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Bottom line: No medical exams are required for life insurance policies through AARP, although you do have to be a member to buy one.
The AARP Life Insurance Program features a selection of policies issued by New York Life Insurance Company for the group’s members.
The AARP advocates for older people and has more than 37 million members. Anyone can join, but life insurance availability is limited to members 50 or older. The nonprofit has a taxable subsidiary, AARP Services Inc., which earns money on sales of insurance and other products it endorses.
AARP life insurance
AARP earned 5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.
Based on these ratings, AARP is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies.
AARP life insurance pros and cons
No medical exams required.
Term life insurance premiums rise every five years.
Fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators.
Anyone age 50 and up can buy life insurance through AARP membership.
AARP life insurance policies
The AARP program features permanent and term life insurance with simplified underwriting, which means applicants answer health questions but do not have to undergo a medical exam to qualify. The program also offers whole life insurance with guaranteed acceptance for everyone. Only AARP members and their spouses can apply for policies, but anyone who meets the age requirement can join when they apply by signing up for the $16 annual membership.
Term life insurance: AARP members ages 50 to 74 and their spouses ages 45 to 74 can apply, and the coverage can last until the insured’s 80th birthday. Although the death benefit stays level through the term, the annual price increases each time the insured person enters a new five-year age band. The prices are not guaranteed, so applicants can’t know precisely how much they’ll pay for insurance in later age bands. A term life policy can be converted to permanent insurance before age 80. The rates for permanent coverage will be based on age. The AARP term life product features coverage amounts of $10,000 to $150,000 (or $100,000 in Montana and New York), although higher amounts are available by calling New York Life. Applicants answer a few health questions and provide other health information, but do not have to take a life insurance medical exam.
Whole life insurance: AARP members ages 50 to 80 and their spouses ages 45 to 80 can apply. The annual price stays level, and coverage lasts throughout your life — though you can stop making premium payments once the policy is considered paid up (typically at age 95). Up to $50,000 of coverage is offered through the online application, although higher amounts are available by calling New York Life. Acceptance is based on answers to a few health questions.
Guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance: AARP members ages 50 to 80 and their spouses ages 45 to 80 can apply. Acceptance is guaranteed, and no health questions are required for approval. However, only a portion of the death benefit (110% of the premiums paid in most states) is paid out if the insured dies of natural causes in the first two years of the policy. The full benefit is paid from the first day of coverage for an accidental death. Up to $25,000 of coverage is featured, but higher coverage options are available by calling New York Life. Guaranteed acceptance whole life is not available in all states.
AARP customer complaints and satisfaction
Over three years, AARP has drawn fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
AARP ranked ninth out of 21 companies in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance Study for overall customer satisfaction.
More about AARP life insurance
AARP partners with third parties to offer a variety of other types of insurance. Read the NerdWallet reviews of these offerings:
Other third-party insurance offerings include:
Boat and personal watercraft insurance.
ATV, golf cart and snowmobile insurance.
Collectible car insurance.
Long- and short-term care insurance.
Mobile home insurance.
How we review life insurance companies
In our life insurance reviews, our editorial team considers both the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:
Policies offered. There are many types of life insurance on the market, and they fall into three key categories:
Term life insurance offers temporary coverage and a guaranteed payout if the policyholder dies during the term.
Permanent life insurance typically lasts a lifetime and builds cash value that can be borrowed against in the future.
No-exam life insurance issues coverage without the need for a medical exam.
Financial strength. We use A.M. Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. For life insurance, NerdWallet typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Here’s the breakdown:
Exceptional: A+, A++
Strong: A, A-
Moderate: B+, B
Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best life insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.
Buy online. This indicates whether an insurer allows you to apply for and buy a policy completely online.
Dive deeper: Ratings methodology for life insurance
Life insurance buying guide
Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.
When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.
Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.
For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.
Life insurance ratings methodology
NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.
These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
Insurer complaints methodology
NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.