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Guardian Life Insurance Review 2018

July 6, 2018
Insurance, Life Insurance
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At a glance

  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 3 life insurance company.
  • Customer satisfaction scores are about average.
  • Offers a full menu of term and permanent life insurance.

Overview

Guardian Life Insurance Co. is a mutual insurance company, meaning it’s owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy certain products, such as whole life insurance, can share in annual dividends. The company has paid a dividend every year since 1868, and in 2018 will pay a record dividend of $911 million to its policyholders.

» MORE: The best life insurance companies

Learn more about each element included in our Guardian Life review by clicking below.

NerdWallet rank: 3rd

Guardian ranked No. 3 out of 23 large companies scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings are based on A.M. Best financial strength ratings, J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and the number of consumer complaints to state regulators, adjusted for market share.

A.M. Best financial strength rating: A++ (superior)

Guardian’s financial strength is “superior,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best.

Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims. It’s especially important when choosing a life insurance company because claims might not be made until many decades after a policy is purchased.

Consumer complaints: Better than the median

Guardian drew significantly fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators in 2017 for a company of its size, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The association assigns a complaint ratio score to insurance companies, based on the number of complaints to state insurance commissioners, adjusted for market share. The median score is 1, and a score less than 1 means fewer complaints. Guardian’s score for individual life insurance in 2017 was 0.06.

J.D. Power ratings: Generally AVERAGE

Guardian scored “about average” in four categories and “better than most” in one category of a 2017 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. The insurer ranked No. 6 overall out of 24 companies included in the survey.

Customer satisfaction category Guardian Life's score
Overall satisfaction"About average"
Billing and payment"About average"
Price"About average"
Policy offerings"Better than most"
Interaction"About average"

More about Guardian Life

Types of life insurance soldOther products and services
  • Term life.
  • Whole life.
  • Universal life.
  • Variable universal life.
  • Survivorship life.
     
     
  • Disability income insurance.
  • Annuities.
  • Wealth management and investments.
  • Individual dental insurance.
  • Workplace benefits, including 401(k) plans.
  • Guardian Life Insurance coverage options

    The company added new features in recent years to its term and whole life insurance products. They include:

    • An “Index Participation Feature,” which lets whole life policyholders link a portion of their cash value growth to the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
    • A “Lifetime Protection Builder,” designed for people who want to convert term life to whole life insurance in intervals. Policies with this feature provide 15 years of temporary insurance coverage, which is reduced on the fifth, 10th and 15th anniversaries. Policyholders have opportunities at each of those intervals to purchase whole life coverage.
    • Greater flexibility for policyholders who want to borrow against the cash value in their whole life insurance policies. They can choose between fixed or variable loan interest rates when they take out loans on the policies’ 10th anniversaries.

    In 2017 the company introduced a whole life survivorship policy called Guardian EstateGuard. Survivorship life insurance insures two people, typically a married couple, on one policy. The death benefit is paid to the beneficiary after the second person dies. With the EstateGuard policy, the cash value increases after the first person dies. Another unique feature is policyholders can add more coverage in the early years of the policy.