Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Apr 7, 2022

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our life insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Quick Tip: Complete the instant life insurance quote form on the page and see rates immediately.

Over the last few years, studies have shown (from LIMRA) that the majority of consumers who buy life insurance start their search online. With that said, most of those people are looking for life insurance quotes online and that’s what we’ll cover in this article.

Before we start, here are some quick, There are 2 important facts to know when shopping for life insurance online:

  1. Online life insurance quotes are accurate down to the penny. The rates you see will be the same rates on every other site. Going from site to site won’t result in seeing better rates.
  2. Going direct to the life insurance company does not save you money. You’ll get the same rates from a website, agency or agent as you would by contacting the company directly. We all use the same published rates. (This is NOT true for auto insurance, but true for life insurance)

With that said, in this article we’ll cover:

Before we dive in, one more point to make:

Life insurance is likely cheaper than you think it is.

When you run life insurance quotes online, you’ll be surprised at just how inexpensive it is.

Studies by LIMRA and The Life Foundation have shown that most consumers overestimate the cost of life insurance.

Simply getting a quote online will likely ease your financial concerns about the cost of life insurance and motivate you even more to protect your family.

With that said, the rates you see online, while accurate, your health, depends on your unique health and lifestyle (we’ll cover that in the next section).

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3 Critical Tips To Enhance Your Life Insurance Quoting Experience

Tip #1: Pick the right health classification

It’s important to understand there are 20 possible health classifications that will determine your actual rate.

While the rates you see from the different life insurance companies are accurate, they are different for every risk. Some people will be “table rated” which means their rates are higher than the standard in increments of 25 percent. Here are the four main and ten of the table rated health classifications:

  • Preferred Best (Also known as Preferred Plus)
  • Preferred
  • Standard Plus
  • Standard
  • Table 1/A (Standard +25 percent)
  • Table 2/B (Standard +50 percent)
  • Table 3/C (Standard +75 percent)
  • Table 4/D (Standard +100 percent)
  • Table 5/E (Standard +125 percent)
  • Table 6/F (Standard +150 percent)
  • Table 7/G (Standard +175 percent)
  • Table 8/H (Standard +200 percent)
  • Table 9/I (Standard +225 percent)
  • Table 10/J (Standard +250 percent)

Table ratings can go all the way up to Table 16/P, which adds 400 percent to the standard rate. That makes a total of 20 classifications.

Many simply choose the best health classification because that’s what most quotes on the internet default too.

Our advice is you know in your head if you’re Preferred Plus – you’ve seen a doctor in the last few years and everything has been good. If there’s any ounce of doubt that you’re not preferred or preferred plus, just choose standard rates.

Standard rates are what most of the population qualifies for.

Tip 2: Cheapest doesn’t mean it’s the best

What we mean by that is you need to factor in conversion options, company strength and other benefits.

A conversion option simply means you can exchange your term policy for a permanent policy with no evidence of insurability. It is especially helpful at the end of your term if you now have health issues preventing you from securing coverage. What if your term runs out in a few months and you’re diagnosed with cancer? It happens, and conversion options can save you.

95% of term policies have a conversion option – that’s good news. But how long do you have that conversion option? Are the products you can convert into any good? Those are the things you want to ask your agent before making a purchasing decision IF conversion options are important to you.

Company strength is something you should look at. As long as the company has an AM Best rating of A- or better, you have nothing to worry about. It’s just that some sites will quote poorly rated carriers and you don’t need that sort of risk in your life to save a couple of bucks every month.

You also want to consider other benefits the policy provides, which we go over in tip #3.

If you just want the cheapest term policy, then disregard everything I just mentioned. And there’s nothing wrong with that decision – everyone’s situation is different.

Tip 3: Consider Living Benefits

Would you pay a little more if your policy paid out if you were diagnosed with cancer, had a heart attack, stroke, renal failure, and other conditions that would trigger a payout? Many in the market for life insurance don’t know about these policies and, with research, find them the best option.

With living benefits added to your policy, you can access up to 95% of your death benefit (depends on the carrier) if one of the qualifying triggers happens.

Here are typical qualifying triggers: heart attack, stroke, invasive cancer, end-stage renal failure, major organ transplant, ALS, blindness, paralysis, arterial aneurysms, major burns, loss of limbs, coronary artery bypass, or severe disease of any organ.

