Personal Finance

Where to Find Cheap Life Insurance

Life insurance can be affordable and for many people, it may be necessary. Here’s where you can find cheap life insurance.

Editor's Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

The life insurance industry has become incredibly competitive in recent years. This has much to do with the Internet. Insurance companies are gradually migrating toward an all-online operation, or something very close to it. The benefits to consumers are faster approvals and lower premiums. After all, like with virtually all other industries moving to the web, operating costs drop. Meanwhile, the ability of insurance companies to offer their services on the web is creating the kind of competition that makes a wider variety of policies available to more consumers.

But, the shift may also be generating confusion for consumers. After all, more competitors need more research and number crunching.

That’s precisely why we put together this list of where to find cheap life insurance. Much of this list has to do with specialization. Each of the companies listed here excels in a specific area of life insurance. You can simply choose the company that best fits your own personal profile and make a direct application.

Our Top Pick: Ladder

Ladder earned the top spot based on the flexibility of its policies. They have a unique business model, in which you can start with a certain life insurance death benefit, then adjust it in the future as your financial needs change.

For example, as a single person, you might choose a $200,000 death benefit. Once you’re married and have children and a mortgage, you might want to apply to increase that to $1 million. But, by the time you’re in your 50s, you may want to return to the original $200,000, given that your major financial obligations in life may have disappeared, so with a few clicks of the mouse, you can decrease your coverage.

Ladder enables you to adjust your policy exactly that way. They also offer policies with benefits as high as $8 million, with terms as long as 30 years, and they offer their products in all 50 states.

Our Runner-up Pick: Policygenius

Most of the providers on this list are highly specialized. The one exception to the rule is Policygenius. That’s because they’re not a direct life insurance provider, but rather an online insurance marketplace. They offer access to dozens of life insurance companies across the country, and you can receive multiple quotes by completing one application on their web platform. That will give you the best opportunity to get side-by-side comparisons of offers from different companies, allowing you to choose the best policy for your premium dollars.

And, Policygenius doesn’t stop with life insurance. The platform is an aggregator for all things insurance-related. It’s a virtual one-stop shop for every type of insurance, including health, auto, pet, homeowners, renters, and other policies. It may even be the best provider to shop with if you’re unsure exactly what type of policy you want. You can simply enter your preferences in the application, and let the insurance companies come to you.

Where to Find Cheap Life Insurance

Where to find cheap life insuranceBest for
SprouttOlder applicants and those with existing health conditions
PolicygeniusOnline life insurance marketplace
LemonadeSpeed and efficiency
Leap-lifeHands-on assistance from licensed insurance brokers
LadderFlexible coverage
Haven LifeNo-fee quotes
BestowFast approvals

1. Ladder

Best for: Flexible coverage

Ladder is a direct provider of life insurance policies, and they offer a feature that’s virtually unique in the life insurance universe. Just as the name implies, you can ladder your life insurance coverage amount. That is, you can adjust your death benefits higher by applying for more coverage or lower it with a few clicks even after you take your policy. That means you can maintain a large death benefit when you have young children and high financial obligations, but lower it later as your financial needs decrease.

Policies are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York in New York and by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America in all other states and DC.

Since Ladder offers such a unique life insurance product, policy options are fairly limited. For example, they offer only term life insurance and do not provide whole life insurance. And, while the maximum death benefit is very generous, as high as $8 million, coverage with the company does not extend past age 70.

Life insurance products offered: Term life insurance policies only

Term life insurance terms: 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years

Age ranges served: Between ages 20 and 60, but be aware that your age plus term length cannot exceed age 70

Geographic availability: All 50 states

No medical exam policies available: Yes, up to $3M

Policy amounts available: $100,000 up to $8 million

What this provider does best: Ladder provides flexible life insurance coverage amounts to better match your need for coverage at any point in your life.

Read more: Ladder Review

2. Policygenius

Best for: Online life insurance marketplace

Policygenius is an online insurance marketplace, which means they act as an aggregator for many different insurance companies, but don’t provide insurance policies directly. As an online marketplace, they give you the advantage of being able to get quotes from several different life insurance companies from a single application completed online.

