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Guardian Life Insurance Review 2019

Jan. 2, 2019
Insurance, Life Insurance
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At a glance

  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 4 life insurance company.
  • Customer satisfaction scores are about average.
  • Offers a full menu of term and permanent life insurance.


Guardian Life Insurance Co. is a mutual insurance company, meaning it’s owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy whole life insurance can share in annual dividends. The company has paid a dividend every year since 1868, and in 2019 will pay a record dividend of $978 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: 4th

Guardian ranked No. 4 out of the 20 best life insurance companies as scored by NerdWallet. 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. NerdWallet evaluates the largest national life insurance companies that sell policies to individuals.

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 0.07.

J.D. Power ratings: About AVERAGE

Guardian scored “about average” in all five categories of a 2018 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. The insurer ranked No. 12 overall out of 23 life insurance companies evaluated.

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

    Term life: Guardian offers policies with terms of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. You can get an estimated quote for term life on the company’s website, but must contact a company advisor to buy a policy.

    Permanent life: Guardian offers whole, universal and variable universal life insurance. 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.

    Guardian now offers whole life policies to healthy people living with HIV. To qualify, an applicant must be:

    • Between ages 20 and 60.
    • On highly active anti-retroviral therapy for two or more years with favorable lab results.
    • Free of any AIDS-defining illnesses.
    • Under the care of a doctor specializing in HIV.