Transamerica Life Insurance Review 2024

Andrew Marder
By Andrew Marder 
Edited by Katia Iervasi

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Transamerica

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Transamerica life insurance offers term life, whole life and universal life policies, but has a high number of complaints.

on Nerdwallet

Financial strength rating

Strong

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

More than expected

Policies offered

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

on Nerdwallet

Transamerica

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Transamerica life insurance offers term life, whole life and universal life policies, but has a high number of complaints.

Financial strength rating

Strong

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

More 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.

Transamerica offers term life, indexed universal and whole life policies, as well as coverage specifically designed for foreign nationals. Although its headquarters are no longer in San Francisco, Transamerica still uses the image of the city’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid for its logo.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure the content on our site is accurate and fair so you can make financial decisions with confidence and choose the products that work best for you. Here is a list of our partners, and here’s how we make money.

Transamerica life insurance

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

Transamerica earned 3 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.

Transamerica life insurance policies

Term life insurance. Transamerica offers two types of term life insurance policies, with terms of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years available.

  • Trendsetter Super policy offers up to $10 million in coverage — or even more, depending on individual circumstances.

  • Trendsetter LB offers up to $2 million in coverage and gives access to some of the money before death if the insured person is diagnosed with a chronic, critical or terminal illness.

Whole life insurance. The company offers whole life insurance policies of up to $2 million with a variety of potential riders. These include accelerated death benefit riders for those with chronic, critical or terminal illnesses, term life riders, waiver of premium, child term riders and more.

Transamerica also offers a final expense insurance policy, which is a whole life policy with relatively small death benefits, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 depending on age. Buyers can apply up to age 85.

Indexed universal life insurance. With indexed universal life insurance, policyholders build cash value that’s dependent on the performance of a market index, such as the S&P 500. Transamerica offers two types of indexed universal life insurance (IUL):

  • Financial Choice is geared toward high-net-worth individuals and provides more index options, with coverage starting at $250,000.

  • Financial Foundation is marketed as a multipurpose life insurance option for families and has a minimum policy amount of $25,000.

You may be able to add riders to your coverage, such as an accelerated death benefit, guaranteed insurability rider, additional insured, child term rider, waiver of premium and concierge planning rider. The options vary by policy.

Group life insurance. The company sells group life insurance through employers.

Life insurance for foreign nationals. If you’re a foreign national and work in the United States, visit often or own property in the country, you may qualify for one of Transamerica’s policies. You must be from one of 47 qualifying countries to apply and have a global net worth of $1 million.

Transamerica life insurance rates

Below are monthly rates for a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy from Transamerica. These are sample rates for a nonsmoking man and woman in excellent health — the final quote you’re offered will depend on factors like your age, health, lifestyle, occupation and driving record.

Age

Monthly rate - man

Monthly rate - woman

20

$19.13

$15.73

30

$19.13

$16.15

40

$28.48

$24.23

50

$70.98

$55.25

60

$250.75

$202.30

70

$852.13

$697.43

Source: Direct from insurer. Rates reflect the super preferred class and were generated on 1/25/24.

Transamerica customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, Transamerica has drawn more 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.

Transamerica ranked No. 20 out of 22 companies for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power's 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.

What Reddit users say about Transamerica

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.

Reddit users have mixed feelings about Transamerica. Some Redditors mention the company can be slow to respond to questions, while others say Transamerica takes a long time to pay out the life insurance death benefit. We also saw several comments saying Transamerica uses pushy sales tactics, as well as questions about whether whole life insurance is a good investment.

Questions from Reddit: Our experts answer

I have a Transamerica cash value policy. What is the “surrender value,” and when does it pay out?

Permanent policies, like whole life insurance, accumulate cash value over time. Once you’ve built up enough, you can start to borrow against or withdraw money from the cash value portion of your policy. If you no longer need life insurance, you can also cancel your policy and collect the cash surrender value. The amount of money you’ll get is the cash value minus any policy loans, prior withdrawals and surrender fees, which are typically charged if you terminate your policy within the first 10 to 15 years.

Keep in mind that if you surrender your permanent policy for cash, your life insurance beneficiaries will not receive a payout when you die.

Can I extend my Transamerica term life insurance policy?

In general, term life insurance policies expire at the end of the “term” — so if you have a 20-year policy, your coverage will end after 20 years. If you still need life insurance, you can buy a new term life policy, though your premiums will likely be higher. You might also look into annual renewable term life insurance, a type of policy that renews year-over-year.

Convertible term life insurance policies allow you to upgrade to permanent life insurance before a deadline. With many insurers, you’ll need to do this within the first few years of buying the policy or by the time you reach a certain age.

More about Transamerica

On the Transamerica website, you can read detailed information about the company’s policies. Online quotes are available only for the Trendsetter Super plan.

Transamerica offers additional financial products and services, including:

  • Annuities.

  • Mutual funds.

  • Retirement planning.

  • Workplace benefits.

How to contact Transamerica

Transamerica can be reached by:

  • Phone: Call 800-797-2643 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

  • Email: Contact form via the website.

  • Live chat: Not available.

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.

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.

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