8 Best Life Insurance Companies in February 2023

MassMutual, Haven Life and Guardian top our list of the best life insurance companies for 2023.
Katia Iervasi
By Katia Iervasi 
Edited by Lisa Green

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The life insurance market in the U.S. is competitive, made up of a mix of longstanding insurers and newer “insurtechs” that sell policies online. To narrow down our list of the best life insurance companies, we looked at customer complaints data, consumer experience and financial strength. We also assessed the types of policies on offer, and the ways you can buy coverage.

Based on these factors, these are our top life insurance companies for 2023.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure the content on our site is accurate and fair, so you can make financial decisions with confidence and choose the products that work best for you. Here is a list of our partners and here’s how we make money.

Our picks for the best life insurance companies in February 2023

All of the life insurance companies listed below scored 5 out of 5 stars. There are hundreds of insurers competing for your business, often selling very similar products, so it’s smart to compare life insurance quotes from a few before making a decision.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole, universal and variable universal.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole and universal.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole, universal and variable universal.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole, universal and variable universal.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole, universal, variable universal and indexed universal.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole and universal.

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Term, whole and universal.

How we ranked the top life insurers

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.

In our life insurance reviews, our editorial team considers 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 AM 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.

Best life insurance companies: Pros and cons

Learn more about our top life insurance companies in 2023 by reading the brief summaries below and checking out our comprehensive reviews.

Jump to:


Best overall
insurance-product-card-logo

MassMutual

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: MassMutual offers a solid range of term, whole, universal and variable universal life insurance, plus free coverage for low income parents.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
Best overall
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

MassMutual

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: MassMutual offers a solid range of term, whole, universal and variable universal life insurance, plus free coverage for low income parents.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

Company overview: Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., often shortened to MassMutual, is one of the largest life insurers in the country. Founded in 1851, it offers a wide range of products, from term life to variable universal life insurance — a type of permanent policy with flexible premiums and investment opportunities. MassMutual is a mutual company, which means it’s owned in part by its policyholders and pays out dividends to qualifying members. Its 2023 dividend payout is the highest yet at almost $1.9 billion

.

» Read the full review: MassMutual life insurance


Best for online experience
insurance-product-card-logo

Haven Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Haven offers two types of term life insurance, and its user-friendly website and instant coverage options make it a good choice for online shoppers.
GET A QUOTE

from Haven Life

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & no-exam
Best for online experience
insurance-product-card-logo
GET A QUOTE

from Haven Life

Haven Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Haven offers two types of term life insurance, and its user-friendly website and instant coverage options make it a good choice for online shoppers.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & no-exam

Company overview: Haven Life offers term life insurance with accelerated underwriting, a process that uses algorithms and data to quickly assess your insurability. The entire application process is conducted online and the company says it can be completed in about 25 minutes. While Haven specializes in one type of life insurance, it offers choices for its customers. Depending on the policy you pick, you could buy $25,000 to $3 million in coverage, and choose a term lasting from five to 30 years. Haven Life’s policies are issued by MassMutual, which drew significantly fewer than expected customer complaints for a company of its size.

» Read the full review: Haven Life insurance


Best for applicants with a history of HIV
insurance-product-card-logo

Guardian Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Guardian sells term, whole and universal policies, and caters for people living with HIV with tailored coverage.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent
Best for applicants with a history of HIV
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Guardian Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Guardian sells term, whole and universal policies, and caters for people living with HIV with tailored coverage.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent

Company overview: Guardian was founded in 1860 and has paid dividends to its eligible policyholders since 1868. The company is set to pay out $1.26 billion in dividends in 2023, the largest sum in the company’s history

. The insurer drew significantly fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company its size. Aside from life insurance, Guardian also sells a range of products including dental, vision and cancer insurance.

» Read the full review: Guardian life insurance


Best for consumer experience
insurance-product-card-logo

Northwestern Mutual

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: The biggest insurer in the country, Northwestern Mutual offers term and permanent life insurance, and has the lowest complaint ratios of the life insurers we review.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent
Best for consumer experience
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Northwestern Mutual

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: The biggest insurer in the country, Northwestern Mutual offers term and permanent life insurance, and has the lowest complaint ratios of the life insurers we review.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent

Company overview: Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual is the largest seller of individual life insurance in the United States, according to the latest data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Universal life policyholders have flexible payment and coverage options, while term life customers have the opportunity to convert their policy to permanent coverage without taking a medical exam. The company is set to pay $6.8 billion in dividends to qualifying policyholders in 2023

. Northwestern Mutual received significantly fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size, making it a trustworthy choice for shoppers.

