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Principal Financial Life Insurance Review 2020

Insurance, Life Insurance
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at a glance

  • NerdWallet ranking: No. 5 life insurance company.
  • Offers term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings are high.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, not all companies are accepting new life insurance 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

Principal ranked No. 5 out of the 20 best life insurance companies scored by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s life insurance company rankings take into account financial strength, customer satisfaction and consumer complaints. NerdWallet scores national life insurance companies that sell policies to individuals.

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: 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 and life insurance.