Best Life Insurance Companies In California For 2024

My research indicates that MassMutual is the best choice for life insurance in California.

min read
Updated: 21 January 2024
Written by
Bob Phillips
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Like many Californians, you likely want to find a life insurance policy quickly and cheaply. I’ve undertaken the task of simplifying your search and I hope to be able to guide you towards the most suitable policy for your needs.

MassMutual has emerged as the leading life insurance provider in California. This is not solely based on market share, but rather on their exceptional coverage and service offerings at the most competitive rates, a winning combination in our review.

Additionally, we’ve recognized other notable companies in our rankings. Mutual of Omaha is the best options for seniors, Transamerica shines for young individuals, State Farm excels in customer service, and Nationwide caters to smokers. MassMutual also earns distinction for providing the most cheapest life insurance in California.

Take a few moments to review these results. Without adequate life insurance, your loved ones may not enjoy the lifestyle you envision for them in the event of your sudden passing. Purchasing life insurance reflects your commitment to those who matter most.

Best Life Insurance Companies In California, 2024

mutualofohamaicon-logo
Best for Seniors - Mutual of Omaha
nationwide-icon-logo
Best for Smokers - Nationwide
transamerica-icon-logo
Best for Young People - Transamerica
Best Life Insurance, California 2024

Comparison Of The Best Life Insurance Companies In California

To assist you in evaluating the top life insurance companies in California, we've prepared a table showcasing our preferred companies based on key criteria.

Overall Rating Online Experience A.M. Best Rating J.D. Power Rating Best For Get A Quote
Mutual of Omaha
4.8

9.7

A+

801

Seniors

Instant Quote
MassMutual
4.8

9.7

A++

780

Best For Cheapest Life Insurance

Instant Quote
Transamerica
4.7

9.8

A

740

Young Adults

Instant Quote
State Farm
4.8

9.5

A++

839

Best For Customer Service

Instant Quote
MassMutual
4.8

9.7

A++

780

Best Overall

Instant Quote
Nationwide
4.6

9.6

A+

791

Best For Smokers

Instant Quote
Scroll to see comparisons

Our Methodology

Our process for choosing the finest life insurance companies was rigorous and all-encompassing. We considered various aspects, such as customer service ratings, product choices, pricing, and online user experience. Moreover, my background in selling life insurance and engaging with agents from other insurers has equipped me with valuable insights into their offerings.

Our choice of companies wasn't solely influenced by providing the most affordable life insurance, except in the "Best for Cheapest Life Insurance" category. We strongly hold the belief that each of these companies excels in their specific market niche, and while price is important, it shouldn't be the sole factor in your decision when selecting a life insurance policy or company.

29

Quotes Analyzed

15+

Years of experience

13

Brands reviewed

28+

Research hours

Reviews Of The Best Life Insurance Companies In California


Best Overall

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

MassMutual has earned the prestigious title of “Best Overall” due to its multitude of strengths. The company boasts an extensive selection of high-quality life insurance offerings, including term, whole, and universal life insurance, all available at exceptionally competitive rates. Furthermore, MassMutual policies offer a wide selection of optional riders for customization.

The sales agents at MassMutual, referred to as “career agents,” are renowned for their extensive training and expertise in the company’s life insurance product line. These agents are committed exclusively to selling MassMutual products, which proves advantageous for life insurance seekers looking to familiarize themselves with the various types of coverage.

An essential aspect that influenced our decision is MassMutual’s remarkable financial stability. The company has received the highest possible rating, A++ Superior, from AM Best, underscoring its exceptional financial strength and capacity to fulfill claims.

Earning the title of “Best Overall” underscores MassMutual’s commitment to offering a wide range of products backed by a proficient sales team, rather than solely relying on having the lowest rates. While MassMutual may not enjoy the same level of brand recognition or market share as some of its counterparts in California, it is a revered and esteemed brand within the state.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Strong financial ratings
  • Extensive product selection with numerous riders available
  • Most affordable rates in California
Drawbacks
  • Inability to purchase whole life products online
  • A J.D. Power rating that falls below some major competitors
  • Restricted purchasing options limited to MassMutual agents

Best For Seniors

Overall Rating
4.6

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Mutual of Omaha has built a strong reputation for its expertise in serving the insurance needs of seniors. Over the years, seniors have placed their trust in the company not just because of the famous show “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” but also due to the extensive training their agents receive in catering to the senior market.

