New York Life Insurance Review 2024

Profile photo of Georgia Rose
Written by Georgia Rose
Lead Writer
Profile photo of Erica Corbin
Edited by Erica Corbin
Assistant Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

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New York Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: New York Life offers a wide variety of policies and has minimal customer complaints, making it a strong choice for many buyers.

on Nerdwallet

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent
insurance-product-card-logo

on Nerdwallet

New York Life

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: New York Life offers a wide variety of policies and has minimal customer complaints, making it a strong choice for many buyers.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term & permanent

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.

New York Life bills itself as one of the nation’s oldest mutual life insurance companies. As a mutual insurer, New York Life is owned by its policyholders. Customers who buy certain products, such as whole life insurance, are entitled to vote in board elections and receive annual dividends. The company announced it will pay out a record $2.2 billion in dividends to policyholders in 2024

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New York Life insurance rating

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

New York Life 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, New York Life is one of our best life insurance companies.

New York Life insurance policies

Term life insurance. Its two term life insurance policies can be converted to permanent life insurance within a specified period.

  • Yearly Renewable Term policy can be renewed each year. Premiums start low and increase each year. The price changes if the policy is converted to permanent coverage.

  • Level Premium Term policy can be purchased in 10-, 15- or 20-year terms. Premiums stay the same throughout the entire term, also known as a “level-premium period.” When this period ends, your premium increases. The price also changes if the policy is converted.

You can customize term coverage from New York Life by adding options like the spouse’s paid-up rider. If you die, it allows your spouse to purchase their own coverage using the payout from your policy without taking a medical exam.

Other riders include the disability waiver of premium rider, which covers premiums if you become disabled, and a living benefits add-on, which allows you to withdraw cash from the death benefit to cover medical costs if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.

New York Life made our list of the best term life insurance companies.

Whole life insurance. New York Life has a few whole life insurance policies, including one that lets you customize the payment schedule. This provides the flexibility to pay off the policy early, eliminating premiums in later years. In 2022, the company launched Secure Wealth Plus, a whole life policy for people ages 0 to 60 that can be paid off in the span of 10 years.

New York Life is one of our best whole life insurance companies.

Universal life insurance. You can choose between two types of universal life insurance policies with New York Life.

  • Universal Life (basic) coverage lets you adjust your premiums and benefit amount.

  • Custom Guarantee, which has a set premium, automatically comes with a money back option rider, which returns a portion of the premiums you’ve already paid if you no longer need coverage.

Variable universal life. You can decide how to invest the cash value of New York Life’s variable universal life insurance policies, including in the stock market, which means they can come with increased risk as the market fluctuates. You have the option to choose your own investments or use existing models created by experts. The insurer offers two variable universal policies: Variable Universal Life Accumulator II and Market Wealth Plus, both of which are available in all states.

The company also offers several life insurance add-ons for its permanent life insurance policies, such as coverage that protects you if you become disabled or terminally ill.

New York Life customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, New York Life has drawn 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.

New York Life ranked No. 8 out of 22 companies for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power's 2023 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study

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What it’s like to apply for a policy with New York Life

New York Life doesn’t offer online applications. It works with a network of life insurance agents across the country, and there are buttons throughout the site directing users to connect with one.

If you’re ready to apply or simply looking for more information about life insurance policies, you’ll need to fill out a form with your contact details. New York Life will then pair you with a local financial professional.

This process applies to the company’s suite of financial products, including life insurance, investing and estate planning.

Screenshot captured by our editorial team on June 26, 2024.

How New York Life’s customer experience stacks up

New York Life’s site is detailed, educational and easy to navigate. There’s a clear “What we offer” dropdown with the types of life insurance you can choose from. When you click into an option, like term life insurance, you’ll find information about how the policy works, available riders and frequently asked questions. You’ll also see a table comparing key features of New York Life’s policies, which is a nice visual reference.

Screenshot captured by our editorial team on June 26, 2024.

Screenshot captured by our editorial team on June 26, 2024.

When we called the insurer, an auto-responder immediately asked for a policy number, Social Security number and reason for our call. We did not hand over this information. We were speaking with a representative a few minutes later, though she said she couldn’t answer coverage-specific questions and would connect us to an agent. We were on hold for five minutes before being transferred to the wrong department.

When we tried calling again, we were on the phone with a live representative within a couple of minutes. We said we were interested in learning more about life insurance, and she confirmed the call center representatives can’t answer policy questions. She explained how to reach out to one of New York Life’s agents instead.

More about New York Life

Policyholders can access coverage details via the website’s online portal. Once logged in, you can update beneficiaries, make payments, see policy details and more.

New York Life also offers additional financial products and services, including:

How to contact New York Life

New York Life can be reached by:

  • Phone: Call 1-800-225-5695 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. 

  • Email: No customer service email available.

  • 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 . . .