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AARP Life Insurance Review

Feb. 7, 2018
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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At a glance

  • Offers small selection of New York Life term and whole life policies to AARP members.
  • No medical exam required to apply.
  • Anyone 50 or older can join AARP.
Shopping for life insurance during the pandemic? Be aware that insurers may have changed their products and policy applications. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

The AARP Life Insurance Program features a selection of policies issued by New York Life Insurance Co. for the group’s members.

The AARP advocates for older people and has more than 37 million members. Anyone age 50 or older can join. The nonprofit has a taxable subsidiary, AARP Services Inc., which earns money on sales of insurance and other products it endorses.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

AARP life insurance

4.5 NerdWallet rating

AARP 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 complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings from A.M. Best.

Based on these ratings, AARP is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2020.

Consumer complaints: Better than the median

New York Life 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. A score less than 1 means fewer complaints. New York Life Insurance Co. and subsidiary New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corp. had an average score of 0.14 for individual life insurance in 2017. The average is weighted by market share.

J.D. Power ratings: Above average

New York Life ranks “better than most” companies for overall customer satisfaction, according to research firm J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The insurer ranked sixth overall among the 23 companies included in the survey.

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

» MORE: The best life insurance companies

AARP life insurance coverage options

The AARP program features permanent and term life insurance with simplified underwriting, which means applicants answer health questions but do not have to undergo a medical exam to qualify. The program also offers whole life insurance with guaranteed acceptance, regardless of health. Only AARP members and their spouses can apply for policies, but anyone who meets the age requirement can join when they apply by signing up for the $16 annual membership.

Term life insurance: AARP members ages 50 to 74 and their spouses ages 45 to 74 can apply, and the coverage can last until the insured’s 80th birthday. Although the death benefit stays level through the term, the annual price increases each time the insured person enters a new five-year age band. The prices are not guaranteed, so applicants can’t know precisely how much they’ll pay for insurance in later age bands. A term life policy can be converted to permanent insurance before age 80. The rates for permanent coverage will be based on age. The AARP term life product features coverage amounts of $10,000 to $100,000, although higher amounts are available by calling New York Life. Applicants answer a few health questions and provide other health information, but do not have to take a medical exam.

Whole life insurance: AARP members ages 50 to 80 and their spouses ages 45 to 80 can apply. The annual price stays level and the policy is paid up at age 95. Coverage ends at death regardless of age. Up to $50,000 of coverage is offered through the online application, although higher amounts are available by calling New York Life. Acceptance is based on answers to three health questions.

Guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance: AARP members ages 50 to 80 and their spouses ages 45 to 80 can apply, and acceptance is guaranteed. Applicants don’t have to answer health questions or provide medical information. However, only a portion of the death benefit (125% of the premiums paid) is paid out if the insured dies of natural causes in the first two years of the policy. The full benefit is paid from the first day of coverage for an accidental death. Up to $25,000 of coverage is featured, but higher coverage options are available by calling New York Life.

Whole life insurance for children: AARP members ages 50 to 80 can buy whole life policies for their children or grandchildren who are up to age 17 through the AARP Young Start program. Coverage of up to $20,000 is available. No medical exam is required; acceptance is based on answers to three health questions. The parent is the beneficiary on the policy. At age 21, the child becomes the policy owner and can choose a beneficiary.

More about AARP

Types of life insurance sold through AARPOther New York Life products sold through AARP
  • Term life.

  • Whole life.

  • Guaranteed acceptance whole life.

  • Life insurance for children.

  • Annuities.

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the NAIC and A.M. Best 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 2016-2018. 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.