranking

Best for

Our pick for: Best overall

Northwestern Mutual

Ranking ranking

Best for

Our pick for: Policy dividends

State Farm

Ranking ranking

Best for

Our pick for: Return of premium term insurance


Ranking ranking

Best for

Our pick for: Bundling discounts

Penn Mutual

Ranking ranking

Best for

Our pick for: Customer satisfaction

Mutual of Omaha

Ranking ranking

Best for

Our pick for: No-medical-exam options

How We Ranked the Best Life Insurance Companies

Beginning with a list of 19 life insurance companies, we evaluated each company based on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Reputation

  • Financial strength

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Policy options

  • Rider options

  • Consumer complaints

Jump to our methodology section at the bottom of the article for a more detailed explanation of our scoring process. 

1. MassMutual


  • No medical exam and guaranteed acceptance policies
  • Wide variety of rider options
  • Free life insurance (MassMutual's LifeBridge program)


  • Policies must be purchased through an agent
  • High term life premiums

Why we chose MassMutual: With more than 170 years of experience, MassMutual offers a wide range of products and services, including life insurance, retirement planning, investment management, and business insurance. 

The company offers the life insurance policy types you’d expect, along with many optional riders that allow you to customize your policy to suit your needs. MassMutual offers 13 rider options for its whole life insurance policies, including:

  • Waiver of premium rider: With this rider, MassMutual will waive your premiums for a specified time period if you become disabled. 

  • Additional insurance rider: This add-on allows you to purchase life insurance coverage for your spouse or children.  

  • Guaranteed insurability rider: This rider gives you the option to purchase additional life insurance coverage at set intervals without a health exam. 

  • Accelerated death benefit rider: If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may access a portion of your death benefit to use before you die. 

MassMutual also offers free life insurance with its LifeBridge program. It’s designed for lower-income parents and provides a $50,000 policy that can be used for your child’s education if you die within a certain term. This policy is restricted to individuals who:

  • Are between ages 19 and 42

  • Are a parent or legal guardian to a child under the age of 18

  • Make between $10,000 and $40,000 per year

  • Are in good health

  • Are a permanent U.S. citizen

2. Northwestern Mutual


  • Excellent financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings
  • Policies eligible for dividends
  • Ability to combine term and permanent life insurance


  • Online quotes require you to share your contact information
  • Policies must be purchased through an agent

Why we chose Northwestern Mutual: Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual has grown into the largest life insurance company in the U.S. The company touts excellent financial strength ratings, a low number of complaints, and a No. 3 ranking on J.D. Power’s most recent life insurance customer satisfaction study

Northwestern Mutual has achieved the coveted A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, which denotes a “superior” financial strength. Financial strength is an important consideration for any type of insurance company you’re considering, as it shows the likelihood that the insurer will be able to pay out future claims. 

Northwestern Mutual rewards policyholders with dividend payments. This benefit extends to both those with permanent life insurance policies and term life insurance policies. The company projects a 2023 payout of $6.8 billion to policyholders. Dividends can be used to offset the cost of their premiums or increase the policy value, or they can opt to receive the dividend in cash. 

The company does offer online quotes, but you have to provide your contact information in order to receive your customized quote. And if you choose to purchase a policy with Northwestern Mutual, you must do so through an agent.

3. State Farm


  • Whole life policies are eligible for dividends
  • Life insurance policyholders can get a discount on their State Farm auto insurance
  • Ability to convert your term policy to permanent coverage


  • Life insurance not available in Massachusetts
  • No accelerated death benefit rider on term policies

Why we chose State Farm: While you may recognize State Farm as a home or car insurance provider, the company also offers a variety of life insurance products. In fact, State Farm ranked No. 1 on J.D. Power’s 2022 Individual Life Insurance Study of customer satisfaction. 

Because State Farm offers such a wide variety of insurance products, policyholders may receive a discount on their car insurance premiums by purchasing life insurance with the company. It’s important to note that bundling will not help you save on your life insurance premium — it will only help you save on your car insurance premium. 

State Farm also offers a rare type of life insurance called return of premium term insurance. This policy refunds a portion or all of your premiums if you outlive the policy. 

As far as drawbacks, State Farm does not offer accelerated death benefit riders for any of its policies, so you won’t be able to access part of your death benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. This benefit is offered by other top insurers at no additional cost. State Farm’s life insurance is also unavailable to those living in Massachusetts. 

