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How to compare life insurance quotes
Getting life insurance quotes can be easy. Many insurers offer free quotes online so you can compare your options at the click of a button. Depending on the type of coverage you need, you may be able to compare quotes and buy a life insurance policy the same day. For more information on how coverage works, read our guide to life insurance.
Cheap, temporary coverage.
Simple, lifelong coverage.
Flexible, lifelong coverage.
*Term sample rate is based on a $500,000, 20-year term life policy for a healthy 40-year-old. Whole life and universal life sample rates are based on a $500,000 policy for a healthy 40-year-old. Source: Quotacy.
When shopping for life insurance quotes, make sure to:
Compare quotes from various insurers to get the best price possible.
Select life insurance policies with the same level of coverage to get the most accurate comparison.
Check the features of each life insurance policy you compare. Some policies may include free life insurance riders that provide additional features, while others may have to be added at a cost.
Types of life insurance policies
There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Within these two categories, there are various types of life insurance policies. Understanding which one is right for you can help you build a robust life insurance plan.
Term life insurance
Permanent life insurance
Permanent life insurance is designed to last your entire life. This type of coverage typically costs more than term life, but it offers additional features like cash value, which grows over time. Types of permanent life include:
What is a life insurance quote?
A life insurance quote is the estimated cost of your policy based on basic information you provide to the insurer. The final price is determined once you submit a life insurance application and complete any necessary health requirements like a medical exam.
What do insurers look at when putting together your quote?
Insurers look at a variety of medical and environmental factors to estimate your life insurance quote, including your medical records, family health history, prescription medication records, health exam results, driving record and hazardous hobbies.
Term life insurance quotes
Term life covers you for a set period of time, such as 10 or 20 years. If you die within the term, the insurer issues the death benefit to your beneficiaries. Term life is often the cheapest type of coverage and sufficient for most families. Due to its simplicity, you can get quotes online and even buy a term life policy the same day.
These annual term rates are based on a $500,000, 20-year life insurance policy for applicants in excellent health.
Average annual rate for men
Average annual rate for women
Source: Quotacy. Lowest three rates for each age and risk class averaged. Valid as of August 22, 2022.
Whole life insurance quotes
Permanent policies like whole life insurance generally pay out regardless of when you die. These life insurance policies often include cash value, which you can withdraw or borrow against while you’re still alive. You can get whole life quotes online, but due to the complexity of permanent life insurance, you typically can't buy a policy online.
These annual rates are based on a $500,000 whole life insurance policy for applicants in excellent health.
Average annual rate for men
Average annual rate for women
Source: Quotacy. Lowest three rates for each age and risk class averaged. Valid as of August 19, 2022.
Where to buy life insurance
There are a few ways to buy a life insurance policy.
Directly from the insurer. If you’ve done your own research and know exactly which policy you want, you can often buy directly from the insurer. Check out NerdWallet’s best life insurance companies to find the right insurer for you.
Through an agent or broker. Need a little help choosing a policy? That’s where a life insurance agent or broker comes in. An agent or broker can help you navigate your options, find a policy that suits your budget and gather all the documents you need to apply for coverage.
Compare policies online. Most insurance companies support online quotes. This makes it easy to shop around for the best coverage at the right price. With some insurers, you can apply online and get instant life insurance. If approved, your coverage could go into effect the same day.
Life insurance reviews
Read our reviews on some of the top life insurers in the country. NerdWallet ratings are determined by our editorial team and take into account consumer experience, financial strength and customer complaint data.
When you’re assessing life insurance companies, look at these three factors:
Financial strength ratings. These determine an insurer’s ability to pay out claims in the future. You can check out insurers’ financial strength through ratings agencies such as AM Best or Standard & Poor’s. NerdWallet recommends choosing insurers with an AM Best rating of B+ or higher, if possible.
Complaint ratios. Ideally, you want to choose a company with a strong track record for customer service. NerdWallet’s life insurance rating methodology favors companies that have fewer complaints to state regulators.
How to apply for a life insurance policy
When you've found the right life insurance policy, it's time to apply. Collect the information you need before you start the life insurance application process. You’ll likely need to provide details about your current and past health conditions, as well as your family’s health history. The insurer may need your consent to get medical records and ask you to take a life insurance medical exam. Insurers also check other sources, such as MIB Group, which collects data on medical conditions, your driving record and hazardous hobbies.
When you choose life insurance beneficiaries — the people who will receive the payout when you die — be sure you have their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. You may also have to answer questions about criminal convictions and driving violations, such as a suspended driver’s license or DUI, particularly if they happened within the past few years.