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Principal Financial Life Insurance Review 2020

Insurance, Life Insurance
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at a glance

  • Offers term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings are high.


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.


Founded in 1879, Principal Financial offers a variety of products including term, indexed universal and variable universal life insurance. Customers can receive a life insurance quote for both permanent and term life insurance online.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Principal Financial life insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Principal Financial earned 4 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, Principal Financial is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2020.

Term life: Principal offers term options of one, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. The coverage can be converted to permanent life insurance.

Permanent: Principal offers four types of permanent life insurance — universal, indexed universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance. All the universal life policies give the flexibility to adjust premiums and the death benefit. The cash value growth for indexed universal life insurance is linked to a stock market index. Variable universal life provides greater opportunity for cash-value growth, but comes with risk for losses if the underlying investments perform poorly. Survivorship life insurance covers two lives, typically a married couple. The death benefit is paid after the second person dies.

Principal Financial complaints and customer satisfaction

Principal’s life insurance companies drew significantly fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for companies of their size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Principal Financial scores better than most for customer satisfaction overall, according to research firm J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. In a survey of customer service by J.D. Power published in 2019, Principal scored “better than most” in five categories. Principal ranked No. 4 overall out of 24 insurers included in the survey.

Customer satisfaction category Principal's score
Overall satisfactionBetter than most
Policy offeringsBetter than most
PriceBetter than most
Billing and paymentAbout average
InteractionBetter than most
CommunicationBetter than most

More about Principal Financial

Principal Financial Group also offers individual disability insurance as well as annuities, mutual funds and retirement plans. Principal provides group insurance plans through employers, including critical illness, dental, disability, life and vision insurance.

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.