Still another advantage of Policygenius is that they offer virtually every type of insurance coverage, including health insurance, auto insurance, disability, pet health insurance, homeowners and renters insurance, identity theft insurance, vision insurance, and even long-term care insurance. As mentioned before, it’s virtually a one-stop shop for your insurance needs.

Life insurance products offered: Whole life and term life insurance, as well as various other cash-value type policies as offered by the many participating companies on the platform

Term life insurance terms: From one to 40 years

Age ranges served: All

Geographic availability: All 50 states

No medical exam policies available: Yes, but varies by company

Policy amounts available: $10,000 to $10 million, depending on the company you work with

What this provider does best: Policygenius allows you to shop for the best policy for your needs with a single application.

Read more: Policygenius Review

3. Bestow

Best for: Fast approvals

Bestow enables you to get a life insurance quote in a matter of seconds, and a life insurance approval in just minutes. How are they able to do that, when the typical life insurance application process with most companies takes several weeks?

Simple. Bestow has completely streamlined the process. First, they typically don’t require you to complete a medical exam. That alone cuts a couple of weeks off of the application process. Instead, the company uses online data sources to get information on your health history. Since most of that information is available from readily accessible sources, like your state Department of Motor Vehicles and the insurance industry medical database known as MIB, Bestow will make a decision based on your answers to the questions on the application and your available health history.

There is yet another way they streamline the process, but it does have some disadvantages. Bestow makes their coverage available to applicants ages 18 to 60. Choose from terms 10 to 30 years with a death benefit not to exceed $1.5 million. The narrower range of policy offerings, combined with reliance on personal health databases and restrictions to younger and healthier applicants, enables the company to make policy decisions in a matter of minutes.

Life insurance products offered: Term life insurance policies only

Term life insurance terms: 10 to 30 years

Age ranges served:18 to 60

Geographic availability: All states except New York.

No medical exam policies available: Yes

Policy amounts available: $50,000 up to $1.5 million

What this provider does best: Bestow provides approvals in a matter of minutes due to reliance on health databases and no requirement for a medical exam.

Read more: Bestow Review

4. Leap Life

Best for: Hands-on assistance from licensed insurance specialists

Leap Life is neither a life insurance provider nor an online insurance marketplace. Instead, it’s an actual online life insurance agency. For that reason, they’ll match your application with the participating companies on their platform, offering you multiple quotes for a policy that will match your needs. Best of all, Leap Life works with some of the biggest names in the life insurance industry. Participating companies include Assurity, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Lincoln Financial Group, Protective, Transamerica, Principal, and Legal & General.

Similar to Policygenius, you can complete an online application in a matter of minutes, and you can also apply by phone. By completing an application, you’ll see life insurance rates quoted immediately. You may also find it comforting to know that Leap Life has a Better Business Bureau rating of A+, the highest rating that the agency assigns on a scale of A+ to F. The company quotes rates starting at $14 per month based on a 35-year-old healthy male in California, purchasing a 20-year term life insurance policy for $300,000.

Life insurance products offered: Whole life, term life, universal life, final expense, and accidental death

Term life insurance terms: From 10 to 30 years

Age ranges served: Applicants from age 18 up to age 75

Geographic availability: All 50 states

No medical exam policies available: Yes, on most policies under $1 million

Policy amounts available: $100,000 up to $5 million

What this provider does best: Leap Life offers live assistance to help you work with the providers on the platform.

Read more: Leap Life Insurance Review

5. Sproutt

Best for: Older applicants and those with existing health conditions

Sproutt is another online life insurance marketplace. But what separates it from the competition is that Sproutt is a licensed life insurance broker in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia. That means your interaction with Sproutt won’t be limited to online-only, or contact with customer service representatives. When you call Sproutt, you’ll be working with a knowledgeable life insurance agent who can help guide you through the process. That gives Sproutt a unique combination of an online experience with live agents who know the business.