If you have a history in your family of these, consider a life insurance policy with living benefits. I personally have half my life insurance with living benefits.

And the great thing about it is? It’s not much more expensive to get a policy with Living Benefits.

The best life insurance companies with living benefits are Ameritas FLX Living Benefits, American National Signature Term, Phoenix Life Safe Harbor term, and Foresters YourTerm. Check them out if you are interested in living benefits. You’ll notice it’s not much more expensive and worth the extra money.

If you’re torn, buy 1 small policy with living benefits (say $100,000) and another policy with basic term coverage. That’s a route a growing number of the population is going if any of the triggers listed above resonate with them.

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The Best Life Insurance Companies Quoted Online

We’ll provide our top 2 companies to check out for each.

Term Life Insurance

Best term insurance company #1:

Haven Life has hands down the best process when it comes to quoting and buying life insurance online. You can qualify for up to 2 million dollars of coverage and never have to take an exam. They don’t pay commissions to agents, which keeps the costs low. If you’re looking for hassle-free life insurance under $2mm of coverage, check them out.

Best term insurance company #2:

Banner Life is a close second and who you should consider if you have any health conditions. Plan on taking a medical exam to qualify for a Banner Life Insurance policy even though they do have an accelerated underwriting program if you’re under the age of 50 and applying for less than $500,000 and in great health. Their underwriting is lenient and rates are great – a table 2 rating (as discussed above) is similar to many companies’ standard pricing.

Lots of companies are priced well at $250,000 since there are price breaks there, and it’s a very common amount for people to purchase.

Instant Decision No Exam Life Insurance

Best instant decision life insurance #1:

Ethos Life Insurance company will give you an instant decision on your computer screen for up to $1,000,000 of coverage. The rates are very competitive as well. You need to be in good health to qualify, but if you’re looking to get something in force quickly and without speaking with an agent, definitely check out Ethos.

Best instant decision life insurance #2:

Sagicor life insurance will also give you an instant decision on your application for up to $1,000,000 of coverage, although you have to speak with an agent. The great thing about Sagicor is it’s not an accept/reject underwriting decision like Ethos is – you can qualify for preferred, standard, and rated health classifications.

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Term Life Insurance With Living Benefits

Best life insurance with living benefits #1:

Ameritas FLX is new to the market as of 2017, but they have the most triggers for payouts (18) of living benefits and are VERY competitively priced. There’s no medical exam required for under $300,000 of coverage and not many agencies have access to this product. I would get quotes on this product if you want living benefits.

Best life insurance with living benefits #2:

American National has been providing living benefits for a long time and has a great history of paying out on living benefits. They have 16 triggers for payouts (just under Ameritas) and are a trustworthy company. They underwrite more leniently than Ameritas does, so if you have some health conditions, I’d recommend American National.

Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance

Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL), is a permanent policy with no cash value. Think about it as “term for life” – it’s the lowest amount you can pay for coverage that doesn’t expire. It WILL pay out, as long as you pay your premiums.

Best Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance #1:

American National (ANICO) has hands down the best guaranteed universal life insurance product on the market. It’s usually the best price, but that’s just the start. In the 15th year, you can get 50% of your premiums refunded back. In years 20 and 25, you can get a full refund of premiums if you don’t want the coverage anymore. On top of that, you get living benefits included in your policy.

Best Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance #2:

AIG’s Secure LifeTime GUL is the 2nd most guaranteed universal life insurance product on the market. It’s competitively priced and also has cash-out options. It’s a great product, but there’s no reason to buy it unless ANICO strips some of its benefits from its product in the future.

Burial Insurance

Burial insurance are for those 50 and older who want to cover their final expenses – burial and final debts. It’s a small policy, usually $10,000 – $40,000 with guaranteed level premiums. Your goal here should be to find the cheapest rates from a trusted carrier.

Best Burial Insurance #1:

Mutual of Omaha’s Living Promise has some of the best rates – if not the best, within a few dollars of the best. AND they have the strength and history of Mutual of Omaha backing them up. If you can qualify for Mutual of Omaha, it’s a great choice for burial insurance. They’ll take anyone aged 50-85, from $5,000 of coverage up to $40,000 of coverage. It’s an e-application, so you can complete the entire process over the phone.

