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Bottom line: With high customer satisfaction and a wide policy lineup, Penn Mutual caters to the needs of many policyholders. But you can’t get a quote online.
Founded in 1847, Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. sells policies through a national network of financial professionals. It has a solid lineup of term and permanent life insurance policies, plus riders — but you can’t get a quote or apply for coverage online.
As a mutual company, Penn Mutual is owned by its policyholders. It's set to pay out $123 million in dividends in 2022.
Penn Mutual life insurance
Penn Mutual 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.
Penn Mutual life insurance pros and cons
Offers term lengths up to 30 years.
No online quotes.
Extensive universal life insurance lineup.
Limited policy information on the site.
Low volume of complaints.
Penn Mutual life insurance policies
PennMutual sells term and permanent life insurance, and you’ll need to contact a local agent to apply.
Term life insurance. Depending on your age, you can choose a term life insurance policy lasting 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, with coverage starting at $250,000. You’ll need to take a medical exam. If you buy the Guaranteed Convertible Term policy, you have the option to convert to permanent coverage without going through the life insurance application process again.
Whole life insurance. Guaranteed Whole Life II is a standard whole life insurance policy open to individuals between 0 to 85 years old, and you can buy as little as $50,000 of coverage. Survivorship Whole Life is available to those ages 20 to 85, and covers two people — typically spouses — under the same policy. Coverage starts at $200,000. Both policies build cash value and are eligible for dividends.
Universal life insurance. Penn Mutual has six universal life insurance policies. These include an indexed universal life policy, which ties your cash value growth to the performance of an index, such as the S&P 500. If you want to choose the investments to funnel your cash value into, the company’s variable universal life insurance policy might be a good fit.
Available riders and add-ons
Penn Mutual offers a wide range of life insurance riders. The options vary by policy, and include:
Accelerated death benefit rider. Allows you to tap up to 50% of your policy’s payout (up to $250,000) if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Accidental death benefit rider. Pays out an additional sum of at least $5,000 if you die in an accident.
Children’s term life insurance rider. Provides $5,000 to $25,000 of coverage for your children under your life insurance policy.
Chronic illness accelerated death benefit rider. Allows you to access a portion of the death benefit if you have a chronic illness and can’t carry out everyday activities.
Disability waiver of premium rider. Pauses your premiums if you become disabled and can’t work. This rider kicks in after a waiting period of six months.
Disability waiver of premium with automatic conversion rider. Keeps your policy active if you become totally disabled before age 60, and converts your coverage to a whole life policy if you’re disabled for three consecutive years.
Estate preservation term insurance rider. Available on joint life insurance policies, this rider helps to offset estate taxes if you and your spouse die before transferring the policy ownership to an irrevocable trust.
Flexible protection rider. Gives you a chance to buy more permanent life insurance at a lower cost.
Guaranteed purchase option rider. Tops up your coverage without taking another life insurance medical exam.
Overloan protection rider. Prevents your policy from lapsing if you withdraw too much money from your cash value account.
Policy split option rider. Lets you trade in your survivorship policy for two separate whole life policies if you get divorced or there are changes to federal tax laws.
Supplemental exchange rider. Designed for business owners, this rider extends coverage to key employees.
Penn Mutual customer complaints and satisfaction
Penn Mutual drew significantly fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, according to three years of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes
More about Penn Mutual life insurance
You can manage your policy, pay premiums, download forms and update your life insurance beneficiaries by logging into the online portal. Penn Mutual doesn’t have an app. Beneficiaries can fill out the claims form online or call 1-800-523-0650.
Penn Mutual also sells fixed, variable and immediate annuities.
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.