This insurance company is widely recognized for its senior life insurance product range, which includes two distinct options designed to meet the needs of seniors with various health concerns.

One option is the guaranteed-issue policy, which doesn’t require a medical examination or health history questions. It’s an excellent choice for seniors dealing with serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke, or heart problems.

The other option is a simplified-issue policy, which does require responses to medical history questions but skips the need for a medical examination. It’s an ideal fit for seniors with minor health issues like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes who prefer to avoid a medical exam.

Elderly individuals tend to face higher life insurance costs compared to other age groups, and when it comes to trusted options, Mutual of Omaha stands out. With a long-standing presence in the insurance sector, Mutual of Omaha has earned a solid reputation for its offerings tailored to seniors, which encompass Medicare supplements and life insurance. This company has gained the trust of Baby Boomers and their parents over the years, as they’ve been familiar with its services since childhood.

Furthermore, Mutual of Omaha has solidified its position as a leading name in senior insurance products due to its effective direct mail initiatives aimed at seniors and its well-prepared agents who possess in-depth knowledge of the product line.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Offers competitive rates for seniors in California
  • Ensures seniors have peace of mind through its well-trained agents
  • Maintains a strong financial stability
Drawbacks
  • Records a higher ratio of complaints compared to certain competitors
  • Operates with fewer agents in California compared to many other major insurers

Best Life Insurance Companies For Seniors In California

Company Monthly Cost
MassMutual $42
Mutual of Omaha $48
Nationwide $45
State Farm $46
Progressive Life $70

*Based on $75,000 of coverage for a 60-year-old male non-smoker buying a 10-year term life contract.


Best For Young Adults

Overall Rating
4.7

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Transamerica acknowledges its strengths as a company, with a notable one being its commitment to providing affordable life insurance rates for young adults. Recognizing that many young individuals are financially cautious, especially when it comes to life insurance, Transamerica has structured its policies to be accessible for budget-conscious consumers in this age group, enabling them to secure substantial coverage without straining their finances.

Furthermore, Transamerica has tailored its website to cater to the preferences of younger buyers who prioritize straightforward and easily accessible information. With a focus on clarity and simplicity, the website ensures that customers can effortlessly explore their options. Transamerica firmly believes that everyone, regardless of age or budget, should have access to the protection and peace of mind offered by life insurance.

Life insurance companies often encounter a tough challenge when it comes to attracting younger buyers. This is primarily because many young adults don’t see the immediate need for life insurance. They often delay purchasing policies until they get married or have children. Nevertheless, companies like Transamerica continue to target this demographic due to their lower mortality rates, which can lead to increased profitability.

Among the companies we assessed, Transamerica received the lowest rating for customer service. This might be linked to their reliance on independent insurance agents for both sales and service. Some independent agents who work individually may need to enhance their customer service skills in this regard.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Online purchasing option available for term life insurance
  • Policies offer face amounts as high as $10 million
  • Qualifying applicants can secure coverage up to $2 million without the need for a medical exam
Drawbacks
  • The minimum face amount for term life insurance starts at $25,000
  • Customer service satisfaction scores are lower compared to competitors

Best Life Insurance Companies For Young Adults In California

Company Monthly Cost
Mutual of Omaha $19
MassMutual $20
Transamerica $18
Nationwide $25
Progressive Life $28

*Rates are for a 25-year-old male nonsmoker that purchases a $250,000 20-year term life policy.


Best For Customer Service

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
10/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
8/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

J.D. Powers has consistently acknowledged State Farm as a top-rated life insurance company with a strong focus on customer satisfaction. This recognition reflects State Farm’s unwavering dedication to providing excellent service to its policyholders. It’s worth noting that State Farm boasts the largest number of agents across the United States compared to any other insurance company.

