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The Best Cheap Life Insurance of 2023

Updated July 18, 2022
Dana George
By: Dana George

Our Insurance Expert

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Shopping for insurance is, in part, about protecting your assets. Searching for the best cheap life insurance is also about making sure your beneficiaries have what they need in the event of your death. To help you navigate the sometimes-confusing waters of life insurance, we've sorted through insurers to find which offer inexpensive life insurance with a high level of protection. Here are our picks for best cheap life insurance.

Principal Financial

Logo for Principal Financial
Best for Policy ConversionPrincipal Financial
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

One great thing about Principal is how easy the company makes it to convert term life coverage into a universal policy. The possibility of converting coverage from one policy type to another means a policyholder retains a bigger say in how their life insurance is eventually dispersed. For example, a survivorship life insurance policy (a type of universal coverage) allows a couple to leave money to people or organizations they care about, but only after both of them have died.

And anyone who believes they're too old to buy life insurance may be surprised to learn that Principal sells term insurance policies to people up to the age of 80. For those who purchase a policy when they're younger, Principal provides some of the most affordable life insurance policy rates on the market. A 35-year-old, non-smoking male can land a $500,000 term life policy for as little as $311 per year. For a 35-year-old, non-smoking female, it's a mere $264 per year.

Protective

Logo for Protective
Best for CustomizationProtective
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

While the name "Protective" may not sound familiar, the company has been around since 1907 and offers impressive financial strength. A.M. Best and Fitch both give Protective an A+ rating, meaning the company has the financial ability to back up its promises. In addition to term life policies, Protective offers whole and universal life insurance. A wide array of rider options means policyholders can customize their coverage.

Protective ultimately makes our "best of" list by offering low rates. For example, A 35-year-old, non-smoking male can pay as little as $268 per year for $500,000 in term life coverage. For a 35-year-old, non-smoking female, the premium drops to $216 per year. Applicants with a Costco membership can save up to 15% on their policy costs.

Mutual of Omaha

Logo for Mutual of Omaha
Best for flexibilityMutual of Omaha
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Mutual of Omaha is a household name, and customer satisfaction ratings for the company are strong. Like Principal, Mutual of Omaha accepts term life policy applications from adults up to age 80 (85 in New York). And like Protective, the company offers a wide range of rider options, like a waiver of premium for unemployment and a rider for dependent children. These riders allow a policyholder to identify which types of coverage are most important to them and customize a policy to fit their specific needs.

A 35-year-old, non-smoking male can land a $500,000 policy for as little as $312 per year. A 35-year-old, non-smoking female can purchase the same coverage for as little as $266 per year.

State Farm

Logo for State Farm
Best for bundlingState Farm
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

State Farm may be better known for auto and homeowners insurance, but that's one of the reasons it's an excellent place to shop for life insurance. In addition to a huge network of in-person insurance agents, the company has the highest overall customer satisfaction ranking in the industry, according to J.D. Power. While State Farm's life insurance rates are already low, it's possible to snag more savings by bundling life insurance coverage with other types of policies.

A 35-year-old, non-smoking male can pay as little as $365 per year for a $500,000 term life policy. For a 35-year-old, non-smoking female, the annual premium is around $292.

How much does life insurance typically cost?

A healthy, non-smoking 30-year-old man can expect to pay around $300 a year for $500,000 in coverage. A woman will pay about $252. That said, the "average cost" of life insurance depends on several factors like age, sex, health, and type of policy.

For example, a healthy, non-smoking, 50-year-old man can expect to pay around $1,008 per year for a new term life insurance policy with a face value of $500,000. If he'd purchased the policy when he was 20, his annual premium would have been around $312.

If the same 50-year-old man purchased a permanent insurance policy rather than a term policy, he would pay over $12,500 per year instead of $1,008. While some permanent insurance policies build cash value, it's worth weighing the difference in premium costs.

Factors that impact the price of life insurance

How much a person can expect to pay for life insurance depends on how much of a risk a life insurance company perceives them to be. For example, an older person can expect to pay more for a policy than a younger person, simply because their age statistically puts them closer to death. In addition to age, here are some of the other factors that impact the price of a life insurance policy.

  • Gender: Insurance companies charge women less for coverage because women have a longer life expectancy.
  • Health: Insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions, like weight and blood pressure, when setting rates.
  • Family history: If an applicant's family tree shows a long history of heart disease, diabetes, or other serious conditions, it could raise rates.
  • Smoking status: Because of all the health-related issues tied to smoking, smokers can expect to pay significantly higher premiums.
  • Activities: A person with a potentially dangerous hobby like drag-racing or skydiving can expect to pay more for life insurance.
  • Occupation: By the same token, a person with a dangerous job is likely to pay more for life insurance. This includes builders, miners, members of the armed forces, and first responders.
  • Death benefit: The higher the value of a policy, the more expensive the premium. For example, a policy with a $500,000 death benefit will cost more than a policy with a $250,000 death benefit.
  • Term of policy: The longer the term, the more expensive the policy. A 30-year policy carries a higher premium than a 10-year policy.
  • Policy type: Term life carries the least expensive premium, because it only provides protection for a specific time period. On the other hand, a permanent policy, like whole life insurance, can cost six to 10 times more than term coverage.

How to bring down the cost of your life insurance policy

Anyone unhappy with the life insurance quotes they get can take these steps to bring premium costs down.

  • Buy young. The best answer to the question of when to buy life insurance is always "right away," due to the role age plays.
  • Stop smoking. As difficult as it is to stop smoking, doing so may save a person's life while minimizing the cost of insurance.
  • Cut back on drinking. If health concerns are tied to over-imbibing, cutting back can sometimes improve health enough to drive down the cost of insurance.
  • Lose weight and start exercising. No one wants to hear that they should eat better or exercise more, but doing so is one of the best ways to get healthy and pay less for insurance.
  • Opt out of extras. If an agent suggests adding riders, but that moves the price of the policy outside the comfort zone, consider opting out of extras.
  • Ask about bundling discounts. If an insurance company provides more than one type of insurance, find out how much can be saved by bundling policies.

Shopping for life insurance is no one's idea of fun, but the best life insurance companies make it easy by providing online quotes for some products. They also help a potential policyholder figure out the coverage amount they require and the insurance product that best fits their financial goals. That may mean permanent life insurance for one person, while for another, it's term life.

There are so many types of life insurance policies on the market that it helps to have an expert on hand. In the meantime, it's good to know that an affordable life insurance policy is out there.

The Picks
Offer Best For Next Steps
Graphic of Principal Financial
Principal Financial
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Great For: Best for Policy Conversion
Graphic of Protective
Protective
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Great For: Best for Customization
Graphic of Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Great For: Best for flexibility
Graphic of State Farm
State Farm
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Great For: Best for bundling

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