» Read the full review: Northwestern Mutual life insurance


Best for high coverage amounts
insurance-product-card-logo

New York Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: New York Life offers term, whole, universal and variable universal life insurance. The company’s Million Plus Level Term 10 policy has a minimum death benefit of $1 million.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent
Best for high coverage amounts
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

New York Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: New York Life offers term, whole, universal and variable universal life insurance. The company’s Million Plus Level Term 10 policy has a minimum death benefit of $1 million.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent

Company overview: New York Life is a mutual company, which means it’s owned by its policyholders. As such, you may be eligible to vote in board elections if you’ve held a permanent policy for more than a year and earn dividends — the insurer is set to pay out $2 billion in 2023

. The company is one of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S. and drew fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size. It ranked about average in J.D. Power’s 2022 customer satisfaction study for life insurance. One of its whole life policies includes a flexible payment option, allowing you to pay off your premiums early.

» Read the full review: New York Life insurance


Best range of permanent life insurance
insurance-product-card-logo

Pacific Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Pacific Life sells a broad range of policies, and stands out for providing detailed and easy-to-digest information about each type on its website.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
Best range of permanent life insurance
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Pacific Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Pacific Life sells a broad range of policies, and stands out for providing detailed and easy-to-digest information about each type on its website.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

Company overview: Pacific Life has been in business for more than 150 years. It has drawn significantly fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size over the past three years. Among Pacific Life’s range of policies is the company’s indexed universal life insurance. These policies typically grow investments based on stock market indexes like the S&P 500. They also have a guaranteed floor, which means your life insurance cash value won’t fall below a certain value if the stock market dives.

» Read the full review: Pacific Life insurance


Best for customer satisfaction
insurance-product-card-logo

State Farm

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: State Farm topped the list in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Life Insurance Study for customer satisfaction, and offers highly customizable term, whole and universal policies.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
Best for customer satisfaction
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

State Farm

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: State Farm topped the list in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Life Insurance Study for customer satisfaction, and offers highly customizable term, whole and universal policies.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

Company overview: When you think of State Farm, you probably think of its auto insurance products. But it also offers a decent range of life insurance policies, including return-of-premium life insurance — if you outlive the term, you get a refund of the premiums you paid into the policy. State Farm also offers a single premium option for its whole life policy and a final expense policy that can help cover funeral costs.

State Farm ranked first out of 22 companies in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Life Insurance Study for customer satisfaction, and has consistently topped this list in recent years — pointing to its positive reputation among policyholders

.

» Read the full review: State Farm life insurance


Best for members of the military
insurance-product-card-logo

USAA

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: USAA sells term, whole and universal policies to both military and civilian applicants, but some policies cater specifically to those who serve.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
Best for members of the military
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

USAA

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: USAA sells term, whole and universal policies to both military and civilian applicants, but some policies cater specifically to those who serve.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

Company overview: USAA was founded in 1922 to provide life insurance for veterans and active military members. It now offers coverage to civilians as well. Its policies can be used to supplement the government-provided Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, which is automatically issued to eligible military personnel. Policyholders ages 18 to 35 may have the option to increase their coverage amount if they get married, buy a house or have a baby.

» Read the full review: USAA life insurance


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How to choose the best life insurance company

Follow these four steps to find the best life insurance company for your family.

1. Look at customer satisfaction scores

Other customers’ experiences can help you decide whether you want to do business with a company. You can get clues about an insurer’s reputation through complaints filed with state regulators, which are visible on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website. All of the companies listed above have had fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for insurers of their size, according to three years’ worth of data from the NAIC.

2. Consider financial strength

It’s especially important to look into life insurance companies’ financial strength because you’ll want a company that can pay claims many years down the road. NerdWallet’s insurance reviews use weighted averages of financial strength ratings. For additional information about life insurance companies, try a ratings agency like AM Best. We recommend looking at insurers with an AM Best rating of A- or better.

3. Evaluate the policy options

Term and permanent are the two main types of life insurance.

4. Get prices from a handful of companies

The cost of coverage varies among companies, so it’s smart to compare life insurance quotes from multiple insurers.

Although many companies sell similar policies, some focus on certain products — such as whole life — or on particular customers, such as seniors who need life insurance. You can narrow down your options by focusing on the companies that specialize in the type of insurance you’re looking for.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019-2021. 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.

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