That will be important because Sproutt includes participation by at least 10 major life insurance companies, some of which are among the biggest names in the industry. Think Guardian, Prudential, John Hancock, Nationwide, Pacific Life, and Transamerica. And because of this participation by multiple providers, you won’t be limited to term life policies only. You’ll also be able to get the various types of cash value policies, like whole life and variable life. No medical exam policies are available as well. And, equally important, you can obtain coverage on the platform even if you are an older applicant or one with pre-existing health conditions.

Sproutt does something else that's unique in the insurance industry. They use what's known as a "Quality of Life Index" that evaluates five "pillars" of a healthy lifestyle: movement, sleep, balance, nutrition, and emotional health. It will take you about 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire and establish your quality-of-life index. But once you do, the Sproutt algorithm will match you with the best insurance company and policy for your health profile.

Life insurance products offered: Term life insurance policies primarily, but also whole, universal, variable universal, simplified issue, and guaranteed issue policies

Term life insurance terms: 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years

Age ranges served: All

Geographic availability: All 50 states and the District of Columbia

No medical exam policies available: Yes, on both term and whole life policies, depending on your insurance profile and the company providing the policy

Policy amounts available: Up to $2 million

What this provider does best: Sproutt matches consumers with the right insurance company and policy, based on their health profile. Sproutt also works with older applicants and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Read more: Ethos vs. Sproutt

6. Haven Life

Best for: No-fee quotes

Haven Life is a one-stop shop for finding insurance. Without charging any commission or fees, you can use Haven Life’s website to get term life insurance quotes and it won’t even try to up-sell you because salespeople don’t get a commission.

Backed by MassMutual, term life policies are the only policies offered by Haven and you can get approved and complete your insurance policy all online, with some policies not requiring a medical exam.

Life insurance products offered: Term life insurance policies only

Term life insurance terms: 10, 15, 20 or 30 years

Age ranges served: Between 18 and 64

Geographic availability: All 50 states and the District of Columbia

No medical exam policies available: Yes, up to age 45

Policy amounts available: $100,000 up to $3 million

What this provider does best: Haven Life provides free- and commission-free quotes for term life insurance.

Read more: Buying Affordable Term Life Insurance from Haven Life

7. Lemonade Life

Best for: Speed and efficiency

Lemonade is an online platform powered by artificial intelligence. With policies issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance a company with more than 130 years of insurance experience, you can purchase with confidence.

The primary benefit of Lemonade is the ease of applying for and purchasing a policy. In five minutes or less, you can determine your eligibility and compare a variety of term life products.

Starting at $9/month, Lemonade’s pricing structure is ultra-competitive with other companies in the term life space.

Life insurance products offered: Term life insurance policies only

Term life insurance terms: 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years

Age ranges served: Between ages 18 and 60

Geographic availability: All 50 states

No medical exam policies available: Yes

Policy amounts available: Up to $1,500,000

What this provider does best: Lemonade provides affordable term life insurance coverage without a medical exam from an experienced, highly rated insurance company.

Read more: Lemonade Review

Summary of Where to Find Cheap Life Insurance

To make it easier for you to determine which life insurance company is the best one for you, the table below provides a side-by-side comparison of each company and the products and features they offer.

