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AARP Life Insurance Review 2021

Bottom line: No medical exams are required for life insurance policies through AARP, although you do have to be a member to buy one.
June 1, 2021
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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AARP life insurance

  • Rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by NerdWallet.
  • Offers small selection of New York Life term and whole life policies to AARP members.
  • No medical exam required to apply.

The AARP Life Insurance Program features a selection of policies issued by New York Life Insurance Company 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.

Based on these ratings, AARP is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2021.

AARP life insurance pros and cons

No medical exams required.Term life insurance premiums rise every five years.
Fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators.
Anyone age 50 and up can buy life insurance through AARP membership.

AARP life insurance policies

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 for everyone except for those who are terminally ill. 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 coverage lasts throughout your life — though you can stop making premium payments once the policy is considered paid up (typically at age 95). 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 a few 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 unless you currently have a terminal disease. Applicants only have to answer one health question. However, only a portion of the death benefit (110% of the premiums paid in most states) 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 various health questions. The parent or guardian is generally the beneficiary on the policy. At age 21, the child becomes the policy owner and can choose a beneficiary.

Customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, New York Life has drawn fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

New York Life ranked No. 6 out of 23 companies in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study for overall customer satisfaction.

More about AARP life insurance

AARP partners with third parties to offer a variety of other types of insurance:

Homeowners insuranceCar insurance
Renters insuranceMotorcycle insurance
Long- and short-term care insuranceDental insurance
Vision insuranceSupplemental Medicare insurance
Pet insuranceMobile home insurance
RV insuranceATV, golf cart and snowmobile insurance
Boat and personal watercraft insuranceCollectible car 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.

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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