Purchasing life insurance is a smart way to provide for your loved ones financially in the event of your death. Having a good policy in place ensures that you’re doing so in a cost-effective way and the insurer will have enough funds to pay the agreed-upon death benefit.
It’s possible to choose the lowest premiums for your individual circumstances by shopping around for coverage. Take a look at our list of the cheapest life insurance companies to help you find the best fit for your budget.
Sample Monthly Cost - Women
Sample Monthly Cost - Men
A.M Best Rating
|Banner Life »||$46.63||$61.85||A+||Compare Quotes »|
|AIG »||$46.91||$62.21||A||Compare Quotes »|
|Guardian Life »||$57.00||$65.00||A++||Compare Quotes »|
|State Farm »||$54.79||$69.59||A++||Compare Quotes »|
|Transamerica »||$57.62||$74.82||A||Compare Quotes »|
* Monthly costs are for a 35-year-old female and 35-year-old male, respectively, in the Standard Plus risk category, or equivalent, for a $1,000,000 coverage policy of a 20-year term.
Online quotes available
Term life policies between 10 and 40 years
Limited riders or optional coverage for term policies
With lower monthly premium prices than the other companies in our rating, Banner Life is the No. 1 Cheapest Life Insurance Company of 2022. Banner Life offers term life and universal life insurance policies. The company also allows customers to receive a quote online.
Banner’s term life policies offer terms between 10 and 40 years, which are some of the widest ranges of terms in our ratings. Despite there being a limited number of riders available, applicants can still choose from several including a Children’s Life Insurance Rider and the Accelerated Death Benefit Rider.
Banner Life’s universal insurance policy offers lifetime coverage for those between the ages of 20 and 80, with coverage amounts starting at $50,000. However, the universal life policy is more limited than the term life policy because there is only one rider: the Accelerated Death Benefit Rider.
For more information, check out our full Banner Life review.
Offers term, whole, and universal policies
Online estimates available
Riders not available for all policies
Placing No. 2 in our Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2022, AIG’s sample prices are comparable to Banner Life. Coverage amounts vary based on the policy you choose, ranging from $5,000 to $10 million.
AIG offers term life insurance with 18 term duration options between 10 years and 35 years. You can convert a term life policy to a permanent policy without having to take a medical exam.
AIG’s permanent life insurance policies include universal life and guaranteed issue whole life, which doesn’t require a medical exam.
You can request a quote online, however, you will eventually need to talk with an agent to complete the application process.
AIG has an A rating from AM Best. For more information, check out our full AIG review.
Offers term, whole, and universal life policies
Offers annual dividends on whole life policies
Online estimates only available with term life policies
Policies must be purchased through an agent
Guardian Life offers different types of policies, including term, universal, whole, and variable universal life insurance. Whole life policies start at $25,000 of coverage, and term, universal, and variable policies start at $100,000 of coverage.
The insurer’s permanent life policies offer either flexible or guaranteed level premiums as well as different ways to customize coverage with riders. Its universal life policies offer riders, such as a long term care, charitable benefit, waiver of monthly deductions, and enhanced accelerated benefit rider. Guardian Life offers dividends on its whole life policies. While its term policies are available for 10- to 30-year terms.
For all policy types, you’ll need to work with an agent. Guardian Life doesn’t include details about its available policies or their features online. However, you can use its online instant quote tool for a term life policy estimate, after which you’ll still have to contact an agent.
The company has an A++ rating from AM Best. For more information on Guardian Life, check out our full review.
Joint policy options available
Doesn’t always require a medical exam
Have to connect with an agent to apply for a policy
Not available to Massachusetts residents
State Farm offers term, universal, whole life, and final expense policies. Depending on the policy, you can have joint coverage where the death benefit is paid out based on the insured who has died. Some policies don’t require a medical exam.
One downside to State Farm is that the company doesn’t offer quotes or the ability to apply for a policy online. Instead, you’ll need to contact an agent directly. However, depending on the policy, you might be able to get a policy the same day. Also, be sure to check if State Farm is offered in your area as there are some state-specific licensing restrictions.
State Farm also has an A++ rating from AM Best.
