MassMutual Life Insurance Review 2024

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Written by Katia Iervasi
Assistant Assigning Editor
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Edited by Lisa Green
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

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MassMutual

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: MassMutual's strong lineup of policies and low volume of customer complaints help make it one of NerdWallet's highest-rated life insurance companies.

on Nerdwallet

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
insurance-product-card-logo

on Nerdwallet

MassMutual

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: MassMutual's strong lineup of policies and low volume of customer complaints help make it one of NerdWallet's highest-rated life insurance companies.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

In our life insurance reviews, our editorial team considers the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Policies offered. There are many types of life insurance on the market, and they fall into three key categories:

  • Term life insurance offers temporary coverage and a guaranteed payout if the policyholder dies during the term.

  • Permanent life insurance typically lasts a lifetime and builds cash value that can be borrowed against in the future.

  • No-exam life insurance issues coverage without the need for a medical exam.

Financial strength. We use AM Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. For life insurance, NerdWallet typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Exceptional: A+, A++.

  • Strong: A-, A.

  • Moderate: B, B+.

Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best life insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.

Buy online. This indicates whether an insurer allows you to apply for and buy a policy completely online.

Founded in 1851, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is one of the largest U.S. life insurers. It offers a broad range of term and permanent life insurance and sells policies through a network of agents across the country.

As a mutual company, MassMutual is owned by its policyholders. This means that certain policyholders are eligible to receive dividend payments based on the company’s financial performance. MassMutual estimates it will pay out nearly $2.2 billion to policyholders in 2024, the largest dividend payout in the company’s history.

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MassMutual life insurance rating

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

MassMutual earned 5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

Based on these ratings, MassMutual tops our list of the best life insurance companies.

MassMutual life insurance policies

Term life insurance. People ages 18 to 75 can apply for a term life insurance policy lasting 1, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years, with coverage starting at $100,000. Premiums are typically locked in for the life of the policy, and you may convert to permanent coverage at a later date. MassMutual includes an accelerated death benefit at no charge, and you may add a waiver of premium rider to your coverage for a fee.

Whole life insurance. MassMutual has a variety of whole life insurance policies to choose from, all of which offer essentially lifelong coverage and build cash value over time. You can apply from age 0 to 60 or 90 depending on the policy you choose, and most death benefits start at $25,000. There’s no maximum coverage amount, but if you want a lot, you’ll have to justify your need for a large policy.

Universal life insurance. Available to people ages 18 to 85, this universal life insurance policy typically lasts your entire life. Coverage starts at $50,000. It also offers flexible premiums, which may be appealing to people whose income fluctuates.

Variable universal life insurance. Along with offering permanent coverage and flexible premiums, variable universal life insurance allows you to be more hands-on with the cash value portion of your policy. You can work with a MassMutual representative to choose the investments that align with your goals and risk tolerance.

Other. MassMutual also offers free life insurance for income-eligible parents and guardians through its LifeBridge program. Qualifying applicants can get a free $50,000, 10-year term life policy to help pay for educational expenses.

MassMutual customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, MassMutual has drawn far fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

MassMutual ranked No. 3 out of 22 companies for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power's 2023 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study

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How MassMutual compares to other insurers

MassMutual

Guardian

Northwestern Mutual

Star rating

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Financial strength

Exceptional.

Exceptional.

Exceptional.

NAIC complaints

Far fewer than expected.

Far fewer than expected.

Far fewer than expected.

J.D. Power ranking

#3 out of 22.

#12 out of 22.

#10 out of 22.

Policy types offered

Term, permanent.

Term, permanent.

Term, permanent.

Read full reviews

What Reddit users say about MassMutual

Reddit is an online forum where users share their thoughts in “threads” on various topics. The popular site includes plenty of discussion on financial subjects like life insurance, so we sifted through Reddit forums to get a pulse check on how users feel about insurers. People post anonymously, so we cannot confirm their individual experiences or circumstances.

The comments about MassMutual are generally positive, with users saying they like the company’s customer service and policy lineup. Some Redditors say MassMutual’s life insurance policies aren’t cheap, but are worth the higher price tag. Others report that their MassMutual agent promoted whole life insurance as an investment, which they felt was questionable advice. Overall, we saw more user questions about the best type of life insurance to buy in different situations, and whether it’s a good idea to treat a policy as an asset.

Questions from Reddit: Our experts answer

Is MassMutual’s cash value life insurance worth it?

It depends on your budget, risk tolerance and reason for buying life insurance. Cash value life insurance typically lasts your entire life, so it can be a good option for those with lifelong financial dependents, such as a child with a disability. It can also suit high net worth individuals who have maxed out tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like 401(k)s, and are looking for another way to boost tax-deferred savings. Cash value life insurance earns interest over time at either a fixed or variable rate, so it can appeal to people who want to diversify their investment portfolios. However, the cash value is slow to grow and the rates of return are relatively low compared to other investments.

Finally, cash value policies are pricey — typically at least five times as expensive as term life insurance, and sometimes as much as 20 times as expensive. Permanent life insurance is a lifelong commitment, so weigh the costs before signing up for a policy.

How does MassMutual calculate the dividend payout?

Mutual life insurance companies like MassMutual often pay annual dividends to their permanent policyholders. Typically, the company’s board of directors decides whether to pay out dividends — they’re not guaranteed — and how much money to award.

The payout is calculated based on the company’s cash reserves, operating expenses, investment returns and profits from the previous financial year. These finer details typically aren’t disclosed to policyholders. They’ll either receive a dividend or they won’t.

More about MassMutual

As a MassMutual policyholder, you can change your beneficiaries, request a cash value loan and pay your premiums via either the online portal or app.

Along with a suite of retirement and investment products and services, MassMutual offers these types of insurance:

How to contact MassMutual

MassMutual can be reached by:

  • Phone: Call 800-272-2216 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

  • Email: Fill out the form on MassMutual’s contact page.

  • Live chat: Not available.

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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 methodology

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. 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. Read our editorial guidelines.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2020-2022. To assess how insurers compare with 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. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

In This Review . . .