Jeff is a well-known speaker and expert in life insurance and financial planning. He has been featured and quoted in Nerdwallet, Bloomberg, Forbes, U.S. News & Money, USA Today, and other leading finance websites. He is a licensed life insurance agent and has helped over 3000 people secure life insurance. He is licensed in all 50 states & DC. Jeff has spoken at top insurance conferen...

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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

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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TIAA has all of the primary life insurance products to offer from the affordability of term coverage to the pricier but more robust permanent policies.

As well as the life insurance we’ll look at today, you can take advantage of investment products and banking services, along with a broad spread of educational tools to help you with everything from estate planning to retirement planning.

From relatively humble beginnings, TIAA has developed into one of the nation’s primary providers for life insurance.

History of TIAA Life Insurance

TIAA LogoThe Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association of America (TIAA) was first named TIAA-CREF when it was founded in 1918.

TIAA is a Fortune 100 company, and it’s the leading provider of financial services for cultural, medical, and governmental fields while also catering to research and academic fields.

Initially created by the Carnegie Foundation as a pension system for educators, the objective was to combine academics’ life insurance together with a guaranteed income post-retirement.

Thanks to a very conservative strategy of investment, TIAA navigated the stock market disaster of 1929 with assets intact.

After WWII, life expectancy in the US started to increase, as did inflation.

The education field saw explosive growth thanks to the GI Bill, and TIAA began investing more in equities to diversify their retirement funds.

This led to the creation of the CREF (College Retirement Equities Fund), and the full name TIAA-CREF was used from then until 2016 when it was shortened to TIAA.

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TIAA Today

Despite roots in education, TIAA today offers life insurance along with a full spectrum of financial products in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

Buying 50% of a Las Vegas development with General Growth in 2013 and then acquiring Nuveen Investments followed by EverBank Financial Corp for $2.5 billion, TIAA’s acquisitions continued along with further diversification.

TIAA continued making history into 2018 by granting parental leave to both sexes, showing that progressive company values are still just as strong now as when the company was founded over 100 years ago.

Commended by Fortune Magazine and the Congressional Committee, TIAA is a safe bet if you’re looking for the most effective life insurance coverage.

TIAA is one of three US insurance groups to get the highest ratings from three of the four principal rating agencies. This is crucial since you need to know the carrier you intend to do business with is in solid financial shape.

TIAA touts an AA+ rating from A.M. Best Company and Standard and Poor’s, and an AAA from Fitch Ratings.

TIAA Life Insurance Products

From term insurance, if you want coverage on a budget, to more comprehensive universal life policies, you can find a policy to match your requirements and your budget with TIAA.

The four broad types of life insurance offered are:

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Universal Life Insurance
  • Variable Universal Life Insurance
  • Survivorship Universal Life Insurance

Term Life

Term life insurance provides death benefits only with no investment component at all. Since you won’t get cash value building up, the premiums are much lower to reflect this type of coverage.

The amount of coverage you get depends on the specifics of the plan you choose. Terms range from 10 years to 30 years.

One advantage of term life coverage with TIAA is the ability to convert the policy to a permanent plan if your needs change.

You can make this change without needing to take another medical exam, and you won’t need to prove insurability. One issue with renewal plans is that premiums can go up.

Death benefits go to a maximum of $1 million from a baseline of $100,000. These benefits and the premiums remain level.

As a dependable way to ensure your dependents can pay off any debts and benefit from a tax-free income, TIAA’s term life coverage is affordable and also more flexible than many term policies.

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Universal Life

The first of TIAA’s three permanent life insurance policies, the regular universal life coverage comes with flexible premiums making it a solid option if you’re not sure about a stable income.

Universal life coverage continues until the maximum age. The cash value of this TIAA policy grows tax-deferred as with all universal life coverage.

As long as you stay within the guidelines of the policy, premiums can be more flexible.

Variable Universal Life

You’ll get the same benefits as universal life coverage with the variable policy to give you complete peace of mind for your whole life.

The primary difference concerns the cash account side of coverage. With the choice of over 60 investment options, you can exercise some control in the hope of added growth.

This is obviously not guaranteed, though, so you need to be sure you can weather the risk.

Survivorship Universal Life

Both universal life and variable universal life with TIAA give you the option of a survivorship policy.

This is the best option if you want coverage for you and your spouse for less than the price of 2 separate policies.

Other Products

TIAA offers a great deal more than just life insurance.

You can take out a combination policy covering you for long-term care benefits along with permanent life insurance.

This type of policy is valuable if you think you might need help with the price of assisted living, daycare, or hospital and nursing home expenses.

TIAA has a wide range of investment products, from mutual funds and annuities to managed accounts, brokerage accounts, and education savings plans.

You can also take advantage of credit cards and general banking services with TIAA.

Beyond these products, TIAA also delivers education on planning for retirement and investing to estate planning or general tax information.

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Should You Purchase a Life Insurance Policy With TIAA?

Selecting the right life insurance coverage is a very personal matter.

There are so many variables that it’s not really possible to say TIAA is right for you without knowing what coverage you need and how much you can afford to pay in premiums.

As a carrier, though, TIAA is in great financial shape.

With assets totaling over $280 billion, more than 90% of which are in Investment Grade options, and substantial financial strength ratings from the major agencies, the company is also universally well reviewed.

These reviews extend from policyholders to beneficiaries of TIAA policies, so if the coverage is right for your needs, you can be sure of excellent treatment and an impressive array of policies to choose from.

Another major selling point with TIAA is their full commitment to you, the customer.

With a grounding in education and a strong desire from the onset to provide affordable coverage for those who educate our children and young adults as they move into retirement, diversification has done nothing to dampen TIAA’s desire to provide first-rate customer service.

The company works to ensure that your needs are met now, and the needs of your family are served in the future.

Bottom Line

Having read this review and conducted your own due diligence, you might feel that TIAA offers the best life insurance for you, or you might still have questions and uncertainties.

As a life insurance brokerage, we can help match your needs with the ideal insurance carrier.

We make this happen at no cost to you, so you can enjoy impartial advice without any pressure.

Get in touch today or take advantage of our free quotes, and we can help you make the right decision.