Life insurance provider / featureLadderPolicygeniusBestowLeap LifeSprouttHavenFabricLemonade
Life Insurance Products OfferedTerm life insurance policies onlyWhole life and term lifeTerm life insurance policies onlyWhole life, term life, universal life, final expense and accidental deathTerm life insurance policies primarily, but also whole, universal, variable universal, simplified issue, and guaranteed issue policiesTerm life insurance policies onlyTerm life insurance and accidental death policiesTerm life insurance
Term life insurance terms10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years1 to 40 years10 to 30 years10 to 30 years10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years10, 15, 20, or 30 years10, 15, 20, 25, or 30years10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years
Age ranges servedBetween ages 20 and 60, but coverage terminates at age 70All18 to 6018 to 75All18-6425-5018-60
Geographic AvailabilityAll 50 statesAll 50 statesAll states except New YorkAll 50 statesAll 50 states and the District of ColumbiaAll 50 states and the District of ColumbiaAll states except California and New YorkAll 50 states
No Medical Exam Policies AvailableYes, depending on your insurance profileYes, but varies by companyYesYes, on most policies under $1 millionYes, on term and whole life, depending on your insurance profile and providerYes, depending on your insurance profileYes, depending on your insurance profileYes
Policy Amounts Available$100,000 to $8 million$10,000 to $10 million$50,000 to $1.5 million$100,000 up to $5 millionUp to $2 million$100,000 - $3 million$100,000 - $5 millionUp to $1,500,000
What this Provider Does BestProvides flexible life insurance coverage amounts to better match your need for coverage at any point in your lifeShop for the best policy for your needs with a single applicationApprovals in a matter of minutesOffers live broker to help you work with the providers on the platformMatching consumers with the right insurance company and policy, based on their health profile; works with older applicants and those with health conditionsFee and commission-free quotesInsurance and willsProvides affordable term life insurance coversage - without a medical exam - from an experienced, highly rated insurance company

Our Criteria for Determining the Best Places to Find Cheap Life Insurance

Choosing the best type of product or service can always seem a bit arbitrary, and even guided largely by personal preference. But to prevent either of those factors from influencing our choice of companies and subsequent rankings, we used the following criteria to come up with this list:

Life insurance products offered: Though most of the providers on this list specialize in term life insurance, we gave extra consideration to those that offer other types of life insurance, like whole life insurance. We also gave added weight if the company offers other types of insurance, even if it’s not related to life insurance.

Term life insurance terms: Term life insurance policies can range in length from one year (annual renewable term) to as long as 40 years. The more generous the term, the higher the providers ranked on our list.

Age ranges served: One unfortunate fact about online life insurance providers is that they generally tend to favor younger applicants. We gave higher rankings to those that offer coverage to older applicants, all the way up to age 75.

Geographic availability: Naturally, any company that offers its life insurance products in all 50 states will get a higher ranking than those covering only limited markets.

No medical exam policies available: Many life insurance applicants prefer to avoid medical exams. Its not only because of health considerations but also often because they find them to be invasive and inconvenient. We gave higher rankings to companies that offer no exam policies, particularly those that exclude medical exams on most policies.

Policy amounts available: The higher the death benefit offered by a company, the more favorably they stand in our rankings. Some companies do offer lower death benefits as a way of either keeping the premiums on the low side or expediting the approval process. However, in today’s high-cost economy, companies that offer coverage into the millions receive priority.

What this provider does best: While life insurance may seem like a pretty straightforward industry, there’s actually a significant variation between providers. That’s especially true since so many specialize in providing their services online. For example, some companies favor flexibility, others speed, and still others a choice of providers and policies. We considered each provider’s unique strengths in writing them on this list.

Who Needs Life Insurance?

The short answer to that question is everyone! One of the complications is that millions of Americans are content with group life insurance coverage sponsored by their employers. The general assumption often is that whatever death benefit the company offers will be sufficient. However, that’s almost never true.

A typical employer-sponsored life insurance policy will have a death benefit of between $50,000 and $100,000. Most target somewhere between one and three times your annual salary, but may limit that to no more than $100,000.

If you have significant debt obligations and/or people depending on your income for survival, that kind of death benefit will not get them through much more than the first year or two after your death. In fact, the average person needs several hundred thousand dollars in life insurance coverage, and many need in excess of $1 million.

Related: Do You Need a Million Dollar Life Insurance Policy?

Unfortunately, life insurance is not a popular subject, and not one people think about often, let alone discuss openly. Part of the reason is that life insurance doesn’t provide immediate benefits, certainly not the way health or auto insurances do. Life insurance is the last, best gift you can give to your loved ones. So, you should spend some time crunching the numbers to determine exactly what will be an adequate amount of coverage to provide for them after your death.

How to Choose the Best Life Insurance Company for You

Choosing the best life insurance company for you can be a confusing process, if only because there are so many competitors in the space. But you can narrow down the choices by choosing a provider that offers the following:

The life insurance product that will work best for you. What type of policy are you looking for, whole life or term? If you need a large death benefit, and cost is a factor, term will be the obvious choice. Term premiums are only a fraction of what they are for whole life. Some providers specialize in term life insurance, such as several of those included in this guide.