State Farm has earned a stellar reputation for its unwavering commitment to exceptional customer service, a fact highly valued by its policyholders. What sets the company apart is its extensive network of local neighborhood offices, spread throughout various communities. These offices provide policyholders with the convenience of meeting their local agents in person, ensuring they receive any necessary sales assistance or policyholder service with ease.

State Farm has built a solid reputation for its outstanding customer service and efficient claims processing, which holds significant importance in the life insurance industry. This is particularly crucial during times of mourning when families rely on their life insurance provider for swift and empathetic support.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Exhibits a significantly lower number of customer complaints compared to the industry average
  • Maintains top-tier financial ratings for claims-paying ability
  • Boasts the highest number of agents offering services among all insurers
Drawbacks
  • Limited to purchasing policies exclusively from State Farm agents
  • Provides only a restricted number of available riders

Best For Cheapest Life Insurance

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

MassMutual, acknowledged as California’s top life insurance provider, also excels as a financial leader, offering highly competitive rates across the state. Despite the presence of various budget-friendly term insurance companies in California, MassMutual consistently offers the most favorable rates.

While it’s advisable not to make your life insurance decision solely based on price, affordability is a crucial consideration for life insurance buyers. MassMutual provides the most attractive rates for individuals seeking life insurance in California, despite its reputation for professionalism rather than affordability. Nevertheless, MassMutual is determined to expand its presence in California and is implementing aggressive pricing strategies to accomplish this objective.

In today’s economy, the cost of life insurance is a crucial consideration. MassMutual stands out as a strong option due to its combination of affordable premiums and substantial coverage. While their whole and universal life policies may not always match the competition in terms of pricing, MassMutual consistently provides generous coverage amounts for term life insurance. This approach aligns with the common understanding that permanent life insurance tends to be pricier.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Features a wide-reaching network of well-trained agents who handle MassMutual policies
  • Provides a comprehensive range of life insurance products
  • Stands out as the most budget-friendly option among those we assessed for life insurance in California
Drawbacks
  • Limited purchasing options exclusively through a MassMutual agent
  • The absence of online applications for life insurance products

Cheapest Life Insurance Companies In California

Company Average Monthly Cost
MassMutual $12
Mutual of Omaha $13
Nationwide $12
Transamerica $10
State Farm $19

*Rates based on a $250,000 10-year term life policy for a 30-year-old female nonsmoker


Best For Smokers

Overall Rating
4.6

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Nationwide, a well-established company with numerous local offices for sales and service, lives up to its slogan, “Nationwide is on your side,” particularly for smokers in California looking for life insurance. While Nationwide’s rates for smokers may be a bit higher compared to its top competitors, our assessment suggests that it remains the top choice for smokers because of its competitive rates, convenient access to agents, and exceptional customer service.

For individuals who smoke and are in the market for life insurance, it’s essential to be aware that your premiums will be notably higher than those for non-smokers. However, there is an opportunity to reduce your rates to a level similar to non-smokers by showcasing a smoke-free period of 12-24 months, depending on the specific insurance company’s requirements. To validate your smoke-free status, you’ll need to undergo a paramedical examination and a blood test to confirm the absence of nicotine in your bloodstream.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Nationwide policies are available through a vast network of trained agents.
  • They offer a comprehensive range of life insurance products.
  • Nationwide maintains a significant presence in California with numerous offices.
Drawbacks
  • Online applications for life insurance products are not available.
  • Purchases can only be made through a Nationwide agent.

Best Life Insurance Companies In California For smokers

Company Average Monthly Cost
MassMutual $178
State Farm $174
Nationwide $160
Transamerica $147
Mutual of Omaha $178

*Rates based on $632,000 of 20-year term life for a 30-year-old male smoker

How To Find The Best Life Insurance Company For You

When it comes to finding life insurance in California, there’s no universal solution. At Insuranceopedia, we recognize that everyone’s situation is distinct. That’s why we assess multiple insurers and present awards in various categories. To discover the best life insurance for your specific needs, consider these three steps:

  1. Determine your coverage needs: Many life insurance companies offer “life insurance calculators” on their websites to help you figure out how much coverage suits you.
  2. Compare three companies: It’s wise to evaluate insurance companies, considering not just their rates but also their financial stability. Low rates matter, but they’re meaningless if your insurer can’t fulfill your claim.
  3. Apply for coverage: Many potential life insurance buyers don’t follow through with the purchase process. It’s crucial not to procrastinate when acquiring life insurance since your family’s financial future is on the line. Taking prompt action is essential.

