Top online life insurance companies

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People looking for a life insurance policy increasingly prefer to do their shopping online.

In the past six years, the preference to buy a policy online has grown to 31% of all shoppers, according to the 2022 Insurance Barometer study by LIMRA and Life Happens, two life-insurance industry research groups.

“Consumers now have the benefit of purchasing life insurance on their own time,” says John Carroll, senior vice president and head of insurance and annuities at LIMRA. “It’s within their control and they can choose to talk to someone if they want — or not at all.”

Larger insurance companies are responding to that preference by setting up digital platforms to make life insurance easier to research and purchase, he adds.

While established insurance companies are now letting consumers buy policies online, consumers can also choose from a growing number of web-based companies that have emerged over the past few years – many of which don’t require medical exams and offer quick decisions on applications.

“The process of getting life insurance traditionally could be lengthy and frustrating. The quick turnaround provided by online life insurance is certainly advantageous,” says Siwei Gao, professor of risk management and insurance at Eastern Kentucky University.

But there are certain aspects of buying life insurance online that consumers should be aware of, says Cynthia Burleson, director of the Center for Insurance & Risk Management at the University of Central Arkansas.

“One risk of online life insurance is created because you are not usually talking to an agent who is knowledgeable of various needs an individual may have. This can be an issue if the purchaser has some health problems that could become an issue once a policy has been purchased,” she says. An agent, on the other hand, “can present options for the insured that will enable them to get the coverage they are looking for,” she says.

She also notes that online life insurance companies usually offer only term policies, which don’t accumulate value as other types of life insurance do. And, she says, many of these insurers have low coverage limits. “I have seen some that only offered up to $10,000 coverage,” she says.

Insure.com’s editorial staff analyzed the insurance market and found a number of these newer, online life insurance companies, including Bestow, Ethos, Fabric, Haven Life, Ladder, Lemonade, SoFi, Vantis Life and Wyshbox.

We found each of these nine companies has its strengths:

  • Bestow: Best for people looking for instant coverage
  • Ethos: Best for seniors
  • Fabric by Gerber Life: People who need to create an estate plan
  • Haven Life: Best for people looking for additional benefits
  • Ladder: Best for people who are environmentally conscious
  • Lemonade: Best for people looking for insurance bundles
  • SoFi: Best for people who invest and save
  • Vantis Life: Best for people looking for comprehensive coverage
  • Wyshbox: Best for people with growing families

“Of these companies both Lemonade and SoFi are companies that already have a good reputation for the insurance they provide. However, even with these well-known companies, you need to be sure that the policy being offered meets your needs,” Burleson says.

All nine firms, as mentioned earlier, offer policies that don’t require a medical exam, can be applied for in minutes (if not seconds) and offer coverage that starts immediately. The companies also offered competitive monthly rates, ranging from about $23 a month to about $30.50.

Selected online life insurance rates

Monthly prices for 35-year-old males and females in excellent health purchasing $500,000 in coverage for a 20-year term.

GenderBestowLadderWyshboxFabricHaven Life
Female$23.08$20.10$20.03$20.62$25.57
Male$30.58$22.80$28.96$23.72$28.90

Read on for profiles on each of these online life insurance companies.

Bestow

Bestow is an insurer that uses its own technology to offer customers life insurance policies online. Anyone 18 to 60 years old can apply for 10- to 30-year term policies offering up to $1.5 million in coverage.

Pros:

  • Delivers a quick and easy application process
  • Offers immediate coverage with no waiting period
  • Provides a live chat service

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer riders
Read the full Bestow life insurance review

Ethos

Ethos provides term life up to $2 million and whole life coverage up to $30,000. Anyone between the ages of 20 and 65 can apply for term coverage.

Pros:

  • Application process is quick and easy
  • Offers complimentary estate planning services for policyholders
  • Option to choose between simplified issue and fully underwritten policies (no exam, but more medical questions)
  • Policyholders can extend coverage at the end of the term

Cons:

  • Application process for fully underwritten policy is lengthy compared to competitors
  • Getting a quote requires a lot of information and is time-intensive
Read the full Ethos life insurance review

Fabric by Gerber Life

Fabric is owned by Western & Southern Financial Group – which also owns the Gerber Life insurance brand. Ten- to 30-year term policies from $100,000 to $5 million are available. Fabric also offers online tools for creating wills and organizing finances.