But if you want permanent life insurance coverage, and you like the idea of having a cash accumulation provision, whole life will be the better choice. If so, you should consider working with Policygenius or Leap Life, since they offer multiple providers. Whole life policies are more complicated than term life, so you’ll need to shop between a larger number of companies.

The term lengths available on term life Insurance policies. If you’ve decided a term life policy is the right choice for you, policy terms offered by a provider will be important. If you’re in your 40s and only looking for coverage until you retire, a 20-year term policy may be all you need. But if you’re younger, and looking for term coverage for most of your life, you’ll want to go with a provider that offers 30-year terms.

Your age. As you can see from some of the providers included in this guide, some insurance companies specifically target younger applicants. They offer low-cost term life insurance to a generally young and healthy clientele. But if you’re older than the target range for any provider, you may need to consider applying with several full-service companies through Policygenius or Leap Life.

Your health. Similar to limited age ranges, providers often tailor their insurance products toward applicants who are in good or excellent health. If you have any significant health conditions or a history of serious illness, you may once again need to consider shopping for coverage through an online insurance marketplace (Policygenius) or with a life insurance broker (Leap Life).

The amount of coverage you need. Lower-cost providers generally limit the amount of life insurance you can buy. That’s an effort to maintain a streamlined application process that emphasizes speed of approval. Typically, death benefits greater than $2 million will require special handling.” You’ll need to choose a full-service life insurance company that can accommodate a larger policy amount.

Policy options. Much like buying a new car, life insurance policies come with a multitude of options. If you have any specific needs for your life insurance policy, you’ll want to work with a company that provides the options that can accommodate your preferences. For example, you may want a policy that offers an accelerated death benefit, allowing you to access part of your death benefit should you contract a terminal illness.

Policy options are an important consideration when you first buy a life insurance policy. In most cases, you won’t be able to add options after the fact.

FAQs

Why do most of the companies on this list specialize in term life insurance?

The primary reason is that term insurance is a lot less expensive than whole life insurance. In fact, a typical term policy will cost only about 10% as much as an equivalent amount of whole life insurance. That means the average consumer will not only save money on premiums, but will also be able to purchase a higher level of coverage.

What can I do if I’m declined for coverage with one of the above providers due to health reasons?

Many online providers undoubtedly favor applicants in good or excellent health. If your health is something less, you should apply through Policygenius. With a large number of life insurance companies participating on the platform, you’ll be practically guaranteed to find a company that will write a policy for you, even with health conditions you didn’t think would qualify.

As a general rule, how much life insurance should I buy?

The standard life insurance industry recommendation is that you purchase a policy equal to at least 10 times your annual earnings. For many people, that will be an amount sufficient to provide for their loved ones, giving them several years to adjust to your absence.

Bottom Line

Life insurance may be the most underestimated type of insurance there is. Most people are keenly aware of the need for health insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses. The same is true of auto insurance, not only to provide coverage in the event of an accident but also because state law requires it. And few people would think to own a home without having an adequate amount of homeowners insurance to protect against disasters.

But, life insurance is a type of coverage we don’t like to think about. That’s almost certainly because the whole concept of life insurance is intimately connected with the prospect of our own death.

But, life insurance - like all other types of insurance - is a product that must be purchased before disaster strikes. That’s the only way to guarantee that adequate funds will be available to protect your loved ones in the event of your death.

Its always vitally important to apply for life insurance while you are still healthy. And, it should go without saying that you’ll never be younger than you are today. Since life insurance premiums use your age as a major factor in calculating cost, the earlier in life you apply the better. Even if you do have a health condition or two, it’s best to apply for life insurance before the condition becomes more severe, or you develop another.

The long and short of it is that if you’re even thinking about applying for life insurance, today is the best day to make it happen. Choose one of the companies listed in this guide, find the right policy for you, and get the right amount of life insurance for your personal and financial circumstances.


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