Who is the cheapest insurance company?

Best Overall — TIAA Life

TIAA Life offers its term life insurance limits in five-year increments from 10 to 30 years (although there is, oddly enough, no 25-year term), and while TIAA and Transamerica both consistently offered us the cheapest quotes across different term limits, profiles, and coverage amounts, TIAA Life’s conversion allowance gives it the edge. TIAA is the only one of our top picks that lets its term policyholders convert to any of its permanent policies at any time during the term. All other providers restrict either the window during which you can convert (like New York Life and Amica), or the permanent policies that are eligible to convert to (Transamerica).

In those cases, if conversion is your only option (maybe you develop a terminal illness, or you have a special-needs child who will need extended care), you could end up being forced to convert to a more expensive permanent policy — if you’re still able to convert at all. That unrestricted conversion eligibility puts TIAA Life on top.

Most Flexible Term Lengths — New York Life

Even though New York Life’s convertible term insurance was a tad more expensive in our quotes than TIAA and Transamerica, it could actually end up being cheaper in the long run for certain people. It allows term lengths of any number of years between 10–20, so if you know your need for the insurance will end after 16 years (say, when your last child graduates college), you can buy a 16-year term policy and pay less in premiums per year than you would with a 20-year term policy.

New York Life’s policy-conversion opportunities are where things get a little sticky. If you want the option to convert to a permanent policy after the first 10 years, New York Life requires that you purchase a separate rider at the beginning of your initial term — which will chip away at your premium savings. A more cost-efficient method might be taking advantage of New York Life’s Policy Purchase Option, which allows for opting into a new term policy at specific dates without requiring a second medical exam. Timing is everything — those specific dates might not coincide with the major life events that would force you to re-up your policy, but if they do, that might be your cheaper option.

Most Tobacco-Tolerant — Transamerica

Based on our quotes, Transamerica appears to generally charge slightly less for young people and slightly more for older customers than TIAA, but the differences are so small ($1–$3 per month) that they’re hardly significant. The major standout for Transamerica was, instead, its pricing for tobacco users, which came out significantly lower than any of our other top picks. (Smoking is one of the biggest red flags for insurers, and will immediately slot you into a “higher risk” category.)



Amica Life Insurance

New York Life

State Farm

Female, 30, Smoker $40 $34 $42 $39 $43
Female, 40, Nonsmoker $19 $20 $22 $25 $27
Male, 30, Smoker $51 $53 $45
Male, 40, Nonsmoker $21 $24 $32 $30

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