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Bottom line: Although it offers lots of permanent policies, the lack of whole life options means Equitable won't be a perfect fit for some shoppers.
Equitable is a large life and retirement savings company. It was known as AXA Equitable until a name change in 2020. It offers a wide range of term and permanent life insurance policies, along with other financial products.
Equitable life insurance
Equitable earned 4 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.
» MORE: Best life insurance companies
Equitable life insurance pros and cons
Received fewer complaints than expected for a company its size.
Ranked below average for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power life insurance study.
» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes
Equitable life insurance policies
Life insurance options from Equitable include:
Term life insurance. Equitable offers terms of 1, 10, 15 and 20 years with two pricing options. With the level-premium option, the annual price stays the same every year of the term. With annual renewable term life insurance, the policy can be renewed without reapplying for coverage, but the price increases each year.
Prices for annual renewable term life are fixed for the first three years and may be lower in the early years and higher in later years than prices for level-premium term life. Equitable also offers a one-year non-renewable term life policy. All of the company’s term life policies are convertible to permanent life insurance.
Permanent life insurance. Equitable offers indexed universal life and variable universal life insurance policies. It also offers a variable universal life survivorship policy. Survivorship policies insure two people — usually a married couple — under one policy. The death benefit is paid out when the second person dies.
Equitable customer complaints and satisfaction
Over three years, Equitable has had fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Equitable ranked 17th out of 21 companies in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.
More about Equitable
In addition to life insurance, Equitable offers several other financial products and services, including:
Individual retirement accounts.
Workplace benefit plans.
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.