Largest Life Insurance Companies In California

Numerous life insurance companies operate in California. Here are the five largest ones, ranked by their market share:

Company Market Share
New York Life 8.78%
Transamerica 5.19%
MassMutual 5.14%
Northwestern 5.08%
Prudential 4.85%
Metlife 4.31%
Nationwide 3.30%
National Life 3.21%
AIG 2.80%
State Farm 2.64%

Average Cost Of Life Insurance In California

Best Cheap Life Insurance Companies In California For Females

Company Rates for $250,000 Coverage Rates for $1k Coverage
Mutual of Omaha $11 $20
MassMutual $10 $21
Nationwide $12 $18
Transamerica $10 $19
State Farm $20 $60

*Rates based on a 10-year term life policy for a 30-year-old female nonsmoker

Best Cheap Life Insurance Companies In California For Males

Company Rates for $250,000 Coverage Rates for $1k Coverage
MassMutual $12 $27
Nationwide $12 $24
Mutual of Omaha $13 $27
Transamerica $10 $22
State Farm $18 $40

**Rates based on a 10-year term life policy for a 30-year-old male nonsmoker

Factors That Impact The Cost Of Your Life Insurance In California

The price of life insurance in California is influenced by various factors, which include:

  • Your choice of life insurance company
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your health condition
  • Whether you smoke or not
  • Your credit score
  • Any additional riders you add to your policy

It’s common for men to have higher insurance premiums than women due to their typically shorter lifespans. Similarly, smokers face higher costs as they tend to have shorter life expectancies.

In California, insurers may also consider your credit score when determining your insurance rate. Additionally, incorporating riders into your policy, such as disability waiver of premium or child riders, can increase the overall cost of your insurance policy.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need In California?

The necessary amount of life insurance varies based on personal situations. Homeowners often need more coverage compared to renters, and individuals with dependents, like children, might also require higher protection.

Typically, life insurance agents suggest getting coverage equivalent to 10 to 20 times your annual salary to secure your loved ones’ financial well-being. For example, if your yearly income is $75,000, you might consider coverage between $750,000 and $1.5 million.

California Life Insurance Laws To Know

When considering life insurance in California, it’s crucial to be aware of the state’s protective regulations for policyholders. These laws encompass the following:

Contestable Period

California law permits life insurance companies to deny a claim if they discover false or misleading information provided by the policyholder within two years of the policy’s start date. However, beyond this two-year period, the insurer cannot contest the application based on any errors or discrepancies.

Free Look Period

Upon receiving your life insurance policy from the company or agent, you have a 10-day window to review it. If you decide during this time that you do not want the policy, you can return it without any penalties and receive a full refund of any premiums already paid to the insurance company.

Grace Period For Missed Payments

In the event of a missed payment, California law provides a 30-day grace period. Within this timeframe, you can make the payment without losing coverage.

Claim Settlement Time

To receive benefits, beneficiaries must file a claim with the insurer. Once a claim is submitted, all life insurance companies in California must settle it within 30 days.

FAQs

Is life insurance more expensive in California?  

The price of life insurance in California is on par with rates in other states. When insurers charge higher premiums, it’s often because they’ve had to pay out more claims than they initially expected.

How much per month is a million-dollar life insurance policy in California?  

In our assessment, MassMutual stands out as the top choice for a 10-year, $1 million term life policy in California, offering a monthly premium of $25. 

What is the average monthly cost of life insurance in California?  

The typical monthly expense for life insurance in California is quite affordable, especially for a 30-year-old male at around $9.99 for $250,000 of coverage, and a 30-year-old female can secure a similar policy for approximately $9.40.

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