4. Nationwide


  • No-medical-exam life insurance for up to $5 million
  • Allows bundling of all types of coverage, including life insurance
  • Long-term care riders available


  • Term applicants must be 70 or younger to qualify
  • No online quotes or applications for permanent policies

Why we chose Nationwide: Nationwide is a giant in the insurance industry, offering a wide variety of insurance products ranging from life insurance to home insurance. As for its life insurance offerings, Nationwide offers whole, term, and universal policies. 

Nationwide stands out from its competitors by offering customers the ability to bundle all types of coverage, including life insurance. To save on your life insurance premium, you must also have a home and auto policy with Nationwide. 

Nationwide also offers a no-medical-exam life insurance death benefit for up to $5 million — which is much higher than the average $1 million maximum death benefit offered by most other insurers. 

Long-term care insurance is another standout offering by Nationwide, as this type of insurance isn’t very common among providers as a standalone policy. With this coverage, you can get a portion of your death benefit upfront to help pay for your long-term care needs. Note that this rider is not available with Nationwide’s whole life insurance policy.

5. Penn Mutual + Mutual of Omaha [TIE]

Penn Mutual and Mutual of Omaha tied for fifth place with a score of 85 out of 100. Below, we cover the key highlights of both companies.

Penn Mutual


  • High coverage no-medical-exam life insurance
  • Available nationwide
  • Low number of customer complaints


  • Online quotes not available on the website
  • Limited website information

Why we chose Penn Mutual: Founded in Pennsylvania in 1847, Penn Mutual became one of the first East Coast insurers to offer universal life insurance. As a mutual company, Penn Mutual pays its policyholders dividends on a yearly basis and is set to pay out $163 million in dividends in 2023. 

As for customer satisfaction, Penn Mutual has a complaint index score of 0.14 from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). NAIC considers a score of 1 to be the industry average, so anything below that is a good indicator of customer satisfaction. Furthermore, Penn Mutual received only 10 complaints in 2021, which is impressive for a company of its size. 

Penn Mutual offers an array of policy options including whole, term, universal, and survivorship. Survivorship insurance is a type of joint universal life insurance that covers two individuals — typically spouses — and pays a death benefit to a beneficiary after both have died. 

If you and your spouse divorce, Penn Mutual offers a policy split option rider that lets you trade in your survivorship policy for two separate whole life insurance policies.  

As for cons, the company’s website offers limited information on life insurance policies. For more information on policies and rider options, you’ll need to contact a Penn Mutual representative. 

Mutual of Omaha


  • No-medical-exam options for older applicants
  • Ranked third among top life insurers in 2022 J.D. Power Individual Life Insurance Study
  • J.D. Power ranking: 3 out of 21


  • Limited online tools for buying and managing policies

Why we chose Mutual of Omaha: Founded in 1909 by a medical student at Creighton University and his wife, Mutual of Omaha has grown into one of the largest life insurers in the country. Beyond its life insurance offerings, Mutual of Omaha also provides Medicare supplement insurance, disability income insurance, and long-term care insurance.

Mutual of Omaha offers two no-exam life insurance options: Term Life Express and Guaranteed Whole Life policies. The Term Life Express policy insures individuals up to age 70. The Guaranteed Whole Life policy doesn't require a medical exam or a health questionnaire, making it a great option for smokers or those who’ve had a hard time finding affordable life insurance. 

Mutual of Omaha also offers a wide variety of riders to help you customize your policy. A few of these unique riders include:

  • Waiver of surrender charges rider: This rider allows you to withdraw a portion of funds from your policy with no surrender charges if you meet the requirements for a qualifying life event, such as unemployment or hospitalization.

  • Nursing home confinement rider: This rider offers the ability to use money from a death benefit if you have been living in a nursing home for more than 90 days and will remain there. 

  • Chronic illness rider: If you cannot perform two of the six activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing or eating, for 90 or more consecutive days, you can access your death benefit to pay for your chronic illness expenses. 

Types of Life Insurance 

Three of the most common types of life insurance are universal, term, and whole life insurance. Below, we cover the distinct differences between the policy types to make it easier to determine which is right for you in your current season of life. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is purchased to cover a specified “term,” or a set number of years. This type of insurance is commonly purchased in 10-, 15-, or 20-year terms and can be renewed at the end of the term. 