For more information, check out our full State Farm review.
Coverage amounts of up to $10 million
Available in all 50 states
Must speak with an agent to purchase most policies
Transamerica offers term, whole, and universal life policies. It has two term life policies, Trendsetter Super and Trendsetter LB. Trendsetter LB is a no-medical exam policy with coverage of up to $2 million, while Trendsetter Super has coverage of up to $10 million or more (and no medical exam in some cases). Transamerica also offers three permanent policies: Index Universal Life Insurance, Final Expense Life Insurance, and Whole Life Insurance.
A selection of riders is available for Transamerica’s life insurance policies. However, the offering is more limited in comparison to the other companies that made our Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2022 rating. Transamerica offers an online quote tool to get a cost estimate, but to purchase a policy, you’ll have to speak with a local agent. The company has an AM Best financial security rating of A.
For more information, check out our full Transamerica review.
Life insurance policies vary in price because of factors that affect your risk level in the eyes of insurers. The riskier your profile, the more likely you are to pay a higher premium. In other words, the more likely it is that the insurer will need to pay out claims, the more they’ll charge.
Below are some factors that determine how much you will pay for life insurance:
- Coverage amount: The higher your death benefit, the higher your rates
- Policy type: Term life insurance is generally cheaper than permanent life insurance policies because you’re not building cash value.
- Term length: If you purchase a term life insurance policy, you will pay more for longer terms.
- Gender: Men tend to have higher life insurance costs compared to women because they don’t live as long.
- Health or medical history: Smokers tend to pay higher premiums compared to nonsmokers, as well as those who have a higher risk of pre-existing and future medical conditions. Other health factors may also be taken into consideration, such as your current health, weight, and cholesterol levels.
- Age: The older you are, the more likely it is you will be charged higher premiums.
- Lifestyle factors: If you generally live a risker lifestyle (if you have hobbies that involve potentially dangerous activities) or have a high-risk job, you might pay more.
For more information on life insurance, read our How Does Life Insurance Work? guide.
Understanding exactly how much life insurance you need will ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re not around. There is the possibility though, that you could purchase too much life insurance, leading you to pay more in premiums that won’t do much financial good.
Determining how much you need will depend on your individual circumstances, including the following:
- You and your family’s current and potential income, assets, and liabilities
- The number of dependents you have, plus their future financial needs
- The loss in income your loved ones will face without your contributions
- Out-of-pocket costs relating to end-of-life expenses, such as funeral costs, estate taxes, and outstanding debt
The Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests also looking at less obvious sources of income outside of your salary, such as the value of employee benefits like health insurance subsidies and employer 401(k) matches. Once you’re gone, your loved ones will need to make up for these losses if they want to maintain the same standard of living.
Calculating the coverage amount you’ll need is an important first step before purchasing a policy. Once you have this amount, you can then look at policies that match your needs, including how much you can afford to spend on premiums.
Some employers and member-based organizations offer group life insurance as one of their benefits. This type of life insurance is an agreement between the employer or group and its employees or members, stating that it'll provide life insurance policies.
If you’re considering a group life insurance policy as your primary source of coverage, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Employer subsidizes policies
Paperwork may be easier than purchasing an individual policy
Typically has guaranteed acceptance regardless of age or health status
Coverage amount tends to be low
Limited customization options
A main benefit of group life insurance policies is that they're paid for by the employer and guarantee coverage. However, if you want to customize your coverage, you may have to pay out of pocket. Plus, your coverage amount may be limited to a certain amount of your salary.
If you want additional coverage, you may need to purchase another policy to ensure you have enough to provide for your loved ones if you die. According to LIMRA, a financial industries association, the median coverage for life insurance provided through the workplace is either a $20,000 flat sum or one year’s salary.
Another disadvantage is that group policies are usually tied to your job. If you leave, you won’t be able to take it with you. There are some insurance companies that allow you to convert a group policy to an individual one, but you’ll need to pay your own premiums.
Considering group life policies are usually provided at no cost to you, it may be a smart idea to take advantage of this benefit. That being said, you may need to purchase an additional or supplemental policy to ensure you’ll have coverage if you leave your job or want to increase your overall death benefit.
