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7 Best Instant Life Insurance Companies in 2021

Aug. 20, 2021
Insurance, Life Insurance
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Until recently, it could take four to eight weeks to get life insurance coverage. While that’s still true for traditional policies, a string of insurers now offer instant life insurance. Sometimes known as “fast life insurance,” these are policies you can apply for online and often get a decision on within minutes.

To create this list, our experts analyzed insurers who sell life insurance online and offer at least $100,000 in coverage. Then, we assessed policy features, age eligibility and available riders, as well as the amount of coverage you can buy without taking a medical exam.

» MORE: How does instant life insurance work?

The best fast life insurance companies

CompanyInstant life policy optionsPolicy details
Haven Life

5.0 NerdWallet rating
Haven Simple.

Haven Term.
Eligibility age range: 20 to 55 for Haven Simple; 20 to 64 for Haven Term.

Coverage amount: $25,000 to $500,000 for Haven Simple; $250,000 to $3 million for Haven Term.

Availability: All states except CA, DE, SD, ND and NY for Haven Simple; nationwide for Haven Term.

Term lengths: 5, 10, 15 or 20 years for Haven Simple; 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years for Haven Term.
Our take: Backed by MassMutual, Haven Life offers up to $3 million in instant life insurance coverage for eligible applicants. If you’re approved, your policy could be issued within minutes. The applications for both policies are fully online. Haven Simple doesn’t require a medical exam, while some applicants may be asked to take a medical exam to qualify for Haven Term. The policies include two life insurance riders at no extra charge. The accelerated death benefit rider allows you to access a portion of your death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, while the accidental death benefit rider pays out an additional lump sum if you die in an accident.  You can increase your coverage in the first 90 days if you decide you need more life insurance, and decrease it at any time.
Bestow

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Bestow Term.Eligibility age range: 18 to 60.

Coverage amount: $50,000 to $1.5 million.

Availability: All states except NY.

Term lengths: 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.
Our take: For flexible coverage, look into Bestow Term. In partnership with the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, the insurer offers instant policies lasting 10 to 30 years, including less common lengths like 15 and 25 years. The application is fully online. If you’re eligible, you can buy up to $1.5 million in coverage without a medical exam, and the policy is open to people age 18 to 60. As for drawbacks, you can’t customize your coverage with riders, and people with pre-existing health conditions might be denied.
Ladder Life

3.0 NerdWallet rating
Ladder Term Life.Eligibility age range: 20 to 60.

Coverage amount: $100,000 to $3 million.

Availability: All states.

Term lengths: 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.
Our take: Ladder stands out for offering up to $3 million in instant life insurance coverage online, making it one of the most generous policies on our list for qualifying applicants. If you’re looking for an even larger policy and willing to take a gamble, you can apply for up to $8 million in coverage — but you might be asked to take a life insurance medical exam. The company partners with Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company and Allianz Life of New York to offer policies nationwide. You can decrease your coverage online or on the app, and the changes go into effect right away. To increase your coverage, you'll need to fill out an application form.
Fabric

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Fabric Term.Eligibility age range: 21 to 60.

Coverage amount: $100,000 to $1.5 million.

Availability: All states except MT and NY.

Term lengths: 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.
Our take: Fabric sells instant policies worth up to $1.5 million. You might be asked to take a medical exam if the insurer has further questions about your health. Issued by Vantis Life, Fabric’s policy includes an accelerated death benefit rider and gives you the option to convert to a permanent policy until the first policy anniversary after you turn 65.

You can also decrease your coverage if your life insurance needs change. Vantis Life will donate 1% of the value of your policy (up to $100,000) to charity if you die while it’s still active.
Brighthouse Financial

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Brighthouse SimplySelect.Eligibility age range: 25 to 50.

Coverage amount: $100,000 to $2 million.

Availability: All states except CA, IL, LA, ME and NY.

Term lengths: 10, 20 or 30 years.
Our take: If you need a lot of life insurance ASAP, Brighthouse’s SimplySelect might be a good fit. Qualifying applicants can buy coverage worth up to $2 million, with the option to reduce the amount after the policy has been in effect for one year.

The policy features an accelerated death benefit rider and can be converted to a permanent policy later on. It’s also renewable up to age 95, which means you can keep the policy after the initial term expires without going through the life insurance application process again, though your premiums will rise.
Lincoln Financial

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Lincoln TermAccel.Eligibility age range: 18 to 60.

Coverage amount: $100,000 to $1 million.

Availability: All states except NY.

Term lengths: 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.
Our take: Lincoln Financial allows you to apply for a no-exam policy online or over the phone. You can upgrade to permanent coverage before your term policy expires or you reach your 70th birthday — whichever comes first. The insurer offers a child rider that can cover multiple children.

You can also choose to add a waiver of premium or accelerated death benefit rider to your coverage for an additional fee. The policy is guaranteed renewable up to age 95.
Erie Insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating
ERIExpress Life.Eligibility age range: 18 to 55.

Coverage amount: $10,000 to $500,000.

Availability: All states except NY.

Term lengths: 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.
Our take: Erie’s policy is one of the most flexible on the market. The insurer offers a choice of term or whole life insurance, which is rare for instant policies. And if you qualify, the coverage can go into effect the same day you apply. Otherwise, you may need to take a medical exam.

You can buy small amounts of coverage, starting at $10,000, and a term as brief as five years. An accelerated death benefit rider is automatically included.
NerdWallet rates insurers at the company level, not the policy level. This means our star rating reflects the company as a whole, and not its instant life insurance policy specifically. 

Alternatives to the best instant life insurance

If you’re not in a time crunch, consider applying for a traditional life insurance policy. You’ll most likely need to take a medical exam, but if you’re relatively healthy, you could end up paying less for your policy.

Term life insurance lasts a set number of years, while permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage and builds cash value over time.

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims, and complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance. 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.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

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.

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