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Bottom line: New York Life has plenty of policy options and few consumer complaints, making it a strong life insurance choice for a wide range of buyers.
Policies offered: Term & permanent.
Financial strength: Exceptional.
Complaints: Fewer than expected.
Buy online? No.
How we review life insurance companies
New York Life bills itself as one of the nation’s oldest mutual life insurance companies. As a mutual insurer, New York Life is owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy certain products, such as whole life insurance, are entitled to vote in board elections and receive annual dividends. The company is set to pay out $1.9 billion in dividends in 2022.
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.
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New York Life insurance
New York Life earned 4.5 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, New York Life is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies.
New York Life insurance pros and cons
Ranks above average in J.D. Power’s 2021 customer satisfaction study for life insurance.
Quotes aren't available online.
Drew fewer complaints to state regulators than typically expected for a company of its size.
New York Life insurance policies
New York Life offers both term and permanent life insurance. Its three term life insurance policies can be converted to permanent life insurance within a specified period.
New York Life’s yearly convertible term policy can be renewed each year. Premiums start low and increase each year. The price changes if the policy is converted to permanent coverage.
New York Life’s level-premium term policy can be purchased in 10- to 20-year terms. Premiums stay the same throughout the entire term. When the level-premium period ends, your premium increases. The price also changes if the policy is converted.
New York Life’s Million Plus Level Term 10 policy offers $1 million or more in coverage at a flat rate for the first 10 years. After that, premiums go up.
You can customize term coverage from New York Life by adding options like the Spouse Paid-Up rider. If you die, it allows your spouse to purchase their own coverage using the payout from your policy without taking a medical exam. Other riders include the Disability Waiver of Premium, which covers premiums if you become disabled, and a Living Benefits add-on, which allows you to withdraw cash from the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. In addition, New York Life’s Policy Purchase rider allows you to buy more coverage in the future, without taking a medical exam, but availability varies depending on what state you live in.
Alongside its term policies, New York Life offers three types of permanent life insurance:
Whole life insurance. New York Life has multiple whole life policies, including one that lets you customize the payment schedule. This provides the flexibility to pay off the policy early, eliminating premiums in later years.
Universal life insurance. You can choose between three types of universal policies, including a basic coverage option where you can adjust your premiums and benefit amount. Most of the company’s Custom Guarantee universal life policies automatically come with a Money Back Option rider, which returns some of your premiums if you no longer need coverage.
Variable universal life. You can decide how to invest the cash value of these policies, including in the stock market, which means they can come with increased risk as the market fluctuates. You have the option to choose your own investments or use existing models created by experts.
The company also offers several life insurance add-ons for its permanent policies, such as coverage that protects you if you become disabled or terminally ill.
New York Life customer complaints and satisfaction
Over three years, New York Life drew 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.
Additionally, New York Life ranked No. 9 out of 21 companies in J.D. Power’s 2021 Life Insurance Study for overall customer satisfaction.
More about New York Life insurance
Policyholders can access coverage details via the website’s online portal. Once logged in, you can update beneficiaries, make payments, see policy details and download forms.
New York Life also offers additional financial products and services including:
Long-term care 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. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.