Best Burial Insurance #2:

Foresters PlanRight is also a great choice. On top of their low rates, you get Foresters’ member benefits, which include scholarships for your children/grandchildren and community events. In 28 states, you can complete the entire application over the phone and get an instant decision while on the phone.

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Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is for those ages 45-85 who want to cover their final expenses but have health complications. There are no health questions. As long as you’re a United States citizen and can pay the life insurance premiums, you can qualify.

Best Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance #1:

Mutual of Omaha. They have the lowest rates in the industry and you need to call them directly to get the coverage at 1-800-377-9000 as independent agencies don’t have the ability to offer them. You can get $2,000 – $25,000 of coverage with no health questions.

Best Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance #2:

AIG. If you need more than $25,000 of coverage with Mutual of Omaha, AIG has the second-best rates available. They’ll take anyone between the ages of 50-85 and up to $25,000 of coverage.

Life Insurance Companies To Stay Away From

Its important to note that you can cancel a life insurance policy at any time. If you’re with one of the companies mentioned below, that’s OK – you can get new coverage and cancel your current coverage with no penalties.

When doing research online, you’re going to come to a lot of life insurance companies and agencies who have massive ad budgets to push their overpriced life insurance. It’s not just online that you’ll see them. Most of the time, you’ll hear about them on TV or the radio and assume they’re household names.

With social media, you can be overwhelmed by all the ads you see for life insurance companies. But, just like with TV ads, you should always be wary of any claims or promises they make.

We replace these companies all the time with better-priced products from financially strong companies, so it’s best we let you know about these companies in this article as you’re likely to see them in your research.

For term insurance, stay away from Primerica and State Farm Life Insurance. If you know someone who works with either of these companies, you’ve likely been asked to buy insurance from them. Primerica is actually competitively priced term insurance, but there are no conversion options that 95% of life insurance companies have (as discussed in tip #2 above). State Farm is simply over-priced term life insurance coverage, but they’re a household name, so consumers seem to go there first. You can do much better than either of those companies.

For burial insurance, stay away from Globe Life and Colonial Penn. Colonial Penn is on TV and the radio pushing “guaranteed acceptance life insurance” with Alex Trebek as their spokesperson – you can do much better than Colonial Penn. Globe Life tries to sucker consumers in with their $1 for your first month’s premium, but like Colonial Penn, they are overpriced.

What Happens To The Information You Submit

Your information is NOT stored in any central database anywhere.

Your information can either be sold to multiple parties (bad) or it will go to a licensed agent to follow up with to answer any questions (good). It all depends on the website you request life insurance quotes from.

If it’s a blog like this one, only the agent or agency sees the information and uses the contact information to get in touch with you to answer any questions and help you find the best policy possible for your unique situation. Your data doesn’t go anywhere else. If you want that agent or agency to stop contacting you, simply email them or let them know over the phone and, by law, they have to take you off their contact list.

If you were incentivized to fill out a form (like a drawing for a free iPad), it’s likely your information will be sold to call centers or agencies who buy leads. You likely won’t receive instant quotes on the next screen as well. This is what you want to avoid.

Rule of thumb: (1) Below is the online life insurance quote form you fill out. It may tell you that a specific agency will give you a call – that’s good! (2) If it doesn’t have that disclaimer, read the “About” section of the website you’re requesting a life insurance quote from. If it’s an agent or agency, your information is safe and not sold to anyone. If it’s a lead site that sells your information, they won’t have an about page.

Basically, you want to make sure you’re working with an agency.

As a licensed agent, I can tell you there is life insurance quoting technology that’s cheap for agents to use where you can see rates immediately. If you’re looking to see life insurance quotes online, most independent life insurance agencies will have them for you.

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Bottom Line

Getting life insurance quotes on the web is safe, accurate, and a quick way to ballpark how much life insurance will cost you. Use it as a ballpark number though, it’s what happens in underwriting that determines your rates. You can’t go wrong with any of the companies listed above.

After you apply and go through underwriting, that’s when you’ll get real life insurance options. You can decide at that point if you want to get permanent coverage or not.

Discuss your situation with a financial planner or life insurance agent to learn which type of coverage may be best for you (at affordable rates) to provide financial protection for your family and loved ones.

Applying for life insurance is free and you do not have to accept the offer if you don’t think it’s a fair representation of your overall risk.