The chart below shows a sampling of monthly rates for life insurance policies for females. In general, the younger and healthier you are, the lower you’ll pay in premiums. Plus, whole life and universal life insurance policies usually cost more than term life policies.
Life insurance generally costs more for males than females because of life expectancy statistics from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Still, you can purchase a policy with the cheapest rates by shopping around with different insurance carriers and comparing different policies.
Purchasing life insurance later in life may be a smart choice if you don’t want to burden your loved ones with any outstanding debt or funeral expenses. Yes, life insurance may be more expensive the older you get, but there are ways to save on premiums.
Here are some options to look at if you’re a female and want to find the lowest cost for your policy.
Life insurance for men who are older may be more expensive depending on factors such as health conditions and death benefit amount. To help you save as much as possible, it’s a smart idea to shop around with different insurance carriers.
Take a look at the table below to see our picks for the top five cheapest life insurance policies for males.
Life insurance for smokers may cost more compared to nonsmokers. Premiums also depend on other factors such as your gender, age, health condition, and how often you smoke.
Take a look at the table below to see a range of premiums you might pay if you’re a female.
While life insurance policies for men are generally more expensive, the same factors for females will also affect how much you pay. You can see a sampling of life insurance rates for male smokers in the table below. Note the difference between preferred versus standard smoker rates. The healthier you are, the more likely you are to pay less for your policy.
Life insurance for children is a type of whole life policy, giving parents, legal guardians, and grandparents the opportunity to provide death benefit coverage and build cash value. Depending on the policy, policyholders can help the insured child lock in premiums, guarantee coverage as an adult, and invest for the future.
There are also children’s insurance riders you can add to your existing coverage. Premiums depend on several factors including the child's age, state of residence, and coverage amount. You can add children’s insurance riders to different types of policies including term, whole, universal, and variable insurance.
There are several ways to lower your life insurance premiums:
- Consider term life insurance. This type of policy is generally less expensive compared to permanent life insurance because your premiums don't go towards building cash value. If you want to invest, however, you'll need to look at other alternatives such as putting money in your employer-sponsored retirement plan or a brokerage account.
- Lower your death benefit. Decreasing the amount of coverage might increase your chances of getting a lower premium. Whatever amount you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you'll still be able to provide enough for your beneficiaries.
- Bundle policies. Many insurance companies offer discounts if you have a multi-line policy. For instance, if you purchase an auto and life insurance policy from the same insurer, your premium may go down.
- Select the most cost-effective payment schedule. Some insurers offer a discount if you pay upfront, whether that's annually, quarterly, or semi-annually. If you’re concerned that you may not be able to make a larger upfront payment, then monthly premiums may be your best bet, even if you may not save on premiums.
- Opt out of extras. Some policies have life insurance riders or other add-ons to customize coverage. Even though they may offer more protection, the additional cost may not be worth it. Take your time to research which riders you may want and determine whether you really need the additional coverage.
What Is the ?
Generally speaking, term life insurance policies have the cheapest rates, while permanent policies, like whole life insurance, are more expensive. However, there are a lot of variables that can affect the price of a life insurance policy.
Term life insurance is cheaper because it only covers the insured for a specific period of time, or term (e.g., 5, 10, or 30 years). Permanent life insurance, which includes whole life, universal life, and variable life policies, covers the insured for their entire life. That can make it a riskier investment for the insurer. Permanent life insurance also has a cash value component that acts as a savings or investment vehicle, depending on the policy type.
Because life insurance rates are personalized, getting and comparing life insurance quotes can help you find a policy that matches your needs and budget. Our life insurance quotes guide can help you choose the type and amount of coverage you need and compare rate quotes.
For more information about life insurance, see the following guides:
Best Life Insurance Companies of 2022
Selecting a life insurance policy suited for your needs starts by doing research on reputable companies. Below is a list of the top-rated ones.
Other Ratings From 360 Reviews
For more information on other types of insurance, see the following guides:
Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Life Insurance Companies Researched
At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 25 life insurance companies and agencies and analyzed 14 third-party review sources. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.