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New York Life Insurance Review 2021

Jan. 4, 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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New York Life Insurance

  • Rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by NerdWallet.
  • Ranks high in J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction study for life insurance.
  • Doesn’t offer life insurance quotes online.
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.

New York Life bills itself as one of the nation’s oldest mutual life insurance companies. As a mutual insurer, New York Life is owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy certain products, such as whole life insurance, are entitled to vote in board elections and receive annual dividends.

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New York Life insurance

4.5 NerdWallet rating

New York Life 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, New York Life is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2021.

New York Life insurance policies

New York Life offers both term and permanent life insurance. Its two term life insurance policies can be converted to permanent life insurance within a specified period. They are:

  1. New York Life’s yearly convertible term policy can be renewed each year. Premiums start low and increase each year. The price changes if the policy is converted to permanent coverage.
  2. New York Life’s level-premium term policy can be purchased in 10- to 20-year terms.  Premiums stay the same throughout the entire term. When the level-premium period ends, your premium increases. The price also changes if the policy is converted.

You can customize term coverage from New York Life by adding options like the Spouse Paid Up rider. If you die, it allows your spouse to purchase their own coverage using the payout from your policy without taking a medical exam. Other riders include the Disability Waiver of Premium, which covers premiums if you become disabled, and a Living Benefits add-on, which allows you to withdraw cash from the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. In addition, New York Life’s Policy Purchase rider allows you to buy more coverage in the future, without taking a medical exam, but availability varies depending on what state you live in.

Alongside its term policies, New York Life offers three types of permanent life insurance:

  1. Whole life insurance. New York Life offers three types of whole life policies, including one that lets you customize the payment schedule. This provides the flexibility to pay off the policy early, eliminating premiums in later years.
  2. Universal life insurance. You can choose between three types of universal policies, including a basic coverage option where you can adjust your premiums and benefit amount. The company’s Custom Guarantee universal life policy automatically comes with a Money Back Option rider, which returns some of your premiums if you no longer need coverage.
  3. Variable universal life. You can decide how to invest the cash value of these policies, including in the stock market, which means they can come with increased risk as the market can fluctuate. You have the option to choose your own investments or use existing models created by experts.

The company also offers several life insurance add-ons for its permanent policies, such as coverage that protects you if you become disabled or terminally ill.

New York Life complaints and customer satisfaction

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

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

More about New York Life

Policyholders can access coverage details via the website’s online portal. Once logged in, you can update beneficiaries, make payments, see policy details and download forms.

New York Life also offers additional financial products and services including:

  • Annuities.
  • Long-term care insurance.
  • Mutual funds.
  • Estate planning.
  • Workplace benefits.

New York Life insurance pros and cons

ProsCons
Ranks high in J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction study for life insurance.Quotes aren't available online.
Drew fewer complaints to state regulators than typically expected for a company of its size.

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.