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Principal Financial Life Insurance Review 2021

Bottom line: Principal Financial receives high marks for customer satisfaction, which helps offset an online experience that has some limitations.
June 1, 2021
Insurance, Life Insurance
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 4 stars out of 5 by NerdWallet.
  • Offers term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal and survivorship life insurance.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings are high.

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 life insurance 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.

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

Principal Financial life insurance pros and cons

Received fewer complaints than expected compared with insurers of its size.Can't use online portal to change beneficiaries or update some policy information.
Offers accelerated underwriting for qualified applicants.

Principal Financial life insurance policies

Term life: Principal offers term options of one, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Coverage starts at $200,000 and, depending on the term length required, applicants are accepted up to age 80. The coverage can be converted to permanent life insurance.

Qualified applicants can take advantage of Principal’s accelerated underwriting, which can eliminate the need for medical exams.

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 fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for companies of that size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Principal Financial was rated ninth out of 23 life insurance companies in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study for overall customer satisfaction.

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.

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.