Advertiser Disclosure

RiverSource (Ameriprise) Life Insurance Review 2021

Bottom line: While it doesn't sell whole life, RiverSource lets you start quotes online and produces relatively few complaints, making it a good option for many buyers.
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.

NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. Kayda Norman


  • Rated 4 stars out of 5 by NerdWallet.
  • Life insurance sold through Ameriprise Financial advisors.
  • Preliminary term life quotes available online.

RiverSource is a brand of Ameriprise Financial, which offers financial planning, investments and other financial products. RiverSource products include term life insurance and a broad selection of universal and variable universal life insurance, which are sold through Ameriprise advisors. The company doesn’t offer whole life insurance.

RiverSource life insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

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

RiverSource life insurance pros and cons

Fewer complaints than expected for life insurance for a company of its size.Doesn’t sell whole life insurance.
Preliminary term, universal and long term care insurance quotes available online.

RiverSource life insurance

Term life: Policies with 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year terms are available. The annual price stays level throughout the term. You can convert RiverSource term life to one of the company’s permanent policies in the first five years of the term or at age 65, whichever comes first. Or when buying a policy you can pay extra for the option to convert until the end of the term or at age 65, whichever comes first.

Additional add-ons, known as riders, are available for term life for a fee, including:

  • Waiver of premium, which waives the policy premium if the insured becomes disabled.
  • Accidental death, which pays out an additional death benefit if you die from an accident.
  • Children’s insurance, which provides coverage for your children under the same policy.

Universal life: A wide selection of universal life policies are available, including indexed universal life, which ties the policy’s cash value growth to an index, such as the S&P 500. The company also offers universal life that can provide monthly payouts for long-term care.

Variable universal life: You choose how the policy’s cash value is invested. You can build a customized portfolio from a wide selection of investment options or pick from one of five professionally managed funds to match your goals and risk tolerance.

Children’s insurance and accidental death (if the insured is terminally ill) riders are also available for permanent life insurance. Additional riders include:

  • Survivorship life: This type of permanent universal life insurance insures two people on one policy. The policy pays out after the second person dies. Both universal and variable universal life options are available.
  • Accelerated death benefit: This allows you to access part of your death benefit if you (the insured) become terminally ill or have a chronic illness.
  • Waiver of monthly deduction: Waives the monthly fee if you’re disabled by age 65. Amount waived varies by age at time of disability. If you are unemployed, the monthly deduction will be waived up to 12 months.
  • Waiver of premium: If you’ve been disabled for at least six months by age 65, a specified amount of your premium is waived or added to your premium. Details vary by age at the time of disability. If you are unemployed, the premium may be waived for up to a year.

Complaints about RiverSource

RiverSource had fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size for life insurance, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

More about RiverSource life insurance

Besides life insurance, RiverSource also sells annuities and disability income insurance. 

Website: Although RiverSource doesn’t provide an app to manage a policy, its website lets you get a quote and includes details on specific policies as well as videos that discuss general life insurance questions.

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.

About the author