Pros:

  • Offers complimentary wills for the policyholder and their spouse
  • Provides other financial services, such as 529 plans
  • Fabric app can be used to manage financial plans, including any important financial and legal information

Cons:

  • Fabric by Gerber Life chat service does not always provide immediate assistance during normal business hours
Read the full Fabric life insurance review

Haven Life

Haven offers 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year-term policies with up to $3 million in coverage for those under the age of 64. Haven also offers disability and annuity products.

Pros:

  • Prompt customer service response
  • Applicants can also purchase disability insurance and annuities
  • Accelerated death benefit rider available
  • Policyholders can access several living benefits, including virtual workout classes

Cons:

  • Some applicants may be ineligible for Haven’s no-med option and will have to take a medical exam
  • Anyone buying more than $1 million in coverage will need to take a medical exam
  • The guaranteed no-medical-exam option only offers up to $500,000 in coverage
Read the full Haven life insurance review

Ladder

The company offers up to $8 million in 10- to 30-year terms. The company allows people to adjust their coverage up or down as their lives change – a process called “laddering.”

Pros:

  • Instant approval
  • Well known and trusted
  • Application is easy to resume if you leave the page

Cons:

  • Customer service isn’t always available during business hours
  • Online chat agents respond over email rather than within the chat
  • No riders offered
Read the full Ladder life insurance review

Lemonade

Lemonade offers from $50,000 to $1.5 million in coverage for term lengths between 10 and 30 years. The company also says that if you have an active life insurance policy with another insurer and find that Lemonade better suits your needs or budget, they’ll help you switch companies.

Pros:

  • Offers other types of insurance policies
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

Cons:

  • Cannot get a life insurance quote without going through the application process
  • Not available to applicants over 60 ½
  • Only offered in 27 states
  • No publicly available rate data
Read the full Lemonade life insurance review

SoFi

SoFi offers policies with between $100,000 to $8 million in coverage. The company also offers its customers estate planning services, which includes drafting a will.

Pros:

  • Offers banking, investing services, student loans and supplemental estate planning services
  • Offers high coverage amounts (up to $8 million)
  • Application only takes a few minutes
  • Instant approval

Cons:

  • Requires an application to get an initial quote
  • No riders are offered
Read the full SoFi life insurance review

Vantis Life

Vantis Life is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. Vantis offers $50,000 to $2.5 million in term life coverage and $50,000 to $2.5 million in whole life coverage.

Pros:

  • Offers other types of life insurance coverage, including whole life
  • Riders can be added on to policies for an additional fee
  • A charitable giving rider can be added on at no cost
  • Policies available to people up to age 70

Cons:

  • Some applicants may need to take a medical exam
Read the full Vantis life insurance review

Wyshbox

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 45 can get up to $2.5 million in coverage. Policy length is flexible from two- to 35- years. All its plans offer the option of extending coverage until your 65th birthday

Pros:

  • Has a coverage calculator to help you figure out your life insurance needs
  • If you need more coverage later in life and maintain your health, you can add it on without paying more
  • Application takes under 10 minutes

Cons:

  • Chat is only available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
  • As a new company, there is not much third-party information available about Wyshbox
Read the full Wyshbox life insurance review

How to buy life insurance online

Buying term life insurance online, for many people, involves going to an insurer’s website, answering a few questions and, if approved, activating the policy. Experts recommend people start by comparing quotes from at least three insurance companies to ensure they’re getting coverage at the most competitive price.

What are the advantages of buying life insurance online?

It’s fast, easy and convenient. Many online life insurers offer term policies without the need for an applicant to take a medical exam. Many companies also offer coverage almost immediately after an application is approved.

Is it safe to apply for life insurance online?

Whenever providing personal information over the internet, you want to do your due diligence. You can research an insurance company’s third-party grades, such as A.M. Best’s financial stability rating, and you can check out a company with the Better Business Bureau.

Do life insurance companies check medical records?

It depends on the company and what type of coverage you’re buying. However, many online insurance companies don’t require a medical exam for term policies.

What is the first thing you should do when buying life insurance?

First, figure out how much coverage you need. Many insurers will recommend a policy that’s 10 times an applicant’s annual income – but, of course, you may need more depending on your situation.