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Equitable Life Insurance Review 2021

Bottom line: Although it offers lots of policies, the lack of fixed-rate permanent life options means Equitable won't be a perfect fit for shoppers seeking certainty.
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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  • Rated 3.5 stars out of 5 by NerdWallet.
  • Large selection of term and universal life policies.
  • Fewer complaints than expected for a company its size.

Equitable is a large life and retirement savings company. It was known as AXA Equitable until a name change in 2020. It offers a wide range of term and permanent life insurance policies, along with other financial products.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Take care of what matters most

Your family is unique — your life insurance should be, too.

Equitable life insurance

3.5 NerdWallet rating

Equitable earned 3.5 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.

Equitable life insurance pros and cons

Received fewer complaints than expected for a company its size.No permanent life insurance options with fixed rates.
Offers a wide range of term life options.

Equitable life insurance policies

Life insurance options from Equitable include:

Term life insurance. Equitable offers terms of 1, 10, 15 and 20 years with two pricing options. With the level-premium option, the annual price stays the same every year of the term. With annual renewable term life insurance, the policy can be renewed without reapplying for coverage, but the price increases each year.

Prices for annual renewable term life are fixed for the first three years and may be lower in the early years and higher in later years than prices for level-premium term life. Equitable also offers a one-year non-renewable term life policy. All of the company’s term life policies are convertible to permanent life insurance.

Permanent life insurance. Equitable offers indexed universal life and variable universal life insurance policies. The two indexed options are designed for differing investment and risk profiles. Equitable offers a similar set of options with its two variable policies, for buyers with specific financial goals.

Equitable offers a variable universal life survivorship policy. A survivorship policy insures two people — usually a married couple — on one policy. The death benefit is paid out when the second person dies.

Equitable customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, Equitable has had fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

For life insurance customer satisfaction, Equitable was 19th out of 23 companies evaluated by J.D. Power in its 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study.

More about Equitable

In addition to life insurance, Equitable offers several other financial products and services, including:

  • Annuities.
  • Individual retirement accounts.
  • Workplace benefit plans.

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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