You pay premiums toward the policy during the term. If you die within the term, the life insurance policy guarantees payment of a stated death benefit to your designated beneficiaries. 

Best for: Those looking for temporary life insurance with affordable premiums

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance lasts for the duration of your lifetime. You’ll make regular payments on this policy, and your designated beneficiaries receive the payment of a death benefit when you die.  

This policy includes a cash value along with the death benefit. The cash value earns interest at a fixed rate and is designed to reach the value of the death benefit (typically when you turn 100). The cash value serves as an investment-like savings account, which means you can borrow from it. 

Best for: Those looking for lifelong protection with a cash value benefit  

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. This policy is flexible, allowing you to increase or decrease how much you pay toward premiums. If you decrease the amount you pay toward the premium, the difference is taken out of the cash value of your policy. 

There’s a cash value component to universal life insurance. It’s also worth noting that universal life insurance policies tend to be more expensive than a whole life insurance policy. 

Best for: Those looking for lifelong protection but may not be able to regularly pay high premiums 

Other Common Life Insurance Policies

While whole, term, and universal are popular life insurance policies, there are additional policies to consider. 

  • Variable life insurance: A type of permanent life insurance, variable life insurance allows you to invest the money from your cash value into funds offered by your insurance company. 

  • Final expense insurance: This policy type pays a small death benefit to your family to help with end-of-life expenses, such as medical costs, burial costs, and a casket or urn. 

  • Mortgage life insurance: This policy pays out the remainder of your mortgage to your lender rather than your family if you die. 

  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance: This policy covers you if you die in an accident, such as a car accident. This policy also pays out if you lose your sight, hearing, or limbs. 

  • Joint life insurance: This policy covers the lives of two people — usually a married couple — under the same policy. A joint policy pays out after both spouses die, and the money can be used to take care of a dependent or handle estate costs. 

What Should You Look For in a Life Insurance Policy?

Before you purchase a life insurance policy, there are a few factors you should consider to ensure you’re choosing the best policy for your unique situation. 

  • Determine how much life insurance you need: Consider how many people depend on you financially and what you contribute to family income. Consult with insurance agents at prospective life insurance companies to talk through your life insurance needs. 

  • Compare life insurance policies: There are many key differences between the two main categories of life insurance policies: term and permanent. Your choice between the two should reflect your personal needs, both now and in the future. It’s also worth considering a company that allows you to convert a term life insurance policy into a permanent life insurance policy should your circumstances change. 

  • Consider what you can afford: Before deciding on a life insurance policy, estimate what your premiums would be for different policies to ensure you can afford the payments. 

  • Read third-party reviews: As with any insurance provider, it’s important to look up their financial strength ratings to get a sense of whether they have a strong financial position, indicating they can pay out future claims. You can also look into J.D. Power rankings and Better Business Bureau ratings to get a sense of customer satisfaction. 

Life Insurance FAQ

Below, we answer some commonly asked questions about life insurance. 

Our Verdict

MassMutual is our top pick for life insurance in 2023. The company provides a variety of policy and rider options, and comes backed with exceptional third-party ratings for financial strength and customer satisfaction. 

While we recommend all of the companies on this list, we also recommend gathering at least three quotes to compare prices and the fine print before deciding on the right life insurance company for you. 

Still have questions?

Get help from a top-ranked, local life insurance company.


Beginning with a list of 19 life insurance companies, we evaluated each company based on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Reputation: We read customer reviews and compared Better Business Bureau ratings for each company. Those with a high BBB rating scored better in this category.  

  • Financial strength: We analyzed each company’s AM Best rating to determine the likelihood they will be able to pay out future claims. Those with a higher rating scored higher in this category.

  • Customer satisfaction: Referencing J.D. Power’s 2022 Individual Life Insurance Study, we awarded points to those that made the list of top 21 insurers. The higher the company landed on the list, the more points they received. 

  • Policy options: We analyzed the type of life insurance policies offered by each company and awarded the most points to companies that offered whole, life, and universal life insurance options. 

  • Rider options: We awarded points based on the number of riders offered by each company. Riders reflect a person’s ability to customize a policy that suits their unique needs. 

  • Consumer complaints: We analyzed the NAIC score for each company to determine their complaint index score. Those with the low scores received the most points in this category. 

After assigning scores to each company for the above categories, we assigned star ratings (one star to five stars). From there, we sorted our list based on the highest score to the lowest score. 

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